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Blackwater: Wave of the Future?
[Opinion] We may be in the midst of a corporate mercenary boom
David Michael Weber (crossfire)     Print Article 
Published 2007-09-25 11:50 (KST)   
If the Iraq fiasco has taught us anything, it's that sending national troops into another country is damaging both at home and abroad.

1. It looks belligerent to other countries.

2. It creates antiwar and "bring the boys back home" protests.

3. It's a huge drain on the budget.

4. National leaders get hit with the "leading their fellow countrymen to their deaths in a pointless cause" accusations.

A medieval mercenary for hire as portayed by Leonardo da Vinci.
©2007 Wikipedia
Enter Blackwater, a private military company. No soldiers ripped from their home bases or from their civilian jobs and their families. No sob stories to fill the news and create mixed feelings and second thoughts.

It'll just be a small and quiet operation. Instead of trying to foolishly manhandle an entire country that's falling apart, there'll just be key sectors -- that is, industries with international ties and paying, high-profile clientele -- that will be protected. There'll be no worries about trying to protect civilians -- unless someone coughs up some bucks.

Basically Blackwater and the other several hundred "private security" forces currently operating in Iraq are your good old-fashioned mercenaries in corporate form.

There's definitely profit to be had when outfits like Blackwater are used mainly in protecting industries and key corporate/political personnel.

As for profit, Blackwater did pretty well for itself during the Katrina aftermath in New Orleans billing the United States over $200,000 a day.

Will we be seeing more of these privately owned corporate armies handling small conflicts to protect foreign investments and key personnel in the future?

Will world leaders turn to corporate "security firms" rather than their militaries to handle certain disputes, external and -- more ominously -- internal? Will we go back to medieval days when kings found it more convenient to hire mercenaries to wage their private wars?

The problem is -- to whom are corporate mercs ultimately answerable? When you sub-contract out, how much control do you lose? What becomes acceptable losses to a mercenary outfit not burdened by international criticism?
©2007 OhmyNews
A native Tennesseean, David M. Weber is currently at the grammatical grindstone cranking out gerunds, dangling modifiers and perfecting tenses as an English teacher in Japan. In his travels, he has hiked the Inca Trail, been mugged in Mexico City, broke his leg in Switzerland, attempted to bike through Mexico and failed, climbed Pyramids in Egypt and Mexico, drank great quantities of beer at Oktoberfest and gambled at Monte Carlo.
Other articles by reporter David Michael Weber

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