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Ear to the Ground

State Department Won’t Discuss Iraq Mercenary Replacements

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Posted on Jul 29, 2011
Flickr / NCinDC

Officials at the State Department are blocking attempts to understand how they will manage a surge of private soldiers in Iraq. Above, the department’s headquarters.

As U.S. forces withdraw from Iraq early next year, a mercenary army of more than 5,000 troops overseen by the U.S. State Department will assume the role of protecting American officials in the region, and the department’s official watchdog agency knows next to nothing about it. That’s because department chiefs are doing everything they can to keep the operation a secret.

Considering the department failed to prevent the killing of 17 Iraqi civilians at the hands of Blackwater guards in 2007, the most pressing unanswered questions pertain to exactly how the government plans to ensure mercenary soldiers will not misbehave. Ramzy Mardini, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, said of the department: “They have no experience running a private army.” —ARK

Wired:

By January 2012, the State Department will do something it’s never done before: command a mercenary army the size of a heavy combat brigade. That’s the plan to provide security for its diplomats in Iraq once the U.S. military withdraws. And no one outside State knows anything more, as the department has gone to war with its independent government watchdog to keep its plan a secret.

Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), is essentially in the dark about one of the most complex and dangerous endeavors the State Department has ever undertaken, one with huge implications for the future of the United States in Iraq. “Our audit of the program is making no progress,” Bowen tells Danger Room.

For months, Bowen’s team has tried to get basic information out of the State Department about how it will command its assembled army of about 5,500 private security contractors. How many State contracting officials will oversee how many hired guns? What are the rules of engagement for the guards? What’s the system for reporting a security danger, and for directing the guards’ response?

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By Cliff Carson, July 31, 2011 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

Just think of what $10 Billion could mean to the United States if that money went to infrastructure.

First Construction Tradespeople would be employed in the Infrastructure upgrade, the people could benefit from cleaner water, and more efficient power Transmissions, Schools could get repairs needed, the list could go on and on.

Who would benefit from spending $10 Billion protecting the Iraq Embassy?

Answer:  Corporate Private Armies.  No one else.

Could we get along without the Embassy?  Absolutely!


We taxpayers have already spent a Billion Dollars to build the damn thing. Who benefited?  Corporations that hired foreign workers.  How did that benefit American taxpayers?  It didn’t.

The War Industry is the U S Taxpayers worst enemy.

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By bettyjo, July 31, 2011 at 8:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bring home the troops.Keep the money here.No merc contracts.Leave the huge embassy building now.America first.Tell Iraq sorry.We meant well, but stuff happens.Perhaps a third party President can get it right.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, July 31, 2011 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

With all the debt talks going on and the talk of default, why do we even consider employing these bums.

We have the worlds most expensive army.

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By TDoff, July 31, 2011 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

Why should the State Department think it necessary to discuss their army with the US press or the American people?

As a branch of the CIA, everything in State is stamped ‘TOP SECRET’, ‘EYES ONLY’. Hillary’s lucky she was allowed to speak publicly about her biggest State Department effort to date, her campaign to get Saudi ladies to drive.

It’ll be fun to see how she likes Petraeus as a boss. When McCain remarked to the general that it looked like he ‘Was on a fast track to the Presidency’, Petraeus laughed and said ‘WhyTF would I want to be president? As head of the CIA I have my own secret army, access to all the dope my men need, unlimited funds and budget, can start and end any war I want to at any time, and I don’t have to ask or answer you a**holes in Congress or that wimp in the White House about anything.’

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By Steve E, July 30, 2011 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

Blackwater to U.S. Government: “Give us the contract and make it juicy.” These
bastards own us now, they know way too much.

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By Cliff Carson, July 30, 2011 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

Right you are Ribbie149

I read every word of this article and I don’t find a justification mentioned for placing a single Mercenary in Iraq. 

Why would we need to guard Diplomats?  If they wouldn’t be safe, don’t put them there.

This is Iraqi Territory isn’t it?

Did Iraq invite the United States to Invade?

Was there any reason to invade Iraq other than the lies?  Cheney originally said the war would cost 80 Million, now our Government that wants to cut Social Security and Medicare, wants to spend $10 Billion to protect our Embassy?

Who gave the United States permission to build that Embassy anyway?  What is it for? 

We need to get our ass out of Iraq and pay reparations to the Iraqi people for murdering them and stealing their resources.

And since per UN Mandate the use of Mercenaries is illegal what we are doing is illegal.  Aren’t we trashing Qaddafi right now for using Mercenaries?

Almost every Arms producer has spun off a Corporate Army - There’s mucho profit there and gives our Government an extra degree of separation from the terror we spread.

The Corporate Armies are called “Security Firms” to avoid being what is illegal Mercenaries.

The difference between a Soldier Army and a Corporate Army is that a Soldier wants the war to get over so he can get back to his family, where a Mercenary Corporation has absolutely no interest in ending any war - that’s their profit stream.

We need to take the Profit out of War.  If we don’t someday it will cause the downfall of America.

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By California Ray, July 29, 2011 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment

Give credit where credit is due. Sonny Barger offered to do exactly this in Vietnam. However, Lyndon Johnson never green-lighted Sonny’s plan to field a gorilla (sic) army. That was then, this is now.

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By ribbie149, July 29, 2011 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

Let me see if I understand this.  We are going to bring
our troops home and replace them with mercenaries that
will cost the U.S. MORE?

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