The U.S. State Department now has its own little army in Iraq and Afghanistan, Blackwater gunmen who protect American officials and their local collaborators. Some reports say the State Department has spent $678 million alone with Blackwater since 2003.
Afghanistan's U.S.-installed leader, Hamid Karzai, is surrounded at all times by 200 American bodyguards, his own people not being trusted to protect their president. Iraq's U.S.-installed leaders are similarly guarded by U.S. mercenaries.
Nearly all Washington's contracts for mercenaries are awarded without competitive bidding to firms close to the Republican Party. Blackwater's owners are major contributors. Their 7,000-acre base in the southern U. S. is likely the world's largest non-government military operation and a menacing creation straight out of the famous film, Seven Days in May.
This unprecedented use of mercenaries has masked the depths of U.S. involvement in Iraq ... has also allowed the U.S. to sustain an imperial war that could never have been waged with conscripted American soldiers, as Vietnam showed.
[Excerpt of an article by Eric Margolis, Edmonton Sun]