by Ian Traynor
Private corporations have penetrated western warfare so deeply that
they are now the second biggest contributor to coalition forces in
Iraq after the Pentagon, a Guardian investigation has established.
While the official coalition figures list the British as the second
largest contingent with around 9,900 troops, they are narrowly
outnumbered by the 10,000 private military contractors now on the
The investigation has also discovered that the proportion of
contracted security personnel in the firing line is 10 times greater
than during the first Gulf war. In 1991, for every private
contractor, there were about 100 servicemen and women; now there are
10. . . .
While reliable figures are difficult to come by and governmental
accounting and monitoring of the contracts are notoriously shoddy,
the US army estimates that of the $87bn (£50.2bn) earmarked this
year for the broader Iraqi campaign, including central Asia and
Afghanistan, one third of that, nearly $30bn, will be spent on
contracts to private companies. . . .
The growing clout of the military services corporations raises
questions about an insidious, longer-term impact on governments'
planning, strategy and decision-taking.
Mr Singer argues that for the first time in the history of the
modern nation state, governments are surrendering one of the
essential and defining attributes of statehood, the state's monopoly
on the legitimate use of force.
APPARENTLY NOT SIGNED BY THE U.S.--"International Convention
Against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries," December 4, 1989,
Robert Fisk, "Occupiers spend millions on private army of security men,"
Independent, March 28, 2004
[Blackwater is . . . the most powerful mercenary firm in the world. It has
20,000 soldiers on the ready, the world's largest private military base, a
fleet of twenty aircraft, including helicopter gunships. ItÕs become nothing
short of the Praetorian Guard for the Bush administration's so-called global
war on terror.--Jeremy Scahill, "Our
Mercenaries in Iraq: Blackwater Inc and Bush's Undeclared Surge,"
democracynow.org, January 26, 2007]