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Controlled pair (see below).


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MAX100 said:
Blackwater and get paid $600 a day or more. You will get to work beside our troops in Iraq who get paid a tenth of that. BlackWater is becoming the largest private military in the world. They have their on Air Force and some have reported they are 250,000 strong. These days war is big business.
Too bad Blackwater only hires professional killers, right?


Actually, they might have openings for pilots, Cap'nA. They run rotorcraft and some low-profile fixed wing stuff, come to think of it.

If you're a serious (amature) shooter and flight crew to boot, Blackwater might not be the worst place to send a Resume'. You'd probably have to enjoy the three-month stints in hot sandy places, however.

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topmaul said:
Under the Geneva Conventions are BW USA armed personnel illegal combatants?
They are most certainly not.

Nor are folks who are contracted by the Department of State to provide armed security and related transport for diplomats in any way, shape or form "mercenaries". Civilian "contract" employees are all over SW Asia, and the business end is a racket. That said, the United States military neither specializes in providing civilian logistical support nor diplomatic security. Blackwater's "hired killers" are as mercenary as the food service employees and truck drivers for Kellogg, Brown & Root.

Sorry Max, but the info you quoted above just seems to be the same old crap regurgitated by politicians who have about as much credibility with me as those that would blame Katrina on the "Halliburton Weather Machine".

If you'd like a change, feel free to ask your congressman to increase the security budget for the DoS. It only needs a >1000% increase to send those evil Blackwater guys packing. Even then, we'd end up hiring the same folks that BW is employing. But hey, if it makes you feel better, and you think Government can provide services cheaper than the private sector :lol: , feel free to ask for the tax increase.

After all, what's an additional 1000% here and there?

ETA: Max, we'd probably agree on the war in general, but your statements of BW being "mercenaries" are way out of line.

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topmaul said:
Yes the military can do the job, and can do it for what we are paying contractors. I see it every day, I could give you example after example.
Top: Contractors are generally cheaper because private entities like to cut cost and maximize profit. Yes, the employees are paid more. At the same time, the contracting agency isn't paying for $400 toilet seats either. This is how they can afford to pay their employees at a better rate than government and it still ends up cheaper.

Let's take the the two types of DoS diplomatic security jobs for just a second.

DoS pays Blackwater (or Dyncorp, or Olive, or TripleCanopy, or Edinburgh, etc.) $1000 per man, per day. His protectees are foreign dignitaries and Iraqi interior ministers.

He rides in a civvie vehicle uparmored and converted for convoy use. He is provided air support and recon with civvie MD500s running theater-expedient belt fed .30s at best. He's provided a PKM and told not to let VBIEDs get close to the convoy. He carries a company Bushmaster M4gery and a G19. He is a former 11B, and is considered an "independent contractor" by his employer. He sleeps on a cot in a rundown building, and craps in a portajohn provided by his employer. He also does oil changes on the Rover when their not running a convoy.

That man gets paid $600 per day.

DoS also has their own protection detail for high profile clients. They cost DoS $0. That man protects Donald Rumsfeld in Baghdad.

He rides in an up-armored Humvee that never goes anywhere without at least one Stryker in the line. His aircover is provided by Blackhawks and Apaches. If there's a real problem, he can call in a strike from whatever happens to be airborne, from Marine F/A-18s to Air Force A-10s. He mans a 240B and told not to let VBIEDs get close to the convoy. He carries a US issue M4A2 with complete SOPMOD package, produced by FN, and a 1911 that first saw action in Korea. He is a member of the "Combat Applications Group", done two tours in A'stan and is considered "property of the US Army". His training cost our government millions of dollars. He sleeps on a cot in one of Saddam's former palaces, and craps in a privy once belonging to Uday. He never wonders once if the oil change has been done on the Hummer.

That man gets paid $80 per day.

Which one of these two guys cost the US taxpayer more?

...It used to be that military people would retire and go into civil service now they jump ship and work for contractors...
Yes, there is a huge amount of resentment between current service members and those who've "gone Blackwater", and I don't blame the guys who are still in for feeling that way. That said, even when Blackwater (or whoever) is making $400/day/man "profit", they are still providing a service cheaper than their government counterparts.

The is a conventional wisdom that says Contractors can do it better faster cheaper has become obsilite...
Do we really need to start going into what it would cost for the military to provide it's own construction services, catering, bulk fuel transport, etc? From what I understand, dudes at camp Liberty aren't eating MREs, nor are they eating SPAM hash and eggs in a tent like MASH. What would it cost us to provide the level of service that contractors supply, but bring it in-house.

For just a moment, don't think about money. Think about how many troops wouldn't be in a combat position specifically because they had transport, or KP duty, or one of the other million little things that get done by contactors.

Defense Contracts are now written by contractors, for contractors and the government gets screwed. I will go this a stem further if we had the government procurement methods of today in place during the second world war we would have lost.
I don't disagree with any of that. I still maintain that the private sector does it better and cheaper in the long run, because at this point, our government and military operates nothing like it did in 1942.

So you see no differance between a man with an M-4 and a man with a spatula?
Both are contract employees, and neither is a "mercenary". That was my point.

Edit to add: Top, I'm not picking, I promise. Do a little research on what the real situation is in logistics before condemning all "contractors" (&/or contracting companies). If you want contractors out of Iraq, fine. Just realize that it won't be happening until the last soldier has no sand in his boots. Good or bad, that's the reality of the situation.

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topmaul said:
Remeber the Red Ball Express what if we had contracted that out? Yes the military has shown it can do the job. Maybe we would have won the Second World War faster if we had contracted it supply and logistics?
Perhaps this question could be answered if we start with "What if we had an all-volunteer military throughout WW2?". As I said, it's not 1942 anymore.

Going cheap is why we have not won the war!
I'm not going to touch that one with a ten foot pole (reasons for/against or strategies to "win", etc.) .

for Christ Sake, you win a war with overwelming force not screwing around trying to fight on the CHEAP.
I agree whole heartedly.

I could tell you about weapon systems that do not work because contractors place profits ahead of national security.
Although they typically fall under the same heading, Defense contractors and Security contractors are a bit of a different animal. IOW The former AF weapons tech working for Raytheon is a different situation than a former SEAL deciding not to re-up and instead work for Aegis, protecting Americans in sandy places, in a Personal Security Detail.

You may be a contractor for all I know we have a disagreement it depends on what side of the fence your on.
I'm a small businessman that happens to know and shoot recreationally, and train (SD wise) with some of these "mercenaries". I've met these men. I know these men. I am proud to call some "friend". I think that's why there's a bit of a disconnect between us.

a man carrying a weapon in a combat zone is a legal or illegal combatant would you agree?
When dealing with the Diplomatic Security Services, not at all. The DSS has a set of ROE that does not include "Find and close with the enemy, and destroy his capability to fight war". They are, however well-armed enough to deal with the threats of violence against DoS employees and dignitaries in a defensive role. In other words, think of them as the Secret Service for mid-level .gov bureaucrats. :wink:

A man carrying a spatula in a combat zone could not be described as an illegal combatant or even a combatant.
You've never tasted my cooking. :twisted:

A mercenary, as defined in article 1 of the present Convention, who participates directly in hostilities or in a concerted act of violence, as the case may be, commits an offence for the purposes of the Convention."
Security contractors don't quite meet the definition of Mercenaries. The 1977 Protocol 1 Addition to the Convention was pretty specifically aimed at the situation in Africa (i.e. Executive Outcomes). Further, although the US is a signatory to the 1949 Geneva Convention, we have not signed onto the Protocol 1 Addition you have quoted above.

MAX: I deleted much of what I was going to respond with to you, simply because my getting angry at your words is silly, So I won't address exactly what you wrote. Instead, I will leave you all with this, and try to make a graceful exit from this contentious topic:

Most, if not all, of these "mercenaries" are former military with time in-theater (Iraq and Afghanistan).

When they came home wearing their uniform, we called them HEROES.

Their loyalty and patriotism to the United States was just as strong when they make the decision to leave the military life, but go back to the Sandbox. They fight the GWOT working for an American company, on contract with the United States of America, to protect American government employees, and the foreign dignitaries that the American government has promised to protect.

They make that decision for a variety of reasons, and yes: one of those reasons is pay. Making a better life for your family, paying off the minivan, helping to buy the house your wife always wanted, whatever. That is the American way.

We do these men a HUGE disservice by pigeonholing them as "mercenaries", impugning their character, claiming they are some "Shadow Army".

B!tch about the system all you want, but walk a mile in their shoes before you judge the men.
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