More ammo and bigger guns

Talking with Nick Bicanic provided a rare glimpse into the day to day life of private, armed civilians in Iraq. In the interest of being even-handed, Bicanic was hesitant to relay some of the amusing anecdotes that his friend "James," a private military employee on the ground, had about American contract workers -- the kind that say, with a certain degree of seriousness, "America -- fuck yeah."

True, focusing just on these folks provides a skewed representation of PMCs. But it's also pretty amusing.

While the "bad boy mercenary" image looms among contract workers from all countries, the Americans have developed something of a reputation for being the most, shall we say, equipped to live up to this image. Weighted down with belts of ammo, strapped across their chests Rambo style, specialty camo holsters and sunglasses, Bicanic noted that it seemed as though some of these folks were just waiting for a camera to roll by so that they could strut.

Companies like Ranger Joe's provide the accessories. Visit the Ranger's website, and you'll be greeted with a voice exclaiming "Hooah!" That's because Ranger Joe's is "the HOOAH place to go!" The most well-known accessories company, however, is Blackhawk. A look to Blackhawk's press releases reveal a steady stream of company acquisitions -- a testament to the huge growth in the products industry.

Folks within the contracting world call the products posturing and swagger "Blackwater Fever." Via Bicanic, a list has circulated among contract workers, identifying the following as symptoms indicating that you may have the fever:

-Large amount of primping, i.e. mousse in your hair despite the fact you live in a war zone.
-Your forearms break out in tattoos, often tribal
-Have used, currently using, or consider using, steroids
-Grow a beard to blend in with the locals, even though you are a 6ft tall blonde with a "Death before Dishonor" tattoo
-Are arrogant and condescending to people with more experience, training, and who make more money than you
-Truly believe you look good in a Speedo
-Despite the fact there are laundry facilities available, you insist on wearing a dirty brown T-shirt with your blood type in black magic marker to work
-You carry a drop-leg holster, wear a Federal Agent, Badge, flash bangs, 5 or more pistol mags, asp, handcuffs, surefire light, leatherman, on your belt and a Gerber mark II strapped to the outside of your boot in the embassy complex
-Believe by running Iraqis off the road you are winning their "hearts & minds"
-Despite earning a six figure income you wear a filthy, ragged ball cap that has not ever been washed.
-You have a Blackhawk credit card
-Often email pictures of yourself in body armor, weapons and kit to all your friends, family, and anybody that you have an email address for
-Believe people really give a shit about seeing multiple pictures of you in your body armor, weapons and kit
-You demonstrated your "quick draw" technique to your girlfriend
-You have been seen wearing a black boonie hat, black shirt, black pants, black boots, black body armor, black ammo pouches and a MP5…in a desert environment when its 110 degrees
-You spray paint your M4 into a desert camo pattern, though you only operate in a urban environment

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