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June 8, 2005

Even Contractors are Being Treated Inhumanely by American Troops in Iraq

From Slate's Today's Papers, by Eric Umansky:

The LAT for some reason only teases a fascinating but murky incident in Iraq during which some American security contractors appear to have mistakenly fired on Marines, who then tossed the roughly two dozen contractors in jail for a few days, where apparently they didn't get the best treatment. The contractors' lawyer said they were stripped and "slammed around." As they were being tossed about, one of the Marines reportedly shouted, "How does it feel to be a big rich contractor now?" The contractors say they never fired on the Marines, who in turn say they never abused the contractors. (Last year, Slate's Phil Carter looked at the "legal murkiness" that contractors operate in.) It's clear that the LAT has independent reporting on the story, but FYI, a site called CorpWatch had a more detailed piece yesterday.
Turns out, mercenaries make a helluva lot more money than enlisted men. Shocking, eh? According to a sidebar on the CorpWatch article, Zapata mercenaries make between $520,000 and $700,000 a year. Which rankles the feathers of enlisted folks, who eke out a living and get hassled by the government for filing health insurance claims for the many mental and physical injuries they incur while on duty.

I'm not condoning what the Marines did. I'm simply pointing out that the vast difference in pay makes enlisted soldiers wary of mercenaries. All humans should be wary of mercenaries - they operate outside the control of national and international law and waste a lot of taxpayer money that would be better used to increase social services (education, healthcare, etc.) at home and abroad.

FYI, the CorpWatch article is part of their War Profiteers microsite. CorpWatch works to hold corporations accountable in a variety of fields - from education to labor issues to war. The original War Profiteers website was created by the Ruckus Society.

Posted by cj at June 8, 2005 10:33 AM

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