In light of recent events and in view of my readings on AFRICOM and PMCs I realized that what Bush is doing with the military is the same thing he and the Republicans have done to the banks, deregulate them and put them beyond the reach of US or any other law.
This was also the reason to call the Geneva Conventions quaint, to set up the prison at Guantanamo, and to debase American values by trying to make torture acceptable. The intention of Cheney, Bush, and their cronies is to put government outside the law and outside the US Constitution, not subject to any oversight or review. They are quite happy with big government. What they don’t want is responsive government, or any accountability. In regard to PMCs and deregulating the military, Frida Berrigan documents this in her recent article: Military Industrial Complex 2.0
Top to bottom, the Pentagon’s war machine is no longer just driven by, but staffed by, corporations.
Consider the following: In fiscal year 2005 (the last year for which full data is available), the Pentagon spent more contracting for services with private companies than on supplies and equipment — including major weapons systems. This figure has been steadily rising over the past 10 years. According to a recent Government Accountability Office report, in the last decade the amount the Pentagon has paid out to private companies for services has increased by 78% in real terms. In fiscal year 2006, those services contracts totaled more than $151 billion.
Ever more frequently, we hear generals and politicians alike bemoan the state of the military. Their conclusion: The wear and tear of the President’s Global War on Terror has pushed the military to the breaking point. But private contractors are playing a different tune. Think of it this way: While the military cannot stay properly supplied, its suppliers are racking up contracts in the multi-billions. For them, it’s a matter of letting the good times roll.
These have been the good times for defense contractors, if not for the military itself. Since September 2001, many companies have made a quantum leap from receiving either no Pentagon contracts or just contracts in the low hundred millions to awards in the billion-dollar range.
And in the course of this:
… corruption, incompetence, and callous indifference become ever more ingrained in the military way of life.
Fighting wars for hire has become an essential part of the Pentagon’s MO since 2001, and the Blackwater employee gunning through Baghdad in a Kevlar vest, a kafiyah, and wrap-around shades is the ultimate symbol of the new moment.
But there’s another dimension of the Bush era’s privatization surge at the Pentagon that has gotten far less coverage: Private military firms are also doing the paperwork of war. …
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) looked at 21 different Pentagon offices and found that private contractors outnumbered Department of Defense employees in more than half of them. In the engineering department of the Missile Defense Agency, for example, employees from private contractors made up more than 80% of the work force. The GAO found that contractors were responsible for carrying out a wide range of tasks and were not subject to federal laws and regulations designed to prevent conflicts of interest — including the rules that concern personnel who want to take positions with companies they had awarded contracts to as federal employees.
Once private companies take on military and war-making tasks, where does the buck stop? It is not uncommon, for example, for a company hired to perform a service for the Pentagon to subcontract part of the job to another company, which may then subcontract part of its task to a third. Who, then, is in charge? When something goes wrong, who is culpable?
One result of this: The United States has ended up paying companies that are essentially enslaving Filipinos, Sri Lankans, and other “third country nationals” who drive supplies into Iraq. … these companies “openly flout U.S. labor laws by using cheap imported labor, withholding employee passports and housing workers in decrepit conditions.”
And if the U.S. military machine is now both oversized and staggeringly expensive, it is also more prone to breakdown in a more dangerous and unstable world. So think of George W. Bush’s legacy to us as a Pentagon bloated almost beyond recognition and crippled by its dependence on private military corporations.
As for Bush’s legacy to the Lockheed Martins, the KBRs and the Pentagon’s whole “Top 100” crew, it’s been money beyond measure
This is why the PMCs and their lobbying association, the IPOA, are targeting AFRICOM.
Read the whole article here:
Military Industrial Complex 2.0
Cubicle Mercenaries, Subcontracting Warriors, and Other Phenomena of a Privatizing Pentagon
By Frida Berrigan