Private Military Companies Mere War Profiteers or a Cost-Effective Alternative

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Private Military Companies Mere War Profiteers or a cost-effective alternative?

[…] “This war has been privatized more than any other war in history… forty cents of every dollar Congress controls goes to private contractors.”1

In Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers Robert Greenwald shows how private companies have made millions of the Iraq War performing duties that used to be done by the government. In that same documentary, private military companies are portrayed as greedy, profit-seeking organisations, who will do anything to maximize their profits. If a company is primarily concerned with profits, might they skim on their mission, might they offer cheaper services when possible? According to director Robert Greenwald the answer is yes. In their turn the private military companies and their supporters often claim that they are more nimble and cost-effective than the government (Isenberg 2009: 29), and therefore the right person to do the job. This paper will deal with three issues regarding private military companies in general and more specific in Iraq. First, attention will be paid to the reasons and motives of the American government to contract out many of its responsibilities to private military companies (PMCs) such as Halliburton, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) and Blackwater (which nowadays goes under the name Academi). Second, this paper will address the challenges transparency as a public value faces in the light of outsourcing activities to PMCs. Finally attention will be paid to the question whether Greenwald is right in his claim that PMCs are in fact War Profiteers who are only looking for profit, or that contracting out military services is in fact a cost-effective alternative in a time where the national military of the US is downsized.

American use of PMCs: military outsourcing in Iraq This section will describe the motives of the American government to outsource a large portion of its military in the Iraq War. This outsourcing is the



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