Who's Dying Now?

More Contractors Than Troops Now Dying in U.S. Wars
Posted by Mark Thompson
Well, here's something you figured would happen eventually: during the first six months of this year, more U.S. contractors (232) than U.S. troops (195) were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. "Contractors supporting the war effort today are losing more lives than the U.S. military waging these wars," Steven Schooner, co-director of the Government Procurement Law Program at The George Washington Law School, and Collin Swan, a student there, report.
They go on to note that while some 5,500 U.S. troops have died in the two wars, more than 2,000 contractors also have been killed -- and the proportion of contractors is on the rise. That shouldn't come as a surprise, given the fact that contractors now outnumber troops, 207,600 to 175,000, in the two war zones, according to this July report from the Congressional Research Service. The pair's article -- Contractors and the Ultimate Sacrifice -- (emphasis in the original) is in the latest issue of Service Contractor magazine, a journal (surprise!) for government contractors (you can download the full September issue here; the article begins on pg. 16).

Schooner and Swan, Service Contractor, September 2010
"To the extent that the mainstream news media has failed to give these disturbing trends sufficient attention, the public remains largely ignorant of the extent of the contractor community's sacrifice," they write. "That's a serious problem."
Actually, the really serious problem is that this report is simply another data point in a series highlighting the disconnect between accountability and responsibility:

-- First, Congress has adopted a strictly hands-off approach when it comes to declaring war. That's one of its key responsibilities, according to the Constitution, but it hasn't happened since World War II. In its ultimate abdication of power, CYAongress has subcontracted the entire effort out to the Executive Branch. That way, when things go wrong -- as they always do in war -- Congress can criticize the White House without getting spattered with too much blood.
-- Secondly, with the abolition of the draft, only a tiny slice of America now wages this nation's wars. The number commonly tossed around is that about 1 percent of the population has a family member involved in either of the two conflicts. So the citizenry has subcontracted the war out to a professional warrior class -- the opposite of the citizen-soldiers who fought and beat the British in the American Revolution.
-- Thirdly, today's citizenry and Congress are borrowing huge sums of money to wage these wars, which -- when all costs are tallied -- are likely to be in the $3 trillion range. They have subcontracted the costs of paying for these conflicts to our children and grandchildren.
-- Finally, contractors -- hired guns -- are doing most of the dying in Afghanistan and Iraq. Our military is subcontracting most of the casualties they would otherwise be suffering to a mercenary class.
This trend is not sustainable.

Okay, so what does this mean to us? Is the use of PMC's a good or a bad thing? Why? Plato thought it was a good idea. What's your opinion?


  1. I don't really see the problem with hiring mercenaries, except for the fact that they are draining money from the country, fighting a war that could be sustained by drafted soldiers. If they are working for money, I think it's fair, because they chose this job themselves. They had a right to refuse, a right drafted soldiers don't have. The main problem with mercenaries is the huge drain on the economy...With mercenaries, we are able to distance ourselves from all the fighting and gore, while they are doing the unpleasant jobs for us, if not willingly, then at least earning remuneration for.

  2. I agree with Megan. I actually don't mind that they're hiring mercenaries because they chose the job and they're being paid to do it. And yeah, that saves us from the dirty work

  3. I'm not surprised at the US government's usage of PMC's, since they have hidden thousands of other secrets. The use of PMCs are in my opinion okay. I don't care whether its running America into debt as long as the PMCs get the money. They fight for America and their families just get a letter saying that the government is SORRY? This is what makes me sick. The soldiers and mercenaries both fight for America in their political wars that make money for the rich. The Afghan and Iraqi wars are lies and that the mercenaries and soldiers who died there have died for nothing.

  4. Uh well I don't even get why we are even still in Afghanistan and Iraq, but that could just be me. I guess it's okay. I mean these mercenaries "want" to be there; they get paid and aren't just pulled out from their daily lives to fight. But on the other hand they're basically just being paid for a death contract. If they want to be in this mess, they should do it themselves, rather than throw money at guys to do it for them. I dunno... Don't ask me. Politics and stuff like this confuse me.

  5. The US government higher the PMC to fight for there countries. But the PMC die so fast, and let the government have to keep higher them. SO the government keep paying a lot of money to the PMC. At last the government have no money to pay the PMCs. Also, when the PMC died , they never try remember them. This is not good. Also I think that the government shouldn't higher PMC. SO that there will not be too many people dying.

  6. Hiring mercenaries isn't bad that way US wouldnt have to force people to go into the army and fight for them besides mercenaries get high wages and their doing it willingly for the money so even if they do die its their own fault for accepting the case.

  7. Hiring PMC's isn't really a bad thing because the PMC's are the ones who want the job. If they want it then we should give it to themm but the number of hired PMC's should be limited or else China's gonna own every American.