« Peter, Paul and Jesus | Main | More On Mercenaries »

Thursday, April 01, 2004


Jeff C.

They aren't always "mercenaries", often they are Private Military Firms or PMFs.

Is there a distinction?



Why argue the semantics of whether they were mercs, civilians, CIA or whatever? Desecrating the bodies after they were already dead is what people seem to be taking offense to here. Were the actions of the mob justifiable just because they may have been mercs?

hawthorne de sordos

Is there any truth to the story that the day before the mob hit, American soldiers raped, tortured and killed a young Iraqi girl? I've been trying to find a concrete story. Apparently the news was published in an Iraqi newspaper, the story is being contested by the American government, and it would kind of explain, though of course not justify, the lynchings.

hawthorne de sordos

Hmm. I did find this: http://www.shianews.com/hi/middle_east/news_id/0000769.php

Also, I've been thinking about the word "justifiable." We went to their country, bombed them, thereby killing their wives, husbands, and children; we destroyed their utilities, completely altered their way of life, and are planning to occupy their country for the long term. I honestly doubt, in this situation, anyone would be capable of civilized behavior. Would you? And what would be the appropriate civilized behavior in this instance? Perhaps they should pray? When the planes hit the World Trade Center, I remember I was looking for someone to hurt in revenge. Far more people have died in Iraq because of this misguided war; I shudder to think of the intensity of their need for revenge, especially with the rubble everywhere, reminding them of what they've lost. I'm actually quite surprised, given all of this, that we haven't seen more horrifying scenes.


Obviously, whether the "contractors" were SOA terror trainees or simply civilian desk workers, the murder and desecration of their bodies was horrible. The behavior of the mob is inhuman and dehumanizing, even if the victims were legitimate military targets.

But one of the points here is that the constant media use of the word "civilian contractors" obscures the full nature of the story. It looks an awful lot like a deliberate omission of important facts in order to enhance public sentiment. Criticism of the terminology is more about media criticism than sympathy or condemnation for the mob actions.


They should have been labeled mercenaries, and then they should have been explained. The "privatization" of so many Defense department services obscures the fact that the corporations getting the contracts are usually so connected to former Pentagon personnel that an earlier age would have simply commented, graft. Plus, the absense of constraints on mercenaries -- for instance, the well known cases of rape in Bosnia associated with Dyncorps -- makes their employment suspicious from the get-go -- is this merely a way to get around the laws governing international warfare? In Iraq, they are relatively under the public eye, and have less room to tyrannize -- but in places like Angola, where mercs are regularly hired to track down 'guerillas" (ironically, mostly remnants of groups that were trained under Reagan as "freedom fighters"), it is a whole other story. However, there is, as always, a connecting link: Angola's mercenaries operate under contract to Brown and Root.

That said, one wonders what the Army could have been thinking to send mercenaries in a town the Army itself has put off limits. Just another bit of evidence that the COA has to quickly devolve governing and security to Iraqis.

David Holiday

Good of you to pick up on the Chilean mercenary story. HOWEVER... it was interesting how the Guardian editors of the same authorĀ“s story edited out the part you highlighted.

See http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1162392,00.html

Why? I suppose because Jonathan Franklin's suggestion that many of these were trained during the Pinochet dictatorship defies logic. The two Chileans he cites are 27 and 30. The Pinochet dictatorship ended with the 1990 referendum. That means that those interviewed, and probably many others hired by Blackwater, were 18 or under when Pinochet was on his last legs.

CORRECTION: The Guardian article does have the same line about these guys being trained under Pinochet.

My point still stands--it defies logic.

C. Hallmark

One of the reasons for the Iraqi war was to secure war contracts for war profiteers like Haliburton and Big Oil.

Now, our foreign policy of aggression and imperialism has stretched our armed forces so thin that the employment of another type of war profiteer is required: mercenary firms like Blackwater.

Remember the mutilated, maimed, and Iraqi civilians -- thousands of them.

Remember our 600 military dead who are sworn to defend the United States and its Consititution and were ordered by liars to serve the private interests of their defense-contractor and oil cronies.

The mercenaries operate in a gray area. The represent no state; they are responsible to no political entity; they are neither civilians nor enlitees, nor conscripts. They are not covered by the Geneva Convention. Treating them as spies is more legal than the Iraq war itself.

They were not murdered. They were ambushed and killed. Such is war. These people knew they might get killed, but found the big bucks too tempting.


And still the media persists in referring to them as "civilian contractors," knowing perfectly well that the vast majority of Americans will immediately imagine a bunch of guys in hard hats hired by the government to repair infrastructure or build dams.

Desecrating bodies is disgusting, sure. But under the twisted logic of war, where some kinds of killing are murder and some kinds are patriotism, does this event really qualify as the "murder of civilian contractors?" Or is the story being deliberatly spun that way to draw attention from the larger issue of outsourcing war to corporate mercenaries?

What makes our mainstream media so afraid to touch this that I had to find out about it through an article in the Australian press?


Perhaps the reason that security is being outsourced is so that our troops, many of whom are reservists can come back home and enjoy thier lives as AMERICANS! Besides, outsourcing is a CAPITALIST thing to and we are capitalists! No one bitches and moans about corporations here hiring thier own security,,, Why shouldn't it be done elsewhere? respect the troops if not the mission. SEMPER FIDELIS!

r david

i dont give a hoot what the politics are, theirs or ours. ive heard and seem enough to know we DO belong there and we SHOULDNT leave until the job is done.

the job of private security is to assist in stabilization of the country. when that is done, they will all go home and locals will take over.

why you dont see that is beyond me. stupidity should be a crime.


And yet you're so very lucky it's not.

richard Hill

I find it interesting that some commentators on this page seem to look deep for the wrong in those providing a hope of freedom for the Iraqi people while ignoring or minimizing the horror of the Iraqi insurgents. I just got back from Iraq. I have been paid by the CPA. So I guess I am one of those 'mercenaries'. What have you hang wringers and couch heroes done to help anyone? Before you judge others, try doing something other then talk yourself.


Some of the remarks I have read here are absolutely crazy. "The war was started to secure contracts".....what? "US soldiers raping Iraqi women and children"......what? Wake up jerk-offs. If you want to see the truth, drop the cheetos and mountain dew and go see for yourself rather than believing the talking heads or scouring the internet for evil US conspiracy theories!!! I'm a "merc" (if that's what you asses are comfortable with) proud of it. I've served my country honorably in peace and war. For both the mil and private organizations.
What have you done?

The comments to this entry are closed.