Anyway, the whole experience was surreal. My traveling companion, P, and I, I didn't have a visa to leave the airport, and our airline, was putting us up in the airport hotel for our stopover.
There were big signs on the windows of the hotel which overlooked the runways and loading areas, that we were not to take any pictures out the hotel windows. Under our window, we could see a steady procession of commercial jets being unloaded by Americans in desert camouflage.
The whole rest of the hotel seemed to be filled with soldiers, but they weren't soldiers, they were 'contractors', wearing military uniforms, doing soldierly duties, or on their way to Iraq to fight.
Everywhere we looked in the hotel there was another American with a southern accent wanting to know if P and I were on our way to fight the war in I-raq. A thought which, of course, makes my skin crawl. Do I look like someone who would become a mercenary?
Everywhere I looked there were no soldiers, only contractors.
On my way home from the trip, I stopped over in Kuwait again, this time alone. I had been sick during the trip, so I wasn't nearly so upset by my stay at the Kuwait airport hotel the second time around, I was just glad to have my own toilet and shower and some alone time, for the first time in weeks. Mostly, I laid in front of the TV and relaxed (I laughed so hard when the censors blanked out the word 'homosexual' from an episode of NYPD Blue!). In the morning when I was at the terminal for my flight I met an older British man. He was there visiting his son, who (suprise suprise) was a 'contractor', I actually talked to this guy, instead of laughing nervously and running away, as I'd done with the chatty southerners at the hotel. He told me that his son was making a fortune at it, way more than he ever had as a soldier, and way more than he would have made doing the same job at home.
THE RULES OF WAR HAVE CHANGED.
Who are these security contractors?
What do they do?
Why do they do it?
Shadow Company, by Nick Bicanic and Jason Bourque, is the groundbreaking feature-length documentary that reveals the origins and destinations of these modern-day mercenaries.