Front Line Warriors in Iraq - Vids and commentary

Quite an interesting site with some streaming clips.


In "Private Warriors," FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith travels throughout Kuwait and Iraq to give viewers an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at companies like Kellogg, Brown & Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, and its civilian army. KBR has 50,000 employees in Iraq and Kuwait that run U.S. military supply lines and operate U.S. military bases. KBR is also the largest contractor in Iraq, providing the Army with $11.84 billion dollars in services since 2002.

Historically, there is nothing new about the military's use of private contractors, but the Iraq war has seen outsourcing on an unprecedented scale. The policy change came after the Cold War when the Pentagon was downsizing under then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. Cheney first hired Halliburton as a consultant and later became the company's president. Halliburton subsidiary KBR is now one of the largest recipients of government contracts.

FRONTLINE visits the biggest Halliburton/KBR run base, Camp Anaconda, in the Sunni triangle. Behind concrete walls 28,000 soldiers and 8,000 civilians live in bases that offer Taekwondo and Salsa lessons, movie theatres, fast food courts, and four meals a day. The amenities are impressive, but some argue that there is a price to pay. Says a former base commander Marine Colonel Thomas X. Hammes, "it's misguided luxury … somebody's risking their lives to deliver that luxury."

And while KBR was glad to provide Smith with a tour of the facilities, they weren't able or willing to answer some basic questions about how much certain services -- like feeding the troops -- cost. Smith eventually finds some answers from the Army base commander, but numerous audits are underway to determine just how the contracts are being fulfilled. In response to allegations of overcharging in the tens of millions of dollars, KBR's Vice President of Worldwide Military Affairs, Paul Cerjan says, "the only thing we can do is stand up and give a true and honest evaluation of what we've done. … And let whoever is making the assessment make the assessment. We are not afraid of that process."

"Private Warriors" also explores a very different kind of contractor -- the private world of security teams that work for firms like Blackwater, Aegis, and Erinys. They provide armed protection for U.S. government officials, government offices, military installations and even military commanders.

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