FOR OUR FIRST REFERENCE TO BLACKWATER USA SEE HERE:
For those who, in service to there country, have endured the most rigorous training and most dangerous assignments only to be tossed aside when they are no longer of value, Blackwater USA is a God send. For us regular folk who depend on the Executive arm of the government to field a military of such caliber as to preserve our constitutionally protected way of life, it may be the beginning of the end. You may be able to kick a dog while it is down. But you kick a wolf and it's liable to chew your damn leg off.
Only a very small part of the story of Blackwater USA story is making the news . And even the small part we are getting is “BULL!” Blackwater is not the only company employed by the USA and companies such as “Haliburton” in Iraq and neighboring countries. In fact the government and corporate monies being shelled out to these companies is now being referred to as the “new gold rush”.
There are, at this writing, approx. 170,000 US troops in Iraq and 50,000 U.S. and Nato forces on the ground in Afghanistan (1 and ½ times the size of Iraq).
There are about 100,000+ private contractors operating in Iraq, not counting subcontractors, a total that is approaching the size of the U.S. military force there
The truth is however, no one really knows the number. The range is all over the map. As are the contractors and where they are coming from. Why? The “Gold rush.” “Iraq contractors make billions on the front line, Our job is to be a bullet sponge” screamed recent CNN headlines. Blackwater alone had a $300-million-plus contract to protect US State Department personnel in Iraq. But even the truth of that number is not known as Blackwater has registered numerous Delaware corporations under other names and the $300,000,000 was from just one contract.
Nobody knows how much they are getting from Corporations chasing the the “reconstruction” dollars. KBR, Inc., the global engineering and construction giant, won more than $16 billion in U.S. government contracts for work in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2004 to 2006—far more than any other company, according to a new analysis by the Center for Public Integrity. In fact, the total dollar value of contracts that went to KBR—which used to be known as Kellogg, Brown, and Root and until April 2007 was a subsidiary of Halliburton—was nearly nine times greater than those awarded to DynCorp International, a private security firm that is No. 2 on the Center's list of the top 100 recipients of Iraq and Afghanistan reconstruction fund.
Note: Dyna Corp International is a Blackwater competitor. Blackwater ranks a mere 12th on the list of the top 100 “war profiteers”.
SO HOW IS THIS SELLING OUT OUR SERVICEMEN? Consider the following:
Blackwater, one of the main private providers of security within Iraq, along with US firms DynCorp International and Triple Canopy - as well as the UK's Aegis, will pay persons with special forces backgrounds, depending on assignment , $700.00 to a $1000.00 plus per day (Not counting New Orleans for which “contractors” only received $350.00 a day plus expenses). Not special forces? Don't worry, Blackwater USA has a 7000+ acre Compound in North Carolina where top former Navy Seals will train you.
Upon enlisting one only has to sign up for 2 to 3 month tours of duty. Pocket the money and go home or take a break and go back for more.
And don't worry about being accountable. While in charge of the “Coalition Provisional Authority” (CPA), Paul Bremer prior to leaving Iraq issued Order 17 granting firms immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law???
Many U.S. military officials are critical of Blackwater because its guards have a reputation for reckless behavior that officials say reflects poorly on American troops in Iraq. Iraqi citizens often do not distinguish between U.S. soldiers in Humvees and Blackwater guards in armored vehicles.
Although Defense Department contractors are liable under U.S. military codes, the extent to which those working for State are within the jurisdiction of U.S. civilian courts remains "murky," the head of the department's diplomatic security Many U.S. military officials are critical of Blackwater because its guards have a reputation for reckless behavior that officials say reflects poorly on American troops in Iraq.
The State Department allowed Blackwater's heavily armed teams to operate without an Interior Ministry license, even after the requirement became standard language in Defense Department security contracts. The company was not subject to military restrictions on the use of offensive weapons, its procedures for reporting shooting incidents or a central tracking system that allows commanders to monitor the movements of security companies on the battlefield.
"They are part of the reason for all the hatred that is directed at Americans, because people don't know them as Blackwater, they know them only as Americans," said an Interior Ministry official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared for his safety. The official, interviewed before Sunday's incident, said, "They are planting hatred, because of these irresponsible acts."
Utopia: The contract commandoes are earning $150k to over $200k for the Senior Leaders. They wear no uniform, and do not have the strict U.S. code of Military Justice hung over their head, which will fry them if they fart upwind of the wrong senior officer. They get new weapons and refresher courses, real-world operating and can come home after three months - then go back if they WANT to. Pure and simple, this is the good life for a Special Operator. It is great to see this valuable talent getting used finally, and for such a great cause. It is even better to see Special Operators getting compensated properly for the job that they do and risks they take. Over a three year period these contractors will put away enough money to make up for the dismal military retirement plan that they either did not vest in or earn a whopping $2k a month after 20 years of service.
Time to go fill out my employment application..."Navy SEAL for hire!
Now compare if you will the life of a Warrior working for Uncle Sam:
SEALs receive normal military pay and allowances, plus incentive pay for special skills and assignments. All SEALS receive jump, dive and demo pay, plus special duty assignment pay. It makes SEALS the highest paid enlisted operators in the US military.
Regular Monthy pay for a navy Seal w/ 4 years in service 2,171 (E-5) is little more than 2000 a month.
That pay can be supplemented by this wonderful little bit of Naval come on: Did you know?
SEALs receive military pay and allowances, plus $375/month dive pay, $300/month SDV pay, $225/month HALO (jump) pay, $110/month special duty assignment pay and various amounts per month for second-language proficiency.
Which amounts to a 28-year old SEAL risks his life daily to serve his country and gets paid $60k.
And of course your sign up and overseas tour of duty is substantially more than 2 months. It's kinda like whatever the government tells you it is going to be.
And if you get sent back heres a troubling thought:
Besides bringing antibiotics and painkillers, military personnel nationwide are heading back to Iraq with a cache of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications. The psychotropic drugs are a bow to a little-discussed truth fraught with implications: Mentally ill service members are being returned to combat.
The redeployments are legal, and the service members are often eager to go. But veterans groups, lawmakers and mental-health professionals fear that the practice lacks adequate civilian oversight. They also worry that such redeployments are becoming more frequent as multiple combat tours become the norm and traumatized service members are retained out of loyalty or wartime pressures to maintain troop numbers.
But then of Course there are the wonderful benefits as described by the Navy:
"When you choose to leave the Navy, you will continue to receive assistance as a Navy veteran. This can include the services of the Veterans Administration in terms of finding employment or schooling, no-money-down and low interest loans for new homebuyers, preferential hiring for government jobs, and receipt of Montgomery G.I. Bill money for school if you choose to contribute during your enlistment."
BUT HERE IS THE REALITY:
The VA estimates that nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. And nearly 400,000 experience homelessness over the course of a year. Conservatively, one out of every three homeless men who is sleeping in a doorway, alley or box in our cities and rural communities has put on a uniform and served this country
According to the VA, in the years since it "began responding to the special needs of homeless veterans, its homeless treatment and assistance network has developed into the nation’s largest provider of homeless services, serving more than 100,000 veterans annually."
AND THE OTHER 300,000?
Veterans who seek help face a Walter Reed-like nightmare—a system that is crumbling and failing to serve them when they need it most. They have to negotiate a maze of bureaucracy. They can be shuffled among multiple agencies—only to find after all the bureaucratic run-around that they still may have to pay a lawyer to file their case in court.
The message to the American Soldier is clear. Were I one, I believe I would be one of the ones telling the U.S. Government (I do differentiate between that and AMERICA) to shove it and be knocking on the door of someone who values what I do, Blackwater, et al.
SO NOW THE QUESTIONS???
How can Blackwater USA and others afford to pay and treat volunteer warriors so much more than we can?
Have we disrespected our troops by saying you are not good enough to protect state officials but these guys are?
What will the results of these actions be?
If our tax dollars are going to be used to pay “warriors' who would you rather they serve? Corporations? Or America and the Constitution?
If the best of the best are serving the corporations, who is left to serve you?
How come we are in Bahgdad and not Dafur where the atrocities are legion?
THERE AIN'T NO DAMN OIL IN DAFUR!!! God help us all.