A New Poverty Draft: Military Contractors Target Latin America For New Recruits
Halliburton and other private military contractors have begun advertising campaigns in El Salvador, Colombia and Nicaragua to recruit ex-soldiers to work in Iraq.
With the situation in Iraq becoming more and more deadly and the
resistance gaining increasing popular support inside the
country, the Bush administration has begun sending thousands
more US troops to Baghdad. But many question how many more
troops the administration can afford to send, or more important,
how many soldiers it can send. The US military is facing an
unprecedented crisis in recruiting numbers and new enlistments.
Meanwhile, new Pentagon statistics show that more than 5,000
soldiers have now been charged with desertion from bases in the
U.S. and overseas since the invasion of Iraq in early 2003.
In some circles, there is talk of a return to the draft,
though most analysts say that is unlikely in the near future.
But it is not just the military that is facing difficulty in
recruiting people to deploy to Iraq. Private contractors are
also facing a serious personnel crisis, particularly given the
danger of the situation and the fact that kidnappings and
beheadings have become a regular part of the reality in occupied
Iraq. Now, private US corporations have begun recruiting outside
of the country. In recent months companies like Halliburton have
launched ad campaigns and recruiting drives in several Latin
American countries, promising huge salaries for fighting age men
and women to serve in Iraq. Among the countries being targeted
are El Salvador, Colombia and Nicaragua.
- Geoff Thale, senior associate for Central America
and Cuba at the Washington Office on Latin America.
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