The number of U.S.-paid private contractors in Iraq now exceeds that of American combat troops, newly released figures show, raising fresh questions about the privatization of the war effort and the government's capacity to carry out military and rebuilding campaigns.Let's do the math real quickly. If we are paying 180,000 contractors, and 160,000 soldiers, that makes 340,000 employees of the W, Rove and Co just located in Iraq. Thus, job employment numbers are up! This is good news, right?
More than 180,000 civilians — including Americans, foreigners and Iraqis — are working in Iraq under U.S. contracts, according to State and Defense department figures obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Including the recent troop buildup, 160,000 soldiers and a few thousand civilian government employees are stationed in Iraq.
The total number of private contractors, far higher than previously reported, shows how heavily the Bush administration has relied on corporations to carry out the occupation of Iraq — a mission criticized as being undermanned.
But, I have a few questions. First,how are we paying these people? And, if we can't tell who is a terrorist and who is an Iraqi contractor, how do we know we are not paying terrorists disguised as contractors who may walk in to mess halls with the proper credentials and blow themselves up surrounded by "good guys?"
Oh, and I have another question, at what number do we out-size the available workforce in the entire country? In other words, how can we expect them to "stand up so we can stand down" if they only have X number of natives willing to do the same work and that number X is substantially smaller than 340,000 and filled with crippled people who are victims of the violence?
At some point, the "occupation" itself is proving that there is no hope at all left for Iraq. There is no way the original notion of the Iraqis taking care of themselves can ever be realized. Sure, one can wish and hope for it, but the reality is particularly dim in my view. This, once again, is part of the bait and switch ruse perpetrated by the W, Rove and Co providing further evidence that this Iraq Democracy Experiment is not worth the investment.
Even so, this doesn't prevent W from standing in front of another military audience and try to twist the situation to his political advantage:
For the past six and a half years, it's been a privilege to be the President of such a good and decent nation that inspires and holds out hope to people all across the world. It's an awesome experience, and a humbling experience to hold a powerful office like President. It brings with it the great honor of being the Commander-in-Chief of the finest military the world has ever known. (Applause.) Because of the service of our military men and women, because our nation has got a military full of the bravest and most decent people that I've ever met, America remains a beacon of hope for all around the world; America remains the place where peace has the best chance to be encouraged.Excuse me? "A beacon of hope?" If that were true, why is it that so many people want to kill us?