"Outsourcing" jobs overseas is only the tip of the iceberg. How about
the CheneyBush Administration "outsourcing" our military, our
intelligence-gathering, our nation's soul?
Taking private enterprise way beyond what is reasonable, or desirable,
or safe, the CheneyBush Administration has turned over a huge raft of
national-security functions to those not adequately trained, not
accountable to the public or the law, not showing up on the political
In short, CheneyBush have created what amounts to their own private
legions -- soldiers, intelligence analysts, security guards,
construction experts, supply specialists, et al. -- in effect, a
"mercenary" force bought and paid for by the American taxpayer.
That's why there will probably be no draft: There is no guarantee of
loyalty from those dragooned into service. Besides, many draftees have
politically-connected constituencies. But when one's mercenary
"volunteer" forces are totally beholden to the paymaster for their
livelihood and under-the-table payoffs, they will dance with them that
These are no small numbers. It's estimated that in addition to the
160,000 regular troops in the field in Iraq, CheneyBush control anywhere
from 60,000 to 100,000 private assets ("independent contractors").
Nobody's even sure under what "rules of engagement" these guys -- many
in security and reconstruction fields -- operate, or whether they are
accountable to anyone other than their corporate bosses' and the
financial "bottom line."
History shows us the dangers involved when leaders have large
extra-institutional forces at their command, such as the Praetorian
Guards and Legions of ancient Roman Caesars, Hitler's Brownshirts,
Saddam's Republican Guards, the private militias of political and
religious leaders today in Iraq, Blackwater forces in control of New
Orleans after Katrina, etc. By and large, these mercenaries swear
allegiance to their employer, not to the rule of law, not to any
constitution. The catastrophic damage done to democracy by the
existence, and power, of these private forces can't be over-stated.
News flash: Blackwater, the huge corporation that CheneyBush rely on for
most of the non-military functions in Iraq and elsewhere, is
buying combat aircraft. Do we really want a private air force,
effectively operating under the aegis of the Executive Branch,
conducting secret ops in our names?
In America's current case, there is also this ominous danger: Accurate
intelligence is an absolute necessity in warfare and war-planning, but
CheneyBush are increasingly going outside the usual intelligence
channels and hiring private intel corporations. Even with the mass
purgings in governmental intelligence agencies of those not sufficiently
"Bush-loyal," Cheney in particular doesn't trust the CIA and the State
Department's intel analysts, never has and never will. So we get this
recent story from veteran Washington Post reporter
"The Defense Intelligence Agency is preparing to pay
private contractors up to $1 billion to conduct core intelligence
tasks of analysis and collection over the next five years, an amount
that would set a record in the outsourcing of such functions by the
Pentagon's top spying agency.
"The proposed contracts, outlined in a recent early notice of the
DIA's plans, reflect a continuing expansion of the Defense
Department's intelligence-related work and fit a well-established
pattern of Bush administration transfers of government work to
..."The DIA did not specify exactly what it wants the contractors to
do but said it is seeking teams to fulfill 'operational and mission
requirements' that include intelligence 'Gathering and Collection,
Analysis, Utilization, and Strategy and Support'."
By outsourcing, CheneyBush, of course, get the
intelligence they pay for, rather than risking that some CIA or State
Department analysts might tell them intel-truths they don't want to
hear, as was the case with Iraq.
LOWERING THE RECRUITING BAR
How did CheneyBush begin to assemble their mercenary forces for the
reckless misadventure in Iraq? At first, they started out with an
all-"volunteer" army of sterling patriotic recruits, high school
graduates, many from lower- and middle-middle circumstances, not
well-connected politically, many underemployed and desirous of a stable
career. But the brutality and criminality and constant fear of the Iraq
War (never knowing for sure if civilians were good guys or bad guys,
U.S. death rates going up, horrific injuries to body, brain and psyche)
took their toll on the troops, suicide and post-traumatic rates
mushroomed, and recruitment of top prospects plummeted.
As a result, the U.S. military felt forced to relax its high standards
in order to even come close to meeting its replacement quotas. High
schoolers and dropouts were prime targets of unscrupulous recruiters.
Don't have a high school diploma? Don't need one. Felony record? Don't
worry about it; we've got "moral waivers" now. Poor physical health?
Here, have some more pizza and desserts. A gang member on the streets of
L.A.? Here's your assault rifle, soldier, and welcome to the
And when lowering the standards still didn't yield the required numbers,
the military went to simple bribery. Sign up now and get a $25,000
signing bonus. Not enough? How about $30K?
The military also is trolling for mercenary recruits among non-citizens
in Latin America and elsewhere; those who sign up with the U.S. military
are told that it could take them six months to become a U.S. citizen
rather than 12 years.
But even with all those waivers and inducements, many potential recruits
stay away; they are quite aware that troops in Iraq face serial
deployments, rotations extended to 15 months each time, a constant high
rate of deaths and injuries. Check out what
seven serving NCOs have to say in the New York Times about the realities
of this war. So it's no wonder that the Administration has
taken to increasing the hiring of "independent contractors," at high
salaries, to carry out tasks often associated with the professional
No wonder the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and perhaps even Defense Secretary
Gates, are suggesting, as best they can without being summarily
dismissed by the political lunatics in charge, that the U.S. military is
stretched as thin as it can get in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that
initiating more hostilities with other countries in the region (Iran and
Syria come to mind) would not make much military or any other kind of
OUTSOURCING EXTREME TORTURE
In addition to outsourcing its military and intel gathering, one has to
mention the outsourcing of interrogation and torture, especially of High
Value Prisoners (HVPs). (Torture, as we all know by now, under
CheneyBush, is officially-sanctioned state policy.)
CheneyBush send these suspects on CIA planes to secret U.S.
interrogation centers abroad and then often forward the more
recalcitrant detainees and other HVP to countries that specialize in
especially brutal torture, including Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, even
These "rendition" flights abroad are not only to keep the U.S. vaguely
in line with the Geneva Conventions and U.S. law, but also because those
other nations have torturing down to a science by now, and, as long as
these countries get paid off well, seem to have few moral scruples about
breaking down the minds and bodies of prisoners sometimes even to the
point of death.
"CATAPULTING THE PROPAGANDA"
The Administration sees the same polling numbers as the Democrats do and
realizes that in order to be able to continue its surge at least through
Election Day 2008 -- which would, they believe, get CheneyBush off the
blame-hook for the "loss" of Iraq -- they need to mount an enormous
public-relations campaign to cancel out the lies and sell the escalated
war to the American public and Congress. Scapegoats for that "loss" are
already being put in place: al-Maliki, the Democrats, the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, Gen. Petraeus, etc. etc. Never Cheney, never Bush.
When governmental policies stink, no policies are changed; instead, the
common practice is to tell more lies and hire public-relations firms to
disguise the crap being peddled by dousing it heavily with rose petals.
Sell your policies like soap or perfume; the theory rests on a belief
that enough Americans will buy the fragrant, handsomely-packaged new
product to make politicians think twice about opposing Administration
And so the Pentagon has set up an Iraq Communications Desk to coordinate
the campaign to sell the Petraeus Report findings, and, through a covert
"cut-out" organization, a new White House-connected group called Freedom
Watch has launched a $15 million pro-war propaganda campaign in various
media markets. The spots already are running, and they often feature
Iraq War veterans and/or their surviving family members delivering the
White House spin ("patience," "we're making progress in Iraq," "stop
them there so they can't come here," etc. etc.).
In coordination with the Freedom Watch campaign, a powerful P.R. program
has begun to aid in the transition away from the prickly Iraqi prime
minister al-Maliki, to a more malleable, pro-U.S. figure, most likely
former prime minister (and former CIA asset) Ayad Allawi. Hired to
coordinate the campaign is the GOP lobbying outfit of Barbour, Griffith
CheneyBush are peddling the continue-the-surge idea because that's all
they've got at this stage. That and the long-discredited attempt to link
Iraq and 9/11 in the public mind. And why not? That latter lie worked
for a few years after 9/11, so why not haul it out again? Haul out
anything again that might confuse the American citizenry and bump up the
pro-surge numbers so as to divide the Democrats and keep the war going
at least past Election Day 2008 and, ideally, keep U.S. troops in their
permanent Iraq bases for another decade or two.
Or, at the very least, FUBAR the situation there so badly that a
Democratic president in 2009 would be unable to extricate U.S. forces
easily or maybe even at all.
THINKING THE UNTHINKABLE
And, if CheneyBush are unable to keep the U.S. public from demanding
that Congress close down this quagmire of a war, they might well decide
to unleash their ultimate weapon of mass distraction by finding a good
reason to attack Iran "pre-emptively" (via a false-flag operation?).
When Iran responds in self-defense by attacking U.S. assets in the
Persian Gulf and elsewhere, the American public will be told that it's
imperative that the U.S. must fight in Iraq and Iran to stop the Muslim
hordes from taking over the world, and controlling "our" oil.
Think it won't happen? Think Iran is not in the planning bombsights
right now? Dream on. The CheneyBush gang is desperate and will do
anything, including using nuclear weaponry, to maintain its power and
control. Former Middle East CIA specialist Bob Baer says that senior
intelligence officials told him recently that CheneyBush are likely to
attack Iran within six months.
Most Americans didn't think CheneyBush would be crazy enough to invade
and occupy Iraq. We should have learned our lesson by now; these
ideological zealots are unhinged enough to do it again.
And it looks like the Democrats, who should be forcefully leading the
opposition to stop the Iraq War and to prevent the Iran War, are going
to be enablers of CheneyBush policy once again, either out of stupidity
or political cowardice. That's the moral tragedy of where we are in
Copyright 2007 by Bernard Weiner