War Profiteering in Iraq

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Areen, Gilmer, Schwartz

EDGE Final Paper

War Profiteering in Iraq

Corporate Contracts, Private Military Companies,

and the National Resource Curse

Graham Gilmer

Eric Schwartz

Michael Areen

EDGE Final Paper

Professor Bruce Lusignan

June 1st, 2004

The general feeling among U.S. citizens about the war in Iraq and its aftermath is one of confusion and betrayal. Fingers point at the Bush administration, which apparently lied to the American public. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found, as originally promised. Instead of a quick and clean victory, hundreds of troops have been killed. The occupation has been long, violent, and largely unsuccessful. Terrorism has not stopped, or even been slowed. Just last month, Al Qaeda released a video from within Iraq depicting the beheading of Nick Berg, a fellow countryman. The horror of violent conflict has made everyone wonder how this whole war got started in the first place.

The answer to this question delves deeply into the history of colonialism, politics, and war on which this country was built. America’s invasion of Iraq is just the latest example of a long tradition of colonialism and self-preservation that dates back to our founding. America fights when there is a profit to be had, which is why most of our recent military actions have occurred in oil rich countries such as Colombia, Venezuela, Kuwait, and now Iraq. While the motivation for becoming involved in Iraq follows from the traditional American doctrines of hegemony, the specific dynamic of the war and wealth plundering has changed to reflect the modern era.

Iraq presents itself as a case study on the new methods of war profiteering and subcontracting. We investigate these trends below, outlining the connection between political doctrine, government favors, corporate contracts, private military companies, and Iraqi oil. We conclude by discussing how these elements will affect the future of Iraq and its people on the eve of its regaining of governmental control.

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