More Mercenaries Than Troops in Afghanistan

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Of the $200,000,000,000.00 (200 billion dollars) spent on the War in Afghanistan each year, just over half is spent on private defense contractors. We have a completely volunteer military now and the numbers just are not sufficient to get the job done, or so we are told. More than half of all personnel fighting in Afghanistan are civilians and this trend appears to be the wave of the future (see graph below). War is no longer about what we think is right in the world and fighting against oppression for others in foreign countries, it is BIG BUSINESS, and that is what we are fighting to maintain.

What we have been told, all along, was our reason to be in Afghanistan was to catch Osama bin Laden. Well, we have done that, but our military chiefs and private contractors will now tell us that Pakistan is a threat and that there will be a replacement for Osama bin Laden. They will tell us that we must keep our presence there because al-Qaeda still has a presence there. They will continue to spend billions of dollars of taxpayers' money for this undertaking, and they will continue to borrow billions of dollars from countries like China to finance this war.

The top 10 private military contractors in the U.S. spent more than $27,000.000.00 lobbying the federal government, in just the last quarter of 2009 (latest period figures available). BlackWater Security, a privately owned company (not publicly traded on Wall Street), spent 1.3 million dollars lobbying in the first two quarters of 2010 and in exchange received a contract from the U.S. Military for 343.7 million dollars. Lockheed Martin spent 6.7 million dollars in the 2010 mid-term elections to promote congressmen and senators, favorable to their cause. These private contractors are not required to report to anyone in the military, but they are a greater presence in the war zones than our own troops. 

The average employee of these private military contractors makes 3 to 6 times more than their military counterparts doing the same job. The companies themselves make literally billions of dollars in profits for their participation in these wars. Halliburton had a net income of 2.66 billion dollars in 2010. Lockheed Martin had a net income of 2.93 billion dollars in 2010. If we, as Americans do not want to be personally involved in these wars, evidenced by the low numbers of military troops involved, then maybe we should not be in these wars at all. 

As the quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower states, "...we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence... by the military-industrial complex."

 

Debt Increases By Parties...

For those who think the GOP/TP are for reducing the debt, please see the chart below. Talk is cheap, but actions speak volumes about the truth.

There are none so blind as those who refuse to see and none so deaf as those who refuse to hear.

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Comments 40 comments

HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

Great Hub CreatePerfection. President Eisenhower knew this subject well and spoke the truth. I just wish he had more courage and did it when he was in the middle of his terms. This way some more good could have came from it. I am writing a Hub about budget cutting and my military spending section is including his quote. The military complex has become entrenched with our government. Weapons systems have companies and jobs in many states which ensures their getting those Representatives votes. This incestuous relationship must stop. Secretary of Defense Gates has layed down a great start with many cuts. He is only including essential systems. It's a start but now it must navigate the congressional minefield. We also need to be out of all wars by 2014.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Dear HSchneider, thank you for your most interesting comment. We cannot afford the excesses of the past. We actually couldn't afford them then, but with a 14.4 trillion dollar debt, it is nothing short of insanity to keep stirring up trouble throughout the world and financing it on the backs of the middle class of America.

We have so many problems at home that it would have to be evident to all but the most dim, that we need to get out of these foreign, very expensive wars, and take care of our homeland, while there still is a homeland.

Thank you again for this great comment, HS.

Lela


munirahmadmughal profile image

munirahmadmughal 5 years ago from Lahore, Pakistan.

Each nation has its own way of running the affairs of their country. The United States has its own Constitution which bears the best principles to run a democratic welfare state. All difficulties arise when principles are not followed. Debate or discussion to solve the problems is the best civilized manner and once a consensus is arrived at, to follow it, in letter and spirit, makes the matter beyond any misunderstanding.If still any misunderstanding arises, after passing the law by the legislature, the interpretation is the function of the judiciary and whatever the verdict is given by it that is to be taken as the meaning of the law. Decisions on legislative, executive or judicial are to be taken by the relevant and concerned spheres. Once those are taken those are to be followed sincerely. This sort of behaviour can narrow down many issues.

May God Almighty bless all.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Dear munirahmadmughal, thank you for this very interesting and thought provoking comment.

I think that communication is always the best avenue to take when two or more parties are involved and are not in agreement. Through attempting to understand each other rather than in fighting each other we can produce a world where everyone is respected and where tolerance for ideas outside our own can be an enhancement rather than a conflict.

Thank you again for your comment.

Blessings,

Lela


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK

Hi Lela - this is very interesting because we hear very little about the civilian contingent in these wars. For that reason we tend to forget about it; maybe that’s intended - so it's all the more appropriate that you should remind us. Well done.


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CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Hello amillar, people have a tendency to think about war and patriotism as being a matched pair, but war is very big business and those who profit most have the most to lose if war does not continue.

We must all be aware that these wars have nothing to do with our safety and have everything to do with profits.

Thanks for your comment, amillar and for reading my hub.

Lela


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

Let me shed a bit of light on the subject. Yes, we have an all volunteer military. No, we do not have sufficient troop strength to accomplish what they are being asked to accomplish.

You can thank Bill Clinton for that. I retired in 1992 after 23 years because of the idiot himself. He stood in front of an audience of senior military leaders and told us that he was going to reduce troop strength by 50%. His contention was the world was now a safe place after Desert Storm. I wasn't hanging around for the aftermath of his misguided decision.

So now we see what we see. Our armed forces are on a tread mill between the theaters of war they are asked to serve in. It takes its toll on them and a more extreme toll on their families who support them.

If you haven't thanked a member of the armed services lately, consider doing so. Happy Memorial Day in advance.

The Frog


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Dear FP, President Clinton was, in my opinion, a far superior president to George W. Bush.

During his presidency we had a surplus in our budget, we were at peace world wide and our economy was thriving.

During the tenure of George W. Bush, we went into a sovereign nation, Iraq, without substantiated evidence of weapons of mass destruction, to the cost of trillions of dollars added to our debt. He left us in two wars, sponsored legislation to bail out the banks, left our environment less protected, left America as the most hated country in the world and left our economy in ruins.

Under President Bush, we increased the numbers of civilian military contractors to a level exceeding troops throughout the world.

You say you are a Tea Partier, and they promote a balanced budget over everything else, but they continue to increase the debt by giving huge tax breaks to the mega corporations on Wall Street.

I do not understand how you can possibly think it is a good thing to continue to support people who were bought by these huge corporations, but apparently you do.

My purpose in writing this article is to let the people of America know that most of the people supporting these wars are military contractors and private mercenaries making huge sums of money, and that it is no longer about patriotism, it is about enriching the war mongers.

Thank you for your comment.

Lela


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

CP - Now you might have an idea of where the surplus came from. Hello?


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

FP - Now you might have an idea of where the debt, which you Tea Partiers are so concerned about, came from.

SEE THE CHART I ADDED ABOVE THE COMMENTS.

Froggy, no matter what happened during Clinton's presidency, the military has been all volunteer since then, and George W. had 8 years to increase it. Do you not see that we as a country do not support these wars as evidenced by the low numbers of volunteers in the military?

The GOP/TP act like it was their idea to reduce the debt and the deficit, but all the GOP/TP has ever done is increase it. Please look at the chart I added above.

When I say this, I am not saying it about you, but about your parties of choice: There are none so blind as those who refuse to see and there are none so deaf as those who refuse to hear.

Thank you again for your comment.

Lela


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

The military has been all volunteer since the end of the Viet Nam War. You seem to desire to lecture a 23 year veteran about the military.

The defense cuts were too drastic. You seem to miss the point here with your rant. Which is cheaper? To pay civilian mercenaries or armed services members. That's a no brainer. Before you start running off at the chops about the military, please serve at least one tour and ask to go to a war theater. Then maybe we can discuss things a bit on the smart side of the equation.

I was there. Been there, done that and thoroughly understand all of it. Just not what I choose to understand or try to rationalize. War is indeed hell.

The Frog


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CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

FP, thanks for coming back, but I have one rule in my responses to people's comments, when they become bullies, I realize that they like to control others through intimidation. I am not in support of this so I have nothing else I want to discuss about this with you.

Lela


credence2 5 years ago

You know that there is money to be made by keeping a boogey man eternally before the public. Unlike the past when wars had a beggining and an end, we are in this martial state all of the time. Is it any wonder why the rightwingers see military expenditures as sacred cows, look at how much of their constituency benefits. Under the guise of national defense, we line the pockets of unscrupulous corporate robbers who are oblivious to the spilling of blood and who does not consider their largesse as a raid on the treasury. You can tell the frog prince that I have served and am well aware of military culture, this is one area where there is plenty of room for savings. Unless he wishes a global empire, I have better uses for our money...

Great Hub, Lela


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Dear credence2, I agree wholeheartedly with you. I used to work for the Navy at Pearl Harbor. I was easily able to see how much waste there was.

I wrote another article that gives a pretty good example of this waste of money and resources. I am going to take a quote from it because it is easier than starting over, but here goes, "An F-22 fighter jet uses between 12,000 and 80,000 lbs. (yes pounds) of fuel per hour of operation. The actual rate of consumption depends on throttle settings, altitude and use of afterburners, but this usage equates to between 0.5 and 3.4 gallons per second of fuel used. There are approximately 122 F-22 Raptors in the U.S. Military arsenal. If only half of these fly each day for one hour, at the lowest throttle setting they will use 109,800 gallons of fuel (61 jets times 1800 gallons [.5 gallons per second times 3600 seconds in an hour]." This comes from my article entitled "Spaceship Earth - Running Out Of Fuel - War And Other Abuses". http://hubpages.com/politics/Spaceship-Earth-Runni...

I think I made a pretty good case there of war as big business.

Thanks for your wise and insightful comment.

Lela


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

Bullies? Statements of reality make one a bully huh?

Typical dodge.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

FP, I have not said anything to you about yourself in my comments, but you said to me, "You seem to miss the point here with your rant." and, "Before you start running off at the chops...". I have never had a friend or acquaintance speak to me in this fashion when face to face. This is my article, so for you to tell me that I am ranting, seems inappropriate, to me. I did my research. I stated the facts and in my comments I have been respectful in responding to you. I am a refined person and do not find it respectful to have someone speak to me as you have.

You are always welcome to make comments on my hubs, but I would not allow myself to be spoken to in person like you have and I will not support it here on hubpages.

I find that people who speak to others in a condescending fashion frequently lack facts to support their opinions. I just don't see this as useful.

Lela


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

I'd be as blunt to your face as I am here. I explained to you. very logically BTW, why our government is now at the point of using mercenaries. That was factual. That's the reason. The military has only so many men and women to man the weapons systems and carry the rifles to be engaged in one war, much less the three they are being asked to wage.

You wanted to reply about Clinton and budget surpluses and on and on. Clinton decimated our troop strength - totally. I told you his rationale. I heard it come right from his own mouth to over 300 senior leaders. He may, or may not, have had a budget surplus based upon who one believes. He left office with a large national debt. That's factual too. His budget surplus had nothing to do with decimating troop strength, other than the fact that he crippled our defense capabilities.

So now we pay the price in another form by paying mercenaries to take up the slack. People are over there fighting, getting shot at and being killed. Soldiers don't do it for the money CP, believe that. Mercenaries do it with money being the prime motivator. I was recruited as I retired and I declined. What I did wasn't about money. It was about my country and the US Constitution.

If you found the way I laid the facts out to you offensive then I apologize. How I put it doesn't change the facts. You wanted to bring GWB into the convo, not me. We were directly attacked at that time CP. I'm sure you haven't forgotten. It was the first time since WWII that anyone had the nerve to attack this nation. We've been at it ever since.

Our military, as I pointed out, has since that time been on a revolving door schedule of deployment after deployment. Take away the civilian support and they would never get home to see their families for even the 4-6 months they are given any respite before they pack their duffle bags and go back to it again. I find that NOT okay having been there and done that.

The end.

The Frog


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

FP, thank you for coming back and for your comment.

I don't believe we disagree that the military needs the support if they are to wage these wars, but my point is that the civilian contractors spend millions of dollars lobbying to keep these wars alive and I don't think this serves our troops to keep them in the war zones so that the civilian contactors can get richer and richer on these wars.

I hope you know that I respect you and your opinion, but I think we just have to agree to disagree because as long as it is an all voluteer military, the civilian contractors will be a huge part of it and I cannot help but wonder if that is the only reason we are in these wars.

Lela


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

CP - I don't think civilian contractors want wars to continue. They spend those dollars, misguidedly, in an attempt to secure the business that is there. It was a misguided effort to enter Iraq again. We should have finished the job in the first place.

I had former colleagues call me asking what I thought as we prepared to go in again. I stated then, and will state again now, that we don't have the troop strength to occupy a nation. That takes a massive amount of manpower. Kicking Saddam's butt was the easy part, occupying was the hard part. The Bush administration knew that going in. If they didn't then they were very shortsighted.

I had a town hall conversation with Lindsey Graham were I was quite blunt. What I said was this and I still feel that way about Afghanistan. If we aren't there to win then we need to get the hell out of there. Our service people are in danger anytime we have to commit them. Politics, especially when applied to warfare, stinks. Politics can bog things down as it did after Desert Storm was over. Saddam should have been toast then. We were mere miles from Baghdad when we got the call to hold in place.

I don't blame the civilian contractors, I blame that bunch up on The Hill, many of whom have never worn a uniform and experienced a fire fight. It all looks good on paper but the posturing that they seem to do is sickening.

We're now involved, but supposedly not involved, in Libya. We're very much involved since we basically run NATO. The smoke and mirrors routine doesn't amuse this old warrior because people get killed doing what I did for too many years.

The answer was what Ronald Reagan did. He did what the Constitution says the federal government has the primary responsibility of doing - the defense of this nation and making sure we have a strong, vibrant military. It costs money and I would rather the politicians stuck to fulfilling that role and stop trying to be everything to everybody.

I don't fault the civilian sector beyond our political buffoons.

The Frog


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

FP, this is a very good comment. Thank you for taking the time to share your insights on our involvement in these wars.

Blessings to you,

Lela


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

Lela - I write just about daily about all this nonsense that continues. That's what the majority of it is. Our nation is in dire straits and people want to play political games rather than address the problems straight up. The problems center around the people we keep sending to warm the same chairs.

I am blunt as anyone can tell from reading my commentary but I'm not stupid. My experiences made me who I am and how I feel. If we don't start doing what needs to be done, adhering to the Constitution, then we will be toast. Sad but true. Again, if I came straight at you, that's me Lela.

The Frog


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Frog Prince, thank you for your military service. I really am grateful to everyone who has served. It is very hard on all our troops to be in these war zones and the sooner we can bring them home and thank them for their service, the better.

Thanks, too, to all the families who must be without these brave men and women while they are away.

Best to you and please give Frog Princess my best, too.

Lela


Jillian Barclay profile image

Jillian Barclay 5 years ago from California, USA

Dear Lela,

This was an excellent article! Your references, documentation and research provide the basis for any opinion you offer, and that opinion is right on! I understand why you hesitate to write articles of this nature, but YOUR voice is needed! I am grateful and so are millions of others that are informed by the truth. Please continue to be a voice for the truth! You write with such a reasoned hand that you must not be bullied into silence.

You are also more than capable of defending yourself against those who would use YOUR article to write their own in the comments section.

At the risk of starting a conversation with Frog (which I will not engage in here), his defense of Reagan is outrageous and clearly 'revisionist history'. Reagan's policies of covert intervention in Afghanistan, Angola, Nicaragua and all of Latin America led to the indictment and/or conviction of 11 Reagan officials, including Reagan's Secy Of Defense, Caspar Weinberger. Additionally, the Mujahideen, whom Reagan praised as "freedom fighters" were the recipients of billions and billions of dollars in U.S. aid and military equipment, including Stinger missiles which were later used by these terrorists to bring down commercial jet liners. The Mujahideen is now currently known as the Taliban and Al Quaeda.

Finally, it amazes me that Tea Party members, who rail against the government as being too incompetent to run anything, also desire a huge military complex, which they want run by, yes, the same government they see as incompetent.

I will go now, Lela, and possibly write an article about the real Reagan doctrine and Frog can come there to post a comment, not a thesis paper.

If you want to delete this comment, that is okay. Thank you, Lela.

War is big business! Maybe we need to bring our troops home. I do not want to see any more of our best young men and women die.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

Jillian - You are one to talk. If I wanted your opinion I'd squeeze your... Oh never mind. It's useless dealing with a partisan hack.

The Frog


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Dear Jillian,

I would never delete one of your comments. Your comment was exceptionally well done and I agree with everything you have said here.

I really try not to get into too many arguments in my comments section because I feel that the facts I use in my hubs speak for themselves.

Reagan was the beginning of huge deficits, and each intervening Democratic president is left trying to reduce spending and balance an out of control debt.

Thank you for this excellent comment, Jillian.

Best,

Lela


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

FP, sticks and stones, sticks and stones. Remember, no intimidation and no condescending comments.

Thank you.

Lela


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

Mention that to your pal Jillian. The conversation you and I had was between the two of us and I could care less what some partisan hack has to say about it.

As far as Obama goes, he is a Democrat, when is he going to start doing anything besides adding to the national deficit? FACT: He has spent more in two years than it took Bush 8 years to spend. And the justification for that is?

Everyone needs to cut the partisan crap about what we are seeing happen to our country. They are all, and have been, doing it to us together. The only reason Clinton was held in check was by the Republican Congress. That's history and not entirely his doing in reality. But then again, I'm a realist. Congress holds the purse strings, not the executive branch.

The Frog


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

FP, I believe that Obama is trying to help our country get back on its feet. Spending has always been the way of those attempting to do this.

I personally do not believe that partisan posturing is helping our country in any way. It has created a virtual deadlock in our government, when there is so much needed to help America recover.

I don't think there are any easy solutions, but I do know that arguing among ourselves will not help.

I have always felt that in times of great trouble, being in action made a difference. We in America try to solve everything by military action overseas, when it is closer involvement in our domestic problems that is called for in this case.

I am an independent and I vote for the integrity of the person, and not for party lines.

I believe that Obama is trying to do the right thing, but once a person is immersed into Washington politics, it is hard to see the forest for the trees.

Obama is a much bigger hawk than I would have thought, and to that I am disappointed, but I think he is a man of high integrity, something difficult to find in Washington these days.

Lela


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

CP - Spending more money has never gotten anyone out of debt. Trying to be everything to everybody isn't the ticket either. This has gone on for so long that it's bring on the pain time. It is going to come down to that one way or the other.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

FP, I know that there is no love lost between you and Jillian, but you have to read this article. What we have been discussing here pales in importance to this: http://hubpages.com/politics/Grover-Norquist-Rules...

Thank you.

Lela


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

I saw it and don't put much creedance in any of it. You guys have your Howard Deans to contend with and other progressive talking heads.

All the partisan crap I see coming out of Jillian is usually nonsense. If I wanted that I'd watch MSNBC. All the partisanship in the world isn't going to solve our problems, nor is your typical politician. Our government needs to be run by the common man as the Founders intended. Back to the basics time.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

FP, I think Jillian presents the facts very well. This is why I try not to allow the comments between myself and others to escalate to emotional levels. Just because we don't like what we hear or don't like the person saying it, doesn't mean it is not true.

I think it is naive of all of us to believe the common man was ever in control, or ever will be again.

Our job as the common citizens of this country is to educate ourselves and use our vote to keep America from falling into the wrong hands.

We both know that the high level of uneducated and ill-informed Americans is our greatest enemy.

Lela


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

CP - Part of the problem is that people believe some of them when their lips start moving. I'm an Independent and have been for years. I don't need some political party to do my thinking for me. I'm perfectly capable of doing that for myself.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

FP, I wish more people in America cared enough about our future to think for themselves instead of listening to the blathering of politicians. There are few who can be trusted.

Lela


klevifusha 5 years ago

This a very interesting topic. However, how do you pretend to understand the spendings and the way the war is conducted if you don't understand who the enemy is. Al Qaeda and all forms of Islamic militancy do not have a single face; they do not wear uniforms or distinguish themselves from the mass populations. In order to find an enemy that is practically invisible in his own territory, you need to fight him with the same tactics that he is using. No names, no identity, no uniform, no title. Just simple people with guns and a mission. That's the way the war on terror is being currently conducted.

Anyway, thanks for posting this. Please do not find my words offensive, I am simply expressing an opinion based on what I have studied, offending anyone is the last of my intentions.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Dear klevifusha, I'm stating the facts as much as I can. I also have an opinion, so I expressed that too. Thank you for stopping by.

Lela


Mimi721wis profile image

Mimi721wis 5 years ago

Great hub. Maybe one day soon we will be out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Both of these wars have cost a lot of money and blood.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Mimi, your comment is so right on. We need to get out of these two countries, let the citizens who live there decide what they want for themselves, and stop wasting all the lives and money we have, trying to dominate what goes on there.

Lela


feenix profile image

feenix 5 years ago

CreatePerfection,

Very well-written and well-researched hub.

Interestingly, there was a very large number of American and U.S.-sponsored "mercenaries" in Vietnam. I know because I saw them with my own eyes.

For example, in that conflict, all of the military's power plants were operated by a giant southern California company that was named Pacific Architects and Engineers. And much of the maintenance and repairs of military equipment was performed by private-sector mechanics and technicians. And I could go on.

What I am driving at is, that "military-industrial complex" that President Eisenhower warned the country about actually came into being more than 40 years ago in Vietnam.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Dear feenix,

Thank you for your affirming comment. There is much that goes on within our military and government that the average citizen does not know about. I appreciate your reading this article and making this very insightful and revealing comment.

Lela

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