[...] Alex's contract was not incredibly lucrative. In Iraq, he earned between $150 and $180 per day, sometimes $200. It puts Ukrainians in the same league as the "third-country nationals"—Nepalese, Filipinos, and Fijians—who work in the private security industry.
Earning $150 per day may not seem worth the risk—but it's a fortune in economically stagnant Ukraine. Assuming the average Ukrainian earns an official wage of $120 per month (estimates of real income are hard to come by, but that's the figure the IMF cites in a 2005 report), Alex was earning more in a day than most of his fellow countrymen earn in a month.
How much does an American make working on a private security detail in Iraq? Returning from a recent trip to Iraq, I met one U.S. security contractor in a transit hotel in Jordan. He was waiting for his baggage to arrive, and we got acquainted while waiting to check e-mail. He logged onto his account.
"Damn!" he said out loud. "I just got another job offer: $850 a day. Damn! That's a hell of a job offer." [...]
Thursday, February 09, 2006
A very interesting piece in Slate about a Ukrainian private security contractor who spent a year working in Iraq - Kalashnikovs for Hire in Iraq, by Nathan Hodge: