Mercenaries in Iraq

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Don't panic, Apr 27, 2004.

  1. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #1
    So this is where my taxes are going?

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,9400583^2703,00.html

    what do people think of the 15.000 mercenaries in Iraq?
     
  2. toontra macrumors 6502

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    #2
    I think the term "mercenaries" is probably more or less accurate for the thousands of private "security" guards flooding Iraq - this is certainly how they are perceived by the locals. I shudder to think about the vetting these people have (or haven't) had, and how they interact with the civilian population. For example, when they kill people, how is this accounted for - is it included as part of the occupational military action, or a straight-forward civil murder?

    Common sense would tell us that, with the money being offered to anyone brave, or mad, enough to protect the coalition's commercial interests, this would be a magnet for all manner of thugs and undesirables, and therefore shouldn't surprise anyone when it turns out they have served as mercenaries in the past.

    But you shouldn't feel too bad about your taxes paying these people's wages - it is the ordinary Iraqi's oil revenue which will be paying the main part. So that's OK then.
     
  3. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #3
    Another question is how do we respond to private security guards who are killed over there. Do we besiege an entire city because some contractors disregarded rules about venturing into town unescorted and got killed? Is our military responsible for cleaning up the messes these guys make?
     
  4. diamond geezer macrumors regular

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    #4
    I think it was more about how they got killed, rather than the fact that the were killed.
     
  5. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #5
    You mean because they were mutilated we had to do something, but if they'd just been shot in the head our response would have been different?
     
  6. Don't panic thread starter macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #6
    it sounds harsh, but i think that is probably correct.
     
  7. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Are the security guards hired by Michael Jackson "mercenaries"? Do people in Iraq who believe they are at risk have any right to hire security guards?

    True "mercenaries" are those who joined organized, private military groups, such as Hoare's in Africa, with full light-infantry equipment. The guys in Iraq are not at all of this style of operation.

    Yeah, the pay is high. The most hazardous of the jobs, from what I've read, is that of truck driver--particularly oil-tank semis.

    Soldier of Fortune magazine has had a couple of articles about these guys. While they seemed to focus on the common armaments, there was a fair amount of background story. As far as weapons, they seem mostly to be handguns or no more than the occasional M-16. One problem for them is that they don't have much--if any--backup.

    Vetting for personal history? If you're hiring a security guard in such a situation as Iraq, what would your criteria be? Would you prioritize a nice-guy record over a high level of skills?
     
  8. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #8
    So 'Rat, what's your opinion of our military being used to avenge the deaths of private 'security guards'? Particularly security guards who broke the rules?
     
  9. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #9
    Hundreds of army officers resign to cash in on Iraqi security boom

    Scotland on Sunday link

     
  10. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #10
    what i object to is the characterization of them as "contracters", as if they're installing tile or something. "four american contracters were mutilated in Iraq today", as opposed to "four privately hired soldiers were attacked and killed after disobeying regulations about military escorts".

    it sucks what happened, but the whole situation has now gotten out of hand with the misrepresentations, threats, questioning of leaders' penis size :eek:, seige of an entire city, and threat of nation-wide violence. bush's opportunistic handling of the situation has created even more troubles, and it's almost as if he's trying to paint himself into a corner where he *has* to attack. kinda like he did with the whole war. :mad:
     
  11. Ugg macrumors 68000

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    #11
    Where's Frohickey? I'm sure that he would be saying that this is market forces at work and we should be ecstatic.

    'Rat, as far as your definition of mercenaries goes, the world is a changing and definitions need to change along with it. Anybody who is hired in Iraq and is issued a gun should be considered a mercenary.
     
  12. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #12
    Of course, once you have deliberately placed yourself in a position where turning back isn't an option, you can accuse your opponent of 'aiding the enemy' or cowardice if he/she doesn't support you.
     
  13. toontra macrumors 6502

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    #13
    That's right. Blair's mantra is now "You may have been against the war, and I respect that view, but we must put that behind us now and all pull together to sort this out".

    In other words, you must forgive and forget all my past errors of judgment, no matter that they impact on everything we're now seeing in Iraq and the middle east every single day.

    Wishful thinking!
     
  14. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #14
    mac, is not our military performing as police? Aside from any sort of combat in places like Fallujah, are they not trying to maintain order? When people are murdered, is it not the duty of the policing establishment to try and catch the murderers? Is it wrong--or unusual--for soldiers-as-police to feel outrage at seeing mutilated bodies?

    Ugg, the problem with your very-broad definition of "mercenaries" is that it's a sloppy use of language, which inevitably leads to sloppy thinking. Further, it makes any sort of discourse rather difficult, since not all would agree with your terms or understand your meaning. One question I see is that your definition with respect to Iraq and people with guns applies just as readily to bodyguards here in the U.S. Or truckers here who carry guns to defend against highjacking, for that matter.

    Some of the "contractors" are exactly that: In a contract to drive trucks, and carrying some personal weapon for self defense.

    Others are purely individual, working as bodyguards. Some employers may have several such guards. Some of these employers are not Iraqi; some are. SFAIK, none of them are functioning in the usual meaning of "military". Mercenaries are definitely military.

    'Rat
     
  15. toontra macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Surely the point is that these guys aren't acting on behalf of the whole community. They are hired to protect the occupying forces and their commercial interests.

    I may be wrong, but I very much doubt if they would take any action to protect Iraqi civilians from attack.
     
  16. SlyHunter macrumors newbie

    SlyHunter

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    #16
    When I exited the military I was given the opportunity to become one of them mercenaries. They are contractors. My job would've been to monitor a multi channel radio set up at an oil rig in Saudi Arabia. I would've been required to work when necessary 24/7, no alchohol, no girls, and armed at all times with a M-16 to protect my equipment from attackers if/when necessary. Odds were I would have never had to fire a shot just like in the Army for there were guards around the compound who were suppose to protect me, my equipment, and other stuff so I wouldn't necessarily have to. It required a 16 month contract with no out clause. I turned it down. I would have been stationed in Saudi Arabia 1987.

    You cannot expect these companies to do work in a hostile environments without bringing protection. These guys aren't hired to fight a ware but to protect the business personel from attacks while they go about doing their business. It is dangerous in Iraq simply to build a power line or a telephone pole they need armed escorts. You can't ask the army they have other priorities. Either you bring your own protection or you don't go at all and none of their infractructure is rebuilt. Some companies are now refusing to do business in Iraq because of the deaths of these guardians. If the army doesn't move to help protect them there will be no one left to build the roads, the sewer systems, etc in Iraq. These private security are only suppose to hold out until a real military or police force arrives to take control of the situation they are not suppose to fight the battle action for them except to protect the business interest. Those private security contractors who prove to be gun ho idiots end up fired and transfered back to the states blackballed and unable to gain work in the field again.
     
  17. SlyHunter macrumors newbie

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    #17
    Yeah the commercial interests of the power company, sewer company, telephone company very very selfish company interests.
     
  18. blackfox macrumors 65816

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    #18
    Sure, I do not think that these guys are acting on behalf of the whole community...but it is not their job to. It can be looked at as if every group (or individual) has a "mission" from a mandate of some sort given to them...It is my understanding that this is how complex undertakings get done...military or otherwise...when you add up all the "missions" accomplished successfully, you get the larger "mission" accomplished...it does not matter if your mission is "to drive a truck from a to b" or "protect VIPs" or whatever...it must be taken as part of a larger construct...I agree, that in many times, this can have morally repugnant results, but hey, the world ain't pretty, and much of it does not understand, let alone follow, our 'liberal' ideas of social justice and morality...you've got to forge ahead, regardless...
     
  19. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #19
    'Rat, is our military any good at functioning as a police force? Have we not discussed that point over and over?

    As to whether it's wrong or unusual for soldiers to feel outrage at seeing mutilated bodies, first it wasn't the soldiers who saw the bodies that are making the decisions regarding who and what we lay siege to. That happens in DC. Second, do those soldiers feel outrage at seeing the mutilated bodies of Americans only, or would they feel that same outrage at seeing mutilated Iraqis? Would we take the same actions if those contractors had been Iraqi police?

    And you neatly dodged my question about whether or not we should be cleaning up the messes left behind by private industry with our government instruments? Take it a step further. If those 'contractors' had been caught with their pants down raping a local woman and they had been killed and mutilated would you still advocate the same response? What if they were peace activists? Would you lay siege to a city for them? Have we reacted so viscerally to any of the other 'contractors' that have been killed there?

    IMHO, it's not a good response because it tells the enemy that if they mutilate our dead they can draw us deeper into a fight that we, as a nation, aren't really prepared for nor have the willpower to finish. I can understand the need to respond with force, but not by putting yourself in a position where your choices are house to house fighting with high US casulties or an ariel bombardment with high 'collateral damage' that will inflame the Muslim world.

    Kinda like the 'death tax' or 'political hate speech'? ;)
     
  20. takao macrumors 68040

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    #20
    ...there are more contractors in iraq than UK soldiers.... even if you add the japanese,polish ones you have less....
     
  21. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Good post, but it still doesn't address Bush's poorly-thought response.
     
  22. diamond geezer macrumors regular

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    #22
    Except if the killers are US soldiers and the victims Iraqi's.

    How many times have families in cars be shot up for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Army says that the incident is "under investigation", then nothing happens.

    †hese are not the actions of a "police force", but an invading occupier.
     
  23. SlyHunter macrumors newbie

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    #23
    Then you have incidents where the military took too much caution and the car full of families blows up in their face. Its easy to understand an accident every now and then when they have such tactics being used against them. Doesn't make it right but it does make it understandable. Those who do so on purpose on the other hand should be tried under the UCMJ to the full extent of the law.
     
  24. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #24
    Unfortunately, since nobody seems to keep any records of dead or injured I-raqi folk, and because of the number of stories of snipers "keeping their eye in" by targeting any old woman, ambulance, kid or dog in the open, the unavoidable suspicion is that this kind of "accident" is common practice.
     
  25. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #25
    Kinda hard to prosecute those in little pieces now isn't it?
     

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