I'm presently writing a novel that relates the efforts of an aging activist to obstruct the cancer-like growth of the military-industrial complex--its insinuation into a complex of media, global corporations, intelligence operations and the like. Among the difficulties I'm having in plotting the story is keeping up with the present Administration's various outrages in this regard. Bush, Ashcroft, the NeoCons and the compliant media keep trumping my most imaginative horribles. And now, with the fantastic growth of outsourcing of military functions to private corporations, I'm falling still farther behind.
This excellent Business Week.com article , detailing the growing utilization of these "corporate mercenaries" points out the many deficiencies of "privatization" of military functions (including that an outsourced mechanic can, rather than fix a broken tread on a tank on the battlefield, simply hand in his resignation to his employer or request vacation time). Indeed, as the article points out, the reason for the lousy state of amenities (such as cooked food, toilets, water) available to our troops in Iraq is that the private suppliers didn't want to get in harm's way. They didn't even deliver the mail for some weeks for fear of being shot at.
At the end of the article, the authors equate this phenomenom to that of which Eisenhower spoke in his farewell address to the nation in 1961, when he warned of the growth of the military-industrial complex. It is here in Iraq, in a new form, and it's called Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Dick Cheney's Halliburton Industries.
So, it's off to the computer. I've got to revise my novel again.