So what are 180,000 mercenaries doing in Iraq?

The United States has assembled an imposing industrial army (more than 180,000) in Iraq, larger than its uniformed fighting force (163,100).

This clearly has its dangers, as last weekend's incident with Blackwater USA employees killing 20 Iraqi civilians.

A measure proposed by Rep. David Price, D-N.C., would require all government contractors to be covered by federal criminal codes, a shortcoming revealed by the conflict in Iraq.

"One suspects that contractors are being used to mask the true extent of our involvement in Iraq," Price said in an interview. "How else are you going to interpret it when the number of contractors exceeds the number of troops?"

[Source: Associated Press]

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