by Paul Rosenberg
Hat tip: Open Left
In a discussion with Bill Moyers, Jeremy Scahill gives credit to Obama for recognizing the existence of a problem.
In “Why Not A Progressive Foreign Policy? Part 1: The Military”, I wrote about a better way of combating terrorism than bringing war to Afghanistan, and continuing to kill innocent civilians–a way much more consistent with the main thrust of Obama’s speech in Cairo. In the transition between laying out the problem, and presenting that better way, I wrote:
But before we turn to what that better way is, I just want to take note of former Democracy Now producer Jeremy Scahill on Bill Moyers Journal last night, sketching out some of what’s going wrong right now. I’ll be looking at what he talked about more closely in a follow-up diary, which will serve to underscore just how much is at stake if we don’t get serious about crafting a progressive alternative. Scahill discusses the continuation of military privatization under Obama, and the dangerous direction it threatens to lead us
It’s now time to take a closer look at what’s at stake, at what we risk if we do not adopt a more progressive military policy. The future is never certain, of course. But closing our eyes to foreseeable risks only makes it more uncertain, more threatening, more potentially dangerous.
In the discussion with Bill Moyers, Jeremy Scahill gives credit to Obama for recognizing the existence of a problem, if not really grasping its essential nature:
BILL MOYERS: How do explain this spike in private contractors in both Iraq and Afghanistan?
JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, I think what we’re seeing, under President Barack Obama, is sort of old wine in a new bottle. Obama is sending one message to the world, but the reality on the ground, particularly when it comes to private military contractors, is that the status quo remains from the Bush era. Right now there are 250 thousand contractors fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s about 50 percent of the total US fighting force. Which is very similar to what it was under Bush. In Iraq, President Obama has 130 thousand contractors. And we just saw a 23 percent increase in the number of armed contractors in Iraq. In Afghanistan there’s been a 29 percent increase in armed contractors. So the radical privatization of war continues unabated under Barack Obama.