Guns for Hire

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In the first Gulf War one in 50 boots on the ground were not members of the U.S. military, but employees of private companies. In the current Iraq conflict, one in 10 are private soldiers. Spot a trend? But privatizing the frontlines is more than a trend, it’s a business, a $100 billion-a-year business. And it’s going to get bigger.

A confluence of an overstretched military, the Republican urge to privatize, and the Bush administration’s willingness to use American power abroad is creating a new market for private soldiers, and not just for administration friends like Halliburton. Frontline and logistical, planners and paramilitaries: the new American mercenaries — or should we say outsourced military employees?


Peter W. Singer, author, “Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry,” Rob Kovacic, director, Northbridge Services, a private military company