Here's the money quote:
Security firms earn more than $4 billion in government contracts, but the government doesn't know how many private soldiers it has hired, or where all of them are, according to the Government Accountability Office. And the companies are not required to report violent incidents involving their employees.
See, even with the double, triple, and even quadruple deployments among US ARmy, Reserve, and National Guard units, we don't have enough soldiers in Iraq to get the job done, however our government is defining "the job" this week. And $600 billion hasn't been enough to provide them with all the materials to do the job either.
So, we're subcontracting a good part of the job out. To soldiers for hire.
For which, i've always understood, the word is mercenaries.
Of course, if these guys were on the other side, we'd probably be using a different word for them.
And as the country has plummeted toward anarchy and civil war, this private army has been accused of indiscriminately firing at American and Iraqi troops, and of shooting to death an unknown number of Iraqi citizens who got too close to their heavily armed convoys.
Oh, wait. Maybe they are on a different side.