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The Cost of Doing Business

Walter Pincus analyzes one of the contracts that Henry Waxman is looking at to determine how much more Blackwater’s mercenaries are costing us than a law-abiding US soldier. Pincus notes that Petraeus makes roughly $493 a day. This doesn’t appear to include benefits; figuring benes make up 1/3 of someone’s compensation–which in the private sector is often about right, but in the military is probably too small–then Petraeus might cost us, the taxpayer, $750 a day. That’s for our top commander in Iraq, $750 a day.

And here’s how a Blackwater employee gets charged:

Average day-to-day personnel, $600/day salary paid by Blackwater
Blackwater bills Regency, $850/day for operators
Regency bills ESS an average of $1100/day for all types of employees
ESS charges Halliburton which charges the US based on a per-meal basis (I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Halliburton has some profit worked into this)

A married Iraqi sergeant serving in Iraq makes about $170/day [updated for clarity].

No wonder Bush needs another $200 billion. He’s outsourcing the actual fighting of this war to forces that cost six times as much as it would if our military still did the fighting.

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