Who are the private contractors fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan? An inside look at this invisible military force

 

The debate on privatizing the war in Afghanistan is heating up yet again, with Democratic lawmakers pledging to end so-called “forever wars.” The public is slowly recognizing the war’s hidden costs and global scale.

 

In 2016, 1 in 4 U.S. armed personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan was a private contractor. This means that the war is already being outsourced, yet scholars, the media and the general public know almost nothing about it.

 

Because contractors operate in the shadows, without effective public oversight, they allow policymakers to have their cake and eat it too – by appearing to withdraw, while keeping proxy forces in theater. Who are the contractors who actually execute American policy? Are they equipped to succeed in this important task? What risks is the U.S. asking them to take?

 

See our op-ed on the topic at The Conversation 

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Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work

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