The last US soldiers have left Iraq. Oorah!! Really?
The official US troops have been replaced by 8,000 unofficial troops, or mercenaries. Why? So Obama can meet his deadline to "withdraw" troops? Can't be for cost savings. A mercenary is paid $150K and up per year: a US Army corporal with 3 years experience makes about $20K per year. In fact, about 10% of military resources in Iraq since the beginning of the war have been "security contractors." To furnish its new non-troops force, the State Department plans to acquire 60 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs) from the US military to expand its inventory of armored cars to 1,320 and to create a mini-air fleet by buying three planes to add to its lone aircraft. Its helicopter fleet, which will be piloted by contractors, will grow from 17 to 29. Sounds and feels like an army to me.
There are many legal issues regarding the use of mercenaries http://conflits.revues.org/index11502.html The US increasingly uses mercenaries in all theaters of operations. These troops are capitalist warriors: amoral, motivated solely by greed, loyal to gold alone, without compassion. This kind of army, I think, is very dangerous to a democracy; we know that mercenaries can take down empires.
In addition, there are to be 8,000 additional contractors of various sorts in Iraq. Although Iraq has only 28 million people, the new U.S. embassy is the largest in the world. It is a massive compound that is one and a half square miles-—an enormous complex of 22 buildings and the size of 94 football fields.
We are being led to believe that the US is reducing expensive and bloody military engagement in the Middle East and elsewhere. This is simply not true.