Saturday, July 7, 2007

They say money can't buy happiness...

Well, the past few days have been pretty nice. Not a whole lot of anything going on, and not much that we have been doing. A break is always nice. Pretty much all I've been doing is pulling guard shift in our guard towers that we have. This used to be a horrible experience, like Im sure I've talked about before, but now, its really not bad. They shortened the amount of time that we spend in there at a time, and the best part, the wired in electricity so we have a/c in there now!!! Now granted theres the big opening that we have to look out of, but they closed off the open doorway and it stays, comfortable in there. I dont sweat my ass off anymore, infact, I dont even sweat at all!!

Hasn't been much excitement, other than the other day. Me and my buddy were in our tower when we heard a gun shot. Nothing suprising. We hear gun shots all the time, and unless its another firefight going down in the bad area, its usually just some Iraqi Army (IA)or Iraqi Police (IP) shooting warning shots. This one sounded close, but I couldnt see anything. One of my guys was in this other tower when he called over the radio for me to come over there. Well, he usually doesnt just call me over there like that so I figured something was up. I walked on over, and when I opened the door to come in I saw him standing off to the side, out of the direct line of the opening, and he was looking intently out there, scanning for something. I immediatly knew what it had to do with. He proceeded to tell me that he saw this car pull up to this alleyway in front on his position and stop the car. Thats when the gunshot was heard, then he said the car sped away. There were a group of kids at the entrance to the alleyway, but they all started running away to another alley, and eventually started peeking around. Unfortunatly, with the quickness of it all, there was nothing we could do. I never found out what, if anything happened.

One thing that has been on my mind alot lately has been money. Either money I have, can make, or just in general. One instance of this was when I was working another guard position and this IP came up to me asking if I had any ammo. All the IPs carry these brand new Glock pistols with them, and infact, Im a little jelous. Anyways, he was wondering if I had any ammo for it, which I didnt, because as he showed me, they only had enough to give him 3 rounds. 3 ROUNDS!! You've got to be kidding me. I've seen this with the IA guys too, where they are given barely a full mag, if that sometimes, for their AKs they carry. With all the reconstruction money, and oil money Im sure the Iraqi government is getting, you think they could at least afford ammo for their guys. No wonder some of them don't stay and fight.

So the past few days I have been reading this book that one of my readers was kind enough to send me. Its called "Blackwater - The Rise of the Worlds Most Powerful Mercinary Army". I had heard about this book and was actually quite interested in reading it. That was until I started reading it. I soon realized that this book was not just a mere account and story of Blackwater, but a very liberal view and very much anti-Blackwater, Bush, the war in Iraq, and general conservative thinking. As it was put they believe that the Evangelical Christian run Blackwater is the military strong arm for the neoconservative, right-wing movement. The book also describes how this "private army" posses a threat to our very own democratic system. I almost didn't make it past the first chapter, except for the fact that I am extremely bored. I've had a lot of down time and nothing to really keep me occupied, so Im reading it to pass time. Fortunately, after the first chapter or 2, the anti-bush, anti-war rhetoric calmed down, and it has turned more into telling the story of Blackwaters rise and their role in Iraq. I'm about 1/2 of the way through it. Its quite the big book, so its taking me some time. Not to mention its more of an informative book that it is a story, so its not the same kind of read as what I usually do.

The funny thing, is as much as this book is slamming on the Blackwater orginization, its effect on me is probably opposite of the authors desire. First off, for those of you that dont know what Blackwater is, Ill tell you. Basically they are a private military contracting company that is used for various missions around the world, but mostly in Iraq. Their missions range from personal security for companies, to US officials, to base security, etc. They are basically a private security company that picks up the slack where the US military cant and shouldnt have to worry about. There are many companies, but through many incidents in the past (and as the book suggest, political ties to the administration) Blackwater has risen to become the most popular and the most notable. Some of the other companies out there are DynCorp, Triple Cannopy and various others from around the world.

I've know about these types of companies for some time. I actually learned about them before I enlisted in the Army from one of my friends who was considering going back to Iraq with one of these companies after he was discharged from the Army due to wounds he recieved in Iraq. Since then I've had the opportunity to work with them and talk with them a couple times. The first of these times was in New Orleans when my unit deployed there to help with the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. I met some Blackwater guys down there, and they definately seemed cool. The second chance I've had was to meet and work with some DynCorp guys here in Iraq. Again, same impression. Anyways, the greatest thing these guys have going for them is the money.

And for that fact, I have been thinking alot about working with one of these companies after I return home and get out of the Army. Now, most jobs here in Iraq pay well, and especially once you consider the no tax advantage. Shoot even military pay isn't all that bad here. But once you get into the private security jobs here (which obviously are the greatest risk civilian jobs) then the money starts to get really good! I was looking around on Blackwaters website, and unfortunately they are only looking for SOF Soldiers (special forces, etc) which I am not. I then browsed around DynCorp's website and there are 2 jobs they have that I would be interested in. Security Supervisor and Personal Security. Security Supervision has requirements in which I meet. 3 years active military service, obtained the rank of E-5 and be in combat arms job. Personal Security said they are looking for guys with SOF experience, but did not say it was a requirement so I dont know. Basically Security Supervisor stays at some base and does security around a location, in a supervisor position... while Personal Security are the guys that are charged with moving around with a said client and to provide their, well, personal security. This one pays more, Im sure, even though the website does not mention salaries. The average going rate from what I hear from many people for someone with my experience is $90-120,000 for your first year. WOW! Tell me that would not be awesome; tax free, to put another $90,000 in the bank on top of what Im already saving now. Its looking very tempting...


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9 comments:

Solo said...

Money won't buy happiness, but poverty don't buy crap. After spending a considerable amount of time thinking about your post(at least 3 or 4 minutes)I figure what the heck, go for it. Security's a big business these days.

Rejenia said...

Hey! I remember how amazed all the guys were when they left the nuc sub for jobs with westinghouse reactors, and discovered overtime. Wow! they paid them time and half and then double, and they're still home and out on the river fishing sooner than even when they'd been in dry dock. But Eddie, think about all you'd miss . . . Okay, that didn't take long.

David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 07/08/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention updated throughout the day…so check back often. This is a weekend edition so updates are as time and family permits.

~SMIR? said...

$90k is an extremely low salary to be out here. Most of the security guys, with the "hazardous duty uplift" and other bennies are bringing in at least $200k. As a civilian, the first $80k is tax free and you pay taxes on the remainder. If you're seriously interested in this, go to www.monster.com and just look up a keyword of Iraq or Afghanistan. There are a gajillion jobs available, from security to IT to management to logistics...everything.

Bag Blog said...

I have never heard of Blackwater, but it is very interesting. Liberals blame everything on evangelical Christians - so that part is doubtful. As to the well-paying jobs, I can see how that would be a big draw. I live in Duncan, OK, home of Halliburton. With oil prices up these days, you can find a job here pretty easily or work overseas and make the big bucks.

James said...

Buddy works for Blackwater, the problem is the pay is good while on assignment, but there can be considerable gaps between assignments as State changes the rules regularly.

Julia said...

I remebered reading this post yesterday and then i read this artical today on my local new's website.

http://www.wfmynews2.com/news/local_state/article.aspx?storyid=86634

( i am a newswhore! im always on cnn, msn new, fox news.. my local news)

alright take care as always.

Anonymous said...

Check out what some SF guys think of BlackWater and eric prince
http://www.professionalsoldiers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15027

-andy

Mike said...

I wanted Everyone to see this video about someone try to do their part. I'm tired of people talking about what they want to do to help, but sit on thier ass doing nothing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Su7yjZyGzds