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Is it right to use private contractors or mercenaries to fill roles in the US military?

Capitol News Connections (2008-02-01) Chadwick De Las Casas, Timothy Borgman

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More Info: Blackwater

Debate on the right to use mercenaries to fill roles in US Military

Affirmative argument:

YES by Chadwick De Las Casas

The usage of private military forces is nothing unique to warfare - and just because we're entering a video age where everyone can actually SEE these mercenary forces does not mean that we should cease using them.

But of course, first and foremost, it is important to not beat around the bush. Let's call Blackwater for what they are: mercenaries. Technically, yes, they're contractors, but they're contracted fighters. They're not just simple security - videos that flood You Tube more than prove this (such as the infamous video of Blackwater snipers eliminating Mahdi Army targets throughout an Iraqi city).

But the word "mercenary" itself is reluctantly used in fear of the connotations that come with them. They're not the hardened Boba Fetts that popular literature and film like to portray them as, in fact they're not even the elite of the elite, so tough that both sides in the war clamor for their aid. They're just unaligned combatants who turn in the typical glory that comes with combat in the line of fire in favor of a monetary benefit.

An article in the Associated Press asked why so little attention is paid to the 100,000 contractors in Iraq, and why those killed there don't get the same fanfare and lip service as American Soldiers. The reason, at its barest, is because they trade these in for their $1,000 a day contracts. They trade the funeral processions, the folded flags, the headlines, the state funerals, the glory - they cash it all in for cold hard currency, which is fine.

Because they're mercenaries.

And mercenaries, quite frankly, have their uses. Let us not forget, every dad insurgent is a benefit to the United States and, as macabre as many may think this is, that is the solid truth. But most importantly, the presence of mercenaries frees up American forces for doing what they do best: moving forward and smashing the enemy.

As everyone can agree, 2006 was an ugly year in Iraq. The false idea that the nation had entered a civil war had increased in momentum, American troops were dying at their highest rates, and al-Qaeda in Iraq was looking like it would become the dominant force in the nation. The Shi'ite dominated government was completely out of control, the Sunnis were boycotting the governments, Kurds were talking of secession, and Americans were simply standing around getting shot at.

Because American forces were expected to do menial, patrolling, policing duties, rather than hunting down the insurgents and taking the fight to them. By allowing organizations like Aegis and Blackwater to take over basic security, supplementing the Iraqi National Army and Iraqi Police forces, and maintain a peace won by American forces.

What happened in Iraq when Fallujah was pacified? Insurgents fled to surrounding Anbar cities. What happened when they were pursued? They fled to Baqouba and other Diyala cities - and it was all but impossible for American forces to pursue them there while having to maintain basic security.

The simple fact is, American soldiers are there to fight, to hunt down the insurgents, to put down al-Qaeda in Iraq, and to stabilize the nation, and Blackwater and corporations like them simply make it easier to do that.

Naturally these organizations need to be held on a tight leash - all that firepower with no national responsibility is dangerous.

But it is neither new, revolutionary, or by any means radical.

It's simply another fact of warfare that allows American forces to do their job.


Rebuttal argument:

NO by Timothy Borgman

Allowing corporations to obtain their own armies is very dangerous to a democracy. In essence this will allow these entities to eventually wage a war against the democratic state. This scenario has been seen before in our own nations history with the coal barons that helped to usher in the Civil War.

But what if we have a government in league with corporations? This is what we are faced with currently on our national scene. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are in thrall to those same corporations for its funding, and are becoming less interested in the opinions of the people as a whole.

Allowing these entities to obtain armies is a gross error and will allow a further erosion of our democracy. Why do corporations need armies in the first place? To protect their interests of course! But what are their interests? These interests include maintaining and expanding their power...the same as a state.

We have already begun to see the abuse that this causes in Iraq and other countries that we currently occupy. Although the oil fields and resources are the Iraq peoples...Haliburton and Bechtel now claim them as theirs, and will protect them at any and all cost against the native population.

The United States was founded upon this principle of robbing, stealing, and theft since its beginnings. Am I unpatriotic because I declare a historical fact? Am I a terrorist because I declare that these actions are criminal? Why is it that when other countries invade and occupy other countries it's criminal, but when we do it, it's considered democracy? How come we are blind to our own misdeeds?

President Bush has said; "they hate us for our freedom", but this couldn't be further from the truth. They don't hate us for our freedom, they hate us for our deeds and actions that have been perpetuated by our leaders in the name of democracy. The war in the Middle-East is not a war of the is a war of the corporation, especially the oil industry and the military industrial complex! Yes, the military is a business and receives billions of our tax dollars every year from Congress in order to build more weapons and bases.

Why is it that once we have defeated one so-called enemy, there is always another one to go after? And it is curious that they all have resources we wish to obtain for ourselves! Now that Iraq is ours along with its oil...we now have our eye on Iran's oil. The exploding mushroom cloud excuse is a dead horse that our leaders keep beating. But who benefits in the end? If you guessed the oil and military industry you are correct! And what are they after-all but corporations!

The military industry which produces our armies weapons does not have its own army, nor does the oil industry...but can you imagine if they did? Would they really obey the protocols of the Geneva Convention and the U.N.? Would they operate within democratic structures? Since it is clear that corporations like Blackwater don't...why would the rest?

Media Form edit

Title Is it right to use private contractors or mercenaries to fill roles in the US military?
Publisher Capitol News Connections
Author Chadwick De Las Casas, Timothy Borgman
Pub Date 2008-02-01
Media Link
Keywords Blackwater
Media Type Linked Article
Curator Rating Plain
Author Name Sortable
Topic revision: r1 - 2008-02-09, CathyMiller
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