Bloody Business: America's War Zone Contractors and the Occupation of Iraq

Bloody Business: America's War Zone Contractors and the Occupation of Iraq

by Gerry Schumacher


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As the U.S. Army shrinks, a private army steps into the breach. A Bloody Business offers an unprecedented look behind the scenes and into the ranks of this mercenary force (numbering as many as 15,000 today) who guard supply convoys, train foreign soldiers, provide security for foreign leaders and dignitaries—and whose workplaces are the most dangerous hot spots on the planet.  With its insights into who these men are, what drives them, where they come from, how they prepare, and what they do, this book provides a uniquely close-up and complete picture of the private army behind America’s military muscle.   The author interviewed security contractors and their families, high-ranking coalition officials, and was in Iraq, where he witnessed how private soldiers fought ambushes, trained Iraqi forces, escorted high-level officials in dangerous conditions, and saw the contractor side of the Iraq war. Includes action on the supply lines and front lines of this unique conflict, and the stories of the contractors who live it every day.    

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780760323557
Publisher: MBI Publishing Company
Publication date: 04/15/2006
Edition description: First
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.38(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Gerry Schumacher retired as a colonel in 1997, after 32 years of service with the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserves—including 20 years in Special Forces.  A lecturer at preeminent “think tanks” and a frequent guest on network television and national radio, he lives in Marin County, California.

Read an Excerpt

"A Bloody Business is not a dry position paper. Schumacher illustrates his

points through real people, such as a truck driver who was turned down by

the military because of his age. He decides the best way to serve his

country is to practice his trade in Iraq, and we drive the gauntlet with

him. We also see the pride of a female cop who finds her niche in life by

training police forces in places from Bosnia to Iraq in how to protect

their populations, rather than oppress them. And we accompany a team from

an unnamed security contractor as it tries to recover some kidnapped truck

drivers by either bribery or force."


—David Forsmark

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Publishers Weekly, March 27, 2006

“Retired army colonel Schumacher polishes the public image of private wartime contractors in this informative, if relentlessly glowing, account of these ‘unrecognized and unappreciated patriots’ in Iraq and Kuwait. Schumacher gained access to employees from contracting firms MPRI and Crescent Security, and his perspective is one of deep affection and respect – for people who put themselves in harm's way to provide security for diplomats, to move convoys of precious materials and to rebuild the broken infrastructure of war-torn countries. The author's voice is unpretentious but swaggering, tough but sentimental; he's as critical of the Bush administration for its ill-conceived strategies as of the media for what he considers prejudice. There's not much in the way of subtle policy debate or comprehensive analysis (‘Department of Defense outsourcing to civilian contractors is an efficient, short-term solution’), but Schumacher writes with a keen sense of justice and empathy as he recounts the harrowing tales of these contractors-for-hire.”

Military Book Club, April 2006

“It’s impossible to fully comprehend the future of warfare without a complete understanding of the role war-zone contractors will play. Iraq, the testing ground for the privatization of our military, is teeming with contractors today, whose efforts will determine the future of military privatization. A Bloody Business is, in our estimation, the most informative book on the subject today. Inside, you’ll read story after story of insurgent ambushes and exploding IEDs in a land where life as a truck driver can be as dangerous as that of a soldier.”

U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, August 2006

“A Bloody Business provides insight to the selection and training regimes for contractors in Iraq. It then goes on to relate many personal accounts of their work and combat action in that war-torn country. Colonel Schumacher underscores the dangers of ‘uncontrolled contracting.’ At the same time, he closes with the common-sense view that, while U.S. soldiers will be respected for their service in Iraq, ‘American civilian contractors deserve nothing less.’”

California Bookwatch, July 2006 “A Bloody Business tells of a new kind of American army overseas: one which is a private mercenary-run establishments which takes over as the U.S. military shrinks. The lives of such men and women who work in Iraq are controlled by few laws or regulations: they must rely on instinct and their own codes of conduct. Civilian contractors in Iraq number some fifteen thousand: their experiences and daily lives, recounted here, are riveting testimonies to their duties and hardships.”

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