What follows is an open letter that I have sent to a gaggle of Senators and my rep in the house. If you find the subject matter shocking, I urge that you visit the Frontline site and then contact your elected officials. It is our government and we have the power to shape how it will behave. That is what democracy is all about.
I just saw an episode of FRONTLINE on the use of contractors in Iraq. I heard Marine Col. John Toolan, the Marine commander in charge of an area of Iraq that included Fallujah, explain how the deaths of four contractors forced him to move from a rebuilding effort that could have won hearts and minds to policy of full onslaught and massive retaliation. It was clear that the Colonel saw this as a missed opportunity in our attempt to bring stability to Iraq. In addition, the attack on the four contractors in Fallujah and upon the KBR convoys led to many contractors leaving Iraq. This resulted in a logistical nightmare, which limited our troops effectiveness and put them in harm's way due to shortages and supply chain problems. It matters not whether we invasion was a good idea or a bad idea, it happened and we can only go forward at this point. As Colon Powell stated, we broke the pottery and now we have to fix it.
Corporations make money; that is what they do and that is all they do. It is not a good thing or a bad thing, merely a fact like gravity or the next sunrise. Asking a corporation to serve our national interests in terms of sacrificing profits does not work. Forcing a corporation to do so through a well-enforced regulatory regime provides some success, but it is far from perfect. What has happened in Iraq is to give contracting firms free reign and it has resulted and will continue to result in our soldiers' efforts being squandered. We cannot let this continue.
Wars cost money and wars cost lives, it is not possible for us to fight one on the cheap and win. The shielding of the American people from the true costs of this war through the use of contractors and other slight-of-hand methods may win an election, but it will result in all of us being less safe. We cannot win this thing if we are outsourcing key military tasks. I call on you to raise your voice and start to fix this problem. All outsource conducted by the Pentagon must stop. We need to have military roles fulfilled by military personnel. If this means that my taxes will go up, so be it. I'd rather have that money going to hard working soldiers than a well-paid executive of KBR any day of the week. Also, we all know that taxes will have to go up anyway because wars cost money and nation building is not cheap.
Please do something to help support the troops by getting the contractors out of there. We need well-trained professional soldiers, not fly-by-night organizations that are arming bouncers and setting them loose. Stop the contracting firms before they get more of our soldiers killed and fowl up more of our policies and efforts.
Get Information: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/warriors/
Contact your Senator: http://www.senate.gov
Contact your Representative: http://www.house.gov