When Jan Schakowsky and Bernard Sanders introduced the Stop Outsourcing Security Act last year, there was a good chance of the bill passing. Democrats controlled the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Couldn’t the Democrats in control of the government be convinced to approve the legislation, which would have prohibited the use of private security contractors – also known as mercenaries – in our nation’s wars?
Apparently not. The Democrats on Senate Armed Service Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Armed Services Committees, and the House Select Intelligence Committee prevented the Stop Outsourcing Security Act from moving forward to a vote on the floor of the House or Senate. Not one Democratic senator would co-sponsor the legislation.
This year, Schakowsky and Sanders have reintroduced the ban on mercenaries in America’s wars. It’s S. 1428 in the Senate, and H.R. 2665 in the House of Representatives.
Explaining the reckless nature with which mercenaries have come to represent the foreign policy of the United States, Representative Schakowsky explained last week, “Military officers in the field have said contractors operate like ‘cowboys,’ using unnecessary and excessive force uncharacteristic of enlisted soldiers. In 2007, guards working for a firm then known as Blackwater were accused of killing 17 Iraqis, damaging the U.S. mission in Iraq and hurting our reputation around the world. Later that year, a contractor employed by DynCorp International allegedly shot and killed an unarmed taxi driver.”
With the Republicans in control of the House of Representatives, it’s even less likely that the Stop Outsourcing Security Act will be passed and signed into law. However, the need is even greater than it was last year. Last year, there were 22,000 mercenaries hired by the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan. This year, there are more than 28,000.