We all know about the perverse ways the US military is now using contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. As I mentioned in a blog entry last month, it's all part of a strategy to cover up the number of deaths occurring in these conflicts. Contractor deaths are not reported in total figures given by the US government and experts estimate contractors make up about 65% to 75% of the US force structure in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Now we have an even equally as alarming report from Wired that the State Department is using mercenaries for its counter narcotics air force which operates an air wing of around 14 aircraft in Afghanistan and another 17 in Pakistan, monitoring the border, fly crop-eradication and interdiction missions, and move equipment and personnel around the region.
This is dangerous territory because there is such little control. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office found that the US Department of Defense and State Department often entered into these administration contracts haphazardly. No one bothered checking for potential conflicts of interest or tried to ensure there was adequate oversight.
This is a prescription for disaster.