Democracy Arsenal

« Obama and World Opinion | Main | Reflections on the Surge and the Future of Iraq (Part 3) »

January 25, 2007

In Defense of "Mercenaries"
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

Remember that old movie "Escape from New York?" the one where the city has become a large prison populated by violent and depraved criminals. A story  that fell between the cracks of the State of the Union--two downed Blackwater helicopters, five Americans dead--made me remember the images from that film. No escape, not by land, not by air, not by sea.

Some news reports speculate that four of the five were shot on the ground. Ugh and sigh. I know it is hard for some people to feel outrage or grief over the death of private military contractors--an attitude that I often find is supported by perverse logic and misplaced anger about our own government's dysfunction. The bottom line is that the privatization of US National Security  is a trend that has been ongoing for years. It was a conversation that Congress forgot to have during the heady government-hatin hoe down that passed for a legislature for the past decade. So here we are. The Post reported that there are  some 100,000 contractors in Iraq alone, including 25,000 private security contractors.

This exceeds the number of all coalition forces combined, and is only 40,000 less than the  number of U.S. troops in Iraq.  It is a virtual army of largely unregulated individuals working on behalf of U.S. national interests.  From strategic weapons systems as the B-2 stealth bomber and Global Hawk to running ROTC programs, the military has been colonized by corporations. This is all legitimate business created by our own government--though the billions of dollars disappeared by contractors In Iraq make Abramoff look like Little Bo Peep.

Handing over public tasks to the free market without a thorough discussion about what are essential government responsibilities is the hallmark of the era that just ended.  The new Congress has set out an ambitious agenda of contract oversight.  But a much larger
conversation needs to happen at the same time.  Now is the chance for Democrats to put forward a governing philosophy that will provide a backdrop for all policy decision making: One that believes in the value of a public sector that genuinely serves a common good.

Private military companies--like many other efficiencies introduced into government--are here to stay.  They arose in the 1990's to meet a demand for manpower in peacekeeping type missions. Whenever this type of military capacity need came up during the last decade, entire rooms full of Congressmen would come down with the Cold War vapors.  The subject was soon redirected back to gold plated commie-killin pet projects and peacekeeping was left to hang in the wind. 

Its still happening today.  Even now when all the commies are watching American Idol.

Meanwhile, an entire infrastructure has developed to support private security services. Take a look at these bios .  These are not mercenaries. In my ideal world, they would be public servants, but our government has pared down its personnel by the thousands over the past two decades.  Now the institutional memory for many of today's most important issues...conflict resolution, peace ops, post conflict stabilization--reside in the private sector. It doesn't have to stay this way, however.

The US Congress took a baby step toward acknowledging this problem: last October's defense bill placed contractors under the Uniform Code of Military Justice...Great Britain has been looking at options for Regulating Private Military Services in the United Kingdom  the rationale being that- Since the government already licenses the export of military goods, it makes sense to licence the export of military activities in a similar way.

And Here in this country, the PMCs themselves are clamoring for more regulation.  A friend of mine who used to work for General Dynamics as a private military contractor agreed. In his own words, he called for a national debate - led by the new Congress - on the regulation of his own industry. Moreover, he said, only Congress can re-establish the once clear line between where public authority ends and private initiative begins. 

Now all we need is civilian leadership to step up to the plate and make some decisions.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference In Defense of "Mercenaries":


Now all we need is civilian leadership to step up to the plate and make some decisions.

Really? I thought the US was supposed to be a democracy.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Better: Now all we need is to foment the grassroots to get the government to do the right thing.

RF online is a very good game. Through buying rf gold, I find fun in it. I am so glad that I can earn a lot of rf online gold. Gaia online cater to the taste of young people. With rf money, you can get everything you want in this game. So I like to buy rf cp.

you just need to spend 100-200 dollars to buy a replica rolex watches.
IWC replica watches are made by the rating 1:1 according to the original watches, and you can't distinguish the original and the fake watches when you look at the surface of the watches.

we don't think it is reasonable to spend hundreds thousands dollars to buy a decorating watch. you can use those money to invest in other industry which will return you good profit.
here you just need to spend 100-200 dollars to buy a replica rolex watches.
Watch Accessories replica watches are made by the rating 1:1 according to the original watches, and you can't distinguish the original and the fake watches when you look at the surface of the watches.

It is the Rose zuly which make me very happy these days,

I hope i can get rf online gold in low price.
i buy rf money for you.

Once I played silkroad, I did not know how to get strong, someone told me that you must have silkroad gold. He gave me some sro gold.

Do you know the FFXI Gil, in here you can get the FFXI gold.

you must borrow requiem money from friends, or you can not go on this game without cheap requiem lant.

Flyers printed by China printing is very good quality and good prices.
Plastic products made by injection molding services with low costs and supeior quality
Shoring scaffolding for construction is a very useful tool.

Thank you for your sharing! I like i very much!

Thanks for your sharing,and you will enjoy the sunshine service. Let's abandon all the worry, omega watch and enjoy the happy shopping travel.All the are most in fashion boutique this year. show your chaming temperament. In addtin, the and the other make you mold your unique glamour this winter. The swiss have the high quality but low price. nd have all the style and cheapest price Chanel Watch Enjoying the fun of net purchase! We will supply you the perfect service and after sale support system. Our honest will bring you absolute satisfaction. Aslo and are so good for you.

oh my!! i love you so much!!

Thank you so much.

It’s really great article. I would like to appreciate your work and would like to tell to my friends.

Gclub คาสิโนออนไลน์ ฟุตบอลออนไลน์ หวยออนไลน์ บริการตลอด 24 ชั่วโมง Call Center Tel Ais : 089-398-9294 ถึง 97 Dtac : 090-005-4245 ถึง 46

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Guest Contributors
Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Powered by TypePad


The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use