Washington Post: Private military contractors a US 'crutch' in Iraq
Published: Sunday August 19, 2007

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The United States has set a new precedent in its reliance on private contractors to perform dangerous military duties in Iraq, reports the Washington Post in its Monday edition.

Writes the Congressional Research Service in a recent report: "Iraq appears to be the first case where the U.S. government has used private contractors extensively for protecting persons and property in potentially hostile or hostile situations where host country security forces are absent or deficient."

Of these contractors said to perform "functions once carried by the U.S. military," recently gauged at 127,000, less than 20 percent were Americans.

The CRS report goes on to say that the increasing reliance on private contractors, of whom 1,001 have died as of June 30, 2007 in the Iraq offensive, saves resources that would otherwise be used to court volunteers for military service; it also appears to lessen the chance of a draft.

A 1995 Defense Department study discouraged the use of private contractors in place of active servicemembers, saying that the practice would keep the Pentagon from "building and maintaining capacity needed for strategic or other important missions."

The entire article can be read HERE.