Big Con reader Brian C. points to an Annotation of a Blackwater contract in the new issue of Harper's that suggests the national security state's new personnel policies may be more economical than they appear at first glance: that despite their high pay, Blackwater "independent contractors receive no benefits—no insurance, no health care, and no disability. U.S. soldiers, by contrast, are entitled to life insurance, free medical care, death benefits, subsidized higher education, a housing allowance and a guaranteed savings plan."
Not only that, Brian points out "the typical Blackwater contract insures that the independent contractors release the company from any liability whatsoever, even in the face of gross negligence. And even worse, there's a clause which states that if family members of a deceased Blackwater contractor ignore this aspect of the clause and try to sue Blackwater for negligence, that very act amounts to a 'breach of contract' that entitles the company to $250,000 within five days of notice. A bunch of possible lawsuits against the company have been put on hold precisely because it's unclear whether the law will recognize the validity of such counter-suits by Blackwater."
Decades in the future, come these poor contractors' decrepitude, the contracts might turn out to be cheap. Who says this White House didn't plan ahead in Iraq? They're emptying out what's most indisputably progressive about the military: that it takes care of its people. I wonder if it isn't intentional.