Protecting Profits

Let me get this straight. The government decided to spend billions of dollars to create the Transportation Security Administration because private security firms were not up to the job of protecting American air travelers. At the same time it is spending billions for private security firms in Iraq, because the government is not up to the job of protecting Americans on the ground in that country.

And only now are we proposing to bring them all under U.S. law. Am I getting all this right?

You might think I'm going to suggest we replace these private armies by expanding the federal protection forces in Iraq. And I must admit that does have the advantage of making sense. There is that. After all, the government can control its security people much better than private companies can, even if they want to. There is that possibility they would be better trained and disciplined, less prone to panic than independent hot dogs with itchy trigger fingers. So maybe the idea does have some appeal because it's logical.

But that's the problem. It's so logical. It's just too inside-the-box. We need creative ideas.

What if — and I'm only thinking out loud here — what if we let companies provide the federal bodyguards right here in the U-S of A?

Who needs the Secret Service when we have Blackwater? Why should the State Department, Pentagon and Capitol and all the rest maintain their own protection people when we we could let the private sector handle the job?

Come to think of it, why do we need police departments? And if you really want to think big, why couldn't for-profit militias replace our armed forces, since they mainly fight for corporate interests anyway?

I know. There will be some with their petty quibbles about those who might cut corners to maximize the bottom line or outsource the job to Third World countries. But don't you get tired of the naysayers who just refuse to see the big picture?

Yes, we can bicker about the past, but we need to be forward-looking. I'm telling you, this is an idea whose time has come. My only concern is that someone in power will think it's a good idea.