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By Gerry Schumacher, Steve Gansen
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Additional resources for A Bloody Business: America's War Zone Contractors and the Occupation of Iraq
In many cases, their services offer critical skills that could not be readily procured from within our military and government personnel pool. S. forces. While the economics cannot be discounted, most contractors will insist that patriotism also ranks high on their list of motivations. That today’s nation-states are any less motivated by economics than individual contractors is hard to dispute. Simply put, it is cheaper to pay big money for temporary help than it is to maintain a large standing military.
Many become trainers, personal-security agents, and asset-protection guards. Security and training contractors often seek and receive permission to carry weapons. If they are not authorized to carry a personal firearm, they get around this limitation by theoretically having to conduct firearms training, twenty-four hours a day. They have been attacked while training police or military units or protecting their assignment. Under these conditions, they are authorized to use lethal force to subdue their attackers.
If a contractor is taken prisoner by enemy forces, does he have an obligation to resist interrogation? Is he protected under the Geneva Convention? Soldiers can receive a court-martial for failure to respond to orders—is there a similar disciplinary action for contractors? For instance, if a technician contractor is working on ground-surveillance radar equipment in support of an army unit, and that unit comes under attack, must the contractor respond to directives from military personnel? Are all contractors allowed to carry weapons?