Salary comparisons for
private security firms
Today, there are tens of thousands of men and women who were called
away from their jobs and families - they had entered the National
Guard, which requires under most circumstances a six month training
period and then just two weeks of active service each year - because
their nation required them to serve in the deserts of Iraq and in
the treacherous streets of cities deeply angry with the US occupation.
According to figures current during the active war a year ago, the
salary of a soldier in the lowest rank who has one year's service
was $15,480 a year - only a thousand dollars more than the average
pay for an usher in a movie theatre in the USA. The pay for an experienced
corporal of three years of service was $19,980 a year.
For this, US soldiers are on the frontlines in Iraq, risking their
lives; with over 700 dead, and many more returning home amputees and
permanently impaired, they have much at risk, yet their nation recompenses
them with minimal pay.
Meanwhile, the government pays private firms between $500 and $1,500
a day for the experienced military personnel they supply in Iraq.
That works out to mercenaries who often earn between $150,000 and
$250,000 a year.
In stark terms, a mercenary works in a less risky position, providing
support to fighting men or guarding oil wells instead of going on
patrols in hostile territory under enemy fire and assault - and makes
10 or 20 times as much money as a soldier who serves his country instead
of a corporation.
There are mercenaries making more than General Tommy Franks, who
commanded the US armed forces in last year's war in Iraq. With more
than 36 years of service, Franks' annual base pay was $153,948.
Is it possible to sustain an army when mercenaries for private contractors
take less risks and earn 10 times as much as soldiers? Is it possible
to delude Iraqis and Americans alike that a reconstruction budget
is for reconstruction, when a quarter of it pays for private military
forces? Is it possible to successfully change the color of the corpses
in Iraq? Is this sort of warfare sustainable, and more tellingly,
is it by any measure ethical? Time will tell.
The author, Huck Gutman, a
former Fulbright Visiting Professor at Calcutta University, is Professor
of English at the University of Vermont.
I'm betting that this is the info. that will turn
the military families against this war!