Sunday, October 4, 2009

House Armed Services Committee and Private Contractors

The House Armed Services Committee is underway with an investigation on the illicit activities of the employees of private military companies serving in Iraq and Afghanistan during the recent conflicts. These private mercenaries are contracted by the Congress through letter of Marque and Reprisal. They fall under the protected of the United States military when convicted of crimes in the countries in which they serve; however, they are not subject to the same rules and regulations that army personnel are subject to. The most famous of these groups is Blackwater, whose trail for the killing of Iraqi citizens is set to begin in February of next year. The army needs to contract these private mercenaries because they lack a sustainable number in the all-volunteer army. The army is now functioning on soldiers who are enlisted for multiple tours of duty, and are subject to an unreasonable amount of stressful conditions.

The Iraqi government has recently asked the United States to allow private contracting companies to be subject to Iraqi law, this request has come after months of outrage on the part of Iraqi citizens after several Blackwater guards were put on trial for murdering unarmed Iraqi civilians. With recent stress on President Obama to deal with the military conflict on Afghanistan, the issue of solider health and well being remains in the spot light. I propose that importance of the war dictate the spending the government does. Instead of hiring private mercenaries I propose a tax increase to so that the army can provide incentive for enlisting.

If the battle is important enough for the funding that is being spent, then there should be a large enough public support for the actual war. The battle should therefore be important enough for soldiers of the army, not just those mercenaries who make substantially more than the everyday army employee. While I am not a proponent of an all out draft, I think public support should dictate the commitment of the country’s resources for the war.

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