Sunday, February 25, 2007

Nearly 800 Iraq Contractors Killed

It might seem a bit tangential to the question of civil-military relations, but the issue of outsourcing military tasks to civilian organizations is one germane to the issue. Firstly, the scale of outsourcing is simply astounding:

"The U.S. has outsourced so many war and reconstruction duties that there are almost as many contractors (120,000) as U.S. troops (135,000) in the war zone."

In this description, we have a huge group of people, largely grouped as Private Security/Military Companies (PSC/PMC) undertaking both military and civilian tasks. Given that they are deployed with and without uniforms (often the same as their employer's national armed forces) and with and without guns, it becomes increasingly difficult for combatants to discern who is a legitimate military target, and who is 'just another armed civilian contractor'....

The article is quite clear of one key advantage of using such contractors- their deaths are not included in the official body counts. It should be underlined that this is the case not only for the military, but also for humanitarian organizations.