with the Privatization of Counterterrorism
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role of private military companies in Iraq has never been fully
acknowledged. However, several incidents have
brought public attention to that secretive
most striking incident was the murder of four men in
Fallujah by rebels who ambushed their SUVs, threw hand
grenades and set them on fire. The charred body of one was hooked to a car and dragged through the
streets while the bodies of two others were
hung from a bridge over the
as the crowd chanted, "Fallujah
is the graveyard of Americans". There were no
U.S. troops or Iraqi forces coming
to the scene.
who were the victims and what were they doing there?
All it was known was that they were four Americans,
civilians, and contract workers involved in a
reconstruction project in
Iraq. U.S. officials in Washington
said the contractors were working with the U.S.-led coalition but did not
say what they were doing in the city. The four men were employees of
Blackwater, a private military company.
Another incident that drew attention to private military contractors was
the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal. A couple of
CACI International and Titan
Corporation, working as military interrogators and translators,
were involved but again it was
not clear who were they and what
were they doing in Iraq. It was not clear also what were others like them doing in U.S. run prisons,
to whom were they accountable and what were they doing on critical missions
like counterintelligence (Schlesinger, 2004). These questions remain
What are private
military companies? What do they do in Iraq? Who regulates them?
defines them as "corporate bodies that specialize in the provision of military
skills-including tactical combat operations, strategic planning,
intelligence gathering and analysis, operational support, troop training,
and military technical assistance" (Singer, 2001/2002). Thus, as Singer
states, they accomplish tasks directly affecting the tactical and strategic
success of engagement. Clients can "access capabilities that extend
across the entire spectrum of military activity-from a team of commandos
to a wing of fighter jets-simply by becoming a business client." The
role of PMCs has become increasingly widespread and important in contemporary
warfare yet its "full
scope and impact remain underrealized." PMCs range from
small consulting firms to transnational corporations that lease battalions
contractors working for these companies perform a range of services. They
operate and maintain airplanes on the battlefield, and sometimes even
fly them to the world's
most troubled conflict zones. They supply bodyguards for the president of
Afghanistan, construct detention camps to hold suspected terrorists at
Guantanamo Bay, and pilot armed reconnaissance planes and helicopter gunships
to eradicate coca crops in Colombia. They operate the intelligence and
communications systems at the U.S. Northern Command in Colorado, which
is responsible for coordinating a response to any attack on the United
States. They are contracting with foreign governments, training soldiers
and reorganizing militaries in Nigeria, Bulgaria, Taiwan, and Equatorial
Guinea (Yeoman, 2003).
clients of PMCs "differ
in size, relative power, location in the international system, level of
wealth, number and type of adversaries, organizational makeup, ideology,
legitimacy, objectives, and so on." (Singer, 2001/2002). They range from
individuals to private corporations and governments and from humanitarian
agencies to drug cartels (Morse, 2004). The UN and other international organizations,
for example, frequently employ PMCs or private security companies (PSCs)
for logistics or security. Also, many foreign industries and NGOs would
be unwilling to operate without having the protection of such companies
(Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2002). Other international organizations
have used PMCs like
Halliburton's Brown & Root division to remove
(2004) estimates that there are several hundred PMCs around the world that
have operated in over 50 countries with their single largest client being
the U.S. According to Singer (2001/2002) every major U.S. military operation
in the post-Cold War
era (whether in the Persian Gulf, Somalia, Haiti, Zaire, Bosnia, or Kosovo)
has involved significant and growing levels of PMC support. The U.S. has
used DynCorp and subsequently Pacific A&E to recruit and manage monitors
for it in the Balkans (Foreign and Commonwealth
Office, 2002). The Associated
Press (2004) reports that the CIA often uses independent contractors for
short-term assignments. While these contractors are sometimes recruited by
and work through a private company, they can also be contracted directly
by the agency.
In the last decade, the U.S.
government has signed over 3 000 contracts with PMCs (Singer, 2004). Also,
the spending on federal contracts increased by about 42 percent from 2000 to
2003 (from $205 billion to $291 billion) according to a report issued in May
by Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the senior Democrat on the House
Government Reform Committee (Associated Press, 2004).
Private military companies
make an estimated $100 billion in business worldwide each year with much of
the money going to Fortune 500 firms like Halliburton, DynCorp, Lockheed
Martin, and Raytheon (Yeoman, 2003). According to Singer (2001/2002) over
the next few years, revenues are expected to increase by about 85 percent in
industrial countries and by 30 percent in developing countries.
examples and users of private military security companies
|activities and services provided
||examples of companies
||main users of services
|combat and operational
||Executive Outcomes, Sandline International, Gurkha Security Guards
|military advice and training
||DSL, MPRI, Silver Shadow, Levdan, Vinnel, BDM
||Executive Outcomes, Sandline International, Levdan
||Control Risk Group, Kroll, Saladin, DynCorp.
||governments, multinational companies
|security and crime prevention
||DSL, Lifeguard, Group 4, Control Risk Group, Gurkha Security Guards,
Gray Security, Coin Security
||multinational companies, humanitarian agencies
||Brown and Root, DynCorp, Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE)
||peacekeeping organisations, humanitarian agencies
from: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2002, 12th February). Return
to an Address of the Honourable the House of Commons dated 12th February
2002 for a Paper, entitled: Private Military Companies: Options for
Regulation. London: The Stationery Office; www.fco.gov.uk]
The rise of private military companies
last decade witnessed a surge in PMC activity around the globe. PMCs are
credited with having been a determinant actor in wars in Angola, Croatia,
Ethiopia-Eritrea, and Sierra Leone. However,
the use of mercenaries is nothing new.
Throughout history mercenaries have been used. Every empire, from Ancient
Egypt to Victorian England, utilized contract forces (Davis, 2002).
seventeenth century was like the post-Cold War period, characterized by
transitions, weak governments and openly available military services. During
the colonial expansion, Dutch and English East Indies Companies commanded
armies and navies larger than those in Europe. By the twentieth century,
the state system and the concept of state sovereignty had spread all over
the world and norms against private armies had begun to gain in strength
(Singer, 2001/2002; 2003).
modern times, the move towards privatizing war started during the Bush
Senior administration. During the Gulf War, the Pentagon began replacing
soldiers with private contractors, relying on them to provide logistical
support to troops on the front lines (Yeoman,
2003). The military continued to privatize many jobs traditionally reserved
for uniformed soldiers. After the Gulf War, the Pentagon,
headed by Dick Cheney, paid Brown & Root Services, a Halliburton subsidiary,
nearly 9 million USD to study how private military companies could provide
support for American soldiers in combat zones. Eventually Cheney served
as CEO of Halliburton, and Brown & Root, now known as Halliburton
KBR, was awarded at least 2.5 billion USD to construct and run military
bases, some in secret locations, as part of the Army's Logistics Civil
Augmentation Program (Singer, 2001/2002).
the current Bush administration and the
war on terror, the PMCs' business
is booming. One
Washington law firm, cited in Yeoman (2003), states that after the terrorist
attacks of September 11, 2001, there was a rapid expansion of US military
activity in many areas in the globe, and President Bush's ongoing war on
terrorism will likely require even more support from private military contractors
for future operations.
Reasons for the emergence of PMCs
(2001/2002) lists four reasons for the emergence of PMCs; the end of the
Cold War; the resulting vacuum in the market of security; transformations
in the nature of warfare, and the broader shifts toward privatization
in an age of military downsizing and
GAP IN THE MARKET OF SECURITY. The massive military establishments of the
Cold War were winding down. During the Cold War, small wars
and weak states needed outside help to maintain security, but once
the great powers no longer had an interest in them they simply stopped
supporting them and many ethnic or internal conflicts long
suppressed or manipulated by the superpowers re-emerged (GlobalSecurity).
The great powers were no longer willing to intervene to restore stability.
The public support was also lacking. Because of the generalized downsizing
of intervention capabilities there were limits to the abilities of states
to respond to many threats.
In addition, as Singer states (2001/2002), nonstate actors, such as local
warlords, terrorist networks, international criminals, and drug cartels
able to challenge and disrupt world society began to increase in number,
power, and stature. Thus, the insecurity caused by these actors, combined
with the poorly organized local militaries and police forces, have created
an increased demand for PMCs.
Cold War was also a period of "historical hypermilitarization" (Singer
2001/2002) and the subsequent military downsizing around the globe meant
that a large number of individuals with unique skills were looking for
work. So many of the elite units were discharged that they did not even
change structure when regrouping as private companies. Singer (2001/2002)
states that since the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, professional armies
have been downsized and stretched thin. In the 1990s, the world's armies
shrank by more than six million personnel. The US military has declined
from about 2.1 million active-duty troops during the Cold War to about
1.4 million in 2004 and it is about one-third smaller than it was during
the 1991 Gulf War (Singer, April 2004).
TRANSFORMATIONS IN THE NATURE OF WARFARE. Warfare has been undergoing
revolutionary changes, requiring more technical skills. The most
advanced military forces became increasingly reliant on commercial technology,
such as information technology and the latest software, usually provided
by private firms. In modern times, fewer individuals are doing the actual
fighting, while massive support systems are required to upkeep the world's
most modern forces (Singer, 2001/2002).
warfare has also increased the need for specialized expertise. Today's
need technical and logistic support from private companies. Great Britain
has recently contracted out its aircraft support units, tank transport
units, and aerial refueling fleet. With the growing importance of information-related
systems there will be more reliance of civilians (Singer, 2001/2002).
PRIVATIZATION. Lastly, governments have strived to reduce their size
and budgets and so have privatized some military functions like they have
done with other services. Thus, privatization has spread to areas that were
once the exclusive domain of the state.
Types of private military
The term private military
company is broad, and thus encompasses the overall industry.
The privatized military
industry is organized according to the range of services and levels of force
that its companies are able to offer (Singer, 2001/2002). Thus, the private
military industry is divided into three categories: military provider companies, military
consulting companies, and military support companies (Davis, 2002; Singer
Military provider companies (PMCs),
also known as "private military firms", offer direct tactical military
assistance to clients, including serving in front-line combat,
engaging in actual fighting or direct command and control of field units,
or both (Singer 2001/2002). Clients of these firms have low military capabilities and face immediate,
high-threat situations. The first PMC to work
in this sector was Executive Outcomes, a former South African company which
carried out operations in
Angola, Congo, and Sierra Leone.
Other such companies are Sandline and Airscan,
which can perform aerial military reconnaissance.
Military consulting firms
provide strategic advisory and military training expertise
that is often integral to the function or restructuring
of armed forces. They can offer a greater amount of experience and
expertise. Such assistance can dramatically
improve military capabilities. For example, advice from MPRI (Military
Professional Resources Incorporated), a firm based in Alexandria, Virginia,
is credited with turning the ill-trained Croat militia into a professional-like
army that carried out the "very successful" "Operation
Storm" in 1995 in which Croat soldiers captured the Serbian-held region of
Krajina with quite a few casualties. MPRI boasts that it has on call
the skill sets of more than 12,000 former military officers, including
The clients of the military
consulting firms are usually in the
midst of force restructuring or aiming for a transformation. Compared to
clients of PMCs, their needs are not as immediate and their contract
requirements are more long term and often more lucrative. Examples of such companies are Vinnell and Levdan.
Military support firms provide rear-echelon and supplementary services.
They fill in functional needs such as logistics, intelligence, risk assessment, technical support, transportation
and maintenance services to armed forces. This allows soldiers to
concentrate their energies on combat. The Halliburton Company of Houston, Texas, has been
one of the major players. Clients include those engaged in immediate and long-duration interventions.
Private Military Firms in Iraq
Blackwater bodyguard accompanies Paul Bremer (left) in Mosul, Iraq
for the emergence of PMCs in Iraq
unsafe conditions in Iraq have hampered the rebuilding effort and the
thinly stretched American forces cannot provide protection, therefore
companies who want to operate there have to hire their own guards. This
also allows scarce military resources to concentrate on war fighting. All
of this has contributed to the growth of PMCs in Iraq.
Some claim that the U.S.
employs PMCs because it looks for ways to limit its military costs and risks
and because it is a way of displacing some of the political costs of the
war. The death of a private contractor will not cause the same reaction as
the death of a soldier would because their casualties are taken outside
public awareness. Furthermore, as Singer states, casualty figures beyond
single digits are routinely seen as a political, and thus a military defeat
addition, Yeoman (2003) states that relying on PMCs enables Washington
to circumvent Congress and to avoid attention. If soldiers are killed,
there will be headlines but when private military are killed things are
different. For example, in 1992 when a helicopter was shot down during
an anti-drug mission in Peru, three DynCorp employees were killed but the
whole incident merited only 113 words in the New York Times.
are no exact numbers about the number of companies or private military
contractors in Iraq but according to Singer (2005) and as reported by
the Associated Press (2004),
between 15 000 and 20,000 private military employees from over 60 firms
operate in Iraq. That is as much as 15 percent of the total US presence
of about 130,000 soldiers (GlobalSecurity). Some claim that PMCs are
the third-largest contributor to the war effort in Iraq after the United
States and Britain, whereas others claim they are the second-largest
contributor (Sandline, 2004).
to Singer the industry has reached its greatest height during the war in
Iraq beginning in 2003. He estimates the ratio of private contractors to U.S. military
personnel to be about 1 to 10 during this war, which is 10 times greater
than the ratio during the 1991
Persian Gulf War.
Iraq, the PMCs perform an array of roles, that soldiers used to do in the
past - from logistics to
maintenance to training local armies and even fighting (Singer, 2004). The
training of the Iraqi police, soldiers, paramilitary, and army all involved
private firms, as did multiple tactical combat, security, and military
intelligence jobs (Daragahi, 2003; Singer, 2003). Private security guards
watch over U.S. officials, convoys and private workers in Iraq - some under
government contract and some hired by private companies.
In addition, before the war,
PMCs took part in war games and field training. During the war, they handled
logistics and support for coalition troops and maintained many of the most
sophisticated weapons systems, such as the B-2 stealth bomber (Singer,
Most security firms in Iraq are British (Manjoo,
2003). Some state (Sandline,
2004) that British companies are popular because they are run by and employ
ex-Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers who have a certain reputation. British
companies boast that they have two times more men in Iraq than their
However, PMCs employ
personnel from more than 30 nationalities (Singer, 2004), including British,
Nepalese, Chilean, Ukrainian, Israeli, South African and Fijian. The
personnel they employ is believed to be ex-members of elite military and
security forces (WorldTribune, 2004).
ArmorGroup, a British company, employs 700 Gurkhas to protect America's
primary contractors in Iraq, Bechtel and KBR. Control Risks relies
on westerners in contrast to Erinys whose pipeline protectors are overwhelmingly
Iraqi. The cheapness of the other groups, compared with western
soldiers, is one reason why PMCs are flourishing. Private Iraqi soldiers,
for example, get $150 a month, third - country
nationals (Gurkhas and Fijians) get 10-20 times as much as the Iraqis and
internationals (first-worlders) get 100 times as much (Sandline,
Some of the largest PMCs working in Iraq are
Global Risk Strategies, Control Risks Group, Blackwater and Triple Canopy.
Global Risk Strategies is a London-based security company. It was a
two-man team until the invasion of Afghanistan. Now it has up to 1 200
security personnel in Iraq (including 500 Gurkha and 500 Fijian soldiers)
manning the barricades of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)
2004). Last year it won a 27m USD contract to distribute Iraq's new dinar.
The second largest PMC is Control Risks Group, with 750 people; followed
by Blackwater, USA, 600; Triple Canopy, 350; Special Operations
Consulting-Security Management Group, 300; Olive, 265; and DynCorp, 175
personnel (Singer, 2004; WorldTribune, 2004).
companies also obtain very lucrative revenues. David Claridge, managing
director of Janusian, a London-based security firm, (Sandline, 2004) states
that the war in Iraq has boosted British military companies' revenues from £200m
(420 m CAD) before the war to over £1 billion. The same article reports
that a four-man ex-SAS team in Baghdad can cost 5 000 USD a day.
another British firm, founded by Alastair Morrisson, an ex-SAS officer
won a contract with Jordanian and Iraqi partners to protect Iraq's oil
installations. A contract which is worth over 100m USD. The company has
14 000 people in Iraq.
Control Risks provides armed escorts and it has
500 men guarding British civil servants (Sandline, 2004).
DynCorp, a subsidiary of CSC, an American military contractor is training
Iraq's police force (Manjoo, 2003). Similarly, Blackwater is a
Virginia-based, private company that contracts with the US armed forces to
train soldiers and guard government buildings around the world (Yeoman,
the fall of 2002, it signed a 35,7m USD contract with the Pentagon
to train more than 10 000 sailors from Virginia, Texas, and California each
year in "force protection." Other contracts are apparently so secret,
that its president Garry Jackson, states that he can not tell one federal
agency about his business with another. It was the firm protecting Iraq's
American proconsul, Paul Bremer.
Issues with the privatization of counterterrorism
private military companies has legal and ethical ramifications. It raises
questions relating to issues of chain of command, authority, accountability,
effectiveness, sovereignty and human rights. As the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office (2002) stated, "actions in the security field have implications which go beyond
those of normal commercial transactions. They may involve the use of force
and the taking of lives. Or they may impact on stability within a country or
a region; this may be the case even where PMCs are not engaged directly in
combat (MPRI's training programmes clearly altered the balance of forces in
the Balkans for example)".
OF ACCOUNTABILITY. When private military companies abuse their
power, they and the government are shielded from public scrutiny because
they are private entities (Singer, 2001/2002). For example, in 2001 the
Alabama-based firm, Aviation Development Corp., which provided
reconnaissance for the CIA in South America, misidentified an errant plane
as possibly belonging to cocaine traffickers and based on that information
the Peruvian air force shot it down, killing a US missionary and her seven-month
old daughter. Subsequently, when Congress members tried to investigate
they were told by the CIA and the State Department to call the company
because it is a private entity (Yeoman, 2003).
to the CPA, non-Iraqi private-security personnel contracted to the coalition
or its partners are not subject to Iraqi law (Sandline, 2004). Therefore,
they can literally get away with anything. This seems as a déjà vu. When
several private contractors from DynCorp, a private military company, were
accused by two fellow colleagues of being involved in forced-prostitution
rings while in Bosnia, the company fired the whistle-blowers and eventually
accused quietly. However, due to legal loopholes and bureaucratic
confusion, they were never prosecuted.
As Jan Schakowsky, a
Congress member cited in Yeoman (2003) pointed out, private military do not
have the same level of accountability. They are not obligated to follow
orders or to follow the Military Code of Conduct. Their obligation is to
their employer, not to their country.
The lack of accountability
could have grave consequences in battle too (Yeoman, 2003). The Pentagon has
become so dependent on private military companies that it literally cannot
wage war without them. According to Yeoman, troops already rely on
for-profit contractors to maintain 28 percent of all weapons systems, and
the Bush administration wants to increase that figure to 50 percent. In most
cases, private military companies can legally withdraw their employees if
faced with danger in a combat zone. This is very worrisome to military
officials because if contractors flee when the battle starts, supply lines
could be severed, aircraft could be grounded, and soldiers would have to run
weapons systems they no longer have the skill or know-how to keep in working
order. Thus, the lives of soldiers could be endangered.
good example of what might happen when there is a lack of accountability
is given by Yeoman (2003). In 1996, International Charter Inc., a small
private military company based in Salem, Oregon, subcontracted with DynCorp
to fly helicopters for international peacekeepers in Liberia. Four months
into the contract, rebels from the countryside attacked the capital city
of Monrovia, shooting people and burning homes. The International Charter
Inc. subcontractors fled to the embassy but their superiors from DynCorp
had already left the country the day before without saying anything. Stranded
in Monrovia, the subcontractors armed themselves with guns bought at the
black market and gathered from the street, and defended the embassy they
were hiding in together with other refugees until U.S. military reinforcements
Another major problem with PMCs is the lack of regulation. PMCs do not
have clear guidelines to which they should adhere and there is no one to
make sure that they follow them and that they are penalized when they contravene
them. This lack of regulation may allow PMCs to act with impunity and there
is anecdotal evidence that some private contractors do. For example, Sandline
(2004) claims that ill-trained mercenaries operate in Iraq with impunity,
erect checkpoints without authorization, and claim powers to detain and
confiscate identity cards. It cites the example of a South African company
guarding a Baghdad hotel that put guns to the heads of the correspondent's
guests. This incident raises important questions about human rights abuses.
In addition, there are no
guarantees about the quality of the training the private contractors have
received, about their discipline and their preparedness to deal with risky
and potentially dangerous situations. If the personnel is not well prepared,
it may endanger not only its life but that of non-combatants, the people
they are supposed to protect, as well as indirectly it may endanger the
lives of American soldiers.
Singer states (2001/2002), regulation at the national level is also minimal.
In the United States, the contract approval process for PMFs is divided
among different government agencies, and no clear rules apply. The only
state that has sought to establish full control over military companies
based within its territory is South Africa, but with mixed results. It
required government approval for any military contract with foreign clients
but South African-based firms simply changed their corporate location
or created subsidiaries in their client's
are also legal problems related to the PMCs. For example, being private
entities, PMCs seem to be protected by a
few legal loopholes. The investigations
by the United States Army into the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal found that
employees of CACI and Titan participated in the abuses at Abu Ghraib. A
report by Army Major General George R. Fay charged that a translator for
Titan raped a young man and a report by Major General Antonio Taguba noted
that a Titan contractor advised military police to use interrogation techniques
that "equated to
physical abuse" (Singer, 2001/2002). While U.S. military personnel charged
with abuses were quickly brought before courts-martial, none of the military
contractors were charged. The two companies, of
course, have denied that
their employees did anything wrong. Before the United States returned
sovereignty to Iraq on June 30, 2004, U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer III
declared contractors "immune from the Iraqi legal process" (Singer,
The PMC industry has
developed at a fast pace but the legislation to regulate it and supervise it
has not caught up. Current international laws, like the Geneva Convention,
are primarily written for individual mercenaries.
from the lack of accountability issue is that the actions of the PMC will
reflect on their country of origin. For example, if PMCs abuse Iraqi people,
like it has already happened, this reflects on the reputation of the U.S.
government and its military, especially since many private contractors
are visually impossible to distinguish from U.S. military personnel.
people may assume that because a PMC is from the U.S., it has been
approved by the U.S. government. This will affect perceptions
of American policy and there is the possibility of misinterpretation. Some
people may assume that the company has a covert mission in the country
and is a proxy of its government (Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2002).
For example, MPRI has functioned as an instrument of US policy in the Balkans.
By licensing it, the State Department has "confirmed" that MPRI's actions
are at least consistent with US Government policy. And the fact that PMCs
usually include former members of the armed services could lend some plausibility
to that view.
to that issue is the issue of sovereignty. In the 1960s and 70s mercenaries
took part in a number of attempted coups, thus posing a real threat to
the legitimacy of unstable countries. Although recently there has been
no such threats, the theoretical risk remains. Nevertheless, PMCs may
be less damaging to sovereignty than an unrestricted rebel movement (Foreign
and Commonwealth Office, 2002).
way in which PMCs can pose a threat to the sovereignty of a country is
through economic exploitation. For example, the countries in Africa most
associated with the use of PMCs - Angola, Sierra Leone and Zaire - are
those with readily available mineral resources. It is not a good idea for
a government to pay for security by mortgaging future returns from mineral
exploitation. Nevertheless if a government has no choice, or has to choose
between leaving the mineral resources with the rebels or mortgaging some
of it to the PMCs it may be best for them to take the latter course (Foreign
and Commonwealth Office, 2002).
interesting potential situation may eventually arise from the training
of foreign personnel: U.S. forces may find themselves confronted
by an enemy trained by a U.S. private military
is another issue which is of concern. Should private contractors who are
stranded in a hostile country, with their lives possibly in danger,
be saved, or should they be left to fend for themselves?
point which comes from the fact that PMCs are businesses is that PMCs have
a vested interest in conflict. Since they are paid to deal with conflict
situations it could be argued that they have no interest in bringing a
conflict to an end (unlike national armies who are paid in peacetime) (Foreign
and Commonwealth Office, 2002).
PMCs may also be wearing
away Britain's and US defenses. Just as the war on terror is stretching the
army to the limit, the rise of the profitability of the private sector is
tempting many elite soldiers (Green Berets, NAVY Seals, SAS, etc.) to leave
for higher-paying jobs. A soldier, sailor or airman gets $60,000 per year at
18 years of service, including housing allowance and some types of special
duty pay. However, ex-soldiers who work for civilian contractors can make up
to $200 000 a year (Associated Press, 2004). A person cited in Sandline,
guesses that there are more ex-SAS people in Iraq than there are currently
serving in the regiment.
problem is that troops are lost faster than they could be replaced and
trained. The US and British military are even formulating new pay benefits
and educational incentives to try to retain their elite troops (WorldTribune.com;
Associated Press, 2004). It takes four plus years to train a special operations
soldier. Therefore, it's a loss of time and money spent on training the soldier. In addition,
this does not leave enough people to train and lead the new recruits into
combat. Thus the lives of the new recruits may be endangered and
consequently, the lives of civilians in the combat zone. Also, special
forces play a central role in hunting and capturing terrorists and training
other nation's forces in counter-terrorism fight (Associated Press, 2004).
But because of PMCs, the military might become less efficient at a time when
the war on terror is waged and does not have a foreseeable end point.
In addition to
the legal objections, moral ones can be raised concerning the PMCs. It could
be argued that to encourage such activity
is contrary to our values and to the way in which we order society. In a
democracy it seems natural that the state should be defended by its own
citizens (Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2002).
report by the British American Security Information Council states that
the PMCs have done "reasonably well" in fulfilling their contracts in Iraq.
Moreover, they are said to have demonstrated professionalism and to be
more in tune with local culture than the U.S. military forces (Isenberg,
not be thought of as necessarily bad and national armies as always good. In
many cases national armies have been charged with abuses, were
a danger to stability and frequent violators of human rights. However,
the impact of PMCs should be examined and guidelines provided for the
industry in order to make clear what is and what is not expected of it.
This will help to establish a more respectable and transparent industry.
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Elite U.S. soldiers leave for
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Crime without punishment,
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Outside the law, Salon.com.
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In Iraq, private contractors lighten load on U.S. troops.
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the cronies go the spoils.
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