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Obama takes on board more mercenaries than Bush

Obama is a puzzle. Here is the one-time law professor who promised all manner of things in the election campaign - and in the process was more than critical of George Bush for most of his actions - and now we learn that he, Obama, has outsourced more counter-insurgency work than even Bush did. More of the Blackwaters of this world!

"Without much notice or debate, the Obama administration has greatly expanded the outsourcing of key parts of the U.S.-led counterinsurgency wars in the Middle East and Africa, and as a result, for its secretive air war and special operations missions around the world, the U.S. has become increasingly reliant on a new breed of specialized companies that are virtually unknown to the American public, yet carry out vital U.S. missions abroad."

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"Denmark's democracy is in rude health while the political systems of Britain and France have some major shortcomings, according to a new Swiss-German study ranking the quality of democracy in 30 nations. Germany achieves a respectable score but falls short of a top 10 slot.

Germany is more democratic than France, Britain and even Switzerland, according to a study released last week by the University of Zurich and the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), a research institute funded by the German government.

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