Friday, April 02, 2004

The Mercenaries in Fallujah

As I read about the horrible happenings in Fallujah, I was puzzled why this rage would be focused on "contractors". When I think of contractors, I think of guys doing home repairs. Further research about them, though, shows that they were actually mercenaries. And that the US Government, as well as private companies, are increasingly turning to mercenaries to handle security needs, not only in Iraq, but in other hotspots, such as Colombia.

Like The Agonist, I want to be crystal clear here in saying that I am not diminishing their deaths or saying that their brutal murder was more acceptable because they were mercenaries. But two points come to mind - 1) is this a way for US military forces to completely avoid Congressional oversight (what if Lieutenant Calley were just a Halliburton employee?), and 2) to what extent will the "real" military be called upon to support the missions they launch, or avenge their deaths?

Wading into a topic like this, I am painfully aware that I am a middle-aged non-veteran in Kansas City, who has never been anyplace more exotic than Wales. I acknowledge that I am out of my depth, and I half-expect Jack Nicholson to thunder "you can't handle the truth!" at me. But these are legitimate and important questions, I think, and if Joe Sixpack cannot ask them, who will the US military be serving?


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