Why Have a Public Army At All?

Surely the Almighty Market will create one by the Invisible Hand or what not. Right?

Because private armies are scary.

“Life is funny. I have the money/to have you killed/by somebody who has nothing.” --eminem

Completely agree.
Use private industry to clean up all those messy affairs of state.
Avoid all that tiresome political intrigue and national accountability.
No ignorant “Rules of Engagement” to hampers ones efforts at eliminating threats.

Leave it to the professionals.

There are currently 177 or so private military corporations operating in Iraq with around 130,000 private contractors. Approximately 145,000 U.S. troops are in country.

About 800 private contractors have died in Iraq.

And having those mercenaries operating alongside soldiers is corrosive both to morale and the mission.

[quote=“Jaboney”]And having those mercenaries operating alongside soldiers is corrosive both to morale and the mission.[/quote]Your personal feelings?

I have seen no reports from the military that this has any truth whatsoever.
Actually quite the opposite has been the case. The contractors have enabled freeing up of Coalition Forces to do the job they are tasked with.
The Coalition Forces are not there to guard construction and infrastructure rebuilding efforts, which is what the contractors do.

Do you know any contractors working in Iraq? I do, 3 so far and maybe more as time goes on. I have contact with 2 of them on a weekly basis via email and occasionally SKYPE. They are earning every cent they are making. And frequently are under attack by the terrs. And rememebr this…IED’s don’t discriminate.

Nor do IUDs. :wink:

Is Pinkerton there, TC?

Not that I am aware of. I’ve not seen their name mentioned as a on scene contractor.

Most of the contractors are from England.

Not my personal assessment.

There are contractors–say, serving meals, doing the laundry–and mercenaries.

If you’re a soldier making $x/day, and see a mercenary making $XXX/day, what are you going to think?

And there have many reports that the tactics mercenaries employ–more extreme, less cautious… what did you say, “No ignorant “Rules of Engagement””–have been stirring up trouble for the soldiers to clean up. Unsurprisingly, the Iraqis affected don’t distinguish between mercenaries going over the top, and the soldiers who catch the brunt of the retaliation.

Do the mercenaries earn their money? Sure. But the job they’re being paid to do makes the job the soldiers are doing more difficult.

You’re talking like every private contractor who isn’t serving food is hunting down insurgents.

Aren’t they “just” private security in a really dangerous part of Global Town?


Jaboney -
Again you are repeating your premise with no supporting information.
I call BS on your premise.

What about the simple blowout in costs of contracting to private providers?

What about the conflicts of interest? (emphasis on conflicts)

What about the conflicts of interest? (emphasis on interest)

What are the rules of engagement for a pissing contest?

TC, there’s lots of documentation supporting the position. If you’re really concerned about the issue, do your homework.

[quote=“jdsmith”]You’re talking like every private contractor who isn’t serving food is hunting down insurgents.[/quote]Overly simplified for the sake of brevity.

[quote=“jdsmith”]Aren’t they “just” private security in a really dangerous part of Global Town?[/quote] If they’re standing guard at a hotel, hospital, oil well, ect… yes, they’re just private security. If they’re guarding and interrogating prisoners, no. If they’re guarding political leaders, no. If they’re on patrol, no. If they’re taken for occupation forces, no.

If their actions make the occupation, or a political settlement more difficult, I would not call that a molehill.

Jaboney -
So…you are admitting that its just your personal conjecture and nothing more.

Nothing wrong with that. Opinions are always welcomed. Just admit it when you’re called on trying to use them as facts…unless you can support them…:smiley:

Well, you have a lot of IFS in there, J.

I refuse to run around just yet. Seems my head is still on tight.

Need more facts and fewer “ifs” this way if you want me to be your friend today. :wink:

"Buddy this…!

JD…I’m sure you’ve heard that before…:smiley:

Example of cost blowouts and conflicts of interest.

The military decides to cut costs by not funding a school for interrigators and translators. The military absobs some of the staff in other branches; however, most leave but are rehired by the private company that springs up to replace the cutback one (obviously the military needs interrigators). This company now charges huge amounts to the government as the only legal organization that can contract its services. In order to keep the contrator going we need a budget. In that case, we need a conflict to get the budget flowing. That way we can support the huge payments to the out sourced company. It is justified because without these huge payments in times of conflict how can such a company survive in peacetime. Is there another purpose for private military (Top Secret Ranked) police in civilian life?

In economics it’s called a market failure. In criminal law, it’s called a racket. In the US military, it’s called taking care of business.

Alrighty jdsmith, just for you… I recommend keeping your head though, particular in Iraq (or discussions thereof)…

For a thorough investigation of the issue: PBS: Private Warriors

[quote=“Washington Post”] >On role< With more hired guns in Iraq than in any other U.S. conflict since the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Rich and other armed contractors also admit their role is cloudy and controversial. They do shoot to kill, but they aren’t legally considered combatants. U.S. military officials have expressed concern about violence in which the private contractors open fire. The contractors’ mission is to protect the lives of individuals and cargo but not necessarily to support the broader interests of the U.S. counterinsurgency.

For more than a year now, Rich has traveled across Iraq, guarding the former U.S. occupation authority chief, L. Paul Bremer, and other high-ranking diplomats.

>On pay< But with average pay of $500 to $600 a day, he said, the money was also a big draw for him and his buddies. He said he planned to work for Blackwater for three years to save up cash for retirement – and a sailboat.

“Most of us have a plan – it’s like, make hay while the sun shines,” he said.

On tactics and consequences<[/b] At the same time, Hicks said, contractors are under pressure to curb their aggressive methods, although they lack the firepower and backup enjoyed by the U.S. military. Early in the Iraq conflict and up until last year, “there were no rules” limiting contractors’ use of force in Iraq, Hicks said. More recently, the State Department imposed restrictions discouraging the contractors from firing warning shots. There are still daily reports of contractors running Iraqis off the road or injuring or killing innocent people, he said.

“Now it’s all about accountability,” he said at Blackwater’s Baghdad team house in the Green Zone

There is another incentive for civilians to head into a war zone.

“It pays quite well. There’s a lot of contracts that pay anywhere from $350 a day to $1,500 a day,” said Chris Boyd of Kroll-Crucible Security.

Military analysts say the private security arrangement allows regular military troops to concentrate on fighting. But they are concerned that the lucrative pay offered by private contractors – often more than $100,000 a year – is depleting the ranks of the special forces.[/quote]

[quote=“Guardian”]Private corporations have penetrated western warfare so deeply that they are now the second biggest contributor to coalition forces in Iraq after the Pentagon, a Guardian investigation has established.

While the official coalition figures list the British as the second largest contingent with around 9,900 troops, they are narrowly outnumbered by the 10,000 private military contractors now on the ground.

The investigation has also discovered that the proportion of contracted security personnel in the firing line is 10 times greater than during the first Gulf war. In 1991, for every private contractor, there were about 100 servicemen and women; now there are 10.

The private sector is so firmly embedded in combat, occupation and peacekeeping duties that the phenomenon may have reached the point of no return: the US military would struggle to wage war without it.

While reliable figures are difficult to come by and governmental accounting and monitoring of the contracts are notoriously shoddy, the US army estimates that of the $87bn (£50.2bn) earmarked this year for the broader Iraqi campaign, including central Asia and Afghanistan, one third of that, nearly $30bn, will be spent on contracts to private companies. [/quote]

[quote=“Guardian: on contractors serving as interpretors and interrogators”]One civilian contractor was accused of raping a young male prisoner but has not been charged because military law has no jurisdiction over him.[/quote]Ok, that’s a throw away quote, but still… Yikes!

[quote=“Christian Science Monitor”]US troops, security contractors increasingly at odds in Iraq
Detained contractors say they were “abused, humiliated” by troops after recent confrontation.

In a late May incident, 16 US military contractors, all former US military personnel, were detained for three days by US Marines in Fallujah, Iraq. The military contractors say they were abused and humiliated by the US troops, a charge which the US military has said is “categorically untrue.”

"I never in my career have treated anybody so inhumane," one of the contractors, Rick Blanchard, a former Florida state trooper, wrote in an email quoted in the Los Angeles Times. "They treated us like insurgents, roughed us up, took photos, hazed [bullied] us, called us names." 

The Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday the incident has not only underlined the problems that exist military and civilians contractors in Iraq, but has also once again called into question the way the US military treats suspects and detainees.

One military contractor, Matt Raiche, a former US Marine himself, said the Marines seemed to be particularly upset at the contractors’ working conditions and the pay they received.

Although the details remain unclear, the May 28 incident reflects the long-simmering tension between the military and private business in Iraq. Even though the government has hired companies to perform many functions there � including providing security � it does not formally oversee their activities, allowing misunderstandings and disputes to fester.

Raiche said the Marines seemed resentful about the salaries contractors in Iraq are paid. "One Marine gets me on the ground and puts his knee in my back. Then I hear another Marine say, "How does it feel to make that contractor money now?' "[/quote]

Democracy Now: on private contractors and torture

You might want to comb through some of the references on wikipedia’s private military contractors page.

Feeling friendly now?

I think everyone moved off topic on the first post. This isn’t about private contractors, its about the removal of a country’s army and replacement by private forces.

I personally think its impossible. Whilst it may be useful and more efficient for foreign operations (in some ways it would be similar to a privatised version of NATO for Europe), for home defence I just think it wouldn’t work.

Although, on a similar topic, why not outsource the U.S. prison system (including prisons), in a similar way to what Britain did 200 years ago.