"There are billions of taxpayer dollars being funneled to both American and foreign companies, often through no-bid contracts. Ongoing Pentagon audits have revealed that vast sums of this money have been misspent or improperly recorded. The American people deserve a better accounting from this Administration of who these contractors are, why they are being used instead of U.S. troops, how they are being monitored, and whether they represent a cost-effective use of American resources."Private contractors bring other baggage to Iraq. The military has less control of private contractors than they would of military personnel, and these private contractors don't fall under the military code of justice. This has led to several high-profile cases of both murder and rape involving private contractors for whom no criminal charges or punishments were ever dealt in response to serious crimes. Several examples have come from the now-infamous firm Blackwater USA. Four Blackwater personnel were involved in a confrontation in Fallujah and were murdered. The U.S. was forced to react severely, attacking the city for days and resulting in the mass exodus of residents to escape the violence. Finally, the cost of private contractors comes much higher than military personnel. The U.S. government offers many contracts on a no-bid basis and almost no scrutiny. Many of these contracts are so-called "cost-plus," meaning the firms recoup their costs and earn a guaranteed profit. There's no guaranteed profit coming to any soldier who serves the U.S. military. This costs the U.S. a significant premium in certain areas such as security. Security firms in particular, such as Blackwater, compete with the U.S. military for resources. Former soldiers can make much more by leaving military life behind and working for private military firms. This drives up the cost to the U.S. taxpayer. Not only do we lose needed personnel, but we also wind up paying almost six times as much for private security vs. military personnel, according to the House Committee on Government Oversight.
"The Bush Administration's move to outsource large portions of the Iraq war effort sets a dangerous precedent. The increasing use of private contractors restricts accountability and oversight; opens the door to corruption and abuse; and, in some instances, may significantly increase the cost to American taxpayers."The time has come for greater scrutiny of the expanding number of U.S. taxpayer dollars that are getting paid out to private companies.