[Note, as of October 2006 my predictions of a draft in 2005 did not materialize. I am happy to be wrong.]
I wonder about contradictions in the official answers to the question of reviving military conscription. Despite the Pentagon's denials, the actions of Congress show clear indications that a draft will start in 2005 (see U.S. Preparing For Military Draft in Spring of 2005 and Pentagon denies need to revive military draft). But why has no one noticed that the 15,000 "security personnel" are doing the work of soldiers? The contractors working in Iraq hire their own security people to perform such tasks as guarding installations, body-guards for civilian workers, running motorcades for when workers move between armed compounds and other military duties. If the military does not need to implement conscription because its manpower needs are under control, then why do the contractors in Iraq need to hire private security?
The costs of these mercenaries (let's call them what they are) the civilian contractors simply charge back to the government. That is to say, back to us. A mercenary makes about $1000 a day. A reasonable estimate puts a private's combat pay at about $2000 a month. Does no one realize that the use of private security firms prevents the military from having to implement a draft before the election? The taxpayers provide cover for the Bush Administration through paying mercenaries to allow the Pentagon to tread water in Iraq until conscription can start.
If anyone can come up with a better estimate of a private's combat pay after looking over the Defense Finance and Accounting Service pay table, please let me know.
I have found the existence of and the pay for mercenaries in Iraq widely reported in the mainstream media. But I always like to document all facts I mention: Operation Hired Guns : Contractors earn $10 K to $60 K per month from the NBC San Diego site.