The war in Iraq is over. We won. I know this because some five and a half years after coming to Iraq, American Force Protection officers can now accept the risk of large numbers of Host Country National Locally Employed Personnel (milspeak for Iraqis) on our Forward Operating Bases.
Third Country Nationals, civilian contractors who aren’t Americans or Iraqis, contributed more than most Americans know to victory in Iraq. Indians, Sri Lankans, Nepalis and Pakistanis from Gulf Catering Company fed us. Filipinos from Prime Projects International cleaned our latrines and manned our recreational facilities. Macedonians with Albanian names from Ecolog washed our clothes. Ugandans from SOC-SMG protected our High Occupancy Facilities from infiltration by Person-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices. Hungarians sucked out our porta-potties. Turks, Lebanese, Sudanese, Somalis, Bosnians, South Africans, Gurkhas, were all encountered on TQ two years ago.
The work they did would have been done by details of draftees in previous American wars. Our soldiers weren’t paid very much in those days, and we had lots of them to keep busy and out of trouble. The work the TCN’s do on big FOB’s still has to be done by the troops themselves at the little Combat Out Posts and Joint Security Stations. There are still places without latrine trailers and porta-potties where people do their business on a one-holer into a cut down 55-gallon drum. The TCN’s relieved the war fighters of most of the house-keeping/sanitation/chow hall/post police drudgery soldiers in camps have been saddled with since Deuteronomy. Good food, email, recreation, clean clothes, and air conditioned sleeping quarters mitigated a lot of combat stress, extending the number of high-intensity days troops could be subjected to before Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder rendered them combat ineffective. Such things are not “obscene amenities.”
So now the TCN’s are being replaced with locals. They did a good job. They earned more respect and appreciation than they’ll ever get.
UPDATE No. 2: Foreign Civilian Contractors Disappearing