The Obama administration reportedly plans to add 14,000 combat troops to those already in Afghanistan. The plan is to swap out military clerical workers and other support staff for so-called “trigger pullers” – combat troops that will serve on the front lines of the fight against the Taliban. Picking up the clerical slack? Private contractors. There are more than 68,000 private contractors already working in Afghanistan, which is more than the number of American troops in the country. This news comes hot on the heels of reports that members of ArmorGroup North America, the private security firm that guards the U.S. embassy in Kabul, were engaged in lewd and deviant behavior while off duty.
To find out what this increase in private contractors means and who monitors their work, we speak with Jeremy Scahill, the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, and with Doug Brooks, president of the International Peace Operations Association, a trade organization for military contractors.