Richard McCartan has an excellent piece on mercenaries serving in Iraq
* one rough estimate is that 60 to 80 companies, operating under DOD contract, have provided at least 25,000 armed soldiers to assist the U.S. military in Iraq.
*pay their American employees $400 to $700 per day. Many of the soldiers hail from third-world countries (and are paid considerably less).
* While no officials figure exists, about 160 to 200 of them are believed to have died fighting
*the private security companies, while receiving boatloads of U.S. cash, operate independently; for example, the U.S. does not prescribe training standards or rules of engagement, or require background checks
*the high pay scale for mercenaries' pay in Iraq has bred intense resentment within the low-paid military
Anyone who knows their history knows that mercenaries are what failing empires use, because they can't get their own citizens to fight for causes that are innately wrong.