The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Increasing U.S. Troops, Mercenaries and Contractors

Sep 14, 2009

General Stanley McChrystal, the military commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, is asking that thousands more U.S. troops be sent to that country on top of the 68,000 who will be there at the end of the year. There are also about 35,000 troops from other NATO countries.

And that is not all. There were more than 68,000 contractors working for the Pentagon back in March and the number has been going up, according to the Congressional Research Service. There are also private contractors working for the U.S. State Department and for other NATO countries.

These contractors do many kinds of non-combat duties, like construction, maintenance, cleaning and food services, to free up a largerpercentage of the U.S. soldiers for combat.

There are also a growing number of contractors who are mercenaries, directly engaged in military security duties, intelligence work and combat.

The military may soon take private contracting even further. It is considering increasing the number of U.S. combat troops in Afghanistan by 14,000 by swapping out military clerical workers and other office staff in the country for so-called “trigger pullers” – combat troops. Thousands of additional private contractors would be hired to do the clerical work.

Of course, by increasing the number of contractors and mercenaries, the U.S. government partially hides the real extent of the build-up. And it also funnels even more money and profits to its buddies in the private sector.