In short, our troops are being screwed and while I complained most forcefully to my contact in Kuwait, I’m sure nothing will be done. Fact is, the only people we can say are clearly winning in this war are the contractors. I wish I had made a point of writing down comments about them, but troops constantly complained to me about huge amounts of money handed to contractors who don’t deliver or who insist the amount they originally agreed upon wasn’t enough and instead of being told to fulfill their contracts anyway, the Defense Department simply throws more money at them. I’ve read a number of such stories in the papers; but now I’ve seen them in person.
Yes, I know all conflicts have war profiteers — unscrupulous individuals and companies that take advantage of the “fog of war” to rip off their own countries and incidentally hurt the war effort. But we are vastly more dependent on contractors in this war than any previous one, when we had soldiers doing these jobs. Nor does a long history of war profiteering mean we should continence it. I think too often we allow contractors to not do their jobs because they claim they had to spend extra money on security. I think they’re just keeping it. Instead of the money going to schools and hospitals and providing proper services to the troops, it goes right into bigwig pockets. [emphasis added]
But then let’s parse some news from a few days back:
One of the companies to benefit from the government’s building””and privatizing””binge is KBR, a Halliburton Co. subsidiary, which in January was awarded a contract worth up to $385 million to build temporary immigrant detention facilities for the Homeland Security Department in case of an “emergency influx of immigrants,” according to a KBR press release.
[…] The budget for border enforcement went from $1.2 billion in 1995 to $4.7 billion in 2006, and the number of Border Patrol agents doubled.
[…] As Texas moves deeper into the corporate-run detention center business, immigrant advocates worry about how much public scrutiny will be possible. “I think that immigrants are definitely more exploitable than even state or federal prisoners because they often have less access to resources and they are often deported after their detention,” says Libal.
Uhhh right… you just knew there was a catch somewhere. Once again the sleazy contractors have nuzzled their way into a national security problem, offering a solution while fleecing us all the way. Maybe they can build workshops where the detainees make little American flags patches for the uniforms of the possible contract border service reps (the happier, friendlier border patrol… unaccountable of course). Yeah, this is the way we want running prisons these days… Camp Mexico, Inc.
You gotta wonder when the embarrassment of fiscal hemmoraging will set in somewhere in the White House or the Republicans. Or at least with the people who keep rooting for them. The GOP fiscal conservatives have no clue the ride they’re being taken on.