24 July 2008

Do we trust mercenaries?

We used to call them “mercenaries”. Now we call them “private security contractors”.

[T]he United States and our coalition partners may be unknowingly providing the basis for a future military insurgency, after we depart Iraq, by allowing private military firms (PMF), or private security contractors (PSC), or private security providers (PSP) to provide security in Iraq.

After our departure, the potential exists for us to leave Iraq with paramilitary organizations that are well organized, financed, trained and equipped. These organizations are primarily motivated by profit and only answer to an Iraqi government official with limited to no control over their actions. These factors potentially make private security contractors a destabilizing influence in the future of Iraq.

(Col. Bobby A. Towery, “Phasing Out Private Security Contractors in Iraq,” U.S. Army War College, March 2006, quoted in “Iraqi forces weakened by private U.S. contractors?The Washington Times, 24 July 2008.)

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