Thursday, December 15, 2011

Reason #89: Backing Away Slowly

So that's over.

After almost nine years, the Pentagon today officially declared the Iraq War to be ended. A few hundred military personnel are still on the ground as advisers and such, but considering the postwar presence we've maintained (and continue to maintain) in a lot of other places, I think we can call it progress.

My question, though, is just how many private contractors are still there? The Iraq War brought companies like Halliburton and Blackwater into the public consciousness it a totally new way, and as much as everybody will be talking about how this war impacted US foreign relations and the Middle East in general, the rise of war as a business model (not that it wasn't already going on) is, to me, just as big of a takeaway from Iraq as anything else, yet it's barely being talked about.

The best I could find is this article from October that estimates around five thousand "security contractors" (aka Blackwater) will still be there in January of 2012. That's down from 9,500 at the time the article was written and more than fifteen thousand in the summer of 2009, but now that the military has essentially no presence there of any kind, will that make the private soldiers more accountable for their actions, or less?

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