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Monday 25 October 2004

Earn big money in Iraq! Just don't get shot. [Brit]

It's not a new concept that young men and women view working in a hostile environment with less detachment and objectivity than their elders. There are many reports of "hot headed" youngsters throwing their lot in with everyone from genuine armed forces to mercenaries in order to have that taste of adventure, particularlyafter graduating, or spending a few years in what they consider a job with few upsides.
The Iraq conflict has proven something of an absolute boon to such folk - modern warfare is conducted within a framework that can best be described as "a private public partnership".
Services normally provided by the armed forces concerned (logistics, administration, processing, etc) are now literally there to bid for and as such, those in search of life on the wild side can find employment in practically every war zone on the planet in fairly short order.
If its a bit of danger and adrenalin you're after, what better way than to sign up to a private "security and intelligence" firm, and ship out for a definite period on what usually equates to mega money when compared to your professional soldier?
This state of affairs is quite worrying. It is I suppose an indictment of recent and proposed defence spending that such vital services cannot be provided by an overstretched and under equipped armed force proper, but must be farmed out to private individuals to whom war is simply a way of quickly increasing their bottom line.
The reason this blog came to mind is for EED members quite obvious, but that aside this item on the BBC News website caught my eye today.
A 24 year old "bodyguard" from Gloucestershire was killed in Taza,Iraq (exact circumstances not revealed) whilst working for the macho-named Armor Group.
The guy concerned was a civilian contractor responsible for the security and protection of other contractors operating in Iraq. What stuck out is his age - at twenty four, exactly how much experience can one have of operating as a professional bodyguard in a combat environment? What sort of intensive training and recognised certification could have been undertaken?
It just seems completely slapdash to me - 24 year old physically fit bloke given quick turnaround training (I assume) and a weapon, and packed off on silly money to taste the danger and protect contractors.
I feel that the fact Iraq is so full of such companies, operating everything from resource distribution centres to security services, is a damning indictment of current USA and UK operating policy in such environments. The simple fact that such companies exist so easily demonstrates to me at least that our politicians, by cutting funding and therefore capabilities, are actually doing yet more damage to a fragile country teetering on the edge of anarchy as it is.
I've nothing personally against folk seeking out this sort of thing if that is what they want - everyone knows the risks, and if you're number is called, that's it - however, I cannot help but feel that somewhere a lot of people are making a lot of money at the expense of 24 year old guys from Gloucestershire, and that accountability, professionalism and ultimately the safety and security of everyone involved is put at unecessary risk.

1 comment:

  1. I cancelled my IT Contract in Basra after this. No way my precious hide is going to be defended by some satanic wetnose greenback combat virgin.