London

Christopher Stewart

Gimpel Fils

It’s estimated that there are some twenty-five thousand private military personnel currently in Iraq, collectively comprising easily the second-largest fighting force in the country (the largest being of course the US Army). Employed by firms with names like Custer Battles, Global Risk Strategies, and Blackwater USA, they are mostly funded by US tax dollars and handle everything from training local forces to surveillance, weapons procurement, and on-the-ground fighting. But these mercenaries aren’t trained in US boot camps. They’re drilled in places like the one depicted in Christopher Stewart’s photographic series “Kill House,” 2005.

Located in the wilds of Arkansas, this desolate structure is used to prepare outsourced soldiers contracted (as a press release for the show puts it) “to clear domestic houses in conflict zones such as Iraq or Afghanistan.” If one didn’t deduce from its

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