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Exploitation of Africans in Iraq

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posted on Jan, 9 2010 @ 05:41 AM

As President Barack Obama announces plans to withdraw US troops from Iraq, thousands of young Ugandans are increasingly desperate to be sent to the war-torn country. Already, the Ugandan government says there are more than 10,000 men and women from this poverty-stricken East African nation working as private security guards in Iraq. Hired out to multibillion-dollar companies for hundreds of dollars a month, they risk their lives seeking fortunes protecting US Army bases, airports, and oil firms.

The war in Iraq is the most privatized conflict in history. Since the invasion in 2003, the US Department of Defense has doled out contracts worth an estimated $100 billion to private firms. Covering a vast range of services from catering to dry cleaning to security, one in every five dollars the US spends in Iraq ends up in the pockets of the contractors, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office. Increasingly these jobs have been outsourced to developing countries.

It is clear why the US contractors came to Uganda. As an impoverished former British colony, the country is awash with unemployed and English-speaking potential recruits. Its pliant government was an early member of President Bush's "coalition of the willing," and with a lingering 20-year insurgency, it also has a glut of experienced army veterans, who made up the initial contingent of Ugandans in Iraq.

Ten-thousands of Africans serve in Iraq as security personnel for private contractors such as Blackwater. Although the term 'slavery' is arguable, I personally find exploitation not strong enough. They indeed do volunteer, but that's because of the miserable situation in their own country. Uganda is one these countries. Unemployment is sky high and the relatively high salary of $500 per month persuades many young men to enlist for these security jobs in Iraq. These private contractors, in their turn, willingly abuse the poor situation of these people.

Although they factually are not forced to enlist, it saddens me that we, the West, have taken exploitation to a whole new level: to exploit them as soldiers in large numbers to fight our dirty wars.

The next thing is their wage, which is peanuts in comparison to the salaries earned by their American or British counterparts whom earn up to $500 dollars a day. The situation in Uganda has become so severe that the inflow of money send home by these mercenaries ($90 million / year) has exceeded the total yield of the country's most important export product: coffee ($70 million / year).

The people in charge of companies like Blackwater must feel very comfortable while swimming in the sea of cash that equals 1 billion in earnings since 2004.


posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 10:06 AM
dunno, for one thing it is not "we the west" who are exploiting, if the correct term is indeed "exploiting"

Most people in the west have nothing to do with these private security firms.

As for the money they earn, dunno, it is all relative, £500 a month would get you more in Uganda than the equivalent higher earnings could get you in the UK.


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