Why are so many idiots fighting our wars? Is there possibly an analogy to be drawn between the state of our government and the state of television, with Blackwater staffed by a bunch of rejects from I Love New York and the State Department by a bunch of embittered picketing Daily Show writers (only the strike has lasted seven whole years)? Well, that's probably a stretch. But we try valiantly to advance the metaphor in today's installment of the much-missed feature "That's So Jane's!" — in which we trick an unsuspecting expert on the world's military conflicts into granting an interview for Jane magazine, which he will never know is now defunct because he thinks he's talking to Jane's Defence Weekly. For this special edition, reporter Megan Carpentier talked face-to-face with a mercenary himself! (Well, actually just a weapons expert working at the Pentagon.) He thinks the military needs to be more like Dancing With The Stars. After the jump, of course.
Megan: When I agreed to interview you, I figured you'd be all Mr. Hulking Muscular Bad Boy in camo with a seamy side. But you're, like, totally The Office without even the slightest touch of Jarhead, and I had all-but-naked Jake Gyllenhaal dreams. What gives? Why the bad rep if everyone is pedestrian. Anonymous Defense Contractor: I can do this naked if you want.
Megan: Hmmm, maybe later. For now, enlighten me why you guys get bad raps if you're not all 'roid-rage and testosterone and really big guns.
Anonymous Defense Contractor: Because we, and they, are easy targets. We're all paid more than your average government employee — be it military or civilian — and we're everywhere.
Megan: So, you're more like cockroaches or Bai Ling?
Anonymous Defense Contractor: Uh, I don't know who that is, but, okay. Basically, there's tons of us for all manner of things- everything from building planes to answering phones. So, it's real easy for a government guy to point at a contractor when something goes wrong and say, fucking contractors, you guys suck. And, by that, I'm talking about the State Department Diplomatic Security Bureau in particular and their issues with Blackwater and other private security contractors. Blackwater has its faults, but they take a lot of the public outrage and furor over private security contractors when there are, in fact, hundreds of companies that do that.
Megan: I mean, plus "Blackwater" just sounds so dirty-sexy in comparison to, like, "Bluewater" or "Smart Water" or something. But, are you saying that there are other companies that go around, like, raping cute girls from Texas in the name of freedom? What the fuck is up with that?
Anonymous Defense Contractor: Back in the early days when there weren't that many contracts to do that work, it was really easy to have good people — Blackwater and those guys were hiring special forces guys, Navy seals, etc, just as they were getting out of the military. As time went on and the demand got bigger and more contractors were needed in different parts of the world, Blackwater (and others) had to recruit more people and there just aren't that many ex Green Berets in the world. So what you were invariably going to get was a stable of lesser qualified security officers — guys that haven't have Special Ops training, are more likely to shoot first and ask questions later, etc. The pedigree has thinned out because of the demand. And, in some cases, you just get a boatload of idiots.