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.



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.