by David Phinney
Sunday June 16th 2024

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Marching Back to the Future: The Department of Peace

Max Boot parades his bright ideas about the use of civilians in wartime environments in The Los Angeles Times: How Bush can ensure no more Iraqs The U.S. is only a few bright ideas away from being the nation builder it needs to be. In the opening graph, Boot claims that one of the "most intriguing elements" of President Bush's State of the Union [...]

KBR Hands Out Medals to Contract Workers with “Quit Claim” to Liabilities

KBR Hands Out Medals to Contract Workers with “Quit Claim” to Liabilities

by David Phinney Jan. 26, 2007 -- Perhaps medals in defense of freedom aren't free, at least when it comes to KBR. At a Houston awards ceremony next month, KBR will be handing out Pentagon medals to its workers from Iraq who were injured in Iraq and elsewhere. All were supporting the military through the company's $16-billion-and-counting [...]

Civilian Reserve Corps: Private Army?

Jeremy Scahill opines in a Los Angeles Times op-ed about President Bush's proposal for a Cvilian Reserve Corps on Tuesday night: A privatized version of it was floated two years ago by Erik Prince, the secretive, mega-millionaire, conservative owner of Blackwater USA and a man who for years has served as the Pied Piper of a campaign to repackage [...]

Bush’s State of the Union: Volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps?

I am a little curious about his idea for designing and establishing a volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps. Sounds like a move to institutionalize the use of contractors on the battlefield: Such a corps would function much like our military reserve. It would ease the burden on the Armed Forces by allowing us to hire civilians with critical skills to [...]

Got a War? Dial 1-800-MERCENARY

This is a clever take:Considering all the flak that President Bush has endured for ordering 20,000 more troops to Baghdad, it's a wonder that he didn't just pick up the phone and dial 1-800-MERCENARY. Jon D. Markman on TheStreet.com reiterates what private military pundits and observers already know: "Independent companies are now the [...]

‘Deplorable’ Conditions for US Contract Laborers in Iraq

Just cleaning up my notes and found this inspection of a labor camp for the US Army dining facility at Camp Marez. Dated February 2005, most of the people living there were low-wage workers from the Philippines and Turkey. "Filthy" is the common word summarizing the housing where workers were kept under this multi-billion-dollar US contract held [...]

Insuring Wartime Risks

It's one of the priciest items on a contractor's bill when doing business on the battlefield: insurance. Calculations estimate that premiums range from $10 to $21 per $100 of salary paid to a civilian contractor, according to the investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office. "That means taxpayers were paying up to $21,000 a [...]

Pentagon Ponders Expanding Foreign Recruitment

Want US citizenship? Join the US Globar War on Terrorism today! That's what the Pentagon is now considering: expanding the existing program of trading citizenship to those foreign nationals willing to pick up arms on behalf of US foreign policy and military operations. Insiders at the Pentagon reveal discussions about opening recruiting stations [...]

KBR Gives a Pass to Costly Insurance Requirements in Iraq

KBR Gives a Pass to Costly Insurance Requirements in Iraq

by David Phinney Dec. 17. 2006 -- I have a curious one-page memo, "Blanket Insurance Waiver," which apparently allows Halliburton/KBR to waive insurance requirements -- read cut "costs" -- to potential subcontractors working under Halliburton's sweeping military logistics contract, known as LOGCAP. Four top-level KRR managers approved this [...]

The Shadow Army

CBS and The San Francisco Chronicle both ran recent stories on contractors working in Iraq. Privatizing support services supposedly brings down costs for the Pentagon. It also sweeps a myriad number of problems under the rug -- everything from who gets to carry guns and the liability for shooting people to the longterm health problems of the [...]

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