Friday :: Apr 2, 2004

The New And Improved Hessian

by pessimist

Back during the American War for Independence, the British sovereign, King George the Third, purchased the services of 30,000 German Soldiers for the equivalent of $150,000, or essentially $5 each.

According to Liberty! Chronicle of the Revolution, a PBS project:

The Hessians' services were bought and paid for by George III, who simply did not have enough soldiers in his own army to supply the needs of his commanders in America. German soldiers had served many European nations in a similar fashion for years, but they were not true mercenaries. Most of the Hessians received no compensation for their services beyond their daily bread.

Our modern-day King George Warmonger Bush faces similar dificulties. The US military is too small to meet all the 'needs' of the BFEE/PNAC New Multinational Corporate World Order. So what is a Wannabe World Leedur to do?

Iraq violence drives thriving business

Blackwater Security Consulting trains its employees to wield machine guns, survive the most adverse conditions and battle guerrilla insurgents. Then the company dispatches these highly trained civilian commandos to war zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq to work as independent contractors for the U.S. government, paying them up to $2,000 a day, according to a former executive.

Two Thousand Dollars?? A Day??? That be some mighty 'spensive daily bread!

But it is clear that companies like Blackwater are at the forefront of the thriving business of going to places that most people--even the U.S. military--would rather not go.

Not to disparage the bravery of our armed forces, but I think this to be a good idea. Iraq is a place where experienced professionals are at great risk, as the events in Fallujah graphically demonstrated. What chance would a larger force of National Guardsmen or Reservists have had, even with heavier weapons, against an enraged Iraqi mob? I hope we never have to find out.

The companies, mostly based in Britain or the United States, have taken on such tasks as protecting coalition contractors and defending oil fields and key buildings, often using former military personnel from the U.S. and other countries. Blackwater handles security for Paul Bremer, the top American administrator in Baghdad.

That figures!

About a dozen firms have received U.S. government contracts to train Iraqi police, protect airports and other installations, and for specialized tasks such as armored-car services and the disposal of unexploded ordnance. Two dozen or more firms also sell their services to construction companies and others hired by the U.S. government for rebuilding tasks and to entrepreneurs looking to get in early on the ground floor of a resuscitating economy.

A U.S. government Web site on doing business in Iraq lists 22 security firms--from Britain, the U.S., Iraq, India, Hong Kong, South Africa and Australia--offering various kinds of services, including payroll deliveries, cash sorting, prison management, risk assessment, bodyguards and "heavily armored, high-profile convoy escort." The list doesn't include Blackwater.

David Claridge, managing director of London-based Janusian Security Risk Management, estimates the industry will bill about $1.8 billion to clients for protection services in Iraq during the next year. Blackwater has been awarded more than $35 million by the U.S. over the past couple of years for security contracts.

And the AWOL Chickenhawk wants to cut taxes? Just how much are we being billed for?

Clients can expect to pay up to $10,000 a day for top-of-the-line service that would include four armed guards and two armored vehicles, Claridge said.

I hope yesterday's client gets his money back.

Some employees can make as much as $500 to $2,000 a day, depending on training and job. Just last month, Blackwater recruited 60 former commandos and other service members from Chile's military and flew them to the company's training camp in North Carolina in preparation for jobs in Iraq, according to British and Chilean newspapers. "We scour the ends of the earth to find professionals," Blackwater President Gary Jackson told The Guardian, a British newspaper.

I wonder if they start with the graduation rolls from the School of the Americas? So who are these highly trained professionals?

"You'll find that a lot of these guys are between the ages of 30 and 45, former special ops soldiers," said Jamie Smith, a former Navy SEAL who was vice president of Blackwater Securities before he launched a competing firm, SCG International Risk.

Nearly all security personnel are ex-military, so "they're going in with their eyes wide open," said Doug Brooks, president of the International Peace Operations Association, a Virginia-based non-profit that advocates the use of private firms for peacekeeping and nation-building. "The pay's not bad, and a lot of people believe in the mission."

Experienced maybe, but haven't these guys had enough of the military already not to be playing soldier after the fact? Just why are they being used?

"The idea was to create a security consulting company that could work for entities like the Department of State and the Department of Defense to deal with the situations that were going to arise in a post- 9/11 world," said Smith, who said he was speaking Thursday by satellite phone from an area he wouldn't reveal. He said he had more than 50 contractors deployed in "two different combat theaters." All are heavily armed with M-4 rifles and Glock pistols and wear heavy body armor, he said.

Is this why our soldiers are having to have relatives buy body armor in the States and ship it to them in Iraq? Is business really that good?

Despite the extreme danger, "as far as I know, not a single company has pulled out," said Brooks.

Business must be good! So what are these companies getting paid to do?

"There is a lot we can do," said Harry Legg-Burke, head of new business for London-based Olive Security, with about 280 people on security duty in Iraq. He said those services ranged from providing armed security men, to devising risk assessment plans, to practical advice on what kind of communication equipment was best for the circumstances in which their clients would be working. All such security companies offer their clients an array of services designed to make it possible for them to carry out their work in hostile environments. Two Olive Security employees, a Briton and a Canadian, were killed earlier this week in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul when their convoy with British power station engineers was ambushed.

Sounds dangerous! Will they leave Iraq once power is transferred in June?

The companies' presence in Iraq is expected to linger. At the end of June, when sovereignty is scheduled to be returned to Iraqis, the U.S. plans to give a private security company responsibility for protecting the Green Zone, the 4-square-mile area in central Baghdad where coalition officials live and work. "I think private security is going to be the stopgap. It's really cheaper for the U.S. government to have private security than to keep rotating forces in and out," said Tim Meyer, president of Meyer & Associates, a Texas-based security contractor active in Iraq.

Private firms also may be more politically palatable because they have a lower media profile, Meyer said, adding that "if something happens, private companies are a little less scrutinized than if something happens with the military." Still, there are limits to what some of the companies will do.

Jonathan Garratt, group managing director of Erinys International, a British security company that guards oil fields in Iraq and provides protection for Army Corps of Engineers and coalition officials, said he generally would insist clients avoid Fallujah, where the Blackwater convoy was ambushed. "It's very dangerous. As a generalization, Fallujah is out of bounds on our map," Garratt said. "We would only go through there in armored vehicles and a significant security force to defeat all threats."

What is the Plundering pResident of the PNAC Petroleum Pirates of the Potomac supposed to do then? Send in the Marines?? I guess so!

But I thought these 'contractors' were professionals, highly trained and all that. Why not let them deal with Fallujah?

"These are not mercenaries," said Nigel Churton, chief executive officer of Control Risks Group, a London-based worldwide private security company, speaking of his employees. He said those working for Control Risks Group, although all former members of special military and police units, were involved exclusively with defensive security-related work, not the kind of offensive operations carried out by paramilitary groups working for private companies. "I think the key points one has to start from [is] we're not now military," he said. "We cannot pretend that we have the ability to respond like a military force can."

That's just great! We send in overpaid security guards into a region that should be under the total control of the military to do the job that the military should be doing. Then they tell us that they aren't intending to do the job in the first place, even needing defensive military escorts to get to and from their assigned wokplaces.

You know, Dumbya, that C average you are so proud of from your MBA days at Yale doesn't seem to be what the nation, much less the world, needs right now. We need someone who has a brain AND demonstrably knows how to use it. You fail on both counts. And isn't an MBA supposed to know how to manage? You know, that business activity you were SUPPOSED to be training for while at Yale?

We should have known. Your bungling at Harken was no secret. It's our fault. I have to admit to the world that we Americans failed all of you by allowing George Warmonger Bush and his evil cronies to take power. I only hope we can make it up to you all someday.

pessimist :: 7:35 AM :: Comments (7) :: Digg It!