There's a new book out by Tim Shorrock called Spies for Hire. I haven't read it yet, but I did see some pages that feature Congressman David Price and his work on the business of military contractors. Shorrock singles out Congressman Price as an effective and persistent advocate for accountability in the deep, dark world of mercenary madness.
I've been critical of Congress in general and Mr. Price in particular (since he's my Congressman) but I want to use this post to praise the work David Price has done so far in bringing the dogs of war to heel. An excerpt from the book:
The outsourcing amendment to the the intelligence bill was largely the work of one Congressman who has diligently pursuing the issue of contractor accountability since 2003: David Price, D-North Carolina.
Representative Price began his quest for accountability in 2006 by drafting an amendment to an intelligence spending bill that asked the Bush administration to disclose the types of activities that were appropriate for contractors and show how their hiring saved money for American taxpayers.
Details about the intelligence bill amendment can be found here. It's a good start down the very long road of ending the blight of mercenary contractors:
“Contracting in the intelligence community has more than doubled in scope in the last decade, and it’s clear that effective management and oversight is lacking,” Rep. Price said. “We’ve got to get a handle on it. That means demanding more complete information, establishing more effective management practices and, in some cases, drawing a red line to prevent the privatization of especially sensitive activities.”
Rep. Price has been on the forefront of efforts in Congress to rein in the Bush Administration’s unprecedented use of contractors for sensitive national security functions. He is the author of legislation that passed the House last October, which would enhance the government’s prosecution of abusive actions by rogue security contractors. That bill was passed shortly after the infamous shootout in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, in which contractors for Blackwater USA fired on unarmed civilians, killing 17.
I want to give Congressman Price a ton of credit for the work he's done - and I want to encourage him (and you) to keep the pressure on for the next steps and the next steps required to end the practice of using mercenaries to fight our wars and protect our country.
No diplomat from the US State Department should ever be under the care of armed contractors. That is the job of the US armed forces. No supply convoy should ever be escorted by armed contractors. That is the job of the US armed forces.
Thank you Congressman Price for all you're doing. Please let us know what it will take to keep this ball rolling.