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September 26, 2007

Privatizing War Corporations, Globalization  Iraq  War and Peace

A startling piece of information from John Robb. Private military contractors probably provide almost as many "trigger pullers" in Iraq as the entire US military does:

There are currently 20,000 PMC [Private Military Company] trigger pullers in Iraq. These men are guarding facilities and key people across the country. This is likely nearly the same number of trigger pullers (as opposed to support personnel) as the entire US military currently has in the country. Without these men, the US military would barely be able to field a force large enough to patrol Baghdad. [Emphasis added]

Privatization of war-fighting is bad news for a variety of reasons. It undermines democracy, because it is infinitely easier to sell a war that's fought by mercenaries than one fought by uniformed soldiers that people still think of as their sons and daughters. It removes accountability for the conduct of the fighting, since the contractors are not bound by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It supports the creation of standing private armies and fosters the further militarization of domestic law enforcement. And it creates a built-in constituency for more war. When war is a profit center, the obvious way to grow profits is to promote war. When PMCs have soldiers on the ground (not just in Iraq, but in many hotspots around the world), they have all sorts of opportunities to drum up business.

Where is this all headed? LA Times:

[Erik] Prince, the former Navy SEAL who founded Blackwater, is straightforward about his company's goal: "We're trying to do for the national security apparatus what FedEx did for the Postal Service."

Since FedEx rendered the post office irrelevant for all but the most trivial forms of mail, this means you can kiss our national security apparatus goodbye. [Emphasis added]

The Founders considered any form of standing army a grave threat to liberty. And now we're going to convert much of the standing army into a profit-making enterprise under private control.

Whatever else corporations are, they are undemocratic: what the boss says, goes. And corporations are committed to maximizing growth. So when corporations have armies — when corporations are armies — how can it end well?

Posted by Jonathan at September 26, 2007 12:40 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb