Everyday I wake up and think, "Am I Alice?" Is this America or have I fallen down a deep hole? Is this the America for whom I got misty-eyed every time I said the Pledge of Allegiance?
I don't know why it has taken Blackwater's screw up of killing 17 Iraqis to get reporters talking about the military's immoral, illogical misuse of private contractors.
First off, that a profit or a business can be made out of war is wrong. I don't care that it's been done before or that it happened as far back as the American Revolution or in WWII--plus they were moral wars (ones fought in defense or for freedom from tyranny). The Iraq War is far from being a moral war. The liberal gush of funds from the taxpayers into private companies taints the American system of capitalism with blood. We are not mafia, al-Qaeda, dictator-ish thugs, nor are we fascist authoritarians who kill to win and keep power...("Do you know guy who can clean up this mess? Yeah, I know a guy.")
Today, Tyler Cowan tells us in "To Know Contractors, Know Governments" in the New York Times that the use of military contractors means that we have a weak central government. Well, we certainly do now. What if the government had opted to raise the pay for military-trained soldiers instead of hiring retired military men at 4x the pay? What if those retired military men had been inspired to rejoin in order to serve their country again? Instead, an industry was created when, really, a war-tax should have been used to raise the money we needed to fix the problems and pay our soldiers decent salaries.
Why is there any confusion about how to hold Blackwater employees accountable for murdering citizens in a foreign country? I don't think it should be any different than if I murdered a citizen in a foreign country. On the other hand, a United States soldier who obeys a command and kills a civilian should be exempt from civilian, foreign prosecution (but not from military prosecution). If contractors want to play war for money on the soil of a foreign country, let them do it at their own risk.
If an Iraqi, Iranian or al-Qaeda member were to kill 17 Americans inside this country, would there be any question as to whether they would receive prosecution here?
Tell me when it's ok to wake up. Until then, call me Alice.