By Gerry Schumacher, Steve Gansen
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Extra resources for A Bloody Business: America's War Zone Contractors and the Occupation of Iraq
To witness the void between Vietnam’s leadership and the people, one only had to wander into a thatched hut in some rural village or hamlet. In accordance with the law, each hut was adorned with framed photographs of their president. A common image showed him in a suit and tie standing next to a Lincoln Continental. Little wonder that peasants and farmers related more to Ho Chi Minh than the government we were there to support. S. State Department and the Department of Defense have done little training of advisors for local and regional officials and senior-level military officers of developing nations in the time since Vietnam.
S. forces stretched too thin by other conflicts, hundreds of contractors are involved in counter-drug training and operations in Colombia. They are training national police forces, military units, and paramilitary operatives. The contractors are, for the most part, former Green Berets, Navy Seals, retired intelligence agency personnel, and police officers. Some are pilots and others are handlers for tracking dogs. S. foreign policy. S. and international standards. Although they are directed to avoid direct combat, it is impossible for them to maintain a noncombatant posture if their personal safety is threatened.
Religious, cultural, tribal, and ethnic combatants—and especially terrorists without national affiliations—are confronting conventional armies with unconventional tactics. For them, it is less about winning than it is a waiting game, a test of wills to see who can hold out the longest. In addition to creating general mayhem and disorder through kidnappings, beheadings, car bombs, gun battles, and assassinations, these unconventional forces make maximum use of technology, including computers, the Internet, encryption equipment, and the media, both to terrorize civilians and to recruit more jihadists to their cause.