Naomi Klein, the noted Canadian journalist and author says, Iraq is open for business. She’s not kidding. Private contractors are making a killing. And the taxpayers are shelling out the bucks. A significant portion of the $18 billion budgeted for reconstruction in Iraq is going to such firms as Dyncorp, Blackwater and Northbridge who provide what is called security services. There is a frenzy of deal-making and there are fortunes to be made. Far more than any war in U.S. history, the Pentagon is relying on private companies to perform crucial tasks once entrusted to the military. In a word they are outsourcing. More and more, the New York Times reports, these security forces “give the appearance of private for-profit militias.” These guns for hire are in some cases obliterating distinctions between professional soldiers and private commandos. They are a shadow army of warriors.
Rania Masri is a human rights advocate and environmental scientist. Born in Lebanon, she is the coordinator of the Iraq Action Coalition and served as the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association’s representative to the United Nations. She’s the director of the Southern Peace Research and Education Center at the Institute for Southern Studies in Durham, North Carolina. She’s also a producer of the documentary About Baghdad.