December 10, 2003
The Guardian (UK)

The Privatization of War

by Ian Traynor

Private corporations have penetrated western warfare so deeply that they are now the second biggest contributor to coalition forces in Iraq after the Pentagon, a Guardian investigation has established.

While the official coalition figures list the British as the second largest contingent with around 9,900 troops, they are narrowly outnumbered by the 10,000 private military contractors now on the ground.

The investigation has also discovered that the proportion of contracted security personnel in the firing line is 10 times greater than during the first Gulf war. In 1991, for every private contractor, there were about 100 servicemen and women; now there are 10. . . .

While reliable figures are difficult to come by and governmental accounting and monitoring of the contracts are notoriously shoddy, the US army estimates that of the $87bn (£50.2bn) earmarked this year for the broader Iraqi campaign, including central Asia and Afghanistan, one third of that, nearly $30bn, will be spent on contracts to private companies. . . .

The growing clout of the military services corporations raises questions about an insidious, longer-term impact on governments' planning, strategy and decision-taking.

Mr Singer argues that for the first time in the history of the modern nation state, governments are surrendering one of the essential and defining attributes of statehood, the state's monopoly on the legitimate use of force.


APPARENTLY NOT SIGNED BY THE U.S.--"International Convention Against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries," December 4, 1989,

Robert Fisk, "Occupiers spend millions on private army of security men," Independent, March 28, 2004

[Blackwater is . . . the most powerful mercenary firm in the world. It has 20,000 soldiers on the ready, the world's largest private military base, a fleet of twenty aircraft, including helicopter gunships. ItÕs become nothing short of the Praetorian Guard for the Bush administration's so-called global war on terror.--Jeremy Scahill, "Our Mercenaries in Iraq: Blackwater Inc and Bush's Undeclared Surge,", January 26, 2007]

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