Documentary Producer Robert Greenwald spoke before the House Appropriations defense subcommittee yesterday on the subject of waste and abuse on the part of contractors in Iraq. The scale of the problem is enormous; the waste -- monumental:
The 145,000 U.S. troops in Iraq are just a little more than half of the personnel on the U.S. payroll involved in military operations there. There are also 126,000 private contractors, a force author Jeremy Scahill calls "the world's most powerful mercenary army."
Contract workers in Iraq are wasting millions of dollars, committing crimes -- including killings -- with impunity, and undermining the efforts of U.S. military personnel to develop trust with Iraqi people, Scahill and filmmaker Robert Greenwald told the House Appropriations defense subcommittee May 10.
The abuses the pair cited are not new, but were being presented for the first time "on the record" before a congressional subcommittee, said Rep. James Moran, D-Va.
"We need to get them on the record" so they can be considered during House Appropriations Committee deliberations on the 2008 Defense Appropriations Bill, he said.
Many of the abuses were aired publicly in 2005 during unofficial hearings by the Democratic Policy Committee after Republicans who controlled Congress refused to schedule official hearings.
Scahill told lawmakers that heavy reliance on private contractors has enabled the Bush administration to nearly double the number of U.S. forces in Iraq without the general knowledge of U.S. taxpayers.
Greenwald had prepared a four minute video clip he hoped to show to the committee, but was prevented from doing so. The clip is linked below.
Click on the "play" button in the bottom left-hand corner to play the video.
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