Did anyone read the New York Times story The Other Army yesterday? It is all about the US’s reliance on mercenaries to keep this Iraq debacle afloat. The article is pretty good, but does not do enough to really show the public how nasty these guys are. They are treated like CEO’s for the most part, and there are only brief glimpses of how screwed up mercenary work really is.
He didn’t specify his salary, but Americans and other Westerners in the business tend to make between $400 and $700 a day, sometimes a good deal more. (The non-Westerners earn far less. Triple Canopy’s Fijians and Chileans make between $40 and $150 dollars each week and sleep in crowded barracks at the Baghdad base, while the Americans sleep in their own dorm rooms. The company explained the difference in salaries in terms of the Americans’ far superior military backgrounds and their higher-risk assignments.) Americans with Triple Canopy stay in Iraq for three-month rotations, working straight through. Then they’re sent on leave for a month, returning if they wish. Depending on how much time they spend in the States over the course of a year, most of their income can be tax-free.
How long will it be do you think until a politician can afford his own army? What if the President doesn’t like what Congress does, leaves Washington and brings his army back into town? The Roman generals marched their legions (loyal to the general) in an out of Rome tons of times. Well the old world patronage in not the same, but many of these politicians could afford a 90 million a year army, if it meant they got to run the planet.