Friday, September 21, 2007

Funding the troops?

In a few days, the president will ask Congress for an additional sum to fund the military involvement in Iraq for a few more months. Support the troops. Of course.

The Blackwater, U.S.A., brouhaha has once again lifted the lid on a not-secret-but-not-widely-publicized item: the number of civilians providing security in the "war" zone; as well as the involvement of Blackwater personnel in major incidents in Iraq.

Remember those bodies in Fallujah? Blackwater personnel. Those civilian security who killed Iraqi non-combatants last weekend? Blackwater personnel.

The number of personnel Blackwater employs in Iraq? More than 1,000.

The American taxpayers foot the bill. In 2004, costs estimates ranged from $350 a day to $1,500 a day and $100,000 a year. Does anyone suppose the numbers have lessened in the intervening 3 years?

We may have 160,000 troops in Iraq now, but how many do we actually have there when we include the various civilian contractors who are doing work which is directly related to our presence in that unfortunate country?

Trust, but verify.

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