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Betraying Our Troops: The Destructive Results of Privatizing War Paperback – April 29, 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“President Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex. But he could not foresee how much more rapacious, wasteful, and dangerous this complex becomes when parts of the military are, in a headlong way, being privatized. We already know the Iraq war is a political and human disaster; these expert muckrakers show us how brazen an act of corporate theft it is as well. An Enron-size rip-off is underway, and few other writers are paying attention to it.” ―Adam Hochschild, author of Bury the Chains and King Leopold's Ghost

“Betraying Our Troops is a powerful, searing exposé about how America has substantially outsourced its war in Iraq, and the dire consequences of privatization to our troops, not to mention government efficiency and accountability. This is a sad tale of greed, arrogance, and cronyism run amok, from two very savvy Pentagon watchdogs who have devoted their respective careers to tracking defense contracting fraud. It will outrage and offend your sense of morality.” ―Charles Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity, Washington, D.C.

“This book is a must-read for everyone concerned about the impact of private contractors on this nation's ability to win wars and secure the peace.” ―Lawrence Korb, former Assistant Secretary of Defense

“Dina Rasor and Robert Bauman combine damning evidence with gripping stories from soldiers to show how crooks working for private contractors undercut our military and the war effort. This is an essential document of one of the more shameful episodes in American military history.” ―John Pike, Director, Globalsecurity.org

From the Back Cover

"President Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex. But he could not foresee how much more rapacious, wasteful, and dangerous this complex becomes when parts of the military are, in a headlong way, being privatized. We already know the Iraq war is a political and human disaster; these expert muckrakers show us how brazen an act of corporate theft it is as well. An Enron-size rip-off is underway, and few other writers are paying attention to it." --Adam Hochschild, author of Bury the Chains and King Leopold's Ghost

"Betraying Our Troops is a powerful, searing exposé about how America has substantially outsourced its war in Iraq, and the dire consequences of privatization to our troops, not to mention government efficiency and accountability. This is a sad tale of greed, arrogance, and cronyism run amok, from two very savvy Pentagon watchdogs who have devoted their respective careers to tracking defense contracting fraud. It will outrage and offend your sense of morality." --Charles Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity, Washington, D.C.

"This book is a must-read for everyone concerned about the impact of private contractors on this nation's ability to win wars and secure the peace." --Lawrence Korb, former Assistant Secretary of Defense

"Dina Rasor and Robert Bauman combine damning evidence with gripping stories from soldiers to show how crooks working for private contractors undercut our military and the war effort. This is an essential document of one of the more shameful episodes in American military history." --John Pike, Director, Globalsecurity.org --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230604080
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230604087
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,075,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Louise Specht on June 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book will make you mad, and you need to read it anyway.

In Rasor and Bauman's investigation into the tangled world of private defense contracting, I read about KBR's practice of removing all the spare tires from convoy trucks so that when some of them got flats, the contractor would burn them and bill the government (that's you and me, by the way) $85,000, plus costs, and I thought that was bad.

Then I read about the soldiers stuck out in remote bases in the Iraqi desert, running out of food and water, duct-taping their boots; and the contractors who would refuse to resupply them because the roads were dangerous, and I thought that was really bad.

Then I read about the disastrous journey through Fallujah, apparently intentionally bungled by a Blackwater contractor attempting to harass an employee who knew too much. The consequence of that bit of "office politics" was the deaths of thousands of people, including the four Blackwater employees, and a grave worsening of the military situation in Iraq. That's when I began to feel mad.

But I was really grossed out to read about camp Ar Ramadi in northern Iraq where KBR was discovered to be providing untreated wastewater for soldiers to shower with, exposing everyone in the camp to typhoid, cholera and every kind of water-borne parasite and disease. And I began to wonder what kind of people these were to do this to their own soldiers.

How did the military come to be at the mercy of contractors? Why don't contractors provide the services they contract to provide? How did privatizing the Iraq war undermine any chance of its success?
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book for those that do not follow the broader press (I ignore the "mainstream" press, the NYT, Washington Post, and LA Times are largely worthless--the Boston Globe continues to please from time to time). The author has ably catalogued the disgrace to our nation, and the betrayal of our loyal troops, from the outsourcing of virtually every function including some combat operations.

I will honor the author by quoting Ralph Peters, one of the top US military strategists alive, who has said that we have outsourced so much that we have ultimately outsourced our honor (this includes our outsourcing to 42 dictators--there are only 2 we do not love) and to several despotic or illegal narco-regimes, including Colombia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan.

The author is careful to identify some real heros that excel at supporting our troops, but on balance he provides a very bleak narrative that could be used to set the stage for Congressional hearings. In my view, Title 10 needs a complete overhaul, to create four joint forces after next: Big War built around Air Force; Small War built around Army and Marines; Peace War built around Navy and Coast Guard, and Homeland Defense, built around a National Guard that shifts toward law enforcement and does NOT go overseas for anything less than World War IV.

Below are a couple of related recommendations:
Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror
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Format: Hardcover
Read this book. It's that simple. Then read Fiasco. Then go to the VA hospital and talk to the soldiers sitting in the waiting areas. The truth is there for those who care to seek it out. One way or another, you'll pay for this book. You'll either read it and have your eyes opened, or not read it and have the wasted tax dollars efficiently extracted from your weekly paycheck. It's your choice. You can ignore it, not read it and say it's just `left wing lies' but I'm writing this review to tell you that if you do that, you're only lying to yourself. I know. I was there with the contributors to this book. I served under them. I went hungry when the contractors failed to supply meals and I drank contaminated water with the rest of the US military while they horded bottled water in their supply depots and their 5 star hotels in Kuwait.

Lies come from our elected officials both to get elected and to keep their positions of power. Lies come faster from them and make it to TV to decry books like this as `just lies'. But like all lies, eventually the truth comes out. This book sheds light on the real truth that is our military funding system gone amok. Lies now come (sadly) from far too many of our military leaders seeking to protect their careers and their command mistakes and to cover up ever-increasing mission failures because contractors don't have to follow orders, they have to be paid or they leave. Mostly, they leave anyway. I know. I was one of them. I not only quit when the going got tough, I got a bonus for my service! Lies come from criminals seeking to `beat the system'. We all know that. Lies also come from well-connected corporations seeking `any & every means' to increase their business revenue streams for the all-mighty profit.
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