The Best Allies Money Can Buy
By Thomas L. Friedman
November 4, 2009
In 2008, notes Stanger, roughly 80 percent of the State Department’s requested budget went out the door in the form of contracts and grants. The Army’s primary support contractor in Iraq, KBR, reportedly has some 17,000 direct-hire employees there.
The U.S. military is now proposing a huge nation-building project for Afghanistan to replace its dysfunctional government with a state that can deliver for the Afghan people so they won’t side with the Taliban. I might be more open to that project if we had a true global alliance to share the burden of an effort that will take decades. But we don’t. European publics do not favor this war, and our allies will only pony up just enough troops to get their official “Frequent U.S. Ally Card” renewed. We’ll make up the difference by hiring private contractors.