It was one of the most terrible abuses of the presidency of George W. Bush: The use of mercenaries from companies like Blackwater, private security contractors who took the opportunity of war in Iraq and Afghanistan to commit terrible crimes, even the murder of civilians.
So, under Barack Obama the use of mercenaries has been abolished, right? Wrong.
Under President Obama, the use of mercenaries by the U.S. government is expanding. Last year, there were 22,000 mercenaries in Afghanistan and Iraq. This year, there are 28,178 mercenaries in Afghanistan and Iraq – an increase of 28 percent.
Last week in Congress, Bernard Sanders and Jan Schakowsky introduced legislation to prohibit the use of mercenaries for security roles that have been traditionally been filled by the military. The legislation is registered as S. 1428 in the Senate, and H.R. 2665 in the House of Representatives.
So far, there are no U.S. senators willing to cosponsor the legislation. However, thirteen members of the House of Representatives have signed on to support the bill. Their names are:
John Conyers (Democrat-MI, District 14), Anna Eshoo (Democrat-CA, District 14), Bob Filner (Democrat-CA, District 51), Luis Gutierrez (Democrat-IL, District 4), Maurice Hinchey (Democrat-NY, District 22), Mazie Hirono (Democrat-HI, District 2), Marcy Kaptur (Democrat-OH, District 9), Barbara Lee (Democrat-CA, District 9), James McGovern (Democrat-MA, District 3), Gwen Moore (Democrat-WI, District 4), Jared Polis (Democrat-CO, District 2), Pete Stark (Democrat-CA, District 13), Lynn Woolsey (Democrat-CA, District 6)
If you want to see an end to the problems caused by mercenaries representing the United States in the field of war, call your U.S. representative and senators and ask them to add their names to this legislation.