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Blackwater is just the tip of the iceberg.
President Bush opened the floodgates for outsourcing government jobs, and we’re still reeling from the effects.
Blackwater (now known as Xe), Halliburton, DynCorp, KBR, and Triple Canopy are just some of the multitude of private, for-profit corporations that became integral parts of the American war machine during the simultaneous Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
There is already legislation that has been introduced to tackle some of this problem. The Stop Outsourcing Security Act would prohibit the American government from using mercenaries to fight our wars.
But military contractors are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reckless government outsourcing. The role of Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan offers a clear picture of the rot that infects our government when we outsource important functions to private entities that only care about their own bottom lines.
When we use private contractors, we sacrifice even the insufficient transparency and accountability we have over our military. Meanwhile, our reliance on greedy and shameless entities magnifies both the human and monetary cost of war.
In 2007, Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater, testified before Congress that over 90 percent of Blackwater’s contracts were with the federal government (and publicly available data shows over 2/3 of those government contracts were awarded as no-bid contracts).
Weeks before Prince’s testimony, Blackwater mercenaries needlessly slaughtered 17 civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad while guarding American State Department officials. Despite massive and widespread outrage in Iraq and elsewhere, the State Department still has a contract with Blackwater to provide protection for its personnel.
There’s no justifiable reason why our government ought to outsource the decision to pull the trigger and take another life in our name. And what’s true for shooting a gun and taking a life is also true for a whole host of broad areas where our of government should act directly, not through a company looking to squeeze a buck out of the process. Let’s not foment a restive and brutal gaggle of banditti. Send these mercenaries packing out of town, without so much as one Federal bullet.