November 15th, 2007
10:07 PM ET
15 years ago

Richardson: Pull contractors out of Iraq

(CNN) - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson made clear what he would do with private military contractors in Iraq if he was elected president. "I would pull out all the contractors," he said.

"What I believe we need to do is we need to reform our military," Richardson said in response to a question from CNN's Suzanne Malveaux about whether pulling contractors out of Iraq might put an additional strain on an already stretched U.S. military presence in there. "This is what I would do. This war in Iraq has bled us enormously, has bled our military enormously."

"I would find ways to keep the all-volunteer force. Now, I would say to you that I would have two more divisions in the Army, two more in the Marines," Richardson said. "I would increase military pay and educational benefits, a new GI Bill for our military."

- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Bill Richardson
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Dave, Dallas, PA

    What? . . . and reverse all that misguided work Donald did on the military? Let’s not let practicality and reality get in the way of the technocrat’s video-game visions we call war.

    November 15, 2007 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  2. Chris, Pensacola FL

    Rock on Richard! I might switch parties soon. I didn't know democrats could be like yourself, Dodd, and Biden.

    Why is it the ones that really suck are the front runners and the ones that generate ideas and applause long shots? Somethings evil or wrong about that.

    November 15, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  3. Jesse, Miami, FL

    Richardson did awsome! I can't believe CNN. They haven't metioned anyone buy Hillary, Obama, and Edwards. That is so biased. CNN should honestly try to actually present news instead of trying to boost ratings.

    November 15, 2007 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  4. Jim L., Irmo, SC

    It should be noted that Richardson was agreeing with Obama at this point.

    November 15, 2007 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  5. Adam, Sacramento CA

    My recollection was that richardson answered first this was his birthday question response not Obama. THat is the my son is fighting in Iraq making 30K a year happy B-day question wasn't it. Can't seem to find the full video anywhere.

    And Richardson Nailed it although I personally would have added. No man who has sold his patriotism for profit should ever be securing US personnel or be contracted with by any government agency for security in a war zone.

    The answer is of course pay our men better and outlaw mercenaries while expanding our loyal forces.

    November 16, 2007 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  6. JD Rugby ND

    Nice try, but going nowhere. To pull out all the contractors from Iraq we would have to actually end our occupation of Iraq and Bush's war of terror in Iraq. Growing the Army and the Marines by two divisions each in this day of Bush's war of terror will not happen without a draft. Americans are not that naive. If Richardson plans to fill the ranks of his larger military by granting citizenship to immigrant, legal and otherwise, he could keep an all-recruited force. Just for clarification, our military is a recruited force, rather than voluntary. Kids do not wake up one morning and say, "I am going to volunteer for the Army today." A recruiter targets, contacts, screens, cajoles, confuses, and coerces applicants to sign the dotted line like any other sales person.

    November 16, 2007 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  7. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    ... because the media is directing the election ... if there were no "polls" and "front-runners" as defined in the press, who would would win the election?

    Biden, Richardson as a team, would have experience and ideas rather than the empty flash of being a celebrity ... they are what we need now ...

    November 16, 2007 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  8. Jack, Fort Myers, FL

    That would be suicide for out troops. Obviously he has missed the fact the President Bush has outsourced more military responsibilities than any executive in history. The chow hall, base security, telecommunications, facilities management, laundry services, etc...are mostly staffed and operated by civilian contractors. These positions considered non-essential to the combat role–have now been staffed down to the point it would take "years" to backfill all those missing billots with military members who are trained/proficient. Again..Richardson shows his lack of knowledge and understanding of just how much GW has screwed up pretty much everything he has touched. All of this because of job creation!! Well folks, except for the "big dog"s and investors-most of the outsourced employees are foreign nationals–not Americans! He doesn't know what the GOP is up to, and his solutions lack understanding of the situation on the ground in America and Iraq.

    November 16, 2007 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  9. jw, canadian,ok

    Looks like we're looking at a Clinton-Richardson ticket, the other dudes have po'd the lady.

    November 16, 2007 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  10. Ryan Indianapolis

    No you wouldnt you those contracts should go to the russians or chinese after we have spent so much blood and treasure over there,,,this guy will say whatever to get elected

    November 16, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. thetaxman

    Sure, pull all the contractors out of everything governmental. Forget all about the fact that they do things 3 times cheaper than we do. But hey, who cares about that right. After all, its just taxpayers money and I have all the time in the world to collect it..

    November 16, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. Jeff

    COntractors? They obviously need to change the name because they sound like the people who are going to come and fix my roof.

    November 16, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  13. Tony Pawlisz, Valrico, FL

    Let's get real here first. Gov Richardson is a smart guy but uninformed in some ways. The Marine Corps only has 3 active and one reserve divisions to start with, a handfull of very large bases, and total troop stregnth of around 200k. adding 50% to this elite force would take decades to do. Adding addtional divisions to the Army would make sense and can be done a lot easier and quicker because of the Army's size. But we are down to 10 divisions now because most of the admin, mess hall, security, recruiting and other non-high tech jobs have been put out to private contractors. While this has been an effective tool to draw down the military in peace time and cut the long term costs of retirement for the military and the VA it has hammered the American public in the pocket book during the Bush war years. 20 years down the road we may see a little pay off from it, but we are paying dearly for it now.
    As a retired soldier, and now defense contractor I can tell you first hand how lucrative it can be to work in Afganistan and Iraq, with one year stints paying upwards of $350k where an enlisted soldier will make about $35k a year.

    Wake up America!! Contractors cost 5 to 10 times what a soldier makes in Iraq doing a soldiers job, by mostly former soldiers. Why did you think this war is costing so much? It's the only way this administration can do it without the DRAFT!

    November 17, 2007 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  14. Real Man

    Great. Pulling out the contractors means rebuilding in Iraq will come to a stop. Families will do without running water and electricity, and anger will again mount against our troops, making for a stronger insurgency.

    I always thought that voting for New Yorkers and New Jersey folks was a mistake, but now I am beginning to feel that way about New Mexico.

    November 18, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |