October 02, 2007

Redefining the Terms

CNN.com: Blackwater boss defends contractors' 'honorable' work

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The founder and chief executive of Blackwater USA defended his company against allegations that his contractors were trigger-happy mercenaries Tuesday, saying that his personnel have distinguished records and have never intentionally killed civilians.

I'm actually surprised that this story took so long to break. Mister Bookworm has a friend who works for some oddball organization that has been working on this story for a while now. She told me about it and I was actually surprised by the basic facts -- even without the allegations of war crimes.

Maybe I'm naive, but when the news says "defense contractors" or "military contractors" I've always thought they meant people involved with logistics like delivering food supplies, rebuilding infrastructure and such. I did not know that they are armed personnel conducting military/police efforts.

I did not realize that the US government was in the practice (at least in modern times) of hiring mercenaries. Forget the trigger-happy part. These are missionaries. Calling these people "contractors" leads a person to believe that they are engaged in legitimate business activities.

I am more than a little miffed that I have been led to believe that these people are anything other than hired guns.

First of all, policing another country and helping them rebuild after a war is not a legitimate function of our military or government.

Second of all, being a mercenary is not a legitimate business activity under the Constitution of the US. That our government is hiring them is simply outrageous.

It's late. I have to go to bed, so I will likely talk more about why mercenaries are not allowed in a free society tomorrow.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at October 2, 2007 11:34 PM | TrackBack

These mercenaries are there probably as a covert measure to extend the size of the troops in Iraq, without actually deploying more real troops. (Conveniently, their fatality figures are not announced in the news and are not counted among the dead soldiers.) Although the total number of soldiers deployed is small relative to the size of the whole military, they are largely drawn from the same smaller subset of the military.

My father is already on his THIRD deployment, as are many of those already in Iraq. They are far overused and for all the wrong reasons, so it's not surprising the government is resorting to "contractors"--expanding the U.S. military's presence substantially is far too controversial and difficult to pull off in Congress.

But it's having a demoralizing effect on the real soldiers, because these hired guns are paid in six digit figures while the real soldiers get far less money for far more work, among other things.

It's ironic that real soldiers are being used mainly for reconstruction and peacekeeping, while these contractors are doing military operations!

Posted by: Tom Rexton at October 3, 2007 02:44 AM
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