The college where I work runs a small Internet café, and people from Tala and the surrounding areas come to browse the net. I always see people checking their e-mail, browsing Facebook, etc, but about once a month I see someone applying for military contracting jobs with companies like Blackwater and KBR. I don’t know whether I’m more disturbed that Kenyans are applying to go make money murdering people in Iraq, or the fact that United States companies are hiring people from developing countries to fight their battles.
These guys never even ask for help. They just come sit on the computer and go right to where they’re going. It’s like the word on the street is that you can get rich quick if you go to Iraq. Most of this stuff happened during the Bush era, so I don’t even know if these companies are even hiring anymore. I do know that at one time there were more private military contractors in Iraq than actual US Army dudes. Like 180,000 of them or something. Private militaries! Are you kidding me? These companies have their own helicopters, tanks, armored cars, guns, etc… it’s ridiculous. Just go google around and you’ll see stories talking about stuff like how, for example, Blackwater mercenaries are better-equipped and better-paid than US Army troops. Not to mention they have zero accountability (who does a private contractor take orders from?).
The sad thing is, the guy browsing on our computer is most likely just some guy trying to feed his family. He’s probably a nice guy… but does he have any idea about what he’s fighting for? Is he fighting to defend freedom and the American way of life (2.5 kids, a dog, white picket fence, etc)? Does he have any idea why the US thinks those people are “terrorists?” I think we’d be fooling ourselves to say we stand for something; it’s more likely that we’re all just trying to get filthy, stinking rich. At least a hundred thousand Iraqis have died, and for what? Some dudes are getting rich and some other dudes are paying the price with their life! I guess you just gotta hope that you’re on the right side of the barrel when the gun goes off, eh?
In Apr 2003 when the invasion of Iraq began, The Daily Nation had a quarter page front page ad saying that the US was looking for Kenyan truckers to drive convoys in Iraq. The ad said that Kenyans were ideal for this job because they were already used to driving in dry, arid zones.
The next day, Apr 2nd, the Daily Nation reveled that the advert was an April Fool’s joke.
I am sad to see that it has become reality. Life imitates art, my friend. It does. My partner’s cousin is a pilot in the air force and he tells me that all menial jobs in these bases abroad are done by South Asians and Africans.
Not only are people making money with this large scale privatization of the occupation, they are taking *our* tax payer money.
That’s an interesting tidbit, man. I guess it’s nothing new, though, Africans have been fighting battles for Europeans for a long time. If I’m not mistaken, didn’t Kenyans serve on the front lines for the British in World War II? And then there are the Ghurkas from Nepal who have been serving in the Queen’s Army for over a hundred years…
It’s a sad state of affairs, dude!
Back in 2006 I remember several Kenyans asking me if it was true that KBR drivers in Iraq could make millions of KSh working in Iraq. Sure they can! I told ’em, just be careful of losing your life!
Some of links I directed them to:
and go nuts with a G-search of “KBR recruiting Kenyans for Iraq”
But it is very untrue these poor schlubs will be fighting our battles! Only non-combat roles they are given, “truck driver, food service, laundry and maintenance positions”.
Such a typical recruit (pardon the pun) is not gonna care two figs about the politics of the war, they just want the money.
KBR and such love such workers because they’ll continue to work despite bad conditions, they’re not gonna rat out to the media, and if they are “missing in action” KBR doesn’t have to include them in public casualty statistics!
Now that the contracting feedbag is going to be reduced even cutoff, you know the contractors will be recruiting even more aggressively in developing countries as the payscale won’t be as attractive to American workers.
Hah, did you say “G-search?” That’s like LMGTFY (let me google that for you), I always crack up when someone asks a question and then gets that as a suggestion. Anyways, thanks for the links and the personal insight. I’m curious, are you from Kenya or the US?
Born & Bred red-blooded (mid-Atlantic) Yankee!
But right now I’m livin’ & lovin’ in Nairobi. yay!