18 September 2007

Our Mercenaries (Again)

Main Entry: 1mer·ce·nary
Pronunciation: 'm&r-s&-"ner-E, -ne-rE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -nar·ies
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin mercenarius, irregular from merced-, merces wages --more at MERCY
: one that serves merely for wages; especially : a soldier hired into foreign service

The folks who fancy themselves "private military contractors" apparently don't like the word mercenary. I do suppose I can see their point; it sounds so, well so cheap and unprincipled. And the 'pmc' types might have a point since they are not being paid by a foreign power even if they are providing foreign service. Regardless, it turns out that for every regular service man or woman in Iraq there also is one mercenary. This is a matter that has not come up in recent Congressional discussions about policy in Iraq. Not only are we mired in a disaster there, but we have not been able to raise enough personnel to actually prosecute the war. This too is a consequence of the BushCo "policy." Our mercenaries get paid better than our servicemen and women.

I have posted on this matter several times before [1] [2] [3]. Events seem to be overtaking the BushCo reliance on mercenaries. According to various news sources, a group of Blackwater employees providing security of a U.S. State Department convoy have shot and killed a large number of Iraqis, including civilians. You can find The New York Times report here. Of course, the claim will be self-defense. Who knows? The Iraqi government has suddenly found its voice and is complaining loud and clear about this latest episode (it is not the first). Now the U.S. Secretary of State apparently is groveling to try to prevent the Iraqis from demanding the expulsion of the Black water mercenaries. That would create real problems for the Bush Administration. But the irony is that the State Department is so heholden to their own mercenaries is obvious. And the reality is that the Blackwater personnel apparently cannot be held accountable. Ooops!

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