's Under Contract: The Invisible Workers of America's Global War
(Stanford University Press, 2018) is about the hidden workers of American’s foreign wars: third country nationals who while not serving in their country’s militaries, still work to support the American war effort. These men and women serve as laborers, cooks, logisticians, engineers and security guards. They bear the burden of service in a war zone with the hopes of good pay, but are sometimes, maybe even often, disappointed. Prof Coburn explains in this book how they come to be in America’s wars, why they want to sign on a contract, how America’s government incentivizes and perpetuates the contracting system and what that means for the world both in the present and future.
In our talk, we discussed how Prof. Coburn came to this project, his personal experience in Afghanistan, what it means to be a contractor and how contracts are established as well as what happens to these contractors when they no longer have America’s wars to fight.
Jeffrey Bristol is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at Boston University and a JD candidate at the University of Michigan Law School.