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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Culled From Recent News

First there's Frank Rich's opinion piece that states in mainstream newspaper that we have simply lost the Iraqi experiment.

Someone Tell the President the War is Over
Published: August 14, 2005

"Nothing that happens on the ground in Iraq can turn around the fate of this war in America: not a shotgun constitution rushed to meet an arbitrary deadline, not another Iraqi election, not higher terrorist body counts, not another battle for Falluja (where insurgents may again regroup, The Los Angeles Times reported last week). A citizenry that was asked to accept tax cuts, not sacrifice, at the war's inception is hardly in the mood to start sacrificing now. There will be neither the volunteers nor the money required to field the wholesale additional American troops that might bolster the security situation in Iraq."

He actually makes a lot of good points.

Then there's this long-ish but very good article about the realities of being a "private security company" in iraq:

The Other Army
Published: August 14, 2005

"When I met with Lawrence Peter, a short man with a fiery voice, he raged that the press refused to accept the companies' newly chosen term: ''We are not private military companies! We are private security companies! Private security!'' He justified the distinction by saying: ''The work is defensive. We protect.'' Sometimes, though, the distinction seems secondary. No matter what you want to call Triple Canopy and its men, when the Mahdi Army -- a radical Shiite force loyal to the militant cleric Moktada al-Sadr -- attacked at Kut, the primary truth was that the company was fighting a war.

"A current training adviser for Triple Canopy was, in early April 2004, in charge of defending the occupation's Kut headquarters. (For security reasons, it is Triple Canopy policy that employees now in Iraq or likely to return not be identified by their full names.) John, a tall spike of a man of 50, with a graying brush mustache, spent 26 years in the U.S. Army, much of that time with Delta. He was on the first invading helicopter into Grenada in 1983; his helicopter and the others behind him were riddled and ravaged by bullets, and three soldiers sitting near him were shot. ''I've never taken so much fire again till Kut,'' he told me in May. ''Kut was like stepping out into the air -- you know you might not exist any longer.''

One other interesting thing in the news. According to AFP by way of Australian Broadcasting Online, Outsourcing looks like it's going to change the face of the mercenary business. So much for those big bucks.

alf-price Colombian fighters offered for Iraq
Last Update: Saturday, August 13, 2005. 9:00pm (AEST)

A US company operating out of Ecuador says it has signed up about 1,000 Colombian police and military staff to work as hired guns in Iraq, for less than half of their US counterparts' salaries.

Colombians "have been fighting terrorists for the past 41 years and are experts in their respective areas" such as explosives and guerrilla warfare, Epi Security and Investigation says on its website,

The company based in the Ecuadoran city of Manta is run by American Jeffrey Shippy, who is in Baghdad, according to his Ecuadoran wife.

He works out of his home not far from the Manta air base Washington rented from the Ecuadoran Air Force to relocate some of the troops and planes it used to have in Panama.

The Colombian daily El Tiempo reported Friday that the Colombians would be paid $US2,500 to $US5,000 a month, roughly half what their US and British counterparts earn.