Mercenarios ganan más en Irak que las tropas regulares

Today, there are tens of thousands of men and women who were called away from their jobs and families – they had entered the National Guard, which requires under most circumstances a six month training period and then just two weeks of active service each year – because their nation required them to serve in the deserts of Iraq and in the treacherous streets of cities deeply angry with the US occupation.
According to figures current during the active war a year ago, the salary of a soldier in the lowest rank who has one year’s service was $15,480 a year – only a thousand dollars more than the average pay for an usher in a movie theatre in the USA. The pay for an experienced corporal of three years of service was $19,980 a year.
For this, US soldiers are on the frontlines in Iraq, risking their lives; with over 700 dead, and many more returning home amputees and permanently impaired, they have much at risk, yet their nation recompenses them with minimal pay.
Meanwhile, the government pays private firms between $500 and $1,500 a day for the experienced military personnel they supply in Iraq. That works out to mercenaries who often earn between $150,000 and $250,000 a year.
In stark terms, a mercenary works in a less risky position, providing support to fighting men or guarding oil wells instead of going on patrols in hostile territory under enemy fire and assault – and makes 10 or 20 times as much money as a soldier who serves his country instead of a corporation.
There are mercenaries making more than General Tommy Franks, who commanded the US armed forces in last year’s war in Iraq. With more than 36 years of service, Franks’ annual base pay was $153,948.
Is it possible to sustain an army when mercenaries for private contractors take less risks and earn 10 times as much as soldiers? Is it possible to delude Iraqis and Americans alike that a reconstruction budget is for reconstruction, when a quarter of it pays for private military forces? Is it possible to successfully change the color of the corpses in Iraq? Is this sort of warfare sustainable, and more tellingly, is it by any measure ethical? Time will tell.

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