Robert Greenwald's interview with Doug Brooks

GREENWALD: If you could start by giving us your name, your position...

BROOKS: My name is Doug Brooks, I'm president of the International peace Operations Association. IPOA is a non profit, non partisan, non governmental association of service companies dedicated to improving peacekeeping, peace enforcement, humanitarian rescue and stability operations worldwide. It's a collection of companies that do everything from aviation to demining to security to medical services. They support peace keeping operations in places like Haiti, in Sierra Leone, in Liberia, in Sudan and also in of course Afghanistan and Iraq.

How did you get interested in this...?

Really from my academic side. I was doing my PhD work down at the Institute of International Affairs in Johannesburg in South Africa and was looking at what private companies were doing in terms of peace and stability operations. I did a visit up to Sierra Leone, actually two visits, in 2000 and interviewed scores of Sierra Leoneans and looked at what was going on in terms of the UN peacekeeping operation and what was working, what wasn't. Essentially the whole thing is being held together by a company of British soldiers who are actually providing sort of the lethal force to support the UN peacekeeping operation and it was supported by a number of private companies that were doing everything in terms of logistics and helicopters and support that made sure the mission didn't fall apart.

So the goal of IPOA when we created it a year later was essentially to create standards and codes of conduct for the industry and to encourage the use of the industry in terms of peace and stability operations. This was pre-9/11 of course.

So explain to us in language that those of us who don't know this world can understand, do you work with all of the groups doing any kind of private work in military areas or is it just...I’m not quite sure where your line is...

Sure. It's basically, currently we're two dozen companies, they're all private sector, private companies from around the world that work in areas of conflict and that does include peace keeping operations, Africa union peace keeping, United Nations peacekeeping and includes stability operations such as we see in Iraq as well. But essentially these are all companies that work in areas of conflict.

So would, for example, Halliburton, KBR...would those companies qualify?

They would qualify, none of them are currently members but we're hopeful in the future.

I mean, I don't know if, is there any sort of explanation you're comfortable saying as to why they're not currently members?

We'd like to see them as members. We're only a few years old. They're large companies and it takes large companies a long time to decide to become members. One of our members companies took 8 months from the time they made the decision to the time that it took to sort of work its way up through the corporate structure.

And is this work full time for you or are you still teaching?

No, no, it's full time now. Actually it's more than full time, let's put it that way.

And was there one particular incident or moment where you became convinced that this was important to do, for you to participate and help or was it as you said before was it cumulative experience?

It wasn't one particular incident but I think it was, I visited Cambodia and other peacekeeping operations where you sort of saw what was going on with international peacekeeping and it's something of a disaster right now .The west has largely abrogated its responsibility to do peace and stability operations and it leaves it to the poorest countries in the world with the, you know, they have militaries that are willing to do the sort of operation but they don't have the equipment or the training to really be able to do them well so you have examples like the democratic republic of Congo where an estimated 4 million people have died in that conflict. There are very, very few western troops involved in that peacekeeping effort and the ones that are there are not involved in the Eastern part of the Congo where they're really needed.

So again, we're leaving it to South Asians to sort of do this, do our international peace and stability operations and that's, it's not working very well. We'd like to see NATO taking a much larger role in peacekeeping operations, certainly the United States which does help fund these operations but rarely puts its people on the ground. But in the mean time we have these private companies that can fill this gap, they can provide the sort of necessary skills and capabilities, the equipment, the helicopters, the logistics, even the security and in some cases the humanitarian security that actually can make these peace operations more successful.

So your official position would be in some of these situations that it's better if the United State or NATO comes in and puts your...organizations out of business by taking over?

Well, yes and no. I mean we don't necessarily see it as putting our companies out of business. Certainly logistics is going to be part of these operations anyway. Logistics have always been pretty private since the beginning of conflict. A lot of support operations, demining operations, the lifting or the disposal of unexploded ordinates. That sort of thing. That's been private for along time and the really high tech, the really, the best demining is done by the private sector. A lot of the aviation resources are going to be privately done whether NATO does it or not. So our companies can support this whether it is the South Asians doing it or the NATO militaries.

And in terms of Iraq specifically, which is what our film focuses on, since you have an expertise in this area dealing with these various companies what is your estimation in terms of the size and numbers of private contractors that are working in Iraq?

Now are you talking all contractors or just US contractors or what?

Well, I guess, can you divide in terms of all and then US?

Well, I can give you ball park figures. I mean if you looked at the entire, as we call it, peace and stability industry, if we looked at the whole industry and how many, all the different companies, and this includes of course logistics and demining and everything else, if we look at that you're probably looking at maybe $21 billion a year in value of which I would say over 50% is Iraq and Afghanistan. But if you narrow it down to just the private security companies, which I think you have a big focus on as well, it's probably just a little over $2 billion a year. The private security side is actually the smaller segment of the industry.

You can kind of break the industry down into sort of three general categories: the logistics and support companies like KBR, like Pacific Architects and Engineers and others that really support these sort of military, sort of peace keepers or stability operations in the field. Also demining companies would fall in that category. You have the training companies, the security sector reform companies that are brought in to help train the military, train the police, the border guards, revamp the court systems, the legal systems, retrain the prison guards, the whole bit. So that's sort of a second category and then you have the private security companies. The PSC's are probably just about 10% of the market or less, maybe 5%.

Actually we're going to be dealing with all of them in the film...(Inaudible)

It's important to remember that most of these companies use as many locals as they can so when you start looking at numbers of contractors you have to remember that a good chunk of them, maybe 70 to 80% of the security companies are even Iraqi. In terms of numbers. Now there's an awful lot of Iraqi security companies as well. So you know, they follow slightly different rules because it's their own company and rules, regulations and things. But a lot of people don't include them in the numbers.

Well we should talk about that because one of the strongest criticisms that we've gotten, and I was surprised frankly, and it comes from military people, has been that the large, and these may not be folks in your family but that the large corporations have not hired locally and in fact part of the reason it's become such a big problem is some of the larger corporations will subcontract it to a person and then they subcontract...3, 4, 5 down 'til finally maybe you might get a local but so much of the resources have been used or abused....

You’re wearing your bias on your sleeve. (Chuckles) You're wearing your bias on your sleeve. I mean, fair enough. And I think it's important that--

Actually, that wasn't a bias I came into this picture with at all, that's totally new--

Okay, no no, that's fine. I can answer the question in any case. I think--

...that's totally new--

Okay, no no, that's fine. I can answer the question in any case.

I think what you find is these companies will use as many Iraqis as they can when they're in Iraq or--

But that's not what we're finding.

Well, no, it is.

....we are hearing that's not the case...I don't think we can say you will find they will use as many Iraqis as possible--

Oh, the companies will. I mean, trust me on this. The question is--

No, it's not a question of trusting you. People are saying to us that's not the case and that's part of the reason for the problem. So I can't just accept that, I have to tell you--

Well, can I explain that?

...as much knowledge of you are saying the opposite.

(Chuckles) Can I explain?

Sure.

All right. A lot of times the contracts will specify whether you can use Iraqis or not in the contract. And I know for example a lot of the KBR contracts which involve operations within military camps, they specifically say that they are not allowed to use local Iraqis. You have such a vetting issue to make sure the Iraqis you're getting are reliable and not part of the insurgency and so on. It's a big issue for those companies. So in many cases they are to allowed to use locals. I think it's interesting when you look at some of the companies, I know KBR uses a lot of people from the Balkans in their operations in Iraq because they worked with them in the past and use them as employees in the Balkans, they've worked their way up the corporate structure. Certainly our own member companies who worked in Sierra Leone use Sierra Leoneans in their operations. So it just makes sense from a business perspective to use A, as many locals and B, the most cost effective people you can find.

Right. Well that's an interesting question which again goes to what may be where you see the value and where some other (Inaudible)...I guess one of the questions becomes you see in your work...do you see any conflicts between the business perspective and the peacekeeping or the winning hearts and minds mission?...

I think the motivations have to be in the right place but I think the companies we work with certainly have a lot of incentives to do things the right way. A lot of these companies also have sort of a moral imperative on these sorts of things. It's quite interesting. It's a very ethical industry, especially from our perspective. I mean IPOA remember is two dozen companies but we consider ourselves a sort of high end of the market. So we have companies that really specialize in these areas and really know what they're doing. And they bring an expertise and a professionalism that I think has been lacking in peace and stability operations.

So do you think that the companies you're working with bring an expertise and professionalism that exceeds the US military?...

Well, we have to keep things in perspective. The US military is, the big army as they call it. Essentially it's much, much larger than the private security companies. I mean if you boil the private security companies down, the non Iraqi numbers, maybe 5 or 6 thousand from all different nationalities so it's really quite small. I mean, yes they tend to have a lot more experience, they tend to be former military people themselves, they have a lot of professionalism, veterans of conflict in the past. They tend to be more relaxed in these sorts of operations and be more professional but that's simply because they're former military people who have done these sorts of things in the past. So we think it does bring a higher level of professionalism but again, it's a very small number. And the jobs they do are very different from what the military does.

The US military says, okay, offensive operations are going to be military. If you need to take a down from insurgents it's going to be the marines and the army that does it, not a private company. The companies are allowed to do security and protect things. Convoys, as you say, protect a noun; a person, place or thing. They can protect politicians, they can protect complexes, hospitals, they can protect convoys. But they can't be used for offensive combat operations. The military's made that very clear and we think that's appropriate.

And the issue of legislative accountability...we all want to hope and believe that people and companies function with the highest good. Sometimes there can be legitimate disagreement among reasonable people about what that good really is.

Absolutely.

And sometimes without legislation as you know, particularly in where virtually no contractors, and thousands and thousands have been there, have had any legal procedures taken because of, I guess...Bremer's (?) or something?

Memo 17. I think the important thing to remember here is essentially if there's a minor problem or what relatively amounts to a misdemeanor or something, people essentially just get fired and sent home. There's no recourse, there's no panels on this, essentially if a company sees that one of their employees is a problem they get rid of him. And that's normal. In terms of sort of the larger levels of accountability, this is something that IPOA's been working certainly with policy makers on. There are some issues because of course it's been decided by the Supreme Court on a number of occasions that you cannot hold the contractors under UCMJ, the Universal Code of Military Justice.

So we have something called MEJA, the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, which essentially says that any contractors working in support of a DOD mission, a Department of Defense mission, can be tried for felonies in the United States. And that applies to all nationalities, which is sort of interesting. Though there is a clause in there that essentially if an individual from another country is being tried they, their own country can take precedence and try the case in their home country. But essentially the laws are there on the books and that's something we support and as an industry just makes sense that our clients are more comfortable if you have good laws.

So do you feel the laws, because again, one of the things we've heard from military folks has been some real anger in the fact that contractors are not being subjected to laws. You think the laws are sufficient in terms of Iraq?

I think they could be better enforced. I absolutely do. And I think most of our members would agree with that and again this gets back to the comfort level with the client. Essentially the clients, states are not going to hire these companies to do anything if they don't feel they can hold them accountable so it does make sense to make sure there is some level of accountability. Now can that be improved? Absolutely. And the problem is it's a very complex situation because it involves different nations and different legal systems. Ultimately all these companies do expect to be under Iraqi law, which is another reason why the companies try to use as many Iraqi employees as they can. Just makes sense from the legal perspective as well.

Right. But again, just to be very clear, that's not what we are hearing.

I think there's a mix. When you talk to the military people, and I work with the JAG officers quite a bit, there’s sort of a mixed reaction to this and I think there is an interest in improving it. But the relationships with the companies can be very , very good or in some cases we've seen quite a bit of friction. But I think it's imperative that the industry actually reach out and make sure they address this issue. I mean ultimately the military, or the US government, is a client so it just makes sense that the companies should be the one that take the extra step.

And, so do you feel the companies are taking the extra steps to try to have a fairer legislation so the contractors in Iraq are brought before legal proceedings when there are more serious things--

Oh, absolutely. Because again, it does benefit the industry.

So what steps can we look forward to that--

Well, we've been working with congress on this and other nations so, there's an organization called the BPSC, the British Association of Private Security Companies that works with the British parliament on rules and regulations and so on and we're working on it from our side and there's also the Private Security Companies Association of Iraq, PSCAI, which has been working with the Iraqi Ministry of Interior to make sure that there are appropriate rules and regulations on the (unintelligible) over there as well. We work quite closely with both of those entities.

Specifically what can we look forward to in terms of some laws to address what many (Inaudible)

Well, let me ask you, are you familiar with MEJA?

No, I'm not.

Okay. That would be good to look at because, and if you like, I can put you in touch with some people who can talk about it. It's, I think it dates back to about 2000 and they actually upgraded it at one point because initially it was just focused on DOD contractors. Later that was expanded and we actually supported the expansion of MEJA so that it covers all contractors working in support of DOD missions. But it does have the felony clause in it, essentially felony level clause that allows contractors to be tried in the United States.

Okay. The other, one of the other issues in terms of conceptual disagreement, the use of private industry in any one of the three areas has been the issue of cost. And we...have read, heard...arguments that it's cheaper but we're not able to find proof--at least in terms of Iraq...we keep hearing, and it's not conclusive, that it's not cheaper, that it would have been cheaper for a very short term issue-- a couple of months perhaps. But in a long term issue, the cost in all areas whether Blackwater or KBR...

I think when you use a private sector, it's a lot, lot cheaper. There's a number of studies that are being done on this now by various grad students and organizations and so on, looking at this sand making this cost comparison.

Is there anything that we can see? When you say you, I mean again, we all think--

Well, let me explain a bit. When you look at the cost of an individual, first of all if we're only talking Americans you're limiting it to a very small pool and while an American can expect to get maybe double their salary in Iraq, if you hire somebody from India for example they can expect to get say 10 times their annual salary. But it's still far cheaper than using an American. So by reducing the number of Americans, you're already reducing the cost.

But again, I have to disagree about that because what we are hearing is that that's not the way it's working. It's working, maybe not, depending on the corporation but even with Blackwater we're getting stories of subcontracting and subcontracting and subcontract so it's not dollar for dollar individual to individual.

Well that does add cost but if you look at, first of all, they use a smaller number of people than the military would to do the same job. Second of all, the way the military calculates it would cost between $15,000 and $25,000 per soldier per month to keep them in Iraq. And Blackwater is definitely cheaper than that.

But when you say definitely cheaper, how do you know that? We can't get statistics. Blackwater will not be transparent. We need some statistics, you know, you're an honorable and academic man but we need numbers to show this because that's the strongest thing that we're getting over and over and over again from people of real knowledge and academic discipline.

Well, a lot of people come at it with a certain angle. They're not real comfortable with the idea of using the private sector in areas of conflict, which is fine--(overlapping dialogue)--no, no, no, I'm just saying they're going to be coming at it with a certain angle. (overlapping dialogue) Now I think--

What are the facts? Either way, if you look at, if you prove either way that it is cheaper or not cheaper.

Well, okay. Essentially part of the problem here is who contracts these companies? If you go to the company, if you go to another company or if you go to an organization, say an NGO or an international organization and ask them how much they're paying for their private security or their logistics of something, they can be more open about it. When you're working with a company that's contracted by the US government they often have clauses within the contract that says they're not supposed to talk to the press. Essentially the US government says this is our policy, this is our operation, we are going to provide all of the discussions to the population, to the public. To the citizens, the taxpayer, not the company. So they want to have the one voice. So the companies are quite limited in what they can or cannot say. In a sense that's not particularly helpful to the industry but that's sort of how it works when you have a contract with the US government.

So you think that's really the problem why we can't get transparency?

I think that's a key problem, yeah. The government is real careful who it hires. Another of companies that have spoken to the press have been disciplined by the government as a result.

The people within the government are telling us even they can't find out what the costs are, they're just...

I don't know. I don't know what, each department has its own rules and office and whatever so I couldn't say why. You could ask them, actually.

So you feel certain or, you believe that it is definitely cheaper, based on evidence that you've seen, is there any of that you can share with us?

Well, absolutely. In terms of evidence, specific evidence, I probably have to hash out the Sierra Leone examples and so on that you probably don't want to hear. But let me give you an example. Let's say for example the military wanted to build a bridge in Afghanistan. There's actually an example of this that occurred, I don't know if we can get any paperwork on it. But essentially the military wants to build a bridge in Afghanistan. Now the way they would normally do it or might have done it in the past is to bring in a construction battalion, a CB unit. And they would be flown in and all their equipment would be flown in, and probably the bridge materials would be flown in which is incredibly expensive and ties up a lot of military air way.

Okay, but you get your bridge. Alternatively you go to a company like one of our members PAE. They bring in a number of say 18 or 20 American engineers or international engineers from anywhere that will be paid better than the CBs will be but there's only a handful of them. They hire local companies, they find local materials and they build a bridge that can hold your 71 ton tank or whatever. They'll be able to do it in a fraction of the time, they'll be able to do it at a fraction of the cost. There's no question. Now if you're getting shot at while you're building the bridge, maybe you do need a military construction battalion. But if you're not you're gonna save a lot of money by using the private sector. And yes you may have a few people that are highly paid but it's still going to end up being far, far cheaper for the US government.

And once you've paid those engineers for that operation you stop paying them. Where as in the military of course they keep paying their people long after they leave the military with all sorts of benefits and so on.

Well we're both operating in a realm of opinion here because I mean, that's a fine example, it doesn't happen to be what we're hearing over and over again, particularly--

Well, you're talking to the wrong people. I'd be happy to put you in touch with people who--

I just think, if you can get me data, you can get me data on Blackwater or you can get me data on KBR, I mean the stories that we are hearing, specific stories, some of it's been public, some of it not, is quite the opposite in meaningful, significant statistical numbers where it's just not the case. There's two parts to it; one is just the issue of how much they are paying per person per job, the other issue is of course, this is conceptual and probably where you and I will disagree, would be when you bring in the profit motive, how do you, and some of these corporations are not non profit as you are, are there to make a profit. That to me is very hard to figure out how that is less expensive.

I think from my personal experience, from my academic experience in the field in Sierra Leone, in Sudan, in Iraq, and I've seen these companies in operation. You see what they're doing with such a small staff and realize that they bring enormous efficiency. Now the US military is the most capable organization in the world. It can overthrow governments and it can change diapers in New Orleans. It does whatever you ask it to do and that's what it's designed to do. It is not, it is not a cost effective organization. It's not supposed to be. What you do when you outsource is you get a lot of cost effectiveness. Now the KBR, the LOGCAP 3 contract that they've had and they've had similar sorts of contracts going back, way back, we had 80,000 contractors in Vietnam. This is nothing new. When you use these contractors, you gain a lot of efficiencies, you gain a lot of expertise and specializations.

The LOGCAP is a cost plus sort of contract which allows the military to say we need this, that or the other thing and we need it fast and the LOGCAP is designed to provide that. It is not designed to be a long term support mechanism for the military. At some point when things settle down in a country, you're supposed to set the LOGCAP aside and you start to go to regular bidding process. But when KBR won the LOGCAP which I think was 2001, shortly before 9/11 as a matter of fact, it was not expected to be I think more than a 2 or 3 billion dollar contract and already because of subsequent events, it's gone up to what, 15 billion now? But remember it was, it was bid out initially and it will be re bid now for LOGCAP 4 which will be the next one.

So are you in favor of cost plus, no bid contracts?

No, not of no bid. It's not a no bid contract at all. But it is a cost plus contract, which makes sense in a conflict, post conflict environment. We have the best supported, supplied military in any military operation in history I would argue and I think, I can put you in touch with additional people who can provide support on that.

Well, again, I think we're--

You're talking to the wrong people.

Or you're talking to the wrong people.

I talk to everyone for any reason. That's our policy. That's why I'm talking to you right now.

And the same policy...to talk to you. But I'm kind of surprised at how, you know, only one point of view is represented here. Let me go to one of the things--

I was gonna say the same thing but it's your film so I didn't want to be critical.

Oh you can be critical. So today in Iraq, contractors and of course we've heard these stories...today if a security guy, private security guy shot in Iraq a civilian, under the current law there would be no legal recourse in terms of the UCMJ, is that correct?

If it's a US citizen that does the shooting?

Yes.

You still do have MEJA, they can still be tried under MEJA. That can still be brought to them. One thing we've been doing is actually working with the PFCAI, we have this project we've started that will work with Iraqi groups essentially so we can identify which company was involved in a shooting and do--in a shooting and then figure out, obviously it's an area of conflict, a war zone so it's sort of hard to go back and circle the brass and start calculating bullet angles to see who did what. But I think there are ways to improve the situation and we just have to recognize that it is going to be a chaotic environment but we can do better.

There are rules for use of force of course that the contractors are under, which essentially boil down to three things. They're allowed to defend themselves, they're allowed to defend whatever's in the contract, which is that noun we talked about, the person place or thing, the organization, convoy and so on. And the third thing in the rules for use of force are they're allowed to defend Iraqi civilians under mortal threat, which is a pretty interesting clause from contract law perspective.

Right. The thing that's been shocking to people is CPA 17--

The memorandum because there's two different 17's. An order and a memorandum, but the memorandum. Well the memorandum made sense because unless you think the Iraqi legal system is, I think, moved further than we have in terms of becoming internationally recognized as a fair and legitimate court system, I think we have to work around it. It's the same when you do any sort of peace or stability operation. In the eastern Congo there are no courts that are functioning. In Sierra Leone the courts have only recently been sort of re-instituted and so on. And that's the reality and it makes it difficult for private companies working in these areas. But essentially you have to come up with some kind of system and memorandum 17 essentially said okay, here's a way that we're still able to get quality companies and individuals to come and work here and have some sort of accountability.

So you think there is some sort of accountability for the contractors using this example? If they, and again we've heard stories...and one particular one an army guy tells us about some Blackwater guys that shot a father and the son, he has no legal...steps that he can take to deal with those Blackwater people.

Well, that's being set up through the ministry of interior. And ultimately that will be the way that accountability can be determined. There has been done in the past in a sort of informal set up but we'd like to see something more formally, certainly.

I'm surprised. Very surprised. I expected a stronger answer. So you're non partisan and non political right?

(Laughs) Just like you, yes.

Yeah. But--

Actually in fearful disclosure, I did work for the Democratic party in 1988 and during the Dukakis campaign.

And the fact though that, that you guys used, was it you that used Alexander Strategy Group or is that just because the Republicans are in power...

They were effective and we were essentially working, that was on a bill regarding the use of private companies by the US government in any sort of peace and stability operation and what sort of liability they would have in supporting a US government mission. Yeah.

And do you employ lobbyists now?

We do not have a lobbyist.

Your funding comes just from these companies or do you get outside funding, and you don't have to answer, the reason I'm asking...

No no, our funding is quite transparent. We are a trade association, our funding comes from member companies. We also get a little bit of funding from other things, we have something called the friends of IPOA. You should put our website in your film when you do it because people can actually join as a friend of IPOA, be listed on our website and so on because they support the ideas of making peace and stability operations more successful. We also get some money in from our journal, which is just grown up from a newsletter and you've probably seen that online, latest issues on Sudan. And we do get some advertising revenue that comes in from that. So it was a number of different sources but well over 90% comes from our member companies.

And does that limit your ability to be critical of the organizations? I've never, the trade associations, only ones I know are in the film world and, you know, that makes your world probably seem simple in comparison--

I doubt that. (Laughs) Could be wrong. No, I don't think so. I mean, we are limited because we are a trade association, we have to approach things from that perspective. But I think we, one of our goals in creating IPOA was to get companies to live up to higher standards. We have our code of conduct which is online and has been, was initially written by human rights lawyers and NGO's and has been improved and modified. We get a lot of NGO or non governmental organization input into it and a lot of human rights lawyers add their two cents. We keep modifying it; it's a working document. We push for higher standards, we push for better oversight, which is pretty interesting because the companies working in Iraq from the beginning have said, look, good oversight is good for us.

We're better companies than these other companies but the government doesn't know it because they don't have enough contract officers in country. So we've actually pushed to expand the number of contract officers and the oversight, we think that makes sense for the industry. Yeah. So we do a lot of things we think to sort of make the industry better and more effective. I mean, ultimately, whether you're working in Liberia or Sudan or Afghanistan or Iraq, the better you do the peace or stability operation, the more people will be alive at the end. So professionalism matters and this industry provides a lot of professionals.

...long discussion of definition of oversight and--

Well, look, you know when Kerry was out here I said "Let's go out and get a beer and we can hash through all these issues" and he chickened out on a couple of occasions. That's a little disappointing. I think it'd be real good if you're out here or something we'll go out and we'll sit down with a bunch of folks from different sectors and hash it out--

Why would you want to start calling names in terms of "chickening out"?

Because he chickened out.

We're trying to have a polite conversation and I can accuse you of just being, for giving me all pat answers to your employees, but I'm not. I think let's try to keep it on a polite level and rather than say Kerry chickened out is it possible he had something else to do and wasn't able to get there?

That's possible. Yes, no. Totally.

I don't think we should be attacking motive, I don't think that's really helpful.

Well, you're kind of attacking our motive.

No.

Well you're saying isn't it because they're for profit companies, isn't that questioning their motives?

Well, yes. I raise the issue of, which I think is very fair, instead of saying somebody chickened out--

Okay. He might be chicken.

It's name calling--

He might be chicken.

And you might be manipulating and I don't think it's productive to go down that road.

Might not be productive. (Chuckles)

Last question here. What about the issue of chain of command in terms of...now that we have so many...different entities in Iraq, locals have hired their own military and the problem--

That's a great, that's a great question and of course that was addressed in the DOD instruction which came out I believe in October of last year. And basically what the instruction did was solidify a lot of norms that had come to pass from 2003 working with these companies. And one of the things it really highlights is who's under who, what sort of rules and regulations that the combatant commander has and what sort of laws they can use to control, especially the security company. But it divides the industry essentially into companies accompanying the force and also companies that operate independently from the force. And when they can be armed, when they can wear uniforms and not wear uniforms and everything. And the DOD instruction, I'd be happy to forward that on to you if you’d find it of interest. It really kind of hashes through these issues in terms of what applies and what doesn't.

Well I think that's it, I'd be very, it'd be very helpful if you could get me anything, particularly from Blackwater...so I really look forward to looking through and being shown different from what I'm hearing from other folks in the army.

We're happy to introduce you to some additional people, we may be able to get even someone from Blackwater, we'll have to check with them if they're allowed to do this. But yeah, I think we'll see what we can do.

But we called them I think 15 times trying to get them to do--

Well then they probably aren't willing to talk with you. But of course maybe they've looked at your website. So.

Well, we keep calling and asking...this is their chance to have their voice heard...I won't call Blackwater chicken but...I look forward to your having some influence on them and having an interview with them.

Well, it's been a real pleasure talking with you.

Good. Thank you for your help.

If you come out to DC and you really want to talk about these issues seriously and have a beer, you have an open invitation. I'll buy the first round.

Well I don't drink but otherwise yes...