Worth the Risk?

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," April 16, 2004, that was edited for clarity.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: As the kidnappings in Iraq continue, why are U.S. businessmen still interested in going over there?

Mike Battles is co-founder of the private security firm Custer Battles, has about 1,200 personnel working in Iraq.

Mike, looking at this video now, I’ve got to wonder what would draw people to Iraq. That this is an anomaly, that it’s still a safe place. What?

MIKE BATTLES, CO-FOUNDER, CUSTER BATTLES: Well, I think we’re still trying to feel our way through that, Neil.

We hope it’s an anomaly. We hope it’s part of riding the sine curve between stability and hostility there.

We’re not really in it for the money, and most of the people that are there are there because they really want to see Iraq rebuilt. We’re going wait and see how this situation plays itself out before we put any more people in the region.

CAVUTO: All right. Now the people who go into the region that were given a lot of money to do so, right? We’re told salaries can go up to $300,000 or more. For someone in some debt or someone a little desperate that’s a big draw, is it not?

BATTLES: Well that number, 300,000 or more, is not something I’m familiar with. I think that’s a little bit extra than most people would receive there.

I hear a lot of mistakes where people say, you know, a thousand dollars a day. That’s not a thousand dollars a day the person is receiving. That’s what someone is paying for that person, which includes insurance, equipment, travel and all of those types of things.

CAVUTO: So where is this all going now? If we get more incidents like this soldier here, I mean, do you find it tougher to recruit people to go to Iraq, convince them that, like you said, this could be unusual. This could be an anomaly? What do you do?

BATTLES: We haven’t really seen anything in the recruitment. As a matter of fact, we’ve been the ones that have been putting the brakes on. We want to make sure that we don’t put our people in harm’s way.

We’re not soldiers; we’re civilians that are trying to aid their reconstruction effort. And if we think it is too dangerous, we’ll slow down and then speed up as the situation is more appropriate.

CAVUTO: All right, thank you very much, Mike Battles.

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