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  • Friday, March 30, 2007


    O Mercenary, My Mercenary

    There are approximately 172,000 American military troops in Iraq. There are approximately 100,000 civilian "private contractors" in Iraq, many in "security" support positions to the American military. Blackwater USA is one of them.

    The interesting thing to me is these private contractors have no specific allegiance to the USA or to internationally recognized laws regarding behavior in war zones. Encouraging mercenary military development also seems a rather poor idea to me in the long term. When allegiance is a matter of money, it provides an incentive to claim the golden goose paying you. I'm thinking coup as a viable course of action for such folks. What do you depend on? If breaking the terms of a contract is more profitable than keeping it, do you think mercenaries will balk at their "honor"? This is a money/services exchange, not the mythology of the Knights of the Round Table.

    It's a dangerous line of work but it is also very profitable. From "Bush's Shadow Army" By Jeremy Scahill:
    In 2005 after Hurricane Katrina [Blackwater USA] forces deployed in New Orleans, where it billed the federal government $950 per man, per day -- at one point raking in more than $240,000 a day. At its peak the company had about 600 contractors deployed from Texas to Mississippi. Since Katrina, it has aggressively pursued domestic contracting, opening a new domestic operations division. Blackwater is marketing its products and services to the Department of Homeland Security, and its representatives have met with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The company has applied for operating licenses in all US coastal states. Blackwater is also expanding its physical presence inside US borders, opening facilities in Illinois and California. (emphasis mine.)
    Outsourcing patriotism seems just about right for the Bush administration.

    (Apologies to Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!" for the post title. I try to credit where I swipe things from when possible and if I remember; my memory is a disorganized mess.)

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