Show Less
Restricted access

Privatization of America’s Public Institutions

The Story of the American Sellout

Lawrence Baines

Privatization of America’s Public Institutions describes the transformation of the military, K–12 public schools, public universities and colleges, and prisons into enterprises focused on generating profits for a select few. In many cases, privatization has limited accessibility, promoted segregation, fueled declining standards, increased costs, and reduced quality.

Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 1. Privatizing the Military: Profiting from the Carnage of War


← 8 | 9 →

· 1 ·


Profiting from the Carnage of War

On September 16, 2007, at Nisoor Square in Bagdad, mercenaries who had been hired by the U.S. government fired machine guns and threw hand grenades into a crowd of unarmed Iraqis, killing 17 persons, including children as young as 9 years old.1 The mercenaries worked for Blackwater, a corporation headed by an American executive named Erik Prince who had previously brokered several million-dollar deals with the U.S. government.2 The previous year, the State Department had given “$1.2 billion to Blackwater, Triple Canopy, and Dyncorp International, which collectively provided some fifteen hundred ‘shooters,’ or armed civilians authorized to kill, in Iraq alone.”3

In governmental parlance, armed contractors are not called mercenaries, but Private Security Contractors. Private Security Contractors sounds more benign than mercenaries, but the phrase is often reduced to the abbreviation, PSCs. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a mercenary is

“1. A person who works merely for money or other material reward;

2. A soldier paid to serve in a foreign army or other military organization.”4

Before Nisoor Square, when envisioning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, most of us might have imagined American soldiers patrolling besieged cities or protecting civilians against enemy assailants. While soldiers performed such tasks, a more accurate picture would have to include private contractors, ← 9 | 10 → lots of them. In every year since...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.