War for fun and profit

The Pentagon recently announced that it was going to start drawing down troops from Iraq, but then this press release came out.

From January 2017 to January 2018 the number of Defense Department contractors in Iraq rose 34 percent, from 3,592 to 4,927, according to statistics CENTCOM released last week.
...Marine Brig. Gen. James F. Glynn, who heads special operations in Iraq for Operation Inherent Resolve, and who briefed reporters Tuesday on the state of operations in Iraq, said he was not aware of the increase in contractors.
Glynn also did not know whether the number of contractors in Iraq has increased to make up for a cut in U.S. force presence, nor did he provide how many U.S. forces are in the country now.

The Pentagon recently announced that it might start drawing down troops from Syria, but also announced this.

His comments marked the first time Mattis has indicated there would be an increase of civilians in parts of the country retaken from Islamic State militants.
“Well, when you bring in more diplomats, they are working that initial restoration of services, they bring in the contractors, that sort of thing,” he said.

Right. Diplomats. In Syria.
Allow me to recall this article from 2016.

In an investigation from The Daily Beast, the nearly 300 US troops already present in Syria would be receiving “intelligence analysis services” from Six3 Intelligence Solutions Inc., a privately held defense contractor based out of McLean, Virginia. This $10 million contract would place an unknown number of contractors in various countries, including Syria.

Erik Prince and Fox News pundits assure us that only mercenaries can save us in Afghanistan.

When I showed that to Prince, he replied, "the hardcore anti-war left went after the troops in Vietnam ... (I)n Iraq and Afghanistan they went after contractors ... contractors providing a good service to support the U.S. military -- vilified, demonized, because they were for-profit companies."
If we don't use private contractors, he added, we will fail in Afghanistan, where we've "spent close to a trillion dollars and are still losing."

So the problem is the largely invisible anti-war left.
And this is what "not using private contractors" looks like.
in afghanistan.png
Back in 2016, there were roughly three mercenaries for every soldier in the region.

Under Obama, more private military contractors have died in Iraq and Afghanistan than all the U.S. troops deployed to those countries. Between Jan. 1, 2009, and March 31, 2016, 1,540 contractors were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan (176 in Iraq and 1,364 in Afghanistan). During that period, 1,301 U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq (289 in Iraq and 1,012 in Afghanistan). Last year was even more skewed toward contractors than the preceding six years; 58 contractors died in Afghanistan or Iraq, while less than half as many U.S. troops did (27) fighting in either country, including Syria.

When was the last time you heard a news report about a military contractor getting killed in one of our wars?
Speaking of Afghanistan...

Over the past nine months, Marine commanders have consistently said that the Marines in Helmand province do not accompany Afghan troops and police into battle, but on Monday, Watson gave a slightly different answer when asked if the Marines’ mission includes fighting alongside the Afghans.
“We have the authority to do that,” Watson told Task & Purpose. “Whether or not we exercise that authority is going to depend on how we assess the situation at the time, and obviously I’m not going to get into specifics on that.”

This Afghan build-up has Congress considering doing their jobs for a change.
But the truly scary build-up is back in Syria.

The U.S. has a military presence in several key locations, but there are two areas with heavy U.S. troop presence that are being transformed to military bases, according to a military source: The first is located in Al Tabaqah near Al Raqqa north Syria, where the U.S. special forces troops are training Kurdish groups; the other is constructed in Al-Tanf where the U.S. troops prevent Syrian and Russian armed forces from crossing.

How is that not a provocative, hostile act?

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Comments

Meteor Man's picture

When was the last time you heard a news report about a military contractor getting killed in one of our wars?

My answer would never. I vaguely recall isolated stories of Blackwater mercenaries in Iraq, but the focus of the story was an atrocity committed by Blackwater and one time that Blackwater mercenaries fired on American troops.

When I showed that to Prince, he replied, "the hardcore anti-war left went after the troops in Vietnam ... (I)n Iraq and Afghanistan they went after contractors ... contractors providing a good service to support the U.S. military -- vilified, demonized, because they were for-profit companies."

Hardcore anti-war left? I'm guessing "vilified, demonized" are Snowflake Eric's synonyms for criticized.

There seems to be an awful lot of stuff that Marine Brig. Gen. James F. Glynn, who heads special operations in Iraq for Operation Inherent Resolve does not know about what is going on under his command.

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16 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

@Meteor Man Four Blackwater contractors were killed and their bodies hung from a bridge. This was followed by an initial military stalemate which was eventually followed the virtual razing of Fallujah.

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@Roy Blakeley
How many thousands of mercs have died, and how many tens of thousands have they killed, since then?

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9 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@Roy Blakeley
"mercenaries", which in the case of Blackwater in Iraq, the lack of oversight, control and the immunity from local and internatinal laws, is really just a super-euphemism for "brigands".

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13 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

It is beyond me how the U.S. expects to sustain its positions in the north-east of Syria. It is hard to understand why it believes that such a position will give it any influence over Iran's commitment to Syria. The move robs it of any political flexibility. It is a trap of its own design.

In the end the U.S. military will have to retreat from the area. The Kurds will have to crawl to Damascus to beg for forgiveness. The strategic shortsightedness of both, the U.S. administration and the YPG leadership, amazes me. What do these people think when they make such decisions?

The whole thing is well worth a read.

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12 users have voted.

"Friends don't let friends Russiagate." - Caitlin Johnstone

@Not Henry Kissinger

Joshua Landis believes that the U.S. has given up on Turkey as an ally and is solely committed to do Israel's and Saudi Arabia's bidding.

I would agree. Israel and KSA has bought Washington.

Probably half of the Arabs in the area were earlier Islamic State fighters and the other half favors the rule by Damascus. What all Arabs there have in common is hatred for their new Kurdish overlords. This all is fertile ground for an insurgency against the U.S. occupation and its Kurdish YPG proxy forces. It will need only little inducement and support from Damascus, Ankara or elsewhere to draw the U.S. presence into a chaotic fight for survival.

One thing I've noticed but haven't written about is the frequent protests against YPG rule. People are especially unhappy about forced conscription.

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enhydra lutris's picture

@gjohnsit

People are especially unhappy about forced conscription.
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6 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Meteor Man's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger
This surprised me:

The NATO bigwigs in Brussels must be nervous. Turkey has the second biggest army within NATO. It controls the passage to the Black Sea and with Incirlik the most important NATO airbase in the south-eastern realm. All these give Turkey leverage that it can use when Russia offers it a decent alternative to NATO membership.

Does Turkey make military purchases from the U.S., Russia or both?

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6 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@Meteor Man @Meteor Man

But the Turks just made a game changing purchase of an S400 anti-aircraft system from Russia which NATO was none too happy about.

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5 users have voted.

"Friends don't let friends Russiagate." - Caitlin Johnstone

enhydra lutris's picture

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10 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

I know those of you who write and read here don't forget, but I just want to say, let us not forget that in the multiplicity of vantage points and forces and revenge and desperation here, there is the multiplicity of a granite-hardened, hydra-headed weapons bazaar.

$$$$$$$$$$$$MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLA$$$$$$$$$$$$

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mimi's picture

but it is definitely NOT for fun.
There is another false nuclear threat alarm in Japan
frigging NYT doesn't let me read it.
Japan issues false alarm over missile launch, days after Hawaii alert gaffe That's from Reuters.

So is the false alarm over a nuclear missile attack now the new normal?

Frigging fuck that. PTSD stricken war veterans have a very difficult time right now.

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11 users have voted.

"Nichts für Ungut"

Meteor Man's picture

@mimi
South Korea is hosting the Winter Okympics from Friday, February 9, 2018 to Sunday, February 25, 2018.

S. Korea might have to cancel them if Trump nukes or invades N. Korea.

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5 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

@mimi

Gawd, yeah, false alarm is bad enough for most, but for those already suffering PTSD - unimaginable!

And for the people within the lengthy list of long-targeted countries worried about the US PTB nuking them out of the blue.

Putin's apparently been running drills to try to save as many as he can of his people in any such eventuality for some time - while the US PTB consider their people just as expendable as all others and don't bother wasting public money they have plans for themselves on the Disposables forming the American public, otherwise known as The (Relative) Poors.

https://geopolitics.co/2016/10/04/russia-conducting-nuclear-drills-after...

Russia Conducting Nuclear Drills after US Threatens Attacks on its Cities
October 4, 2016

An estimated 40 million Russians who are living in major cities across the Russian Federation will be participating in several nuclear attack drills after the US State Department spokesman John Kirby recently threatens Russia with “more body bags and attacks on Russian cities” should it continue helping the Syrians recover the cities of Aleppo and Raqqa from the US funded terrorists. ...

... Since last year, new nuclear bunkers were constructed, and old ones were renovated after the decision to help Syria was arrived. Now, the Russians are declaring that they are more than ready to deal with the nuclear treat.

Representatives for the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry (EMERCOM) said that all bomb shelters and underground shelters in Moscow meant for the evacuation of people in case of a nuclear attack or other emergencies, “were prepared and will be able to accommodate the entire population of the capital.”

“As a result of the introduction of new approaches to civil defense, an inventory of underground facilities of the city was conducted. The Moscow underground facilities will be able to protect 100% of the population of the city,” deputy head of EMERCOM of Russia in Moscow, Andrei Mishchenko said. ...

... To crown it all, according to services responsible for the organization of civil defense and emergency response, a special program was launched in Moscow in 2015, within the scope of which bomb shelters and fallout shelters were built or renewed in every district of the Russian capital. ...

The Russian people have been living with the threat of the US PTB nuking them for however many years, with public fall-out shelters for, once again, a more immediate threat kept in mind since at least 2015 and being ratched up now, undergoing drills intended to help save their lives in what will be a ruined country and world and I wonder what that's doing to them and to all of the other long-targeted people in so many countries... while a number of TPTB/the wealthiest actually believe that they personally can survive a 'limited' nuclear war, and perhaps even leave their luxury bunkers - if remaining intact and should they somehow reach them in time - at some point, should they survive so long.

Meanwhile, the US PTB are terrorizing its own people (who have no public health-care, never mind bomb/fall-out shelters) as well as others, currently, it seems likely, with false alarms, doubtless intended to scare up support for global destruction of planetary life and very possibly to give them an excuse for firing off nukes into multiple countries over a 'mistake' or to set off a hair-trigger reaction to 'justify' all-out nuking of multiple countries - or perhaps for a nuclear False Flag sacrifice of one US State or another as such excuse.

And the propaganda-mills grind so many minds to mush that the indoctrinated will support Mutual Assured Destruction because the leaders of other countries - especially Super-Putin The No. 1 Everywhere-At-Once-Doing-All-Wrong Enemy - mustn't murder/abuse their own people so terribly when the US PTB want to do this themselves...

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7 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

NonnyO's picture

@Ellen North Wasn't that about the time Her Heinousness was spewing threats of nuclear war over "Russia interfering in our elections?"

We must elect Congress Critters who can take back their legislative powers that Congress gave away in 2001, and when they passed the unconstitutional AUMF. No single person in the Oval Office should have war powers..., and nowhere in the Constitution does it say any branch of government can transfer its powers to another branch.

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I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute ..., where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference. — President John F. Kennedy, Houston, TX, 12 September 1960

@NonnyO

Why can't you be President? Oh, right, rigged elections...

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4 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

ggersh's picture

If we don't use private contractors, he added, we will fail in Afghanistan, where we've "spent close to a trillion dollars and are still losing."

Exceptional, I keep getting told how exceptional we are, must
be we're exceptional at not winning then.

Boy are we fucked with all these asshats in control.

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9 users have voted.

“We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy”

Chris Hedges

earthling1's picture

So the reason we are losing is because of the guys without the guns then?

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NonnyO's picture

When was the last time you heard a news report about a military contractor getting killed in one of our wars?

The last time I heard anything was back when Dumbya was the pretzelnitwit. DynCorp must have had some pretty heavy recruiting in MN because one at a time there was news of four of them being killed over a series of years/months (all in Iraq, IIRC). The last one was taken prisoner for about a year before he was killed.

For one of them one of the TV stations broadcast info that a fundraiser was going to be held for his family. I notified the TV station that he was a DynCorp mercenary, not regular US military, and they might not want to confuse the two or glorify mercenaries who were making considerably more money than US military troops and were only fighting for the money and adventure. They did not follow up with reporting how the fundraiser went.

I turned off my TV set permanently a few years before Obama left office, so I no longer keep up with statewide news about mercenaries, or if their deaths are reported.

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I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute ..., where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference. — President John F. Kennedy, Houston, TX, 12 September 1960