Thursday, November 10, 2005

more memorandum from captain random:

while riding home for lunch yesterday, n.p.r. talked about the conventions of american "contractors" which often meet at the Hyatt Amman Hotel in Jordan. this report follows on the heels of two years worth of discussions about the number of american "contractors" in iraq, the unfortunately tragic hanging of american "contractors" in iraq, etc. every time we hear reporters talking about american "contractors" we should remember that most of these men and women are former army rangers, navy seals and marines who are serving in highly armed security details and even occasionally interrogating iraqi prisoners. in short, most of the "contractors" are domestic mercenaries. i know this note may sound a bit like quibbling, but i believe that it is important identify a person and explain their function correctly. by referring to them as "contractors" we are insulating ourselves from reality. america has anywhere between 20 - 40,0000 domestic mercenaries working in iraq. my hunch is that these particular "contractors" far outnumber the plumbers, engineers and aluminum siders working to rebuild the country. i'm not looking to pick a fight, i'm just interested in accurate reporting.

i have a confession to make: i have an ATM handicap. i have left my debit card in a local ATM machine not once, not twice, but four times in the past six months. moreover, as much as i would like to blame my fiscal failure on the machine, the truth constrains me from doing so. i have not only lost debit cards to the beverly co-op bank, but have left them at the local bank of america branch as well. i am so ashamed! maybe i should go on oprah.

okay, i have two confessions. since taking the copywriter position here at lightway i've really enjoyed my job. my day has gone crazy, i have more responsibilities than i can manage and i feel like i am constantly working in areas that are outside of my actual skill set...and i am loving it. who knew that i could enjoy life at lightway?

to balance that last note, i would like to encourage those of you who currently hate your jobs. i personally know of two amazingly creative individuals, bill james of bill james' abstract and sabr fame, and harvey pekar, the author of american splendor, who have openly confessed to utilizing the lull periods at their daily occupations, bill worked for van kamp baked beans and pekar for the veteran's administration, as opportunities to write, create, study and explore their vocations. i am not encouraging you should read flaubert, edit your indie films or examine folios of abstract art while you're on the clock, but they certainly are.

okay, i'm off to indian territory. i'll try to provide periodic updates this weekend.


Anonymous said...

pekor has a new autobiographical graphic novel out called, "The Quitter." Read the first few pages here:

ahbahsean said...

so if i stand behind you at the ATM, you're saying it's possible you'll leave your card and i can make some quick cash???? sweet.

mudflaps said...

to what extent are they mercenaries and where do you get your info? I'm curious.

g13 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
g13 said...

mercenaries are professional soldiers who are hired for service in a foreign army. most of our "contractors" do not fit the traditional definition since they are american citizens and usually former soldiers. however, when they officially leave the army and perform military work (the most notorious example of this was the civilian "contractors" who were performing interogations at abu ghraib) on contract, they are, in a very real sense, operating as domestic mercenaries. these crews are often officially employed either by a major corporation such as halliburton or by a small company of their own design.

again, this isn't a major issue in the scheme of things, i just think accurate reporting is important. about a year ago we were grieved to hear of the heinous and inappropriate hangings and decapitations of american "contractors." when i heard this i assumed that these contractors were builders, plumbers, administrators, etc. in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

i mean no disrespect to those who serve our country well. the last thing i would want to do is bring dishonor to our troops or veterans on their day.


Anonymous said...

hey, however you cut it, our regular soldiers are hired mercenaries too. If that's direspecttful and brings dishonor, so be it.

g13 said...

i don't think that's necessarily true. i think they are set apart from mercenaries by their clear authority structures, fiscal and administrative ties to the national government, etc. what really bothers me about the domestic mercenaries is that their accountability to the government is a bit of a grey area. this seems to suggest that the government could use them to perform military operations, such as torture, that lie outside of the bounds of standards such as the army field manual. my guess, and it is only a guess, is that halliburton's standards regarding prisoner treatment are a little more fluid than the governments (written) standards are. i don't think that international corporations are bound by the geneva convention treaty. of course, half the time our govt. doesn't think it is either.