Operation Truth’s new report After Action Review: the Voice of the Troops is an excellent read for anyone who is interested in reading what’s in the hearts and minds of U.S. military personnel on the ground in Iraq. Here’s text from one section on private contractors (pp 14-15):
[note: all italicized emphasis is POGO's]
5) Private Contractors: Troops question fairness of working beside highly-paid contractors
“bobbyyen” a Soldier from CA, submitted 2-28-05:
“There were contractors for everything. And sadly, often these contractors would work alongside Army personnel who were trained to do the exact same thing, but paid about 1/3rd as much. Once again, if the Army already has something to do the job, why do we need something else to do it, and pay them more?
Finally, the saddest thing was the PSD, or Private Security Details. Mercenaries, or civilians paid to bear arms and armor. Doing the exact job of the military, but once again being paid many times what the military was paid. Although many of these civilians were highly trained or specialized, there was enough talk among soldiers who wanted to do their time, get out, and then join these civilian security companies, because they were such a better deal. Not only does this prove how poorly treated our own troops are, but hiring these people actively increases our own recruiting problems.
All three of these issues just point to one underlying, glaring point: we were not ready. We were not ready for this war, and we're willing to pay huge amounts of top dollar and increase our national deficit to shore up our mistakes. Not only that, but we're willing to abuse our current military, because the repercussions will probably start in a few years, which won't reflect heavily on the current government.”
“rmurph” a Soldier from PA, submitted 8-26-04:
“We headed back to Iraq. Our new mission was to guard Halliburton truck drivers, civilian contractors who made three and four times my $20,000 salary. I wondered what on earth civilian truck drivers were doing in a combat zone. Riding with Halliburton on long convoys, we faced roadside bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire to protect these high-paid contractors.”
“unx3” a Soldier from FL, submitted 10-12-04:
“The Oil Ministry was heavily guarded like a fortress with tanks out front and guard towers. I met one guy that worked for Halliburton who said he was making about $150,000 a year.... There were contractors doing security work alongside US military and doing the exact same thing except the military would switch out duties and go on patrol in Baghdad. The other difference was the military was getting paid an average of $2,000 to $4,000 a month which would equal about $24,000 to $48,000 a year depending on the rank. The contractors doing the same job were making $50,000 to $90,000 a year plus other expenses. Where was the fairness in this.”