As the Iraq war moves toward its fifth anniversary (which gift experts say should be commemorated with keepsakes of wood or, for the more modern couple, silverware), a weary nation is crying out with one voice: It’s time to bring our contractors home.
Yes, it’s time to hang out yellow ribbons for Blackwater, to cover our cars with bumper stickers that support the mercenaries, to wear with pride the red, white, and blue wristbands that say, simply, “You’re either FOR our soldiers of fortune or for the terrorists.”
Let’s be honest here. Since the war began, it’s been the contractors who’ve borne the true risks of bringing democracy to the people of Iraq. While U.S. soldiers perform their missions in full battle gear and armored vehicles, contractors do their duty with only sunglasses and a nasty attitude. They rarely use their weapons, except in extreme cases, such as when they’re held up in traffic. And who can blame them? During rush hour, who among us hasn’t wished we could spray a clogged intersection with sustained fire from automatic weapons? (If ever there was a justification for driving a Humvee bristling with AK47s, it’s when you’re late getting home to watch Oprah.)
Unfortunately for Blackwater, its employees have gotten some bad press lately, mainly because they look like former members of the World Wrestling Federation, where the key job skills involve breaking chairs over each other’s heads. (Admittedly, these were fake chairs, but the bravado was very real.) No question, these men are a little rough around the edges, but what better place to put them to work than in a foreign country desperate for the benefits of democracy and the free market system. And without capitalism, “freedom is just another word for nothin’ left to bill for.”