Left behind in Iraq: thousands of contractors
October 21st, 2011
01:22 PM ET

Left behind in Iraq: thousands of contractors

By National Security Producer Jamie Crawford

With the removal of all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year looking more likely, absent an agreement to extend legal immunity, a large contingent of U.S. contractors will still remain facing their own legal and logistical ambiguities and challenges.

The complexity of the situation is not lost on top officials at the State Department who are busy preparing to assume control of every U.S. responsibility in Iraq – including contracting operations.

"The State Department is doing something that quite frankly we have never done before, this is not going to be easy and I think we all understand that," Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides told CNN.

"We owe it to the families (who have lost loved ones in Iraq), and to the taxpayers to get this transition done correctly," he added.

For years, thousands of civilian contractors have worked in Iraq operating in a variety of military and support functions. But they have always lacked the same criminal immunity from Iraqi laws that the U.S. military enjoys under existing agreements between the two countries. And for the most part, they operated under the purview of the Defense Department.

While contractors would be subject to the Iraqi criminal justice system as they always have, ambiguities will still exist as to how they would also be held accountable under U.S. law if a situation similar to the 2007 incident involving contractors working for Blackwater (now operating as Xe Services) were to occur.

The issues surrounding their presence in Iraq are likely to become only more complex when U.S. troops do pull out and leave the oversight of the entire contracting force to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

"What the State Department does is diplomacy, and you're going to have the State Department managing contractors that are going to be flying helicopters, driving MRAP's, medevac-ing wounded personnel," Richard Fontaine, and expert on contracting issues with the Center for a New American Security, told CNN.

"This is the kind of thing that the State Department has very little in-house experience in managing," he said.

With a large staff devoted to auditing and providing mechanisms for the oversight of contractors, the Pentagon has a long history of managing a workforce separate from that of the military. "This is a huge leap into the unknown and nobody knows how this is going to turn out, but there is certainly cause for worry," Fontaine said.

Those concerns were echoed by the CEO of a large contracting firm that has operated in both Iraq in Afghanistan, who spoke with CNN but asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the subject. With the absence of regional operation centers run by the U.S. military, that were specifically responsible for collecting intelligence about emerging threats across Iraq, this contracting executive warned of a possible "void of information" that could lead to a more dangerous environment for contractors.

Contractors already operating in Iraq who have established relationships with the local populace may feel more comfortable operating there the executive said, adding that the threshold for risk varies by company. Prospective contracting companies may be "less interested" in setting up business in Iraq without the protection of the U.S. military, if they have done so in the past, he said.

That may be, but contract employees in Iraq will be operating under a completely different paradigm according to the State Department. "We are not the military," Nides said. "The mission is different, our objectives are different," and the United States mission will shift to one focused on maintaining and building a diplomatic relationship with Iraq.

In reality, only a small fraction of the contractors in Iraq after U.S. troops leave will operate as armed personnel protecting U.S. diplomats. The vast majority will work as trainers for the Iraqi police and military force, as advisers to Iraqi government ministries, or on development projects across the country that State Department or USAID personnel cannot staff.

Once the U.S. military presence in Iraq is gone, the embassy in Baghdad, the largest U.S. embassy in the world, will be staffed by approximately 1,700 diplomats and representatives of various cabinet agencies. They will be supported by approximately 5,000 security contractors. There will also be up to 4,000 contractors supporting every service for U.S. personnel in Iraq from food to sanitation and anything else necessary for diplomats to carry out their jobs.

Over time, the State Department will look to add local staff in Iraq on a large level at the embassy thereby reducing the numbers of contractors needed Nides said.

In recent months, the State Department began adding staff to prepare for assuming oversight of the contractor workforce in Iraq once the military has pulled out. "The good news is that we've got some really strong management people," that have been added to the embassy staff to plan for all sorts of contingencies with contracting options once the military presence is gone, Nides said. "We think we are in pretty good shape, but there is no question" it will be challenging to get everything right, he said.

With a complete removal of U.S. forces, some also worry diplomat mobility around the country may be constrained with a much smaller number of contractor personnel available to protect diplomats. Nides dismisses that notion saying that U.S. diplomats have been moving around Iraq for years largely without U.S. military escort, relying on contractors when necessary. That situation will continue he says after the military pulls out.

Iraqis "want to get to something defined as normal," with a developed economy and prosperous society for their families, Nides said. It will be important to have civilian contractors in place in the beginning stages at least, to assist U.S. diplomats in helping Iraqis realize that goal, he said.

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Filed under: Iraq • Middle East • State Department
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  14. G.

    I too served in Iraq as a grunt, and I also have trouble letting go Rhody. However, it's time to let the Iraq's govern for themselves good or bad...we shoulkd have never been there in the first place. When we went into Afganistan we should have gone into Pakistan. We only wasted time Iand money in Iraq...all draining the American people in poverty.

    December 7, 2011 at 11:08 am | Reply
    • G

      Thank you G for your service. Just like to tell you that I agree with you 200%, as far as the U.S. having any business in Iraq and robbing the American tax payers of our hard, earned money.

      January 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Reply
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  16. pete

    Ron Paul voted NO against all these senseless wars Vote Ron Paul 2012 .

    November 4, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Reply
  17. TCN

    thez guys did great in saving and guarding US Military in Iraq but instead they dont get treatment some die.....on job its not fair u know....for God sake these guys have families at home

    October 31, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Reply
  18. fed up

    We could stay in Iraq a hundred years, and we have no way to win this war. They consider their soil sacred, and we invaded their soil. These people blame us for no heat, no air, no water, no electricity, and no way to keep all the terrorists out. They hate us. We have wasted enough soldiers, and enough money. Just think of all the innocent Iraqi people who have been killed. We had no business going over there. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. We need to protect our own country's borders. To Hell with Iraq. Use my tax dollars to protect this country.

    October 26, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Reply
    • Erich

      I could care less about the Iraqi civilians, lets get our military back home, screw those people.

      October 28, 2011 at 4:47 am | Reply
  19. #thankyoubasedgod

    Ron Paul 2012

    October 26, 2011 at 12:15 am | Reply
  20. tim

    I think everyone who is giving credit to the presidents need to have their head checked. give credit to the UNITED STATES MILITARY!. I know contractors they put their necks out too. most people will never see that. our troops are the reason that the taliban and al queda lose more people by the day. USN USA USAF AND USMC ARE THE WORLDS BEST. PERIOD.

    October 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Reply
    • Semper Paratus

      Tim, Do not forget the USCG. Yes- they have been involved all along albiet in much smaller numbers.

      October 31, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Reply
  21. Gonzo

    Invading Iraq was a major mistake that should never have happened... A majaor mistake for which the United States will have to pay dearly. Indeed, something got forever lost the minute the US first bombed Baghdad. That's when the United States became a terrorist country. Israel did 9-11, everybody knows that, invading Iraq was just another was for Israel.

    October 24, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Reply
    • DaveC

      Gonzo, you are an idiot. Why would Israel want to get rid of Hussien who was keeping Iran in check? You read too many of those conspiracy theory stories and apparently believe them.

      October 26, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Reply
      • Wes

        The first phase of regime change in the Arab world.

        October 26, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  22. CracksmokeRepublican

    Just remember : Israel Did 9/11

    http:// theinfounderground.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5367

    October 24, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Reply
  23. Rhody

    11BinIRAQ

    I am a U.S. Soldier in Iraq and cant believe were going to leave this place and watch everything we did go down the drains so that idiot can keep a campaign promise. When the last of the U.S. forces cross into Kuwait in December, all 4,000 service members that loss there lives here will have done so for no reason. We may have killed a lot of bad guys, Iraqis, Syrians, Al Queida or anyone else that got in the way but the war was loss. Nothing pisses us off more then hearing people talk about how they are glad we are finally coming home. We want to stay and kill anyone that opposes our way of life so our sons and daughter's wont have to come back in 10-20 years to fight these people again. I say "Kill" because that is my job, "To close with, locate and destroy the enemy, by fire and maneuver and or close combat."

    If you want to help the troops, tell your President, our Commanding Chief to take of the leash and let us win these wars. If it sounds gruesome to you, suck it up or don't joint the Infantry.

    You are an Idiot and when you say we want to stay and kill all the bad guys. Speak for yourself only, this is my fourth tour and I’m ready to get the f*ck out of here. We don’t know the enemy until they try to kill us, since they are not wearing uniforms and blend in with the local populace. How long should we stay here until you and a few buddies are tired of looking for insurgents to kill. Look at the history of this region, I’m not much of a betting man, but I’m sure we were not going to change very much if we stay another 20 years. Instead of staying here for many more years so our sons and daughters won’t have to come back over to complete the job we started. Go home and try to be a good father to your kids who you are always leaving; if you have any (doubtful), instead of itching to deploy and kill bad guys. Afghanistan is still available for guys like you, I sure you will get your chance to kill or be killed. What were the reasons for us to invade Iraq again? You are saying things that a first tour Private would say, because they don’t know any better. I have lost friends and would hate to lose anymore, as I also would like to go home in one piece instead of a body bag in pieces. If you would read the news, our federal agencies are doing a good job of catching possible terrorist stateside. I’m leaving Iraq in Dec and every one I have spoken to are more than ready to leave, not one person has said I want to stay to stop the terrorist. The ones who do want to stay, wants to keep getting paid the extra combat pay, believe it or not. By the way I am a SSG, on my fourth tour from kicking in doors, running gun trucks, and transporting cargo.

    October 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Reply
    • John

      Welcome to my world and 2 million more... we are called vietnam veterans... I left in 1968 haveing served 2 years in and around Khe Sahn etc..

      Get used to it Bro... it only gets worse as the years go by.... We lost the war in Vietnam to politics We lost the war in Iraq to politics..... only difference is we had the draft and many of our soldiers had no choice.... NO CHOICE....

      So come home and fight your congress and do what is right to get what you deserve for your brothers.

      I argued for years that you cant win a war by being nice... you cant nice people into submission.....
      If that was the case we could have just paid each and every citizen a million dollars and everyone would have been happy.....

      Come home join your local american legion or vfw and contribute to your generation of warriors .

      October 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Reply
      • Adrian

        you sound like a bunch of fockin idiots. First of all we have no business fighting other peoples wars. two its their country!!! how would you like if china invade us and tell us how to live our lives?? how to run our goverment I got no respect for anyone going to this wars. you all a bunch of brainless sheeps that obey orders like a bunch of idiots and believe all the propaganda the goverment feeds you. I would never serve any military unless it was strictly to defend this land not the saudis or israelis.

        November 4, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • Charles

      Rhody, I strongly concur with your post. That idiot sounds like a private with no expirence at all except kicking in doors and hunting down the enemy. I am a retired MSG with a few combat tours under my belt. I too have faced death on many occasions, and I constantly ask myself why are we here trying to change the way of life for a county that simply refuses to conform to a way of life that is fair and equitable for all. We were there to help and assist with rebuilding the country. It doesn't appear that they want that. Currently, I am in Afghanistan, and the same mind set is here. We have provided billions of dollars to the God for saken county, and all you see is corruption. It is time we pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and focus on the issues that's cripling our economy.

      October 24, 2011 at 1:57 am | Reply
    • COL (Ret) Mike

      Amen Rhody – Seems like an eternity since I served in OIF 03-04 and later worked with my Iraqi friends to rebuild their lives. lml

      October 24, 2011 at 10:15 am | Reply
    • Notanidiotjarhead

      1. The timeline established was established by GWB. President Obama is just fufilling our countries promise to the Maliki goverment.
      2. We never should have invaded Iraq there were no WMD, they had no link to Al Quiada, they did have lots of oil.
      3. How many of America's sons, daughters, husbands & wives have to die or be maimed before we think it is not worth it to police the world?
      4. Halliburton and other contractors got the sweetest NO bid contracts every in the History of our country to be in Iraq and Afghanistan piss on them and their greed. They are only in those countries for profit and care nothing of our soldiers nor our countries integrity. Leave them and their workers their let the "free market" work for them....LOL
      5. I am proud of our soldiers and their service, I still cannot believe how retarded some of them are to think Obama had or has anything to do with this war other than trying to get out as soon as possible.

      October 24, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Reply
    • Beacon007

      Who do you really work for?, Haliburton or Blackwater.

      October 25, 2011 at 2:21 am | Reply
    • Me

      For those of you that are in the military- if you want to stay, stay, it's time to go for the rest of us. You don't get that your family prays and sweats it & lives this with you. We are a nervous wreck & then we are who have to deal with whoever comes home. Don't be so selfish.

      October 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Reply
    • WWJD_Crap_Talker

      I dont know whats up with the white Christians that makes them happy when a colored fellow dies. Christians are just perverts and killers. No doubt they make the most criminals in the world.

      October 26, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Reply
    • Wes

      I was in the Service in Vietnam. Recently I saw shirts at Macy's made in Vietnam. It seemed odd. My father was a bomber pilot in WWII. I watched war movies where US soldiers seemed to be killing Japs by the truck load. When Americans started buying Japanese cars it seemed odd.

      Who won WWII? At times it seems like the Japanese auto industry did.

      China now owns our technology. Russia has bright red LUK gas stations all over the East Coast. We are losing the next war, the war of technology and energy. It's happening right under our noses. Wallmart is a giant Chinese tank, rolling right down Main Street, passed the VFW.

      Fight the war at home.

      October 26, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Reply
      • WELL SAID

        Well said

        December 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Jean Sartre

      You are a soldier just as Joe Biden is America's first African-American Vice President.

      We will have plenty of CIA operatives in Iraq and the Green Zone will have close to 10,000 soldiers left behind, and some 2,000 – extraordinarily well paid – mercenaries left in country. Therefore, although the article states that ALL of our military personnel are coming home; that is just White House propaganda, again being pushed, like the Iraq war, by CNN and other news media that are bought and paid for by Swampland.

      "Nothing pisses us off more then hearing people talk about how they are glad we are finally coming home."

      I am glad, happy, overjoyed that most of our courageous troops are coming home...
      I am glad, happy, overjoyed that most of our courageous troops are coming home...
      I am glad, happy, overjoyed that most of our courageous troops are coming home...

      Deal with it...

      November 2, 2011 at 11:48 am | Reply
      • Maverick

        I don't know where you get your intel from but I am currently in the IZ and the soldiers are gone

        December 21, 2011 at 6:36 am |
    • G.

      It's time to pull out and let the Iraqi's govern themselve's for good or bad...it's their country not ours, and we should haven't wasted our time there. We should have been in a country next to Afganistan. By the way I served a year in Iraq as a grunt and have trouble letting go too but you must Rhody.

      December 7, 2011 at 11:03 am | Reply
    • G.

      I too served in Iraq as a grunt, and I also have trouble letting go Rhody. However, it's time to let the Iraq's govern for themselves, good or bad...we should have never been there in the first place. When we went into Afganistan we should have gone into Pakistan to finish the job. That was under the Bush adminstration. We only wasted time and money in Iraq...all draining the American people in poverty. Look at the monster the Bush admin created called Pakistan...they have nuclear weapon.

      December 7, 2011 at 11:15 am | Reply
  24. James Boland, M.D.

    Why thousands of contractors MRAPs and blah blah blah. Our war is OVER. We served the interests of Iran and China admirably. We have enough problems here at home. Land the copters, safety the AK 47s and take off that ridiculous camouflage. It's over, we can't afford it..

    October 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Reply
    • Howard

      When 9-11 happened, and 3,000+ Americans were slaughtered, Americans demanded and expected a strong and immediate response from President Bush. In addition, credible intelligence reports claimed that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That's why Republicans AND Democrats in congress agreed to invade Iraq. Unlike the inept traitor who is now in the White House, our leaders put the safety and security of the American people FIRST.
      Now, brain dead liberals, and Monday morning quarterbacks, are using 20-20 hindsight to once again blame Bush for all of Obama's foolish mistakes ... mistakes, which are running America into the ground.
      Obama's 'dumb luck' assassinations of terrorists might be considered accomplishments, if the American people weren't experiencing such Obama made disasters here at home.
      It's past time for Americans to dump this stupid, corrupt, self-serving President.
      SAVE AMERICA ... DUMP obama NOW !!!

      October 22, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Reply
      • EdC

        Careful, too much fact or reality can choke a liberal or initiate a stroke. You see it in their ranting about the things they know so little about; the vote in Congress, appropriations, distraction from civilian targets and trying to take credit for others successes. Some morons can't even tell a US weapon from that of the enemies but attempt to strut and preen in a vain effort to claim some sort of high ground. Instead they find themselves stranded among a sea of fools, incapable of understanding why no none will protect them in time of need.

        October 22, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
      • Voice of Reason

        @ Howard: Your political ideologies are a scarce cover for your blatant manufactured racism. And as far as credible intelligence is concerned, i don't believe Vladmir Putin is a credible intelligence source for the region, since all we ever heard as far as tangible sources at that time was what came from a Russian.

        Bush followed a longstanding pattern for failure in the intelligence community – he basically went against any conventional wisdom not only pushed the intelligence community into Iraq and then his cabinet scapegoated them when they fell short of their appointed objective, which only yielded one warehouse long abandoned to produce chemical weapons the Saddam used many years earlier on the Kurds.

        And while we're giving a synopsis of which president did their job better, considering that Obama has racked up a larger headcount of global administers al qaeda in about 3.75 years as opposed to the 7.25 years Bush was in office, on top of the fact that he tanked the economy twice despite all efforts to delay it to the next president (a work of fiction that Fox news is still perpetuating blame on the current admin. for).

        So in all, what you're saying here is that with the judicial branch under conservative majority for 27 years, the legislative branch for 12 and the Executive branch for 8 years, that this is somehow all because of a Democratic President that it failed, despite all of the above points. Quit being a sore loser and face the facts.

        Obama has done considerably more with less, point- Obama. Cheers.

        October 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
      • Charles

        You dam Idiot, Bush is the one who got us in this mess. He invaded Iraq based on erroneous information you dope. Bush knew that the information was false, and that Iraq did not have in their posession, weapons of mass destructions. Don't you know the truth. That is the reason behind Colon Powell's resignation, he found out the truth, and he could not live with the fact that servicemenbers were dying everyday because of Bush's decison. Don't you realize the financial impact of funding two wars had on our econmy. I am not a Democrat by far however, I do read and stay abreast of what's going on in the world. Secondly, I am a retired veteran who fought in both wars, to include the first persian gulf war. I don't agree with all the decision that President Obam makes however, it is in our best interest to get the hell our both Afghanistan and Iraq. Before you post something do you dam homework.....

        October 24, 2011 at 2:15 am |
      • Notanidiotjarhead

        U are full of crap and so is your Faux news Koolaid speak!

        October 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
      • Dave

        so you are saying we have the worst intelligence!!!!!!!

        October 28, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
      • Adrian

        Voice of Reason.. you forgot to mention the thousands of innocent man women and children that were killed and continue to be killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and in Libya. And now Obama is talking about possibly starting a war with Iran. Hurrah your great president be very proud

        November 4, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  25. Doug

    There really is a lot of ignorance on here about contractors – firstly, the vast majority of contractors working in Iraq are paid by private companies (mainly oil companies). Secondly, the contractors who work for the US government (like myself) do so because it is far cheaper for the government ot use contractors rather than their own troops. Also, it is far safer to use contractors rather than US mil for certain tasks. I work for a British private security company but we employ Americans and they all pay tax! Most of us over here are doing jobs to help rebuild Iraq – isn't this only fair seeing as the coallition forces pretty much destroyed everything over here? I don't want to get into the politics of why we invaded Iraq, that's for people on a much higher pay grade.

    October 22, 2011 at 8:41 am | Reply
  26. Jack

    I bet a lot of contractors didn't save their money and are in "panic" mode now. You should have known that this would not last forever. Your main goal should be make and save your money so your life in America would be a little financially easier. But no, a lot of you thought that this would last forever!!!! I've seen a lot of contractors come overseas broke and leave overseas broke. I don't care as long as it's not me...ha.ha.ha.ha.ha. Sucks for people that are in that situation.

    October 22, 2011 at 8:31 am | Reply
  27. Sabre

    These posts are really sad across the board. #1: The people working out there are mostly service workers ... truck drivers, chow hall folks, etc. With a minimal footprint of private security detail personnel. Many have never been military trained prior to coming out. Many didn't know what they were getting into (much like any 18 y.o. kid going into the service), but many took the job because they have a wife and kids at home they have to take care of. If you had the opportunity, wouldn't you take it? So, don't bash the contractors (i.e. the personnel doing the job the U.S. government contracted them to do). They wouldn't have contracted for the service if we didn't have enough personnel in the military to do those functions - obviously, most of the people spewing drivel on this chatboard forget there are humans, just like them, who are doing what's best for them.

    #2: Most don't stay out for the 330 days ... could you stay in a country with poor living conditions, incessant heat, and constant combat stress for that long without a few more weeks of R&R, considering 95% (less than 5% of the U.S. population served in the past 10 years in GWOT ... You might be able to pluss that up to about 6.5% with civilian and contract support) of you commenting have never served or put yourself in harm's way for anything that meant something to someone, you may think it's easy. It isn't. Which is probably why most of the crap being spewed (i.e. rah, rah Dems/booo Repubs OR rah, rah Repubs/booo Dems) on this board is so, well, ignorant. You really have no idea how the world, macroeconomics, or reality works.

    #3: No one is given anything, you work for it. You find your profession and your skill set and you follow through. That's life. If you majored in underwater basket weaving, I'm sorry if you are underemployed. That's what happens when you choose your heart rather than your head sometimes. Suck it up and work at Starbucks.

    #4: Blame for this mistaken war can be spread around evenly. It was an not illegal war ... it had UN approval and all but Ron Paul in Congress ... including Clinton, Biden, and every other Dem and Republican, supported the initial action. Basic middle school civics, kids, THE CONGRESS CONTROLS THE PURSE. Why? Because they control the budget. That's the main way Congress checks the Executive branch. If the Dems were so bent out of shape on this war all along, then they should have voted against it. Only one Republican, Ron Paul, voted against. He's the only one with his hands clean on this.

    #5: Stop rooting for political parties like they are the Eagles or the Redskins. It's ignorant. Look at everyone critically. Vote for the least dumb of the choices. Ignore CNN/FoxNews/MSNBC and the rest. DO YOUR HOMEWORK on these people and vote for the best on. In most countries, you actually have to DO something for your country (like bleed for it) to be a citizen and vote. EVERYONE GETS IT AS A BIRTHRIGHT HERE. So, as it is your birthright, it is everyone's responsibility to study everyone, objectively, and vote for the best one that has best values and can give you a plan for what they want to do. It isn't about skin tone, race, ethnicity, the amount of hair on your head, what state they came from, or what schools they went to ... or if they wrote a book. It's about the CONTENT OF THEIR CHARACTER. Dr. King would look at most of you rah, rah Dems/rah, rah Repubs and shake his head in disdain.

    Tighten up, people. We are all part of the same population and same nation. WE ... ARE ... AMERICANS. No one is pure bred anything ... we are all mutts. And what do mutts do. They survive.

    So, if you are underemployed ... make it work. You are smart enough to know how to do a bit of basic accounting to live within your means. If you are unemployed, hustle to get something to make ends meet. If you are employed, be innovative ... figure out a way to help your fellow man and hook them up.

    THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO HELP YOU DO THIS. It's your responsibility as a citizen, given the basic rights of life, liberty, and the PURSUIT of happiness, to put yourself on the path of success and sustainability. Never ask the government to give anything to you, because then, you will owe them (not to mention the fact that they still can't pass a budget and seem to only do what's best for the camera, not for their constituency). And do you really want that?

    October 21, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Reply
    • Anarath

      Amen brother!!

      October 21, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Reply
    • DoNotWorry

      At what point are Americans going to stop voting for the "least dumb" choices?

      October 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Reply
      • Sabre

        Unfortunately, we will have to keep voting for politicians who aren't as good as their earlier counterparts for a long time. There are so many great, humble, and intelligent individuals who have considered running, but have pulled back from running due to the fact that they want to spare their families the pain of constantly getting grilled by the 24-hour MSM. Imagine putting yourself or your family under a microscope 24/7 and then have another candidate who can't make a logical argument manufacture, lies, slander, and other crap ... or drag out family skeletons to have something to distract from the fact that these mongoloids (the ones who typically end up winning) can't articulate a clear plan for fixing any issue. They just blather. We need a congress of fixers and do-ers. Not a congress of people who look pretty on TV or have a track record of "bringing home the bacon" for their constituents.

        Right now, we don't have many good choices. I wish Mark Warner had run in 2008. A successful governor of VA, pulled the state out of a huge financial crisis that Gov Gilmore put VA, and he was a successful businessman. He is very familiar with national defense issues and knows how to manage scarce resources, broker bi-partisan agreements, etc. Now, he's a senator ... because there's no way he could out-fundraise Obama or Clinton. We had a shot at someone who knew what they were doing, but I guess he just felt the electorate would support the two potential "firsts" for president over someone who was practical, logical, and a successful leader.

        This ... THIS ... is why we continue to vote for the least dumb. Because the good ones really don't think they have a shot against the mudslinging, the incessant and excessive fundraising, and the hassle it would put their families through. We get to choose between all those now who lust for power ... because, most of them, prior to becoming a congressman/woman, Senator, or president ... never truly served anything but themselves all along ... so now they look at congress as a "job" and not as "service."

        October 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • DoNotWorry

      They need thousands of kitchen helpers for what purpose? A bit of whitewash? Corporation-owned private armies are the big "thing" these days. Corporations having a large standing army is a poor choice by Congress. Of course, corporations have a larging standing Congress as well.

      October 22, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Reply
      • Sabre

        The over generalization of tasks and dated conspiracy theory bespeaks your awareness of what goes on over there. We still have posts over there that we aren't going to turn over ... we aren't leaving the military to take them apart, so now we are going to have contractors take them apart. Truckers on contract move food and fresh water to the Embassy. There will be logistical support for movement across the country, because, well, diplomats don't like to drive themselves around. There are a whole bunch of things that the government employees have either found they can do cheaper if they brought on contractors, who can be taxed and don't accrue any EXPENSIVE government pension and they can release as needed. Do you understand how much a government employee makes in austere environments. I'll tell you, it was Base pay + 1/3 years salary bonus at the end of the deployment. Hazardous fire pay, etc for them ... nothing like that for the contractors. Contractor gets wounded in a convoy in Iraq, they get medvaced by the government and their PRIVATE INSURANCE REPAYS THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE EVACUATION. Oh, and did I mention, you can fire a contractor for incompetence. It's damn near impossible to fire a government employee once they've passed their probationary period. Sometimes, the only way the government can get the job done is "promoting" the worthless ones out of the job.

        Seriously, contractors work hard for the money they earn ... govvies get a sick amount of benefits, bonuses, etc. You may have ire with the contracting COMPANIES (because, just like you would want, they are cut throat and will leave someone swinging in the breeze if it means their bottomline). But don't hate on the contractors. You could have taken a KBR job as a truck driver and made that money too, but you didn't. They just had the balls to risk being hit in an IED while driving a fuel truck ... imagine that, will you? Or, work in a laundry facility for the embassy, in an unhardened shack while the govvies get hardened facilities ... oh, and they are unarmed ... all except for the PSD folks (your Xe, Triple Canopy, Aegis types). And you can see that the number they had in the article is WAAAY below what it was back in the day.

        And private corporate armies? Really? I don't see BP or Shell building an army. I don't see Ford or Chevy deciding to buy a blackhawk helicopter with a DAP kit. You like driving your car or receiving goods for cheap at Wal-Mart, right? Well, we need fossil fuels until someone can come up with a cost-effective and better alternative than what we have now. So, many of these companies will continue to hire these companies to protect their personnel and their property from being damaged in the places where their goods are shipped and could be taken/destroyed by pirates/criminals/local nationals. If many of the countries where these resources existed were stable and secure, then the world wouldn't need Security firms like Xe. But, once again, you can't get mad at people for making money. When there's a need in the market, if you service that need, then you get to make money ... that's how capitalism works.

        Sucks that the US government had to hire these guys, but when Clinton reduced the size of the entire US military during the 1990s and let our equipment fall into disrepair, there was a need for these guys in order to plus up and deal with a military contingency that Bush and ALL OF CONGRESS (except Ron Paul) okayed. If we maintain the Cold War force we had, then we don't need contractors in 2001.

        The point here is every policy action of EVERY ADMINISTRATION has implications for future ass pain. Carter set up the law that allowed people who lacked the financial means to support a mortgage to be given a loan, despite the fact the the lending bank probably denied it initially. There was a quota established by Carter, which was upped by Clinton. Same goes for contractors. Military contracting really started booming during the Clinton years (you know, the years of the peace dividend) because he got rid of a lot of military personnel WHO WERE NECESSARY for the functioning of the government. But why did they do it? Because contractors, although the initial sticker price seems high are still CHEAPER for the government long term than keeping someone for 20 years, allowing them to retire on federal pension, and then allowing them to apply for and take another job, work for another 20 years, and then receive TWO FEDERAL PENSIONS for the REST OF THEIR LIVES.

        Now that, my friends, is what people should be screaming about. Why is the government not less expensive than a contracting firm doing a job that is inherently government work?

        October 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
      • leeberson

        There were 26 contractors in WWI. About 2,000 in WWII. And of course over that amount in Vietnam. In Iraq at the peak, there were 160,000 for 140,000 service members. Over time, 1950 to now, things became a technological war versus the previous weapons and brute force wars. The contractors are needed because simply put, the young service members simply cannot handle the complexity of what the task is when it comes to either techno tasks like satellites, the language of Farsi or logistics. Every military site will say the same thing. Now, regarding food service, truck drivers, etc. and the need for them: Over the past two decades, the military has striven to "free up" the warfighter. No longer do they mow lawns stateside, do food service, or even guard the bases any longer. It's all done with contractors. This is how the service wants it. Whether money driven or not, this is how it's done. Free up the warfighter. Maybe some of that came from the direction of the cushy 80's where all young'ins' wanted to be business executives. As far as Afghanistan where I am, DynCorp holds the LOGCAPIV contract for nearly all logistical support. And most, well nealry all, employees are from India, Pakistan, Brunei, Kenya and orthers. They all get paid crap wages like 1100 per month for food serivce ranging to 5000 per month for folks from Macedonia and European contries where the cost of living is more. The sad part is, we have welfare for low life scum in Alabama but as far as here, that money is BEING EXPORTED outside of the US and it will bever come back. And although it is smaller wages for one person than 150,000 per year to some of us while in Iraq, it adds up because here they can hire twenty people to staff a small 15 computer MWR at some remote FOB or COB where in reality only 4 are needed. Billions of dollars out of the 128 billion per year that is required to operate this stink hole that are being EXPORTED from the US and will never return. Just another drain on the US that will eventually sink us.

        October 24, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • Notanidiotjarhead

      U are twisting the numbers for support of the UN Iraq resolution Here is the vote as it was Oct 2 2002. Democrats did vote against the war in large numbers something all you Republicans seem to ignore.

      congress voted as follows
      Reps – Ayes 215 – 6 nays 0 no votes
      Dems – Ayes 82 – 126 nays 1 NO vote

      in the Senate
      Republicans – 48 ayes, 1 nay
      Democrats – 29 ayes 21 nays
      independant 0 ayes 1 nay

      Sens. Akaka (D-HI), Bingaman (D-NM), Boxer (D-CA), Byrd (D-WV), Conrad (D-ND), Corzine (D-NJ), Dayton (D-MN), Durbin (D-IL), Feingold (D-WI), Graham (D-FL), Inouye (D-HI), Kennedy (D-MA), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Reed (D-RI), Sarbanes (D-MD), Stabenow (D-MI), Wellstone (D-MN), and Wyden (D-OR).
      1 (2%) of 49 Republican senators voted against the resolution: Sen. Chafee (R-RI).
      The only Independent senator voted against the resolution: Sen. Jeffords (I-VT)

      October 24, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Reply
      • InDisguise

        So, what you are saying, while trying to say something else, is that if the majority of Democratic Senators not voted FOR the resolution, the war in Iraq could not have happened. Say what you want, but there was broad, bi-partisan support in 2003 for the invasion of Iraq.

        November 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Dave

      Only Ron Paul for 2012

      October 28, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Reply
      • pete

        Ron Paul voted NO against all these senseless wars Vote Ron Paul 2012 our only hope.

        November 4, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • G.

      Yeah most are third world migrants from india do half asses jobs there...I was there and know the grift the corps are playing. KBR running empty loads getting my fellow Soldiers killed for nothing FUCK FACE. I could go on and on but for now, fuck of douch bag!!!

      April 5, 2012 at 9:14 am | Reply
  28. EdC

    Get ready for a cluster-- of monumental proportions. Thanks Obozo.

    October 21, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Reply
    • DoNotWorry

      Too bad that Dubya didn't clean up his "accidental" war before he left office. I'm sure you'd have been happy then.

      October 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Reply
      • Jimbo

        @DoNotWorry

        "Dubya" did clean up is accidental war. He signed the SOFA the day before duh'bumba was elected.

        October 22, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
      • EdC

        LOL, no I support term limits. However, we badly needed another leader to take us forward but instead got stuck with what history will view as the least experienced and most divisive administration in our history. we needed someone with leadership skills, an understanding of government administration and knowledge of their job description. We got an inexperienced, inept ideologue without a clue of how to run a fast food franchise, much less the second-largest government on the planet. His record of failure has continued, even accelerated, the downward spiral of our economic, political positions and social structure. Hopefully, the people are seeing the disastrous result of this administration and we can begin to get back on track in 2012.

        October 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Kwang

      What about all the innocent pelope, men, women, and children who are not soldiers in Iraq, but are still caught up, and killed, in this war? The civilian casualty count is currently 65,000 reported (that means it's probably at least double that). That makes those American troop casualties seem like nothing. I know personally of a childrens' wing in a hospital hit by an American bomb (obviously unintentionally) in our initial invasion. This war has to stop.

      September 10, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Reply
  29. Donald in CA

    Sad day for former torturer cheney whose old company haliburton has most of the contractors there. I'm sure he made a lot of money with that family haliburton stock.

    October 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Reply
    • shimon

      Yeah, no more blank-check, no-bid contracts. The horror!!!

      October 21, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Reply
    • DoNotWorry

      Americans will rue the day they let the military be "privatized."

      October 22, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Reply
    • Marvision

      The Iraqis NEVER CHOSE democracy?You're kiinddg.I guess NOBODY WENT TO ALL THOSE ELECTION BOOTHS during ALL THOSE elections the country had.I guess NOBODY FOUGHT AGAINST THE BAATHIST REGIME for DEMOCRACY all those times the Intifada happened,the Al-Anfal happened,the Marshes happened,I could go on for days.If you're really that dumb and morally relatavistic to claim that democracy was forced on them there's no point in arguing with you anymore.You're an intellectual creationist.

      October 12, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  30. jinx

    The USA should never have gone to war in Iraq in the first place. It was a war based on lies, distraction, high financial and human costs (especially for Iraqis) and no real benefits. Not only should all US troops leave Iraq as soon as possible but so should all contractors. Such actions should begin to be implemented to completion in Afghanistan as soon as possible as well. Peace.

    October 21, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Reply
    • cajr

      getting rid of saddam hussein was the absolute best case scenario in iraq. the same for ghadaffi. now if we could only take out iran now....all these wacky dictators stir anti american sentiment and need to be taken out period.

      October 21, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Reply
      • jinx

        No, removing Saddam Hussein from his position in Iraq was NOT the best case scenario. Read my rather simple posting very carefully. The lies, distraction, financial/human costs, and lack of real benefits made the Iraq and Afghanistan war not worth it in total. The best case scenario for Iraq was to maintain stability and have Saddam Hussein's government weaken and collapse over time since nobody is immortal. Regime change in Iraq would naturally take place on its own even if Hussein was a terrible tyrant. The Iraq war was a humanitarian disaster resulting in hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, millions of refugees, and significant damage to the country's infrastructure. Such terrible conditions were not in effect before the US invaded Iraq; people who actually survived Saddam Hussein for so many years suffered and died in very large numbers after the Iraq war started. Furthermore, the chaos produced many thousands of insurgents and terrorists that did not exist before. The Iraq War also led to the deterioration of secuity in Afghanistan. In recent years, there has been increase in terrorist and insurgent activity prompting the US to change its strategy and commit even more resources to Afghanistan. Unfortunately for the US, valuable opportunities have been lost in the years since 9-11. Current efforts in Afghanistan will not be comprehensive or sustaining enough and thus not successful. Conditions in Afghanistan and Iraq will remain difficult and challenging that will motivate some recognizable levels of terrorism due to historical internal conflicts, poverty, illiteracy, corruption, tribalism, foreign invasions, population isolation, and rugged geography. In the 1980s, the US provided weapons and funds to Afghan groups including the Taliban and Al Qaeda through Pakistan to combat the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The regimes of these countries are not the major force behind anti-Americanism. Instead, it is an aggressive, offensive US foreign policy that seeks to promote its "interests" at the expense of the the people in these types of countries that in turn make them feel threatened and the need to fight the US in self defense. The Iraq war is an almost perfect example of US foreign policy that actually creates its own enemies. Saddam Hussein or any other form of government was or is simply not necessary to create anti-American responses.

        Mr. Hussein at one time was an ally of the US in the 1980s. The US provided financial and military resources to Hussein's regime to wage war against Iran which lasted for 8 years and resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Iranians. The Iran/Iraq war ended in a stalemate. Hussein then felt the need to invade Kuwait in 1990, and the US intervened fearing that he could gain control over the entire Middle East oil supplies. But more importantly for the US, it was an opportunity or excuse to secure American energy interests and expand the US government into the Middle East using a combination of political and military forces. The US and its allies were successful in evicting Hussein's forces from Kuwait by 1991 and for the remainder of the 1990s and early 2000s the United Nations imposed weapons inspections and economic sanctions on Iraq. These programs were successful in both good and bad ways. The weapons inspections removed and destroyed any major weapons remaining in Iraq making the country a lesser threat to the world. However, the economic sanctions denied desperately needed food and medicine to impoverished Iraqis that lead to many deaths. Furthermore, from its military bases in the Persian Gulf region, the US continued to attack Iraq using "no fly zones" which included aerial bombardment well after the Persian Gulf War ended in 1991. Iraq was not a threat to the US and certaintly not the rest of the world. Only paranoid, cowardly, and ignorant people could disagree. Hussein and Iraq never executed the first military strike or invasion of the US, but rather it was the US that attempted to initiate conflict with Iraq. The reasons given by the Bush administration in the 2000s have long been proven false. Neither Saddam Hussein nor Iraq were involved in the 9-11 attacks. Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction for immediate use. Finally, regime change does eliminate threat of terrorism but rather augments it if undertaken in a belligerant fashion. Even democracy, which is not the same concept as freedom, does not guarantee security because if it did or does there would not be raging insurgencies and acts of terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan long after the previous non democratic regimes were overthrown. Terrorism can act very independently and does not need the support of a state to operate. The cost of the "War on Terror" is currently estiimated as 1,500,000,000,000 dollars and increasing. This enormous cost could have had significant positive effects on the US economy if it was intelligently invested. Instead, it has been wasted in reponse to a terrorist attack on 9-11-2001 carried out by 19 men (not directly motivated by a state but by a unique ideology) with boxcutters (not a joke!) that could have been easily thwarted with better domestic security measures.

        The US policies toward Libya and Iran are currently different and should not follow the path of Iraq and Afghanistan. The US and NATO implemented "no fly zones" and executed bombing campaigns against Qaddafi and his military forces after modest groups of Libyans undertook an armed rebellion and only asked for external aerial support since they did not possess the necessary military equipment to increase their chances of successful regime overthrow. Qaddafi was alleged by the Americans and Europeans to have engaged in terrorist attacks in Europe in the 1980s but recently made gestures to make amends with the West. He was willing to pay some compensation to families of the victims of his alleged terrorist attacks; opened Libya to foreign investment that provides energy to the world and income/necessities to impoverished Libyans; relinquished any small quantities weapons of mass destruction; and even visited the US in 2009-10. If the Libyan militants had not taken any action against Qaddafi as a part of the "Arab Spring", there most likely would not have been any intervention by American or European interests. Qaddafi was a terrible tyrant. However, as of now, we do not know if these militants are capable of competant governance and whether or not Libya will become destabilized over the long term by interfactional conflict that creates conditions for more terrorism or for the rise of another despotic regime.

        Currently, there is concern over Iran's theocratic form of government and nuclear ambitions. The US has successfully passed economic sanctions to isolate and weaken Iran. However, Iran appears to be resisting such sanctions with some success. It is doubful the US has the will or the commitment of resources to invade Iran similar to its neighbors Iraq or Afghanistan for two obvious reasons. First, Iran is a very large country and significantly larger than Iraq and Afghanistan combined in terms of geographic area and population size. Second, an invasion of Iran by US and/or allies will prompt a military response that will create major destablilization in the Middle East and jeopardize US presence/interests. Though relatively small number of Iranians protest the government in the streets of Tehran from time to time, it is not suffucient enough to bring meaningful change until the regime decides to initiate demanded reforms or the protests become too large to deny/suppress. It is currently uncertain as to whether Iran will develop nuclear weapons. The most aggressive actions taken by the US or Israel will be the aerial bombardment of key Iranian nuclear facilities to deny nuclear weapons to Iran. The Iranians may not like their living conditions and want regime change, but no significant number of Iranians want military action taken against their country similar to the Iraq War. If the US takes military action against Iran similar to the Iraq War, then it will once again result in significant death, destruction, chaos and anti-Americanism that increase the general threat level to the US without instigation by the Iranian government. Similar to the Iraqis, most Iranians will not welcome a foreign invasion as a "liberation" but a significant threat requiring a significant violent response. There is strong evidence that shows the US worked with the British to overthrow a democratic Iran in the 1950s to promote oil interests. This policy resulted in the creation of a false Iraninan monarchy (the "Shah") that brutally oppressed the people and favored American/Anglo energy interests. In 1979, a religious revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini succeeded in overthrowing the false Iranian monarchy and established a theocracy that continues to rule Iran to this day. This revolution involved taking American foreign service persons residing in the US embassy in Tehran as hostages for a relatively short period of time and were later released with little to no physical loss. In the 1980s, the US supported Saddam Hussein and Iraq's invasion of Iran in an attempt to undermine it's new regime due to fear of its potential spreading to the rest of the Middle East threatening oil supplies and security of Israel. It is alleged Iran supports the terrorist organization Hezbollah in Lebenon. If true, it is a policy aimed at protecting Lebenon and other Arab countries in the Middle East from the aggressive and militant expansion of Israel that threatens the lives of these people. Ironically, the perceived threats posed by Al Qaeda, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and even Libya (by the simple purchase of its oil) were directly or indirectly created by the US itself !

        The best national security and foreign policies require consideration, morality, rationale and good temperment. Rather than consider exclusive interests, the US should consider the interests of other people and nations through genuine understanding. Morality gives peoples' lives meaning. Rather than threaten, murder, or steal, the US should cooperate, promote life and give. Rationale includes recognizing reality, collecting/studying accurate information, taking certain risk factors into account, and finding the best possible solutions even if they are not popular while keeping consideration and morality in mind/conscience. The US should take defensive military action only against the real, proven, and significant threats. Finally, good temperment of a nation and its leaders is essential to wise decision making. If poor temperment is exercised, the consequences of ideas and actions can be devastating, sad, and regrettable. The best general strategy for the "War on Terror" (which is apparently vague and therefore not really winnable) is to include realism, focus, cost conscienceness, and morality. Terrorism can manifest itself in many forms, is highly abstract, and unfortunately a part of human nature. More specifically, the best general strategy includes three major policies. First, nations can work together to identify and neutralize specific threats posed by terrorists. Second, nations can work together to secure, control, or eliminate real weapons of mass destruction unlike the false ones claimed by the US before the launch of the Iraq War. Finally, nations need to perform better border security to not allow the entry of foreign terrorists that kill and destroy the domestic. These recommendations are far less costly, more sustainable and effective than the current and past strategies and policies employed by the US. Failure to formulate and implement will result in more war, failures, and losses.

        Cheers.

        October 22, 2011 at 4:14 am |
      • Jimbo

        How so? Removing these tin-pot dictators only leaves a black hole of uncertainty int he region.

        October 22, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
      • A.R.

        You are an absolute idiot. The purpose of the bs war in Iraq was due to the lies about links to 9/11 and of course WMDs. None of these were true and we wasted innocent people there. Libya? give me a break, again another place that did nothing to us but had something we ( and France & England ) wanted. And then you go on about Iran? Go to hell. I guess America believes whatever the t.v. tell em to.

        October 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
      • Dave

        You do not see Saudi and Kuwait?

        October 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  31. Steve

    Have you seen the size of the new US Embassy complex? It can house 1200 families in a walled city. I always wondered who is going to live there. Contractors.

    October 21, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Reply
    • DoNotWorry

      It's the minibase the U.S. military always wanted. Time for the government to stop putting these "unacknowledged" military bases around the world. Not to mention the over 700 "acknowledged" bases. It's called the path to bankruptcy that never fails.

      October 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Reply
      • Marko

        Concerning the public mood – the best rsuoce I'd recommend is a pair of books by William Strauss & Neil Howe, the older one called "Generations" and the newer one called "Fourth Turning." Both have been around a while. Their thesis for our own times is this:The last of the can-do old tiimers is dead, retired, or as is whispered in the case of a certain Very Senior Senator, barely lucid. Their successors, the insecure and process-oriented War Babies, who cared enough about fairness to sometimes tie things up in knots (think Jimmy Carter as a honorary member of this group), are slowly leaving the scene. The people currently on deck (1) have no first-hand knowledge of what total war or ecomonic crisis is like, so they're waving their toy hatchets around and think they're actually doing something. (2) have a streak of moral self-righteousness which is their defining characteristic both on the left and the right(or why people are currently looking to a younger Senator without that streak)The adults around us, a lot of them were latchkey kids and they have gone totally pragmatic (my own kids, too, who had two parents and were loved. It's the mode of their cohort).And the mood set by the Reagan years (and do read Dana Blankenhorn's latest column on Consensus!) has played out, ripened, and soured almost beyond bearing and everyone has been waiting for the other shoe to drop since, when? 2000? 9/11? Was Katrina the other shoe?For a parallel, check out Sally Bowles in Berlin. Life is a cabaret, old chum!

        March 4, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  32. CaptMark

    This is great ! When the last American Soldier leaves Iraq leaves then we have won !! Now the private contractors should get in there and get paid VERY well to help them rebuild and do what need's to be done. They can pay and want to pay so let them !! Hopefully we have made the right impression on them. Only if they give us jobs will we know.

    October 21, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Reply
  33. Big_D

    Wow more success for Obama but the right is still hating on him. If it isn't racism what is it? Obama has done a great job in a horrible situation.

    October 21, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Reply
    • thomas diggler

      yeah it must be racism, **rolls eyes** or the fact that he has completely failed to fix one single thing maybe?

      worst president ever, black, white or whoever. worst ever

      October 21, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Reply
      • sara

        The worst president is recent history is the one who Lied to the America people for this war. It was unnecessay and it cost a lot of lives and treasury. Can we contribute some of the financial crisis in our own country to these expensive wars and along with Tax Cuts at a time of War?

        These Wars were a Distraction to the robbing of all of us. We didn't scream about the Deregulation of Wall Street and other Financial institutions in the early 2000's. We all were distracted by the unjust wars and Terrorist. We were psychologically "brainwashed" by the Bush administration for 8 years....proof....we only knew HOW bad it was in our own country 6 months before he 'high tailed" himself out of office. "I don't think about Bin Laden", he said. Then why not, if he had connections to Iraq and the killing of 3 plus thousand Americans. I know some are still "psychologically brainwashed, but there's no excuse now. Obama 2012. And if anyone think we will sit back and allow Voter Suppression haven't seen anything yet. Don't yell for someone else's "democracy" while Suppressng your own.

        October 22, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • tom

      well Obama didnt make this a success, it was already drawn up during W's term.....by the way I'm a contractor, and we knew back in 2004 that 2011 /2012 was the pull out date....so because I made this statement, there is going to be some one call ing me a racist....and I bet it this guy Big_D

      October 21, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Reply
    • EdC

      LOL, the failures of this administration have established a new low in America's history. Unfortunately those out-of-touch with reality will be screaming racism for the next century.

      October 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Reply
    • shimon

      The most filibusters ever by the Senate and now a completely obstructionist Congress is the sole reason we have not been lifted out of the current morass The Worst President Ever (W) left us in. When Barack is on his own (as Commander-In-Chief) he does right by the American people. Only an idiot would think otherwise. And yes, they can't stand the a black man is capable of fulfilling the toughest job in the world. It flies in the face of the 'black man=bad' narrative that keeps so many whites voting repub despite their horrid track record while in power.

      October 21, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Reply
  34. Cogito

    I'm ecstatic that US troops will be coming home, but I want to know when the US dollars going to these overpaid contractors will be coming home too. I want to see some "nation-building" in the US with as much fervor as it's being done in the middle east.

    Also, I read in another article earlier that 150 troops will be staying in Iraq in order "to assist with arms purchases." Considering that's how this whole clusterF@C& began in the first place, I'd say that is the definition of IDIOCY! (i.e. doing the same thing over & over & expecting a different result.)

    October 21, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Reply
    • tom

      so, you think we are over paid.....dont see your happy little self running the roads of Iraq or afghanistan.....with the attrition that we have.....we earn every penny.....

      October 21, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Reply
    • Dave

      Did not inderstand why our polticiantalk about building our own country? They always talk about rebuilding Iraq/Libya and ME countries or AFGANISTAN.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Reply
  35. Big_D

    Don't worry about the contractors, the oil companies will have to pay for their security from their own money instead of our tax dollars.

    October 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Reply
    • Steve

      And then get tax credit for it.

      October 21, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Reply
  36. Big_D

    These are not even a majority American workers and they don't pay any taxes to help us but, we do waste 390 billion a year on them from our tax dollars.

    October 21, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Reply
  37. Big_D

    These contractors take 390 billion a year and pay little to no income tax. This is great news for our deficit and most of these contractors are not even from the USA.

    October 21, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Reply
    • Jack

      I'm sorry, Big_D, but you don't know what you're talking about as far as contractors not paying taxes. That's only possible if individuals stay out of the country for 330 days per tax year, and most don't do that. I knew five or six who did out of all the people I met and worked with in six years of contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      Most contractors go home to visit family every three to six months, and pay the full rate on all of their income.

      October 21, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Reply
  38. Brian

    This looks like another incredible opportunity for massive fraud, waste, abuse, and 'lost billions!' – I can hardly wait!

    October 21, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Reply
    • Big_D

      This looks more like the end of that fraud.

      October 21, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  39. WDinDallas

    Guess the contractors are headed to Africa

    October 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Reply
    • Big_D

      Africa, Chile, and all there countries of origin is a good place for them.

      October 21, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  40. Ben James

    Leave those murdering scum to the Iraqis. Blackops, I mean Blackwater, I mean Xe should be placed in Abu Graibe for torture till their dead..

    October 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Reply
    • bamarulz

      You are an idiot. Nobody likes you, not even your parents.

      October 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Reply
    • John Galt

      M0ron..

      October 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Reply
    • Big_D

      They should stand trial for the crimes they have committed.

      October 21, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Reply
      • 11BinIRAQ

        I am a U.S. Soldier in Iraq and cant believe were going to leave this place and watch everything we did go down the drains so that idiot can keep a campaign promise. When the last of the U.S. forces cross into Kuwait in December, all 4,000 service members that loss there lives here will have done so for no reason. We may have killed a lot of bad guys, Iraqis, Syrians, Al Queida or anyone else that got in the way but the war was loss. Nothing pisses us off more then hearing people talk about how they are glad we are finally coming home. We want to stay and kill anyone that opposes our way of life so our sons and daughter's wont have to come back in 10-20 years to fight these people again. I say "Kill" because that is my job, "To close with, locate and destroy the enemy, by fire and maneuver and or close combat."

        If you want to help the troops, tell your President, our Commanding Chief to take of the leash and let us win these wars. If it sounds gruesome to you, suck it up or don't joint the Infantry.

        October 22, 2011 at 7:33 am |
      • Jimbo

        @11BinIRAQ- The SOFA was signed by Bush on 17 Nov. 2008. The current dolt in the WH has very little to do with that.
        Instead of authoring little diatribes on web pages, you should be attending school to prepare yourself for the civilian jobs market. May I suggest English Composition as a course high on your list?

        October 22, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
      • ABTEXAS

        Its call blood rage. Just because you want to stay and kill does not mean Iraq war is winnable. The Iraq war was won when Saddam was hung. Soon as he died we should of bailed out. Every time we help out a country the generations to come forget what we did for them. This includes some European countries. When its time to go its time to go. Remember you are a solider and the Prez is your commander in chief. Bottom line what is wrong with this country now is that no one has respect for anyone. And for some nub grunt soldier to call the prez an idiot shows that you have been in Iraq too long. When you are wearing that uniform don't make the rest of us look like nut bags. More than likely this was a troll. If anyone loves war something is not right.

        October 26, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  41. Ed in California

    Obama will try and take credit for anything since... He can not make a decision on anything or lead this country and less get anything to pass in the houses. He just likes to preach with no results....

    October 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Reply
    • Krista

      No results? Wow... I think your nickname should be ostrich 'cause you've had your head buried in the sand the last 2.8 years

      October 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Reply
      • Airman

        And you obviously just believe everysingle thing the media tells you, people like this are the reason this country has gone so wrong.

        October 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
      • bamarulz

        I agree. Obama has accomplished a lot. He has run unemployment up over 9%. He has ruined the housing market with regulations designed to crash the market. He has spent us into oblivion. He has lied more than a teenager on a date. He also told us that he has visited 57 states and only has a few more to go. Biden just said that private sector jobs were doing just fine- we need more government jobs. Is it 2012 yet?

        October 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
      • Ryne

        Lol idiot republican from Alabama. Obama has done fine and 4 more years hell prove it even more. You can't wait for the election??? Why? Obama is going to win easily.

        October 21, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
      • Pmitchell

        You're an idiot... the housing market was already in trouble when Obama took office as well as high unemployment rates... If they (Republicans) will pass the Jobs Act then maybe people who are not idiots (such as yourself) can get back to work...

        October 21, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
      • David

        I love it, I love it. Keep going repugs. Make up more and more lies. If you keep repeating it, then it will become true, RIGHT? hahahah you guys are following the fox/beck/rush script. I can always tell what youre going to say in a debate, because you all say the same thing, in the same order. Get over it. obama has indeed done what he said he was going to do ( minus the economy) he hasnt done it on YOUR time, but yet on his own, and with your party trying to block everything. The american public isnt stupid. They have all figured out that your party is falling apart. Look at your candidates, WEAK. no one on your side can challenge obama. If you notice....things just keep going his way. So you guys do what you do best, keep making up lies, and scare tactics............then repeat. im sure it will scare everyone............and make them not vote for your candidate :)

        October 21, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • Pat in NJ

      Ed you have obviously been asleep since Dubya's 'mission accomplished" speech. Best to not let the world know
      you are not the sharpest pencil in the box.

      October 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Reply
    • Amjo

      Ed stuff it

      October 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Reply
    • Jimbo

      WoW! The socialist obamanites have come out of the closet!
      To all obamanites- your hero, the Zero, has worsened everything he has involved himself in.

      October 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  42. Krista

    They havent' been "Left Behind". It's a job. They took the job. They're not held to it like they would be if they were in the military. They can quit.

    October 21, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  43. Chris

    Time for our government to simply start charging for theses services, after all, every time we "teach" another skill in a foreign country it's costing us JOBS in the US!

    October 21, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  44. SuZieCoyote

    "Prospective contracting companies may be "less interested" in setting up business in Iraq without the protection of the U.S. military, if they have done so in the past, he ["the executive"] said."

    This is self-serving drivel. The contractors who are mostly in place have been raking it in without any real competition, delivering minimal service for maximal dollars....they don't want to lose their cash cows and are trying to scare government officials into limiting competition. Every bid over there gets lots of proposals (I know...I'm in the biz) for good solid companies, but taking out an incumbent, even a poorly performing one, is near impossible. If we need contractors to stay in Iraq, there is no dearth of companies who are willing and would likely do a better job at better prices than those who have been entrenched for years. So, let's at least get good value for our tax dollars.

    October 21, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  45. joxer

    Contractors if you want to stay, stay but be aware of the risks. If you do not want to stay the Gov. should do everything to bring you home.

    October 21, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  46. T

    Simple, CONTRACTORS, GET OUT TO!!! Leave the whole country in Iraqi hands, and let them wipe their own rear ends now.

    October 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  47. PJ

    Probably Halliburton......Cheney's company. They made a fortune out of Cheney's illegal war.

    October 21, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  48. chizzlin sam

    you couldnt pay me enough....wait til al sadr and iran take over...

    October 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  49. chizzlin sam

    1700 imperialist diplomats and representatives supported by 9,000 contractors?

    October 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  50. borysd

    Time to get a real job Mercenary's ....if you can find one in the US...there is Africa of course !

    October 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Reply
  51. rexedie

    here's the rub.....( its about time) were bringing home our soldiers (the lowest paid and biggest pawns) ot the whole "bs" operation from the beginning.... but ...we will continue to "sht" away billions on contractors.... this is just a feel good move to get people back to sleep....while the contractors and the pentagon conjure up our next corporate outing... in the name of ....greed and arrogance.... uuuhhh i mean "freedom and democracy"

    October 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Reply
    • RillyKewl

      The neo-cons will have to come up with some new place to shock + awe + destroy. Gotta keep that military industrial complex busy.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Reply
      • bamarulz

        I hope they start with your house.

        October 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • jordan

      The scum always rises to the top.
      GET OUT OF IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN

      October 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • john/kc

      Why should the USA spend one dime more in Iraq. If you as a contractor or employee staying in Iraq, you should be on your own. Not one more dime of our non existent dollars should be spent there!

      October 21, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  52. Steve

    Shoot – these 'contractors' are making a bundle of money & just because the US Military won't be there in force doesn't mean the Iraqis won't need their 'expertise' – ALL on the US Taxpayer's Dime, LOL

    October 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Reply
  53. TeaPartyIdiot

    OMG Halliburton must be pooping their pants.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Reply
    • daniel

      Why? This is a golden opprtunity for them to raise their rates for "hazard pay".

      Or did you mean "pooping their pants in unholy glee"?

      October 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Reply
      • Ralph

        There want be no hazard pay after military pulls out the new contract does not have it for it was only given due to the war. So no war no hazard pay. No thanks are given the tradesmen who provided power, plumbing, carpentry to build all of your fancy picnic areas and welders to make your nice BBQ pits that you used every day and especially on Sundays due to your day of rest (which many most asurdly needed and many did not but used the day to do nothing). The tradesmen put up with your better than thou attitude for if something was said you went and cried to someone that you could not get your way and they got reprimanded and had time off with no pay and confined to their living area . Many of you would stretch the fact of your problem just so you could get your way and to hell with someone that needed the help, for you where like one way streets, you wanted all your way. Who would have hauled your water, cooked your food , washed your clothes, cleaned up after your nasty self;s, why some of you would even take a crap in the very showers you stood in to enjoy the running hot water you had to clean up in but none of you would put a stop to this kind of action for you thought it was funny: grow up and see others besides just your self center on self

        October 26, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • BillsCat

      Thank you. Can't imagine why this name doesn't come up every time there's mention of contractors in war zones. This guy should be a poster child.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  54. daniel

    Why is the State Department taking on the management of "trainers for the Iraqi police and military force, advisers to Iraqi government ministries, or of development projects". Isn't that the CIA's job? Come on.

    Also HOW MUCH DO THESE CONTRACTERS COST US IN OUR TAX DOLLARS? NOT ON MY DIME. NO WAY.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Reply
    • HAnk

      Agreed.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Reply
    • RillyKewl

      So wait, were you ok with your dime going to the pentagon to pay for all those things you listed, but just not for the state dept to do the same? or did you b itch about that same dime for the last 9 years as well?

      October 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Reply
    • Brandon

      Actually yes, it will be on your dime. Now how are we gonna blame Bush for this on?

      October 21, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Reply
    • Toooooo much

      How much is it costing? I don't think we can count that high.......

      October 21, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Reply
    • Louise

      I must admit, after the Dems took control of the House, I had HOPED they would step up to the plate and LEAD this conutry to resolution of many issues facing us, NOT just the war in Iraq, but immigration, pork spending, campaign finance, etc. YET all I see is the whining diatribes of the Democratic leadership firing volley after volley across the aisle and into the White House.So much for Democratic strategy.

      June 28, 2012 at 10:14 am | Reply
  55. I'm Not a Tool for The One Percent

    Hooray!! Mission Accomplished!! Twice in one week!! :) :)

    Now the GOP needs to pass Obama's Jobs bill so they will have jobs!

    If you're a right wing detractor, you sound like a Westboro kook today!

    Support the troops! Vote for Obama 2012!!! :) :)

    October 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Reply
    • BorisMKV

      Yeah...the war was over *before* Obama took office and it took him three years to pull our troops out. And they're pulling out because Obama won't accept the idea that troops who commit crimes in Iraq shouldn't be prosecuted by Iraqi authorities. Yeah. That's a win for him.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Reply
      • jb

        Take your head out of your backside.. Shrub declared Mission Accomplished 2 years after he used WMDs as a a lame excuse and went in to finish daddy’s debacle, and overthrow the Iraqi government. Problem was, like everything he did, which was half a$$ed. there was no exit strategy or plans to stabilize the region. Cheney wouldn't let him, Halliburton was making too much money and look, Dick would even shoot a friend in the face, just think of what he's doo to someone that pi$$ed him off. Another 1%'er made millions from 1 $trillion tax dollars wasted.

        October 21, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Illuminati

      Are you serious? Obama is the worst president in history and is about to lose an election to a lack-luster field of Republican candidates! In spite of his promises, the timeline for getting out of Iraq wasn't much different than under Bush, Obama ramped up the predator program that Bush was maligned for, Obama still hasn't closed Guantanamo, and Obama has had most of his presidency to turn the economy around and his failure to do so is hurting us all. Obama makes Bush look like the best of presidents. Our only consolation is that he'll soon be out and unable to do further harm to America by making unwanted apologies on our behalf like he is ashamed of us, allowing our economy to slide even farther into a deep recession, and trying to institute socialism (a failed notion if there ever was one).

      October 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Reply
      • Sidewinder

        A little cooperation from the GOP would help get the economy on firmer ground, but I know it's too easy for you to blame Obama. The party of "NO" says nothing much will happen until they win the white house again, then they will lower the taxes for all wealthy people to zero and print more money to give Haliburton to run the soup kitchens and private prisons to keep the rest of us locked up.

        October 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
      • Josh

        If I were Obama, I would be apologizing for the worthlessness of half the politicians in the country (the Republicans) too.

        October 21, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  56. I'm Not a Tool for The One Percent

    Are you a GOP tool making fun of Obama and our proud troops today? ;)

    If so, you're a tool for the 1%. ;)

    October 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Reply
    • HAnk

      Nope, not making fun of Obama or the troops. Just tools that spam garbage thinking they are convincing people with their BS.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Reply
  57. I'm Not a Tool for The One Percent

    The GOP naysayers sound like Westboro kooks today. Heck, they probably are Westboro members!

    October 21, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  58. I'm Not a Tool for The One Percent

    Hooray!! Mission Accomplished!! Twice in one week!! :) :)

    Now the GOP needs to pass Obama's Jobs bill so they will have jobs!

    Support the troops! Vote for Obama 2012!!! :) :)

    October 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Reply
    • EdC

      Oddly, the level of confidence in the Commander-in-Chief by the troops is at an all-time low in American history. How in the world can you believe that the troops will be voting for someone with such a track record of incompetence and lack of judgment. By the way, I can only hope that sooner or later CNN notices your repeated spamming of the same post and bans you from future posting.

      October 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  59. SMSUSAF

    Hay some Contractor like the ones at Torris get $225.00 mo that is slavery

    October 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Reply
    • Destiny

      despairbring on October 20, 2011 The Twilight Game would be aewmose! You could play as sall the different vampires (Edward as the main character) and while you venture through the game, you find out about the secrets of the vampires, and battle some werewolves, Carnivores, Etc.The battling could be RPG Based, like final fantasy.or proper real-time combat like the Matrix.and you could have various missions on it for example: Kill 50 Werewolves in 3 Minutes.The game too could be combined with the movie clips.

      March 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  60. I'm Not a Tool for The One Percent

    The 1% make billions in profit off of the security contractors. They aren't going to let them come home without a fight.

    I say the troops join OWS and give the 1% a fight!!

    October 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Reply
    • Takako

      Jehosh27 on October 20, 2011 Well, the contest is over now, but I think The Last Samurai would be great. You start off with a gun, and know next to nihotng about swords. (how about the indian raid for the tutorial?) and as the game progresses, factions come into view, and you can side with whomever you want. Multiple, alternate endings, and even alternate fighting styles. Maybe Algren fights AGAINST the samurai at the end? it would be a very fun game, I think, especially if Bioware made it.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Reply
  61. SMSUSAF

    Obama is letting down the US military and all I did to secure Iraq for the people who were being killed now Iran will win

    October 21, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Reply
    • hopper

      from the second BushCo decided to lie us into Iraq, Iran won.

      October 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  62. Rob

    I think as nice as it is to make money, I would definitely want to avoid taking a contract in a war ravaged country. It seems... unfair perhaps, to expect our military to protect you as make the choice to put yourself into a potentially dangerous situation. If I was a contractor over there right now, I'd be looking for a way out ASAP.

    October 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  63. SMSUSAF

    Obama is not telling you the trouth...he is using Serria Leone's as troops for two years now and they are staying.... who do you think the bad guys got into the FOB's to kill our troops and CIA personal

    October 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  64. lazeace

    Quit pushing Cain on the people, You have a lot of negitive to say about all the candidate's except Herman Cain.

    How about another person with no experience in government at all.. He needs to go back to selling pizzas.

    What America does not need is another tax under any guise

    October 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  65. Maggie

    Happy as can be! We have had our men and women watching the backs of contractors that have been making billions off this war. Enough is enough! Our US troops don't get paid as much as these contractors that work there do but they are expected to watch their backs? Bring our men and women home! If you want to make money over in Iraq don't do it on the backs of our US troops!

    October 21, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Reply
    • Ryne

      Shut up and stop your bitching. Just because contractors get paid more means nothing. Grow up

      October 21, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Reply
      • Cogito

        Ryne:
        Considering that it's MY TAX DOLLARS paying for them, I will NOT stop my bitching, and Maggie shouldn't either.
        Get off your high horse & grow a brain cell or two.

        October 21, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
      • Maggie

        Ryne,
        Really and who's the one that needs to grow up.........

        October 21, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
      • DoNotWorry

        Private military forces are another way for corporations to steal this country blind. What happens to America when her corporations have the larger military force?

        October 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm |

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