Contract Hustlers

2009.06.26

Okay, there is something that I’ve been meaning to mention that I find very funny in a not so haha way.

Most, if not all, of our U.S. run bases in Iraq have extensive security all over the place. That makes sense. Many locals still want us dead for invading their country. However, it’s those who provide the security that I find odd. In this case it is Ugandans.

I don’t know if they came to Iraq as members of the Coalition of the Willing, or if they were an after though. As a matter of fact, now that I think about it they don’t wear a national patch, so I suppose they are just scabs.

Scabs — like the old union term meaning people who are willing to work for less and, as a result, others lose their jobs — in Iraq are the people who hold jobs that another soldier could be holding. Instead, politicians have gone in and dissected the military and turned certain fields into contract work — such as parts of logistics, food service and security tasks — and gave contracts to their buddies. Remember Chaney’s friends at Haliburton who got the uncontested contracts?

Some of the scab firms working here are KBR, Blackwater, Regis and others. The problem with these firms are that they are not always required to hire Americans, so our tax money goes away, not to mention a fat profit margin goes into some big business man’s pocket — and probably a lobbyist too —  and our economy doesn’t see it anymore. Not to mention, I now have to work with people whose motives are for sale. They are essentially mercenaries. Guns, or soup ladlers, for hire.

Let me avoid romanticizing a soldiers motives for a minute. I too get paid. It’s not all righteous work. We are not Martyrs. I think Henry Rollins said it pretty good: “It’s not an adventure/ it’s a job!” But, my point is that I had to swear an oath of loyalty to my country to get the job. That’s something that these others didn’t have to do.

It’s like in that scene from Braveheart where the evil king hires and Irish regiment to fight the Scots. Once they were paid and on the battle field ready to face William Wallace, they changed sides. No loyalty. No sense of obligation to the country they serve. this is what corner cutting gets us and what worries me about some of our “partners” here.

Regardless, you can find Ugandans all over our installations and when they’re not busy using our MWR facilities, they are  guarding our chow halls. Personally, I think guards at the chow hall are a bit overkill for a secure base, but there maybe something at play that I’m unaware of. I mean, I guess there could be some shady civilian contractors or Third Country Nationals who want to do something sinister at the dining facilities (which supports my theory), but Ugandan guards? I just think this is funny.

Let me put it another way. U.S. soldiers are the main patrons of the chow halls. We are in uniform at all times and armed. I’m a 6’6″ white boy who speaks one language: English. There is no mistaking why I am here in Iraq. Why do I need to show my identification to someone from another country? If there is a real threat at the chow hall on the secure base, then why don’t we have Joes check the IDs?

I know I’m starting to sound like an isolationist Republican or something. I know these people need jobs so they can take care of their families too. But what is to keep them from being a threat? How do we know they can be trusted?

To further my point, I spent six months at Camp Basrah, which was run by the British, and the chow halls there didn’t have guards, not to mention Ugandans, and their was never an incident. Okay, there was an entry point that would stop TCNs and civilians for ID, but gun totin’, uniformed soldiers where good to go. That made sense.

The more I look around at this war with all of its contracted labor, it looks like a hustle. When I was in Basrah it felt like we where doing something to benefit an end to this war, and the contractors I saw there seemed to make sense. But here, now, it seems we are making up things for contractors to do so some CEO can collect a fat check at the expense of the U.S. tax payer.

Again I’m not an expert on this subject, but it doesn’t look like rocket science. And when I hear senior enlist talk about what they are going to have their soldiers do because TCNs are doing their jobs, then something is wrong.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Contract Hustlers

  1. Mom

    Well, that was interesting. I do recall your cousin standing outside the “chow hall” when it was blown up. As to others protecting our own, that is not right. If I recall Uganda has not been friendly with the US, but then again that could be old history. The idiots on the beltway, many who have not served, have no idea what their decisions are doing to the armed forces. I agree this is not rocket science or even intelligence 101.

  2. Will

    Big man, seeing it from a brits perspective, i totally agree. when i was there with you in basra, we had the same thoughts, I think they are thinking defense in depth when they posted the guards on the scoff house doors.

    Take care buddy

    Will

    • fuzzyknob

      I’m glad you’re still reading, Will. And for the American’s reading this who didn’t catch the older blog about Cockney Rhyming Slang, scoff is a British Army word for chow, or a meal, just like their navy uses scran.

  3. The Professor

    Um, not to be a downer or anything, but do you think there is some political (read: right wing) strategizing at work when AFN (read: the news source for affluent and entitled right wingers) decides to publish this entry (read: implicitly racist) after not publishing so many that are arguably far more relevant and much better written? Hm…

    • fuzzyknob

      Your argument would work except that affluent, entitled right wingers would argue for contracted labor. I argued against it. They like to waive their flags, but they don’t like to commit their loyalty to what brings them affluence.

  4. New recruite

    Dude, white boy 6’6′, u have killed me! i was thinking of coming down to iraq as a guard, but i give up! i think u are right, but all i can you is that shit is tight here in Uganda and that is why ugandans are there in iraq, most of them are university graduates & have no jobs here coz of corruption in uganda. i am trying to join the british army and i have been sent an invitation to travel to the UK and try to enlist, but getting a visa is tight and the time on my offer is almost up, but i hope to get a visa and travel to the UK one day and join the British Army. My humble request to u all white 6’6′ boys down in iraq is:”Please be kind to those ugandans & help them where u can, though some are backward and primitive, but to the learned guys, be kind!”.

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