It seems that every week, we're hearing about another outrageous example of Private Military Contractors, especially Blackwater, (or Xe, as they now call themselves). Last week we were shocked to hear about allegations of how Blackwater billed the government for prostitution. Two weeks ago The Nation highlighted the heartbreaking story of Blackwater's youngest victim, a 9 year old who was shot by Blackwater guards. He was one of 17 victims that day in Nisour square.
As of mid-2009, the United States employed over 22,000 hired guns in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that number keeps going up. Our reliance on private, for-profit companies for the business of waging war is extremely dangerous. It's time we move to eliminate the use of these unaccountable and controversial mercenaries, and I ask you to join me as a citizen co-sponsor of legislation that I have just re-introduced, the Stop Outsourcing Our Security Act.
The Stop Outsourcing Security Act, which will be introduced in the Senate by Vermont's Bernie Sanders, recognizes that the U.S. needs to end its reliance on private security contractors, and it would prohibit the use of private contractors for military, security, law enforcement, intelligence, and armed rescue functions. It would also increase transparency over any remaining contracts by increasing reporting requirements and Congressional oversight.
I'm launching an online campaign to gather citizen-co-sponsors for this legislation that has just been introduced on Capitol Hill. I need your help to restore those functions traditionally performed by the military, back to the military where they belong.
I know that many of you have been highlighting the abuses of military contractors for years. My bill would reform privatization and bring an end to the practice. I've asked my colleagues to join me as sponsors but I know that this is a practice we all want stopped. Will you join me as citizen co-sponsor of the legislation?