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The US Hires Mercenaries to Guard "High Profile American Generals"?

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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 01:02 PM
Original message
The US Hires Mercenaries to Guard "High Profile American Generals"?
interesting. I wonder how US troops feel seeing mercs guarding Gen. Casey and other assorted 'high profiles'?

<snip>

But after 12 years in the Army, by which time he had reached the rank of Lance Corporal, he decided to follow in the footsteps of many other soldiers and landed a job with a private security company in Iraq, guarding high profile American generals.

http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/news/tm_headline=bomb...
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 01:04 PM
Response to Original message
1. Do they expect our soldiers to kill them?
Because what other reason would they have for not guarding American officers with American troops?
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. excellent question
and I want to know if this happened during the Vietnam war?
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TheBaldyMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. Blackwater can't make megabucks if serving GIs guard the generals
see the reasoning now? btw the private security companies have the second or third largest troop commitment in Iraq (thats including the US and Iraqi armies) numbered in the 10,000s and costing $10,000s more per head than a regular 11B.
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shain from kane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 01:07 PM
Response to Original message
3. Frag protection. n/t
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MnFats Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 01:08 PM
Response to Original message
4. and how much are the mercs paid vs. what soldiers are paid?
I'm guessing there's a disparity
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HarukaTheTrophyWife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I think "independent security contracters" make $100,000+ annually.
It's certainly very tempting to a soldier.
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. $10,000 a month for mercs
god only knows what other percs they get compared to our soldiers. Top of the line equipment for sure.

<snip>

American contractors can earn $10,000 a month or more working for Blackwater and its competitors in Iraq.

http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=110329&...
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. CLOSE PROTECTION? THE SHADOWY WORLD OF PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANIES


http://www.someoneelseslife.com/?p=590
23 April 2004 at 09:28


CLOSE PROTECTION? THE SHADOWY WORLD OF PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANIES


They travel in armoured SUVs, ostentatiously carrying powerful weapons - assault rifles, sidearms, grenades - and they shoot and arrest people just as the soldiers do but minus the uniform and legal status. They're paid around $1,000 a day, considerably more than the regular soldiers or police officers which they used to be, work six weeks on and three off with paid flights home at the end of each tour. The advantage for the US is that their deaths and injuries don't show up on the figures for troop casualties. They are the bodyguards.

Jo Wilding said it best in her piece on the incident when four 'contractors' were killed, sparking off the siege of Falluja by US Marines.

"We arrived back just after the incident in Falluja where the contractors were shot, burnt, mutilated and dragged through the streets. The scenes themselves, on satellite TV in a friend's house, were shocking, all the more so because the dead men were described as civilians.

But what if they were soldiers, armed men who signed up for war and were paid to fight it? They were shot dead in an ambush - what was done to their bodies afterwards was distressing no matter what, but if they were soldiers, they were killed in action. The truth of course is that they were somewhere in between, mercenaries from US firm Blackwater Security, given a contract by USAID to protect contractors".



And it's not just the US government engaging the services of these private armies, operating on the very edges of legality in the shadowy world of close protection. Britain's own Foreign and Commonwealth Office employs civilian close protection officers from UK firm Control Risks Group amongst others to look after its staff and secondees deployed to Iraq. Global Risk International, another British private military contractor has had as many as 1,200 of its personnel in Iraq making it effectively the sixth-largest contributor to the Coaliton Forces. Most of its uniformed troops are either Nepalese Gurkhas or demobilised Fijian soldiers.

I must admit, I hadn't given the concpet of being provided with my own close protection team a great deal of thought prior to my arrival in Baghdad, other than pondering on the motivations of someone who felt their life, should it come to it, was worth less than mine. After all, as a last resort, a bodyguard's role is to protect his principal's life with his own. And in the strange reality that is life within the Green Zone, I soon got used to the men who, looking like extras straight from central casting, arrived at my accommodation each morning to escort me through Baghdad to wherever my assignments took me. It was only later, upon my return that I paused to consider the deeper implications - both legal and moral - of governments using hired guns.

With soldiers still having to battle insurgents and defend themselves, the job of protecting everyone else in Iraq - from journalists like myself, engineers and those involevd in the country's reconstruction to government contractors to the US' head of the CPA, L. Paul Bremer - is largely being done by private security companies. It's believed that as many as 30,000 former soldiers, special forces personel, police officers - and anyone else with the right skills - are working for private security firms in Iraq. With Blackwater charging its clients between $1,500 and $2,000 per day for each close protection officer - and even I attracted a team of four, plus two two armoured SUVs for each excursion - it's clearly a lucrative business.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. These paragraphs are rather brutal....
The Americans on the other hand - especially those looking after Bremer himself - were the polar opposite - loud, brash and arrogant. They wore a de facto uniform which although it was of their own choosing, looked to have been formed by common consent from a depot of Banana Republic. They parade around wearing Oakley sunglasses, wearing flak jackets and vests laden with ephemera - radios, grenades, spare cartridges and magazines - curly wires trailing to their ears whilst they cradle automatic weapons aggressively in?front of them. Beige cargo pants, held up by a gunbelt bearing a personal sidearm seemed to be the order of the day and their attitude ?made them no friends, especially amongst the soldiers and journalists who their work often brought them into contact with.

And with the security situation in Iraq worsening, and the number of civillian staff seconded there increasing, the demand for close protection officers in theatre is rising daily, bringing with it its own problems.?As word spreads amongst army units about the relative wealth and benevolent?working conditons available to CP Officers, many soldiers are seeking to cut short their careers for the money and glamour of life in the private sector. But as the demand increases, firms are finding themselves with a requirement they cant meet, and the temptation exists for a relaxation of standards to meet demand. Sure, there are the special forces guys, the ex intelligence service people, and the cream of the infantry regiments. But there are also those too old, those too young, and those simply too gung ho to be effective. And??of far greater concern, working in a country with no legal framework and outside of the direct payroll and control of government, who is responsible for ensuring that they are up to scratch?

The legal position, as if its of any import, is unclear. Not being regular soldiers, they dont qualify for the protection of the military parts of the Geneva Conventions. Not being unarmed civilians, they are not covered by the Fourth Convention relating to non-combatants, either. Nor could they be classified accurately as spies or intelligence agents. Perhaps the new category invented by the US for its prisoners of war from Afghanistan might be appropriate: Unlawful Combatants???

In almost every case, CP officers are ex-soldiers, trained at taxpayers expense in the skills which governments are finding so valuable and which are being charged back to them at two to ten times the former rate. Its massively more expensive for governments to use private military companies than the conventional forces they have available, but then the political cost tends to be so much lower - private contractors killed?in Iraq tend to attract far less media and public attention than conventional soldiers on active duty so the political cost is lower to policy makers and governments fighting a losing battle with an increasing percentage of voters?who oppose the conflict.


I don't entirely agree with his assessment that it's more expensive to use these guys--it is, UP FRONT, but you have absolutely no responsibilities to their families, no downstream costs, and no expenses should the contracted individual die or be wounded (and placed on medical retirement, forever and ever). There's also no training costs associated with these guys, which can vary between ten or twelve grand to hundreds of thousands per military person, depending on what they do in the service. There's little in the way of administrative management--you hire them, and it's up to Halliburton or whoever to do their paperwork and get them paid, to be responsible for their billeting and feeding or reimburse the military for it (now THERE's some creative accounting, since Halliburton does a lot of the billeting construction and food service!)...so, at the end of the day, it's probably a wash or better.

AND the Services don't have to go to Congress and request changes in end strength requrements (a hugely unpopular exercise)--because they are, in essence, playing a shell game!

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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
8. The reason? Well, you can't pull TROOPS off their primary mission
to guard these guys, ya see!!!

There are limits, set by Congress, with regard to the number of what is termed "personal staff" a general or flag officer may have. It's set by paygrade, with 0-7s getting jackshit and 0-10s having a nice staff with a great big mess (that's kitchen help, not a sloppy situation) and drivers and all sorts of perks. But still, these numbers of personnel assigned to do these subservient tasks are LIMITED. Even the PSDs (that Personal Security Detachments, not Personnel Support, in this instance) for these guys have limited manning, which isn't all THAT thin--but odds are, they need much, much more.

You get around those hard-and-fast military numbers with civilians, ya see. And they're CONTRACTED, not permanent party, so their billets (jobs) aren't added to the rolls. It would be like hiring someone to say, paint a room--you don't consider that guy an employee, he's just there to do a job and move on.

And it's probably easier to handle those guys--one doesn't work out, or you don't like 'em, ya just call your contract manager and get the guy swapped out. Less chit-chat amongst the ranks, too....
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