US Increasing Force Size in Iraq by Adding Contractors

Thousands of Contractors Being Added to Cover for Troop 'Pullouts' Which Still Aren't Happening

A report by Raw Story’s John Byrne notes that despite President Obama’s pledge with withdraw troops from Iraq, the overall force size is actually increasing in recent months, as thousands of new private contractors are being brought in.

The Pentagon is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the new contractors, mostly mercenaries from Uganda and Kenya, and its estimates involve adding significantly more contractors at the bases to cover for the US pullout. In one example, 900 contractors are to replace 400 soldiers.

This is adding to concern that while the US is pretending to “stand down” in Iraq, it is actually still as active as ever and is just using contractors to do the jobs that were previously done by the American troops. This puts the whole pullout in a different light.

Or it would if the pullout was even happening. Nearly eight months into his administration President Obama has not significantly reduced the number of troops in the nation since taking office, and what was roughly 135,000 when he arrived is now still 131,000 or so, and this number is not expected to change until at least 60 days after the January election. So indeed, these thousands of new contractors are “replacing” troops that haven’t actually gone anywhere, and amount to a covert escalation of the overall force operating in the nation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.