Join 3,561 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Heads up, KBR!
January 9, 2007 12:11 AM   Subscribe

Newsfilter: Contractors in war zones lose immunity. American civilian contractors are now subject to military law.
posted by psychoticreaction (38 comments total)

 
Contractors behaving very badly here and perhaps here also.
posted by psychoticreaction at 12:15 AM on January 9, 2007


So does this mean they weren't subject to any law before now?
posted by mullingitover at 12:16 AM on January 9, 2007


"Civilian defense contractors" sounds so much nicer than "mercenaries", doesn't it.

This seems like a good thing. If you're acting as military, then you're liable for your war crimes.
posted by kafziel at 12:17 AM on January 9, 2007


IANAL, but no charges against trigger-happy Triple Canopy employee, so far.
posted by psychoticreaction at 12:21 AM on January 9, 2007


Sorry, that first link is boston globe, reg req. Whoops. Bugmenot.
posted by psychoticreaction at 12:39 AM on January 9, 2007


this is awesome. I thought we were going to have to lean on the Democrats to do this, but here's one big thing checked off the list! Thanks Lindsey. You still suck for giving Alito a pass. But thanks.
posted by Embryo at 1:29 AM on January 9, 2007


mullingitover: yeah, that's exactly what it means. Absofuckinglutely insane, isn't it?
posted by Embryo at 1:30 AM on January 9, 2007


$200,000 grand a year tax free for working at a PMC? Not only should they abide by military law, they should hop on one foot up and down for five minutes at 1:30 AM every day.
posted by portisfreak at 2:04 AM on January 9, 2007


One thing to keep in mind here: this does put journalists under the same UCMJ, which includes the requirement to follow orders. This means that they're even less likely to produce useful news... and those who leak unauthorized material can now be prosecuted.
posted by Malor at 2:08 AM on January 9, 2007


Only "embedded reporters" – who never produced much journalism to begin with, mostly just cheerleading.
posted by blasdelf at 2:22 AM on January 9, 2007


All your oil are belong to us
posted by furtive at 2:35 AM on January 9, 2007


And there, furtive, is the real reason for the invasion.
posted by Malor at 3:00 AM on January 9, 2007


I want to see them successfully pump some of that oil. I am betting it will add a new twist to "pipe dream".
posted by srboisvert at 3:09 AM on January 9, 2007


So it was true. But the oil won't be going to the US, it will be going to the corporations. What a shock.
posted by IronLizard at 3:09 AM on January 9, 2007


This... this is good news, isn't it? It's been so long since I last saw some, I'd forgotten what it looked like.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:10 AM on January 9, 2007


$200,000 grand a year tax free for working at a PMC?

$200,000 grand is $200,000,000. Now that's some good scratch!

/petpeeve
posted by antifuse at 3:15 AM on January 9, 2007


Donald Rumsfeld
"We don't take our forces, and go around the world and try to take other people's real estate or other people's resources, their oil. That's just not what the United States does.
He is so completely right and you should be ashamed of betraying your Sec of Defense, you treacherous liberals.

U.S. doesn't do that. Oil corporations have U.S. liberate the country and then they take the oil and distribute it to freedom loving friends, friends of friends ! Watchawanta, we freedomed you and we don't get even some oil for our reading lamps ?

Fuck you iraqui liberals !
posted by elpapacito at 3:35 AM on January 9, 2007


so when do the prosecutios start?
posted by adamvasco at 4:06 AM on January 9, 2007


prosecutions
posted by adamvasco at 4:06 AM on January 9, 2007


Wow, that oil story's FPP-worthy in its own right. I'm surprised anybody thought it was necessary to bother with the fig leaf of a Iraqi law about a "production-sharing agreement" (tshyeahright).

From the story, Rumsfeld as quoted by al-Jezeera:

"We don't take our forces, and go around the world and try to take other people's real estate or other people's resources, their oil. That's just not what the United States does."

That is, however, what empires do. And this is the most imperial the US has seemed since oh, about 1898 or so -- y'all who didn't sleep through US History class may remember a splendid little war and an insurgency that followed. Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it next semester.
posted by pax digita at 4:19 AM on January 9, 2007


They were theoretically under Iraqi law. Good luck enforcing it, though.
posted by delmoi at 4:38 AM on January 9, 2007


A little late for this now.

Couldn't happen until Rummy got out of the way.

Next up: closing Gitmo.
posted by nofundy at 5:27 AM on January 9, 2007


Somehow I don't think "Woot!" is an appropriate response.
posted by Freen at 8:29 AM on January 9, 2007


$200,000 grand a year tax free for working at a PMC?

Damn, dude. $200,000? Do these guys have to buy their own gear and ammo with that money? How much does it cost to pay and outfit a US Army regular per year? It can't be nearly that much, can it?
posted by psmealey at 9:02 AM on January 9, 2007


psmealey, $400,000 each in 2005.
posted by Cyrano at 9:45 AM on January 9, 2007


Yikes. Okay, then that's probably the better way to go, at least at the macro level.

I am curious though, when you break it down to specific function, though, if it's more cost effective to have civilian contractors operating the messes and other day-to-day functions like waste disposal, which I think were all military charges back in the olden days. I think this is where a lot of graft and cost overruns are coming in.
posted by psmealey at 9:59 AM on January 9, 2007


See how contracting out our killing to mercenaries is cheaper?!?! And even better there's plausible deniability.
posted by nofundy at 10:35 AM on January 9, 2007


Okay, then that's probably the better way to go, at least at the macro level.

Well, the $200k to $400k comparison is apples to oranges. $400k is the total cost of deploying the soldier. Based on the discussion here, the $200k is just salary, which means the US government (or whoever is doing the hiring) pays KBR at least $300k, and maybe $600k, per man.
posted by Chuckles at 10:39 AM on January 9, 2007


Yikes. Okay, then that's probably the better way to go, at least at the macro level.

Not necessarily--As I understand it, the $200,000 figure represents the take-home salary of the private contracter providing security services, not the actual cost associated with equipping and keeping one contracter engaged those services. It seems highly unlikely to me that those guys pay for equipment and other incidental costs out of pocket. More likely, those other expenses are built into the contracts and the prime contractor (the vendor) provides the supplies--unless of course they're all independent contractors. But even then, they'd likely be subcontractors, and so the prime on the contract would be expected to provide the supplies.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:48 AM on January 9, 2007


oops. chuckles beat me to it. (and was less wordy, even.)
posted by saulgoodman at 10:48 AM on January 9, 2007


Wow, they better start drinking the OJ.

Immunity lost...Hmmm...Anyone else think of that scene in Lethal Weapon XXIII where Herman Goering holds up his diplomatic pouch in a Nazi salute and shouts “Diplomatic Immunity!” and Murtrigs blows him away and says he’s crazy and his wife died and he’s getting too old for that shit? Yeah, that was cool.

$200K take home? And that’s just an E-3...frick!
*kicks self* lousy stinkin’ principles.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:25 AM on January 9, 2007


Unsurprisingly, black flag cafe has the best discussion of this.
posted by jcruelty at 11:32 AM on January 9, 2007


"So does this mean they weren't subject to any law before now?

As far as I remember, yes. Bush signed a law saying that no contractors would be held liable for damages.
posted by rougy at 12:05 PM on January 9, 2007


Mullingitover,

This is the best I could find on short notice - I'm pretty sure it was signed into law.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A39159-2004Jun13.html
posted by rougy at 12:10 PM on January 9, 2007


elpapacito: real estate or other people's resources

That's an exclusive OR.
posted by pompomtom at 2:47 PM on January 9, 2007


When precisely did mercenaries start being called "contractors"? And why does the press go along with it?
posted by winjer at 11:43 PM on January 9, 2007


Tales from the green zone of waste and cover up by contractors
posted by homunculus at 9:43 AM on January 10, 2007


Our mercenaries in Iraq: The president relies on thousands of private soldiers with little oversight, a disturbing example of the military-industrial complex.
posted by homunculus at 4:57 PM on January 26, 2007


« Older Multilingual Keyboard Emulator....  |  83 percent of fresh, whole bro... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments