Monday, August 15, 2005

The Arsenal of Democracy

You may want to read Daniel Bergner's colorful New York Times account of private security contractors in Iraq: The Other Army. (Hat tip: DL) The account is vivid and packed with incident. The author repeatedly refers to the private security contractors as "gunmen", but he is clearly ambivalent about them, repelled by their roughness yet attracted by their ingenuity and enterprise. Describing a meeting with a Triple Canopy company "gunman", Bergner writes:

He had jowls and loose swells of flesh beneath his T-shirt. ''Don't let the package fool you,'' the ex-Delta colonel who introduced us had told me. ''He's a commando from way back.'' After a career in Special Forces, the man said, he hadn't seemed able to survive in the civilian world. Work in construction fell apart. He drank heavily. He took a job as a cashier in a convenience store -- ''till I found out I had to smile at the customers.'' He laughed ruefully at his inability to adapt. ...

And back in the Chicago suburb where I visited the company in May, in its new, sprawling offices (which Triple Canopy would soon be exchanging for a similar setup outside Washington, in order to be closer to its main source of income, the U.S. government), I heard Matt Mann talk exuberantly about ''creating a national asset.'' It would have been easy to be exuberant merely because of the profits he was taking in; it would have been easy to be downright giddy.

But his enthusiasm seemed to come, as well, from other things. He spoke about the waste of Special Operations stars, ''men whose intelligence is equal to the best attorneys, the best doctors,'' men who had survived the harshest training, who had learned to operate on their own in alien cultures, who ''don't know how to fail.'' Their talents, he said, were going unrecognized and unused when they left the military and entered civilian society.

Although Bergner likes to believe the "gunmen" are in it solely for the money he is too intelligent not to see that Mann is telling at least a partial truth: that the hardest thing for a compulsive warrior in civilian life isn't getting a job, but forgetting his sense of specialness. Part of that specialness comes from living in a world of exotic experiences, dealing in things a cashier at a convenience store would strain to understand.

A few months later, (Hendrick) was riding in a convoy, in the back seat of a pickup's cab, escorting an Army Corps of Engineers team to a spot out in the desert, where they would blow up captured munitions. Across the desolate terrain, according to Hendrick and a colleague who was present that day, a white S.U.V. appeared from behind a berm. It was on Hendrick's side, 200 yards away. Hendrick wore a black helmet, tinted goggles and a black shirt, with a kaffiyeh wrapped around his neck and taupe-colored shooting gloves. He leaned out his window clutching a belt-fed light machine gun. The distance kept closing. ''He's coming in! He's coming at us!'' he heard someone on his team call out. He thought, Idiot farmer. He had the best angle; he fired warning shots. He could see the driver dressed all in white. The distance shrank to less than 30 yards. He aimed into the wheels. ''Idiot farmer turned to No, this isn't happening in a fraction of a second,'' he said. All was instinct. He riddled the driver's door and shot into the driver's window. The S.U.V. jerked to the side -- it exploded, ''went from white to a ball of bright orange,'' so close that the blast demolished a vehicle in the convoy, though the men inside weren't hurt. The S.U.V. all but vaporized. It had been packed with explosives -- a suicide bomber. The largest trace left was a scrap of tire. A bit of the bomber's scalp clung to one of the vehicles in the convoy.

Bergner worries about Iraq precisely because it is minting men like Hendrick: "with so many newly created private soldiers unemployed when the market of Iraq finally crashes, aren't some of them likely to accept such jobs -- the work of mercenaries in the chaotic territories of the earth? ... We may know less and less how to feel about a state that is no longer defended by men and women we can perceive as pure",  an ironic characterization, if ever there was one, to apply in a theater where unemployed Iraqi thugs are paid thousands of dollars by Wahabi moneymen for every American soldier they kill. The bright side is that "the United Nations will soon hire the companies to guard refugee camps in war zones" instead of the assortment of Zambians and Bangladeshis the press can always portray as pure.

An interesting companion piece to this might be entitled The Other Military-Industrial Complex. A DOD briefing on the newest technologies being deployed to Iraq include items like the MARCBOT made by the Exponent Corporation, the TACMAV folding UAV of ARA and Z-Medica's Quickclot. Numerous items are being supplied by businesses no one would have heard of. Because of the nature of the war a large number of small companies are supplying critical equipment instead of the traditional aerospace contractors. Analysts have long known that the market (e.g. AQ Khan) responds to terrorist demand. It would have been surprising if the market had remained indifferent to the multi-billion dollar US war effort. Bergner's article suggests that official deployments are simply the tip of the iceberg. The US is more deeply mobilized than is evident, its politicians more tentative than its entrepreneurs.


Blogger Keith said...

"with so many newly created private soldiers unemployed when the market of Iraq finally crashes, aren't some of them likely to accept such jobs -- the work of mercenaries in the chaotic territories of the earth? ...

It's good to see he's confident.

8/15/2005 05:52:00 AM  
Blogger Mike Rentner said...

Unless this writer is making things up, then these mercenaries are operating beyond the law.

Private security companies are not allowed to have automatic weapons, beyond AK-47's in Iraq. They are certainly not allowed to have belt-fed weapons. People with such weapons are shot or detained, no matter whom they claim to be out here in Al Anbar Province.

8/15/2005 06:01:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Boston said...

The concept of elite mercenary armies is both frightening from the blowback potential and ripe with opportunity to combat Islamism in ways that the government bureaucracies could or would not. One advantage of decentralized cells is that identities and operational plans are kept out of the information stream that the other guys can tap into. Mercenary groups can operate with the same advantage. For example, if the US Govt contracted with ABC to eliminate infiltration from some Iranian border region and left it alone after that, there is little chance that the bad guys would get inside ABC's information loop to counter the move.

Whatever the blowback risk, were it in my power I'd spend tens maybe even hundreds of millions to have mercenaries decapitate and cripple Hezbu'allah.

8/15/2005 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger TheNewGuy said...

Disclaimer: I've spent some time training at Blackwater.

Most of the men these groups hire are professional soldiers, and they have no patience for poseurs. If you can't cut it, you're quickly weeded out.

There IS such a thing as a natural soldier. Some men gravitate toward that life: the comraderie, the danger, and the excitement... they're almost born to it.

Such men often find themselves poorly suited to civilian life. The military has entire classes for separating members, as they do for members returning from deployment, designed specifically to ease the transition... but there is no civilian substitute for some jobs and experiences. Some make their way into law enforcement and special tactical units, but others find themselves lost.

These contracting opportunities allow such men to continue to serve in the way they know best. If they can do the same job, and make twice the pay, why not? Yes, they're doing it for money, but there is so much more to a mans' motivations than a simple paycheck.

I think he judges them too harshly.

8/15/2005 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is about time the UN realize it needs a professional Piecekeeping Force, not a detachment of incompetents in Uniform to protect the defenseless.
In the Congo today, and Rowanda in the last decade the inability of Piecekeepers to provide Peace is glaring. In Haiti the UN requests US troops because their reputation proceeds them.
I had a freind that worked the Congo in the '60s with CIA covert forces. He claimed the operations were successful.
I think the world will be seeing more of this type of civilian combat specialist, in the 21st century, not less.
There are many unemplyed Gurkhas, they would make for a great core of a proposed UN Peacekeeping force.

8/15/2005 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger Elam Bend said...

In the straights of Mallaca, many ships and shipping companies are turning to private security to battle pirates; something the Malaysian government is more comfortable with than with national soldiers armed under another nations flag (even though, in effect, many of the mercinaries will be from the English-speaking world).

8/15/2005 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger Cardozo Bozo said...

I think the UN's problem that desert rat is homing in on is that the UN forces largely work with conscripts. Sure, the US and Canadians are volunteers, but most UN member states aren't so enlightened.

If the UN used professionals, they'd be a lot more effective. Not just because they'd be volunteers v. conscripts, but becasuse they'd refuse to be political sacrifices. Few men would willingly be witness to the tragedies in Haiti and Africa for a simple paycheck. They'd either ask for the permission to actually solve the problem, or the UN would have to explain to the US and Europe why it can't find any men willing to do the work.

8/15/2005 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger Dean Douthat said...

Letters of Marque, anyone?

8/15/2005 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger Goesh said...

Mercs in Iraq!? No! Surely not! Imagine professionals being able to get a job done with decent pay with minimal paperwork and no hurry up and wait mentality of the armed forces, where common sense and practicality are actually tools to be employed.

8/15/2005 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

A friend of mine just returned from his daughter's gradulation from US Army Basic Training. He was very impressed by the training, which included realistic combat live fire exercises and extended field exercises without so much as a tent to sleep in - and his daughter is going to be a health specialist, not a combat soldier.
This contrasts with another friend's experience with the Army in the early 1970's, in which the entrenched "lifers" were dead set against doing "Cowboys and Indians Stuff", even though the troops loved it. They berated him for even holding such things as armored vehicle recognition classes on his own initiative.
I think it likely that the "special ops" type of training and the associated attitudes is now much closer to the norm.

8/15/2005 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

I thought that one of the few valid reasons for the existence of a central government was its military defense.

Are you guys saying that this is a job best left to the private sector also??

If so, what do you see as the consequences of hiring private hands...besides the ability to work outside the strictures of normal military law?

How do you keep the boundaries?

8/15/2005 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew Scotia said...

I must admit that I am deeply conflicted about this development. I know that these people are a national asset. They can be loose cannons, trundling back and forth across the deck until they burst through the hull and go over the side or somebody is brave enough to put a wedge under their wheels.

It is hard to forget the "specialness" factor. I also know that it is possible to have an adrenaline addiction. There is a tendency for both a boys club self separation and the "self propelled brain" syndrome found in the intel heavy units.

Maybe this is a good use of those national assets. Or, maybe we need some kind of special pasture for retired, high strung, unimaginably skilled ex warrior race horses.

Since I fell into the self propelled brain side, I was lucky enough to find an environment for a slower, aging brain.

8/15/2005 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Anyone following the Able Danger story and the 9/11 Commission coverup?

8/15/2005 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Cardozo Bozo said...
...they'd refuse to be political sacrifices.

If they volunteered for the UN, they ALREADY sacrificed themselves politically.

8/15/2005 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Dymphna: Debate in the U.S. Military about using "mercenaries" has raged on for some time, if rather quitely to all external appearances. I can recall some senior officers charging that use of a largely contractor workforce to launch military satellites was equivalent to the employment of mercenaries. Of course, taken to its logical conclusion this concept also would brand those contractors who build military airplanes, rockets, and ships as mercenaries as well. The real issue behind the mercenary charge in this case was careerism in the military.
"Where to stop" is a very good question, and the answer varies considerably with the situation. Everyone has his own idea of where to draw the line, and it generally has more to do with how the answer affects him personally than reliance on any basic principles.
In other words "One man's mercenary is another man's job opportunity/vital support contractor."

8/15/2005 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Hate to see a merc unit taking pay from some source that turned out to be not what the unit thought it was. So, important to keep these guys adjuncts of--and reporting to--the regulars, right?

8/15/2005 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

A career Military man is a Merc. Most do not serve for the Flag alone, no a Career soldier is an employee, working for housing, benefits, salary and retirement.

As buddy so aptly states it all depends on who cuts the check and who hands out the assignments.

Airport screeners, paid by the Federals, are no better at the job than those paid by private firms.

Many contractors would be as motivated by Patriotism and Love of Country as any other Soldier.

Many in the US Armed Forces today see themselves as Mercs. As we all know they are not conscripts, how many are there just because of the employment and post service education benefits.

Two Gurkha Regiments of paid professionals would turn the tide in Sudan or the Congo.

An asset rusting in the shed, when it is still needed in the field.

8/15/2005 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

On the whole, it seems to me that as things stand now in Iraq, there is a place for these hired hands. However, it's also almost certain that there will be further incidents like the guy(s) who were arrested and convicted in Afghanistan of capturing and torturing suspects. And I believe the torture there was a little bit more emphatic than ladies panties placed on someone's head. Although the way things are going, I can't say that I hold torture on someone like Zaqari in the same repugnance as I used to.

8/15/2005 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The moral dilemma of mercenary forces played itself out in the ‘90s with the meteoric rise and fall of the British concern, Executive Outcomes. The company manned by retired SAS and SADF commandos accepted money and mineral rights to conduct private operations and all out war, first training UNITA in controlled Christian southeastern Angola, then turning against them as their paymasters changed. Their final plunge into obscurity finally occurred in there ill fated coup attempt in Papua New Guinea.

While EO was extremely effective, it was also shown to be difficult to control what side they would end up on when they were ultimately fighting for the cause of the bottom line. A similar botch up occurred implicating a group of ex-commandos including Mark Thatcher (Maggies son) who were convicted for conspiracy to overthrow Equatorial Guinea.

There can be no question that such trained contractors are capable of excellent private security services, but in Iraq, since they operate outside of the command and control of Coalition Forces, they are more likely to get in the way, or be mistaken for Opposition Forces. Perhaps there is a third way.

Most retired Spec Ops personnel mesh well into civilian life, but a pitiful few will end up working as a convenience store clerks, only to man a barstool by night.

8/15/2005 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

here's a collection of links on able danger from free republic

8/15/2005 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

The French used their Foreign Legion, up until Dien Bien Phu they may have been the best soldiers the French had. Why is there not a place for such an organization in the US military? at some level the Officers would have to be professional native US officers. Seems to me you could also enlist some former US military personnel, as a leavening and control. How did the French do it? That is, were the company grade officers all native French professionals or was there a mixture? I would think that if we made illegal immigration very difficult, then offered a carrot to the families of foreigners, in the form of a legal right to reside in the USA, that service in such an organization could be very attractive. There must be a lot of negatives to this that I haven't thought of. Comments, anyone? Enlist the Gurkha's as a whole regiment.

8/15/2005 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The French foreign legion is still active and units are currently deployed on the Ivory Coast. I have also wondered if the US could make a ‘foreign legion’ out of our burgeoning corp of immigrants. It seems unlikely if it is politically incorrect to demand a pledge of allegiance.

“There are currently some 3300 Gurkhas (effective strength) in the British Army (as at December 2004) organised into the following headquarters and units:”

8/15/2005 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Better examples, dave, can be drawn from the British experience. Natives composed most of their colonial forces. They may not have always deployed in their home countries, though that was usually the case. The Gurkhas of Napel performed famously for the British. They could be the core of a real international force.

8/15/2005 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The story of the Battle of Monte Cassino is a Ghurkha glory page. And the Poles, too. Hell, all units on both sides, to tell the truth. Every schoolkid should know it.

8/15/2005 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Seems like the focus here is on Buddy's 8:48 post, namely who cuts the checks.
I would guess the US Congress (spelled DemocRATS) is the biggest impediment to optimum rational methods?

ie. what are the present opportunities, rules, and also impediments to the contractors being employed by folks we KNOW to the maximum extent possible are with the program?

8/15/2005 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"... We may know less and less how to feel about a state that is no longer defended by men and women we can perceive as pure", an ironic characterization, if ever there was one"
POV is all important here:
When you work for an outfit as pure as the Times, one can't expect the same perspective as some wretch living in Oz.
Speaking of which:
ex dem asked about a Frank Rich piece of few threads back:
Has anyone read through the entire thing?
I read about 5 lies and decided my health (High BP) was more important than keeping up w/Frank Rich.
The part I read looked like it had been written by MoveOn.

8/15/2005 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...


Your view certainly makes a case for a market-driven mercenary force, doesn't it?

Someone asked about the Able Danger situation. Doc Sanity has an excellent post on it with a time line.

RWE: do you know of any publications or discussions available about the use of mercenaries? Didn't we use them in the Revolution?

IOW, I'd like some historical background, too.


8/15/2005 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


8/15/2005 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Your recent history of Basic Training seems grounds for optimism, for sure:
I guess things got pretty bad between the time I "attended" Ft. Ord post grad and the present day, which sounds pretty much like a return to sanity.
Is PC Careerism on the wane in the US Military?

8/15/2005 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Desert Rat 0630, Let's not forget that the Head cheese in the u.n. ordered Lt. Gen. Dallaire to stand down while the machetes worked.

8/15/2005 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...


I did a post today comparing two points of view on the Gaza withdrawal.

As a Belmont progeny, I'm rather pleased with the outcome -- i.e., I come down on the side of optimism.

See You Next Year in Jerusalem

Always did like Pollyanna.

Thanks, Teach.

8/15/2005 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"A career Military man is a Merc. Most do not serve for the Flag alone, no a Career soldier is an employee, working for housing, benefits, salary and retirement."

- Desert Rat

Thus, anyone who expects and desires to be compensated for his time, effort, and skill - rather than donate his services - in a defense- or security-related endeavor is a mercenary?

My dictionary says that a mercenary is (1) motivated soley by a desire for monetary or material gain or (2) hired for service in a foreign army.

I think the necessary distinction to be made between The Other Army of Wretchard's post and the United States military is that members of the latter swear an oath to uphold the fundamental law of the land and to defend that land and its people as agents soley of the US government.

A career soldier, Desert Rat, is simply someone who has or who will devote a couple of decades or more to the Service. The combinations and degrees of motives for doing so are potentially limitless and, in my experience, vary considerably from one person to the next.

8/15/2005 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Follow up Mike H's post by googling [ Dallaire fax ] ...Kofi wasn't the SecGen then, he had a staff job with the specific "prevent genocide-type things in places like Rwanda". Don't look into it if you have high BP, tho. Some things are so wrong they're not even criminal.

8/15/2005 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

dymphna: Sorry, I don't know of any publications on mercenaries. As for the Revolution, the Bristish used the Hessians, but I don't recall us using any mercenaries.
Doug: Yes, cause for optimism. My friend's daughter reporterd that during basic she had to sit and look straight ahead at her food and if she even looked up from her tray she was forced to throw it all way and do without. That sounds pretty strict, even more so than what I went through. My friend (an Air Force Vietnam Vet) reports that his daughter left home as a pretty messed up weakling 25 year old, and now has got it all together, talks about how much pride she has when she salutes the flag and has more muscle than he has. They even had Iraq-style convoy practice, with pop-up targets that they fired at using live rounds from M-16s and grenade launchers. And urban combat training with pop-up targets, some of which you were NOT supposed to shoot at.
An actual shooting war has a way of focusing people's minds, as Churchill put it. In the early 90's, with 40% of the military being cut under an approach that seemed to have no rhyme nor reason, combined with PC-driven deployments, budget cutbacks, and absurd attitudes in Washington D.C., people were focused primarily on their careers. When the shooting stops ('46, '73, '92) then the military naturally turns to introspective discussions on who gets to stay and how they get promoted. I suspect it is a lot better now, because you have to throw away much of the BS and PC when you want to win.
Talk about an "Arsenal of Democracy": the terrorists may have started soemthing that they and a whole bunch of other people will not like to face.

8/15/2005 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

News Flash: "Captured officer in the George Soros Army admits clandestine assassination of Shite, Sunni leaders was a set-up civil war strategy to support Field Marshal Soros' short positions in Iraqi Dinar, US Dollar"....

8/15/2005 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Is it desirable that the UN has a top class army under its sole control? As it stands the UN is beholden to its member states,what would it do if it were not ? A UN army is somewhat of a tranzi concept.

8/15/2005 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

This is hardly something that is unknown in our history. We have used "mercenaries" quite often in the past; the privateers of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, the Indian scouts in the Indian wars, the Indian tribes who fought against the British in the Revolutionary War, and those who fought against the French in the French and Indian Wars. The indigenous troops (montagnards) we armed in Vietnam, the Afghan rebels in the '70s and '80s, and most recently the Afghan warlords and the northern alliance all fit that bill. The only difference is that this case considers the use of American citizens fighting as mercenaries for the American government.

8/15/2005 11:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, there is an excellent, growing, and very legitimate use for former special operators.

Officers of the CIA's Clandestine Service were the first on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11. For years previously, they had established relations with the Northern Alliance, and were vital to preparing the way for the success the U.S. enjoyed there in October and November of 2001. Most of these CIA officers were former U.S. military special operators.

There are tribes and militias throughout the world that are enemies of our enemies. The need for liaison officers, trainers, and suppliers to these allies will be nearly limitless in the years ahead. Former special operators are ideal for this work (indeed, this is the work they most likely did in uniform); they can continue to do it as employees or contractors of the U.S. government and be well-compensated for it. We have argued on our blog that, after the Iraq experience, training, equiping, and leading proxy armies is the only tactic left to the U.S. as it continues with the war on terror. This is what these men will do.


8/15/2005 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger estepp said...

I think one of the best articles on the growth of private military contractors is in the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs found at this link

8/15/2005 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Talk about an "Arsenal of Democracy": the terrorists may have started soemthing that they and a whole bunch of other people will not like to face. "
On the homefront, we should have right wing Soros equivalents giving scholarships to augment GI Bill for OIF Vet Applicants screened for the intensity of their political zeal to heal the training grounds of the anti American legions.
"left home as a pretty messed up weakling 25 year old, and now has got it all together"
Another life saved:
Used to be common knowledge, then came the years of the anti heros:

Kinda Hard to see Teddy and Pelosi igniting revolutionary zeal in today's young, however.

8/15/2005 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Officers of the CIA's Clandestine Service were the first on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11. For years previously, they had established relations with the Northern Alliance, and were vital to preparing the way for the success the U.S. enjoyed there in October and November of 2001."
Putting the lie to all the experts, many our UK brothers across the pond, with their predictions of certain failure because of our woeful human intel.

8/15/2005 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

to a great degree, yes most of those Carreer Defense Industry workers fit your first definition.
Without the word 'solely'. I would submit that there a very few individuals in Security situations in it SOLELY for the money. Even Mike Hoare had secondary motivations.

8/15/2005 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

"Officers of the CIA's Clandestine Service were the first on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11. For years previously, they had established relations with the Northern Alliance, and were vital to preparing the way for the success the U.S. enjoyed there in October and November of 2001."

The interesting fact is is that they were already on the ground and operating before 9/11. If you need to have contacts and operating experiance with indigs, you got to get as early a start as possible.

8/15/2005 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Tlear said...

As long as US can pay the top wage we shouldnt be worried. Men like that are worth their weight in gold. Spend less on fancy toys and more on the paychecks of such people and islamofaschists will be in deep trouble.

British utilized SAS "retired" soldiers I believe in Sudan for countering Egyptians. Specificly British SAS men used the mass media angle providing a clear picture of Egyptian brutality through photos and articles (giving evidence of chemical weapons use etc).

8/15/2005 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Able Danger:
What's so crazy about the 9-11 Commission defenders, is their apparent willingness to believe we could know everything about Atta the day after the attacks and NOTHING the day before:
Suspend common sense for the desired outcome.
AJ says:
Check out this breaking news via Jim Geraghty at the North Jersey Media, by Mike Kelly.
an honest lib?
After spending nearly a week torching carbon copy dittoheads, I do have to give some credit to AJ Strata of The Strata-Sphere for now raising some intelligent questions bout what the various intelligence outfits within the government knew about AlQaeda cells within the United States. Strata ably points out that whether Atta was actually named is besides the point if indeed Able Danger indentified a terror cell inside the U.S. […]
Left by Transparent Grid » Blog Archive » Some Conservatives Get More Reasonable .
AJ, something you said is bothering me. It appears that the Commission is saying that they recieved no information about Atta from the Able Danger folks. That was their position at the beginning of the week. That is their position now. Only problem is that in the intervening days between then and now, the Commission came out and admitted to hearing about Able Danger AND Atta. Why does their story keep changing? Has anyone else noticed this?
Left by colin

8/15/2005 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

British utilized SAS in Sudan for countering Egyptians.

How times have changed in the space of a mere century!

8/15/2005 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Timothy Noah: Tom DeLay, Opera Buff. 08/12/05 David Segal: Andy Milonakis Looks Like a Kid, but he is MTV's Funnyman of the Moment.
Thought I would drop a line. Nice site man. I have software technology conference site. It's about software technology conference related subjects. Check it out.

8/15/2005 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And I would guess that these Soldiers in Service to our Republic would fit trish's second definition
"...More than 140 military service members who were not U.S. citizens have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Legal residents who are not citizens have long served in the U.S. military. ..."

These other than Americans KIA equate to about 10% of US deaths.

They were mercenaries, by definition, already in the US Military, I guess.

Then there is this from Zia Mien

"...General Peter Schoomaker, the US army chief of staff told the Senate that "We've got enormous challenges" when it comes to recruitment of new soldiers. The army's goal of 80,000 new recruits for this year "is at serious risk", and next year "may be the toughest recruiting environment ever".
These recruiting problems, he believes, are likely to stretch "well into the future". These problems are despite the enormous incentives now being offered to join the military. There is a joining bonus of $ 90,000 paid over three years, of which $ 20,000 is in cash and $ 70,000 in benefits, along with a cancelling of the loans many a young American must take to afford to go to college. There are reports also that people almost 40 years old are now eligible to join the military, and that the physical and intellectual standards for recruits have been lowered. ..."
"...About 7 per cent of the US military are not citizens. There are about 30,000 foreign soldiers in the US military from more than 100 countries; more than a third are Hispanic. To encourage recruitment, in 2002 the Bush administration made it easier for foreign-born US troops to become naturalised citizens. Now, any legal resident who joins the military can immediately petition for citizenship rather than wait the five years required for civilians to start this process. They do not even have to pay the several hundred dollar fee for this process. As an added incentive, if a foreign-born soldier who is a US citizen dies in the line of duty, the foreign-born members can now seek citizenship, even if they are not legal residents. It is also possible for soldiers to be made citizens after they have died in service and for their families to then become eligible for citizenship. ..."


The link goes on to profile the Military's current recruiting challenge.

8/15/2005 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Znet site quotes Max Boot

"...Max Boot, a prominent military commentator, named among "the 500 most influential people in the United States in the field of foreign policy", has offered his solution for the problem of finding people to fight America's wars. In a recent article, Boot proposed that the path to a bigger American army lay in offering a new deal, "Defend America, Become American". Boot has proposed the US should look beyond just US citizens and permanent, legal residents for soldiers to fight in its military.

He has proposed a 'Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act', a DREAM Act, as he puts it, that would offer legal status to the children of illegal immigrants residing in the US and eligibility for citizenship if they can meet a number of conditions, including graduating from high school, and if they go to college or choose to serve in the military. A bill to this effect was introduced in the US Senate but has not been voted on yet. ... Boot asks "Would foreigners sign up to fight for Uncle Sam? I don't see why not, because so many people are desperate to move here. Serving a few years in the military would seem a small price to pay, and it would establish beyond a doubt that they are the kind of motivated, hardworking immigrants we want." The nightmare of war is offered as the prelude to the 'American dream'. ..."

8/15/2005 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"Your recent history of Basic Training seems grounds for optimism, for sure:
I guess things got pretty bad between the time I "attended" Ft. Ord post grad and the present day, which sounds pretty much like a return to sanity.
Is PC Careerism on the wane in the US Military?"

If it follows prior experience, I'd bet on it. We always water down basic training during peacetime, then quickly find out our folly and reverse course as soon as soldiers send back letters talking about how much more effective their training could have been. The big thing to look at is whether the Army seperates basic training again for women and men, that was the major impetus for relaxing them in the first place.

8/15/2005 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

The idea of a UN Army is a horrible idea. Nothing should be done to strengthen or uplift UN power.

8/15/2005 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"to a great degree, yes most of those Carreer Defense Industry workers fit your first definition.
Without the word 'solely'."

- Desert Rat

Without the word 'soley' we are left with simply 'motivated by a desire for monetary or material gain,' which is not the definition of a mercenary, but of every individual who trades his services for financial increase to himself -that is, every human being on the planet who works for money, regardless of other coexisting motivations - to include those non-careerists, the vast majority, who stay for a few years and then move on to other professional pursuits.

8/15/2005 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The UN already has the Piecekeepers in place. They are incompetent and poor people die because of it. If these incompetents were replaced by 1st quality professionals. Think of the lives saved and the increased real value we would be recieving for our UN dues.
It is better to keep the current UN efforts in Congo ongoing, but replace the Piecekeepers with Peacekeepers. There is a world of difference. The situation is not hopeless, it is just the the UN Forces are helpless.

8/15/2005 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Right trish,
People motivated "solely" by money, will be found to be few and far between.
Mr. Hendrick is not in Iraq "SOLELY" for the money. So I'd guess he's not a Merc, either.
Just those brave men that donned our uniform, fighting for a foreign Flag, they do fit your definition.
As does 7% of the US Army

8/15/2005 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"They were mercenaries, by definition, already in the US Military, I guess."

Rat, non-citizen members of the US military are just that - and do not meet any objective definition of mercenary. The flag under which they serve is the US flag; the commanders under which they serve, and the unit members with which train and fight and whatnot, are Americans; the uniform they wear is the same as that of citizen servicemembers; the oath they take is to the US, its laws and its defense - same as everyone else.

I don't see the mercenary element in it.

8/15/2005 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

your second definition
"(2) hired for service in a foreign army.

Our Army is a foreign army to THEM.
By any reasoning the non-citizens are mercenaries, hired for sevice in a foreign army.

The US is not their Nation State, they cannot obtain a US passport.
They are Foreign to US.
I'm sure that there are many more foreigners in the World we could utilize. Not just in our Standard Military, we should be developing independent foreign units.

8/15/2005 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Okay, Rat, speaking precisely, non-US citizens serving in the US military do fit the second definition of mercenary.

If what comes most readily to mind, on the other hand, when one thinks of mercenaries is foreign units, under foreign command - say, Hessians or Scots or Ghurkas -then it seems just plain silly to regard the Puerto Rican, Hatian, Samoan, Salvadoran, and Vietmanese US servicemember as a mercenary.

8/15/2005 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Exactly, when the ICC or other NGA's discuss Mercenaries, just who are they discussing.

The Gurkas were first introduced to British Forces in 1815. Since that time they have participated in every Major British campaign. 200,000 served in WWI and 250,000 served in WWII.
While described as Mercenaries they do not serve for money alone, the Brits are not spend thrifts, and the pay was never especially generous. Some Gurkhas have five generations of family service.

8/15/2005 02:39:00 PM  
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8/15/2005 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger raymondshaw said...

A bit of a correction, but Puerto Rican born natives are US citizens.

8/15/2005 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger jerryofva said...

I have a lot of problems with using Mercs. First, as mentioned by others it is a throwback to the practices ended by the Peace of Westphalia. These "soldiers" are unlawful combatants. Third, these companies are being given the equivalent of a "letter of marque" which has been outlawed since the early 20th century. The solution is to increase force levels to fight the war. One of things we can do to help out is to end the up and out system. There are many troopers who are quite willing to spend 30 years as E-4. It will keep these guys off the street and in the service of their country.

8/15/2005 03:26:00 PM  
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8/15/2005 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

"throwback to the practices ended by the Peace of Westphalia."
Those practices were hardly ended by the treaty of Westphalia. That was in 1648; there has been massive use of mercenaries since then, by both signatories and non-signatories of the treaty. Many examples have been mentioned in some of the previous posts here.

8/15/2005 03:39:00 PM  
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8/15/2005 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Lawrence T. PETER said...

15 August 2005

Private Security Comnpany personnel, which are registered with the Iraq Ministry of Interior to perform private security functions (in Iraq) are entitled to have automatic weapons including, for example AK-47s or M-4s or other similar weapons systems as per CPA Order 3 (Revised) (Amended) dated 31 December 2005. Other weapons systems are also available for PSC use, as per CPA Order 100 dated 28 June 2004, provided that the weapons are declared with the Iraq Ministry of Interior at time of registration or by subsequent amendment to that registration.

The Iraq Ministry of Interior views Private Security Companies as part of the solution to Iraq's security situation, as a vital component bringing stability to the country.

In Iraq, Private Security Companies perform three primary functions, they protect personnel, facilities and convoys (which may be considered a form of mobile facility). These missions are fundamentally no different than such functions performed in America or elsewhere. For instance, in America, private security companies guard key corporate or entertainment personnel, they guard sensitive facilities like power plants or schools and they guard convoys which either move sensitive material (e.g. nuclear waste) or the movement of money (e.g. Brinks, Wells Fargo, etc). What is different about Iraq is the ambient enviroment: it is much more dangerous to perform these defensive missions in Iraq than it is in America.

Private Security companies do not conduct offensive operations in Iraq. PSCs are first of all accountable to their employer. The marketplace helps regulate and sanctions poor performing or misperforming companies. Indeed, if a major corporation involved in Iraq hires a Private Security Company (and they all have done so), that company wants to ensure that the operators protecting its personnel operate according to the Rule of Law in conformance with the established Rules for the Use of Force. Failure on the part of the PSC to do so results in that PSC's loss of contract and reputation. Lose contracts, develop a bad reputation and guess what. . . the PSC doesn't get more contracts. No business, the PSC goes bankrupt.


I am not convinced that USAF C-17's airlifting Ruwandan troops to Darfur is an efficient and economical use of taxpayer dollars, nor do I believe that the Ruwandian troops will, at the end of the day, perform in such a manner as to end the genocide in Western Sudan. Now, others may disagree, but I bet for much less than the the amount of US Dollars $$ that it costs to induce the Ruwandan government to participate in the peacekeeping effort, to equip the troops and to pay for the C-17 flight hours it takes to fly them there, a Private Security Company could establish a safe and secure environment open to inspection by the international community.


There are LOTS of retired Ghurks already performing admirably in Iraq as members of Private Security Companies, some of the nicest men you'll ever meet. And, you know what else (?), you feel pretty safe when they are on the gate.


Think about it a moment: a few centuries ago, armies and navies were filled by press gangs, later there was the draft, and now there is the all volunteer force. Many of the former responsibilities of the all-volunteer force are now out-sourced. As expensive as a soldier is to train and equip and then provide retirement benefits for, do we really need that man or woman peeling spuds? Of course not, hence such non-combat functions are now outsourced. So too it is with all sorts of civilian banking and IT functions etc, when you call for support and connect to someone in Bangalore, India.

Well, think of Private Security Companies as merely an outsourcing of certain functions that the military could perform, but doesn't need to. By having private security companies perform defensive security support in Iraq, it frees up uniformed military to conduct offensive operations.

One last point, the lawyers will tell you that under the Law of Armed Confliact (LOAC), were there military guarding the reconstruction projects, the reconstruction projects would become legitimate targets for the enemy. (Not that the enemy follows the LOAC, but that the coalition does. . .) So, for the lawyers, it is not a matter of whether there are sufficient troops for the task-- even if there are (and there could be if the powers that be were not hard set on one-year-on, one-year off rotations), it is a matter of LOAC, and when the LOAC is taken in to account, the PSCs are the security of choice and the security of the rule of law.

sincerely submitted.

8/15/2005 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew Scotia said...

Not to put to fine a point on it, but Letters Marque and Reprisal were banned by the Treaty of Paris in, I believe, 1856. The US was not and is not a signatory to that treaty. During the Civil War the US announced that it would refrain from such actions for the duration of the hostilities only.

Congress is the only body authorized under, don't quote me, Art 1, sec 8., to issue such Letters. (From memory, no sources handy and on a site where Google is restricted.)

8/15/2005 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

First, as mentioned by others it is a throwback to the practices ended by the Peace of Westphalia.

I would counter that that Peace of Westphalia was stricken a mortal blow in the first World War and finally finished off in the Second. The formation of the United Nations signified its obsolescence. I submit the consequent conglomerations of NATO under the near-unilateral oversight of the United States and of the Eastern Bloc nations under direction from Moscow as further proof that the Westphalian regard for the balance of power between nation-states had been completely usurped by the necessity of the times. Religious wars of the kind Westphalia was supposed to end occurred in Europe less than a decade ago; look also to the travails of the West, itself an emerging supranational identity, against the non-state entities of terrorism, for counterexamples of Westphalian relevance. Globalization has connected the Westphalian states to cultures that were not party to the agreement and couldn't possibly care less about its values. Meanwhile, armed conflict among the key signatories is now virtually unthinkable. Westphalia served its purpose for the time in which it was useful, no more, no less.

These "soldiers" are unlawful combatants.

Obviously, this depends on the manner in which they are employed. Would you argue that the private security companies that protect food shipments to starving villages in Africa, or oil shipments in the Straits of Malacca, by force of arms, are unlawful combatants? What about those who protect the convoys supplying KBR facilities in Iraq? The bodyguards of Iraqi government officials and dignitaries? The bodyguards of American government officials and dignitaries? The examples of privatized armed forces are numerous; their raison d'etre is to engage in combat with various armed opposition forces. Is this unlawful?

Third, these companies are being given the equivalent of a "letter of marque" which has been outlawed since the early 20th century.

The solution is to increase force levels to fight the war.

Force constitution is rapidly and irreversibly evolving out of the traditional paradigm of conscript armies. A professional army cannot simply "raise" its "force levels" and to think that this is desirable, let alone feasible, may be a classic instance of fighting the last war.

One of things we can do to help out is to end the up and out system.

The "up and out" system being, I presume, one where the greatest incentives for enlistment lay with educational finances and post-service opportunities. With this I agree; the service can no longer afford to be perceived as a mere stepping stone to other careers, but needs to become- and then accurately perceived by the eligible public- as a fulfilling and possibly even lucrative profession in and of itself.

8/15/2005 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

It's All in the Family for Kofi
Inquiries into Kobina Annan are at an early stage and he has not been interviewed. But investigators are understood to suspect that Kobina Annan and Michael Wilson, an African businessman, had a business relationship at the time of the scandal.
A source close to the investigation said:
"We believe Kobina Annan may be involved with Michael Wilson and Kojo Annan. We know there is a connection between Kobina and Wilson."
And surprise, surprise -- Michael Wilson isn't just a "long-standing friend of the Annans" he was a Cotecna vice president.

: The Australian .
. Pardon My English

8/15/2005 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew Scotia said...


Damn it. Comment on the article on the thread. Start your own blog using your Blogger account if you want to post extraneous stuff.

8/15/2005 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Third, these companies are being given the equivalent of a "letter of marque" which has been outlawed since the early 20th century.

I unintentionally refrained from responding to this, but I see that Andrew has already addressed the issue. To reiterate briefly, the United States was not a signatory of the pre-US Civil War Treaty of Paris, although the Union chose to abide by its tenets for the duration of that war. The Confederate States of America did not abide by its tenets but were nevertheless condoned and even materially supported by both the French and British, themselves signatories.

To this day, to my knowledge, Congress maintains the full, nationally and internationally legal authority to issue letters of marque.

8/15/2005 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

The Free Market, the Press & Iraq:

Recent news about the state of the American economy has been extremely promising. Unemployment is at all-time lows, incomes have gone up, inflation is low, tax revenues have gone up significantly, both the budget and trade deficits have gone down and the overall economy has grown at a respectable 4+% rate. Yet, the polls all state that Americans by and large rate the economy as not doing nearly so well. This is a little surprising, considering that the Bush Administration's economic numbers for the past two years are on a par with the Clinton Administration's numbers at the same point of time in their term(s), and then, the vast majority of voters rated the economy very highly.

Like Michael Barone I believe this is largely a function of the bias of the Press. In other words, when a Republican is the inhabitant of the White House, good economic numbers are hardly ever given the prominence they would be given if the President wore a "D" behind his name. The New York Times, true to form, went on a desperate hunt for the dark lining around the silver cloud when the latest report on the economy came in, and it turned out, much to the disappointment of the folks at the NYT to be a lot more positive than they believed it should be, especially with a Republican in the Oval Office for a second term. Unable to credit the last Democrat President for the current strength of the economy, and with both Houses of Congress headed by the GOP, the New York Times was reduced to twisting itself into some highly entertaining knots to convince itself that the sky was falling.

8/15/2005 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Lawrence T. PETER said...

err, ref my earlier comment, that would be CPA Order 3 (revised) (amended) dated 31 December 2003 (not 2005).

Regret the mis-typing. . . the monkey on the keyboard is on bread and water until further notice.

8/15/2005 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Fewer Americans Confident on War on Terror Success:

In his Aug. 13 radio address, U.S. president George W. Bush expressed confidence, saying, "The terrorists will fail. Because we are fighting a murderous ideology with a clear strategy, we’re staying on the offensive in Iraq, Afghanistan and other fronts in the war on terror, fighting terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them here at home. When terrorists spend their days and nights struggling to avoid death or capture, they’re less capable of arming and training and plotting new attacks on America."

Polling Data

Who is winning the war on terror?

Aug. 2005
Jul. 2005
Jun. 2005

U.S. / Allies



Not sure

Source: Rasmussen Reports
Methodology: Telephone interviews to 1,000 American adults, conducted on Aug. 10 and Aug. 11, 2005. Margin of error is 3 per cent.

8/15/2005 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

If you want to know all about able danger check out the quotes and links in this piece by AJ Strata.
Whether Weldon is a kook or not is a red herring:
The only thing between now and getting the truth to be widely known is a full scale blogstorm.
BC'ers do your part!

8/15/2005 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

This is worth a read:

8/15/2005 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Bell Misses Game for Nephew's Service:

Kansas City Royals manager Buddy Bell missed Monday night's game against the Seattle Mariners to attend services at Arlington National Cemetery for his nephew, a Marine killed in Iraq.

Lance Cpl. Tim Bell Jr. was killed by a roadside bomb this month.

8/15/2005 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Great read Buddy, thanks.

8/15/2005 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

If the war is as many of us perceive it for the survival of the West,than I'm all for hiring some Spartans.War does funny things to people.Some guys quietly go home to Cedar Rapids and bury their citations in the attic trunk and mix prescriptions at the corner Walgreens .Other guys declare for it .I don't think the convenience store guy turned rent a soldier is a fat loser on a barstool,but a guy who has a serious adrenalin jones.
I only spent 8 months as a practicing 11 bravo 37 years ago(how the time flies!)I've adjusted okay with a few bumps in the road,but buddy,I'll be fascinated with small unit combat all the days of my life.
I met a guy at the 90th Repo Depot in Long Binh in 1969 who was heading into his 4th tour as an infantry NCO
I didn't think real clearly in those days,but he seemed perfectly sane to me.War was his gig.
I understand the fears vis a vis command and control.Enbedded American officers who can measure the pulse of the combatants might be necessary.A mix of low profile active duty cadre,professional shooters and indigenous grunts might be useful in Indian country.
If we're serious about winning this thing sending a few guys who bend the rules a little might be necessary out in the frontiers where they ain't heard of the Geneva convention.

8/15/2005 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger deeds not fap said...

Speaking of the arsenal of democracy...

Tthis would have been an obvious thing to post but...

Its the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies - when you talk about us vs them as a competition between two evolving species, an effort like this certainly makes the American animal seem alot more menacing :grin:

Also - brief shout out to Wretchard and the regular company on these threads - you've done worlds for me and countless others. Your efforts attack any tendency towards "infirmity of concept" and it will be interesting to see how much of an "actor" this weblog and its community, let alone the blogosphere itself becomes.


8/15/2005 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger jerryofva said...


As part of the conscription act for WWI the US Congress outlawed the use of letters of marque by the United States Government.

The use of private security guard is limited by both US and International Law to guarding people and property. It is strictly forbidden to engage in miltary or paramilitary action. Clearly a private security guard acompanying an armed military force is a clear violation of the law.

I work in the Department of Defense and I have attended many meetings with General Council. The incident describe in Wrechards post is clear violation of the law of armed conflict as understood in by the General Counsel.

8/15/2005 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Why Are Americans Sour About Everything? Iraq:

Americans are in a sour and pessimistic mood.

President George W. Bush's job approval rating is an unimpressive 42 percent, according to the latest Associated Press poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs. Attitudes are lousy about just about everything. Only 41 percent of Americans approve of the president's handling of the economy, the same poll shows.

There are only two possibilities. Either Americans see an economic reversal coming that markets have missed, or the data are fine and Americans are upset about something else.

There's been an endless stream of speculation. Al Hubbard, director of the president's National Economic Council, emphasized fuel prices. Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, alluded to the cost of health insurance.

The explanation I favor is that the negative news about Iraq and the failure to stop the attacks in London have overwhelmed the good economic news. It's easy to assert that, but the fact is the data resoundingly support this view. poll data concerning attitudes toward President Bush's foreign policy and his handling of the economy. There is clearly a striking positive (and statistically quite significant) relationship between the two. Even the blips move together.

While correlation is not causality, the strong common down trend during a period of economic expansion convincingly supports the view that the turmoil in Iraq is affecting answers to economic questions. It's hard to imagine the effect going the other way.

8/15/2005 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

What I find interesting is that although the CPA's rules recognize and facilitate the varied missions and circumstances of private contractors, there are prominent defense contractors who do not allow their employees to carry weapons of any kind in theater. Liability issue.

Though the total financial reward for 12 mos. in country is quite handsome, the arms prohibition makes recruiting difficult.

8/15/2005 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Nice comment, Scalpel. I agree, serious optimism is worth a lot. Unserious optimism is almost as ghastly as politically-motivated pessimism. If honest hard-heads and techies can gather and see the road to victory, then, well, that's serious optimism.

8/15/2005 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Protesting mom's husband wants a divorce:

The husband of Cindy Sheehan, the mother camped outside President Bush's Texas ranch to protest the death of a son in the Iraq war, has filed for divorce, according to court documents.

When Sheehan arrived in Crawford on Aug. 6, her small group started marching to Bush's ranch, then was moved by authorities to a plot of land a few miles away.§ionID=1150

8/15/2005 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Though the total financial reward for 12 mos. in country is quite handsome, the arms prohibition makes recruiting difficult."
Warriors for Hazardous Duty in Iraq.
Must be Motivated Gun Control Advocates.

8/15/2005 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"While correlation is not causality, the strong common down trend during a period of economic expansion convincingly supports the view that the relentless bias against the President and the Military, including promiscuous use of outright lies, is affecting answers to all poll questions."
...but then that is the point of the excercise:
Just ask Frank Rich.

8/15/2005 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Good news out of Iraq must not go unnoticed:

The White House communications team -- hobbled by institutional bashfulness and a nearly terminal incapacity for self-expression -- must educate Americans and our allies more effectively on what works in Iraq.

While journalists should not whitewash Iraq's mayhem, they should cover the accomplishments of U.S. personnel, soldiers from the 27 other nations with boots on the sand, and the Iraqis who are rebuilding their country -- never mind the evildoers' blasts and billowing smoke.

8/15/2005 08:02:00 PM  
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8/15/2005 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The keystone has been found ....
.... the wall comes tumbling down.

The Clinton administration missed the boat on the 9/11 attack,
everyone knew it, but couldn't link the unconnected points together.
It now looks like the big missing keystone DOT that the Jersey Girls
were looking for has been found.

It must be remembered that the purpose of the 9/11 commission from the
Democrat perspective was to get Bush before the 2004 election. So the
parts that didn't fit the story the commission wanted was any DOT that
pointed to the Clinton Administration.

The biggest DOT of all has is exposed. PDD-24, China-gate, the
Gorelick wall and Sandy Berger's pants all connect together. Strange
that Richard Clarke didn't know anything about Able Danger.

The Gorelick wall was erected in 1995 with PDD-24 to block the Clinton
Chinagate campaign funds scam from being investigated by the FBI.

Connect the dots. We need an investigation of the investigators to
find out why the American people were lied to.

8/15/2005 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Wild Bill said...

trangbang in his 6:50 post pretty well seems to put to words what I have been exposed to myself.. Some just have a few more asses that they want to kick before they "call it over" for them, and some just want to dare the devil.. The money is something they can justify what they are doing with .. Till we take the micro-manage out of the military and take the halter off, we are gonna have guys that still have a chip on their shoulder that are going to be wanting something more out of their military time than being targets for terrorists.. I used to be a fairly active bar-hound in my past, and traveled in circles with these folks, and find them to be a lot more commom folk than the likes of what Cindy Sheehan associates with.. I do still have contact with a few, and they aint happy with this "panty-raid" we are having in Iraq.. Some went into the merc's and faded into shadows.. Their fight was always with evil, whether real or perceived.. They operate by a code and an ethic, which is far more than I can say about a lot of ex-Langley protection orgs.. I truely hope you here dont confuse the merc's with the bounty hunters in the Stan refered to here earlier.. I do have to admit that the merc's do posess weapons that the anti-gun folks here in the U.S. would wet their panties over.. I say screw em.. The merc's are doing a thankless job, and are doing it with great professionalism and valor.. Some may retire to the U.S. Homeland and be the Minuteman Patriot that stops the next suitcase nuke from entering the country by the southern border.. Who wants to work at a fuggin 7-11 antyway ??

8/15/2005 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I think if Americans are upset it's because there are some totally obvious things we think should be done that haven't been:

(1) Build a wall along the Rio Grande, and throw out and KEEP out the illegals we can find here now;

(2) Quit strip-searching grandmothers at the airports and *start* doing full cavity searches of young Arab men travellers;

(3) Crack down on *all* visa and passport issuing; I don't want Frogs to get in just because they're supposed allies;

(4) Dump the UN. Pull our funding out of the UN and then ignore them, except for ...

(5) Go after Kofi and the rest of his band of merry theives Hard and Mean. Make like Al Capone in The Untouchables: I want this guy dead! I want his family dead! I want his house burned to the ground! I want to go there in the middle of the night and piss on his ashes!

(6) Nuke Iran. Why are we still pussyfooting around these goons? Why has it been allowed to go this far? Make like Elliott Ness in The Untouchables: You wanna know how you do it? Here's how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way, and that's how you get Capone! Now do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that? And that goes for Saudi Arabia, too.

(6) Haul Michael Moore and his little band of buddies up for treason. Start prosecuting, for God's sake, the Ward Clarks and Cindy Sheehans and Ted Kennedys who want to give our country over to the Wahhabi's.

If we're at war, then ACT like we're at war, dammit!

8/15/2005 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Warriors for Hazardous Duty in Iraq.
Must be Motivated Gun Control Advocates"

- Doug

Well, it's not warriors they're seeking to hire. Or, as lawrence t. peter reminds, it's not private contractors who are doing the war-fighting. But translators, analysts, systems specialists, intel and counterintel - one of the first things they ask is, "Will I be armed?" When the answer is a definite "No" there are those for whom salary and deployment bonuses on the order of lottery winnings would not suffice.

8/15/2005 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Afghan Legion.
Bobby of Bobby's World has an interesting post about a paper that he presented at a recent conference at Fort Leavenworth.
Leverage the Afghans: The Case for Building an Afghan Auxiliary Military Force for Expeditionary OperationsMy agenda was pretty straightforward: my background (to establish my "credibility" on the topic), the historical experience of the British Gurkhas (who serve as my model), the composition and details of my proposed Afghan Auxiliary Military Force, why I think the US Army would support this idea, and why I think the Government of Afghanistan would support it as well.
. Alexander the Average.

8/15/2005 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Now you're gettin' somewhere, gorilla-feller. Riady. Reno. Los Alamos. Loral. Gore drank too much tea. Dot-com financiers busted for ma& pa fleecing, and Richard Holbrooke unable to remember his banking relationships before the investigating congressional hearings. Oil-for-food springing up simultaneously in the Democrat-protected UN. Global takeover by organized crime. Out, out damned spot, damned new administration, damned Florida, damned Supreme Court. The jihad is only a ripple from the splash we didn't want to notice.

8/15/2005 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, word warriors, or the other kind, the sentiment is universal.
Well, except for all the PC Flower People.

8/15/2005 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The more you read about Able Danger, the more covered up do do about
Clinton's Run From Terrortm
you find.

8/15/2005 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Cleric in terror-tie probe to be deported:

The other men arrested, Hamid Hayat and his father, Umer, are charged in federal court with lying to authorities.

The son is charged with lying to the FBI about attending a terrorism camp in Pakistan in 2003 and 2004. His father is charged with lying when he denied his son had attended such a camp. Both have pleaded not guilty.

8/15/2005 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nobody said we HAVE to win.
They figure the suspense will keep us interested.

8/15/2005 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Now you're gettin' somewhere, gorilla-feller.

Ha! But there's more Mr. Larsen:

Rethinking Prague After Able Danger

8/15/2005 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Wild Bill,Thank you for validating my deep respect for the warrior ethos.I read dispatches like Michael Yon's from Mosul and see we're still making guys like that.It ain't everybody's teacup ,but when the smoke clears and hopefully OBL,Zawahiri and their ilk are hanging from a yardarm;we'll look for a Kipling to celebrate these guys.
I quit the tavern life myself some years ago but will lift an imaginary one to the kind of guy I mean;Rick Resorla who helped save the day at LZ Albany in the Ia Drang valley in 1965 and died ushering frightened civilians out of the WTC as security director there on 9/11.And he was born a Brit.

8/15/2005 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger MarkGoodfella said...

btw, the Executive Outcomes coup attempt (involving Mark Thatcher et al.) was in Equatorial Guinea, the oil-rich West African state, not Papua New Guinea ...

8/15/2005 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Permanent U.S. Bases in Iraq? Experts See a Political Minefield:

The most ominous, and perhaps most likely, possibility is that insurgents and Islamic extremists will wage war against an Iraqi government allied with the United States whether we stay or go.

Permanent U.S. bases might stoke the fire, but it is probably too much to hope that it will burn out without them.,1,6314788.column?coll=la-headlines-nation&ctrack=1&cset=true

8/15/2005 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Legal risk aversion in a war zone, Doug.

It's not just a military problem, or issue, but a corporate one as well.

8/15/2005 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

1 lawyer in every mess pot would fix that real quick.

8/15/2005 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Can't pay too many tributes to those like Rick Resorla.

8/15/2005 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Unfree Under Islam:

In every society where family affairs are regulated according to instructions derived from the Shariah or Islamic law, women are disadvantaged. The injustices these women are exposed to in the name of Islam vary from extreme cruelty (forced marriages; imprisonment or death after rape) to grossly unfair treatment in matters of marriage, divorce and inheritance.

It seems strange to associate the context of Canada with that of Iraq, but a closer look at the arguments used to reassure the demonstrating women in both countries reveals the similar ordeals that Muslim women in both countries must go through to secure their rights. It shows how their legitimate and serious worries are trivialized, and how vulnerable and alone they are.

The draft Iraqi bill of rights favors men in other respects, such as the right to marry up to four wives, and the right to an easy divorce, without the interference of a court, simply by repeating "I divorce you" in the presence of two male witnesses. A wife divorced in such a fashion will receive an allowance for a period of three months to one year, and after that period nothing.

8/15/2005 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Sam, apparantly some Shia women's groups are getting a hearing in the ongoing Constitutional Convention, and are putting in against the Shia proposal to institute Sharia Law over the Shia parts of Iraq. They don't want to to be under Sharia Law, as they are second-class citizens therein, and are saying so. Democracy in action. Wonder where are the western feminists? Shouldn't they be as vocal in support of Constitutional Iraq as they have been on other issues at other times? What gives, this is a big moment, and ya can hear a pin drop.

8/15/2005 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

In the category of Good to Know, and also the category of Political Positioning for the Great Post-Withdrawal Posturing and Pseudo- Debate, there is this from John Robb's weblog:

"The day that I can land at the airport in Baghdad and ride in an unarmed car down the highway to the Green Zone is the day that I'll start considering withdrawals from Iraq," said McCain, referring to the heavily fortified area where US and Iraqi government headquarters are located.

8/15/2005 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Buddy, didn't know about the women's groups getting a hearing. No wonder the delay. Pretty important stuff.

Where are the western feminists on this issue, indeed. Perhaps we can go to this site and ask them.

8/15/2005 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

A Mother And the President:

White House aides say they worry about the precedent, should Bush see Sheehan again. "If the President meets with her, does he have to meet with every protester who camps out in Crawford or in Lafayette Park [in Washington]?" asks a Bush aide. "Does he have a second meeting with every mother or wife who asks for one?"

A fair question. There is a risk, though, that Sheehan's ideas will never stop spreading down the road. In 1965 a group of just 25 antiwar protesters demonstrated outside President Lyndon Johnson's Texas ranch. Within a few years, the handful had turned into a movement.,9171,1093760-1,00.html

8/15/2005 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...


8/15/2005 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Wild Bill said...

trish 8:17

Without the guys with the guns, you aint gonna have reason for translators or intel, counter-intel or analysts.. All you have are hostages or future hostages with beheading film at 11, courtesy of Al Jizz !! The guys with the guns arent miscreants or outcasts,.. Just ask one what they are fighting for and they will tell you, that they just want there to be no more wars.. Almost every one hopes that this will be the last one, and that noone else will be needed to take his place.. The U.S. has extended their age requirement to older applicants of military service.. Dont worry, I'm still too old, dammit !! BUT, if they did tell me I could have my old job back, IN A HEARTBEAT BABY !! Old Sergeants never die, they just fade away .. For my Service, I have a stack of "attaboys" that I can pull out, but for those unsung heroes that Wretchard points out here, I can only hope that they see that we love them and hope for their safety and wish that they come back home to us safe and sound when the mission is accomplished..

8/15/2005 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger deeds not fap said...

i know its too much to expect, but if bush met with her, and persuaded her of the profoundly noble meaning of her son's sacrifice (i.e. serving in an epic and unprecedented cause whose legacy is blazing [and slogging] a trail through conventional wisdom as it attempted to meet and fight in battle the sinister foe that was so well protected by words, air and type), itd likely resonate powerfully. Bush is supposed to be great one-on-one. Less so in front of cameras. We do have more important things to worry about maybe, but such "engagement/discourse/discussion" (to borrow from a certain groups lexicon :-p ) is needed to secure the homefront, and unfortunately not everyone realizes they are donating money for the pretension of journalism (i.e. buying newspapers, subscribing etc) instead of finding it actually in blogs.

8/15/2005 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Illinois soldier killed by land mine in Iraq:

When Linda Falzone heard about the 14 Marines killed in a roadside bombing in western Iraq earlier this month, she frantically called her brother to ask if there was something they could do to get his son out of there.

"He says 'Donna, he's doing his job. He's a military man who wants to do this,"' Falzone of Highland Park recalled Monday about that conversation with her brother Thomas Giaimo.

8/15/2005 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

I find the notion of having to use private military making 20-25 times as much a day as enlisted frontline fighters, to do jobs our own military is short-handed for, incredibly demoralizing to those Marines and Army troops are in riskier slots - door to door searches, engaging and destroying enemy forces.

A nephew back from his 2nd tour in Iraq says he resents those guys while at the same time thinking when he gets out that he could make some serious money. He was serious about an Army career until his last tour. He felt that he was in the highest risk, but lowest paid position that civilians flinging burgers, doing "counseling", and providing celebrity security make his pay a pittance.... His unit suffered 20% casualties inc. himself (blown out eardrum & shrapnel from 2 IEDs).

I am starting to really sour on how our military is faring. People in the toughest combat jobs see fabulously wealthy civilians guarding trucks of ice cream sent in to boost combat troops morale. I think the volunteer military that only affects 5% of the country's population is showing it can't work if we stay in a continuous war-fighting mode. We need conscription, I think, if more wars start or Iraq just stays bad... And spare the BS about how the military is far to complex and intellectually rigorous to ever be "diluted in quality" by conscripts. Conscripts can guard ice cream trucks and not be paid 600 a day to do it by DOD. And if we get conscription, it traditionally has driven quality people into volunteering for a longer stint to avoid being stuck in the lower skill but very risky MOS's.

What Matt Mann called a ''national asset'' may be corrosive. And the private security companies are, almost surely, eroding elite sectors of the military; the best-qualified troops, the men most desirable to the companies, are lured by private salaries that can be well more than twice their own. The Special Forces have lately responded with re-enlistment bonuses of up to $150,000. It's not enough.

8/15/2005 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

The Jihadi Bomb:

To ratchet up the killing with WMD is fully correct, "religiously". In May 2003, dutiful to the conventions of running a holy war, bin Laden secured a fatwa -- a ruling on a point of Islamic law that is given by a recognized authority -- from a Saudi sheik saying al-Qaeda would be justified in using nuclear weapons against America.

The question is will the U.S. government be any more competent at stopping an attack than it was on Sept. 11?

8/15/2005 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

The feminists? Just a bunch of hypocrites. And the link Sam provided shows a very good example of the blinkered, short-sighted female 'champion' in vogue today.

With such friends in our midst, we need no enemies.

8/16/2005 03:07:00 AM  
Blogger Lawrence T. PETER said...

With regard to the hypothesis thay highly capable special forces operators are leavingthe active service in droves in order to join private security companies for short-term profit, pleqase read this June 2005 report by the General Accountability Office, GAO-05-737:


Actions Needed to Improve Use of Private Security Providers

The GAO conducted a year-long dispassionate study of private security providers in Iraq.

On page 35 of the report the GAO headlines:

Expanded Use of Private Security
Providers Does Not Appear to Be
Increasing Attrition among Military Personnel

There is a lot of data in the report. Observers interested in the the rise in private security companies, particularly as employed in Iraq, are most strongly encouraged to read the report in its entirety.

At risk of posti9ng a rather too-long comment, I'll add this one further extract fromthe report:

Data from the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) show that in fiscal year 2004, the attrition rates for the occupational specialties preferred by private security providers returned to the same or slightly lower levels than those seen prior to the institution of occupational stop
losses in September 2001 despite the increased use of private security providers. Private security providers working in Iraq are hiring former servicemembers with a variety of skills, including servicemembers with military police or Special Operations experience. Military officials told us that they believe that servicemembers with these skills are separating from the military earlier than in prior years. We are unable to determine from this data whether servicemembers are leaving the military for positions with private security providers as the data can only demonstrate trends in attrition, not explain why people are leaving the military or what they intend to do after leaving the military. Private security providers prefer to hire former military members, particularly Special Operations forces, for their unique skills and experience. Servicemembers with Special Operations background are often hired to fill key positions, such as security advisors and project managers, and to provide personal security to high ranking government officials. These positions may pay as much as $33,000 a month. Other servicemembers may be hired to provide security to civilians in vehicle convoys with salaries between $12,000 and $13,000 per month, while some may be hired to provide site security for buildings and construction
projects at somewhat lower salaries. For the most part, employees only receive these salaries when they are working in Iraq, typically 2 to 3 months at a time. All of the U.S.-based private security providers we spoke with told us that they do not actively recruit current servicemembers; however, they do recruit at military-sponsored transition job fairs, through the Internet, and with advertisements in military magazines and newspapers.

8/16/2005 04:44:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

i know its too much to expect, but if bush met with her, and persuaded her of the profoundly noble meaning of her son's sacrifice ...

I see Bush having to meet with this raving lunatic and trying to persuade her of ANYthing being the same kind of enforced guilt trip as being told we need to meet with terrorist groups to understand their "root causes".

The terrorists are terrorists and I don't *care* what their root causes are -- kill 'em.

Cindy Sheehan is a nutcase and I don't *care* what she says or thinks -- ignore her.

8/16/2005 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nahncee: The REAL Ruut Causes of Terrorism.

8/16/2005 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The problem is so acute that the U.N. has scheduled a conference on the topic, “Fighting the Scourge of Hypo-Upsilonuria”, to be held in Timbuktu in August of 2006.

But the U.N. will have its work cut out for it, since Arabs in Norway are demanding that restitution be made to them in the form of the letter “v”, as is the custom in Norwegian names. “This will be very difficult for us,” says Gunnar Inqvist, the Norwegian Minister of Immigrant Affairs, “because at the moment there is a severe shortage of v’s in Norway.”

The Welsh are experts in the field, and are sending a team of Vowel Restitution Engineers to the conference in Timbuktu. The team leader, Mr. Kynwyl Llwyd of Llandudno, says, “We have had centuries of vowel deprivation in Wales, due to the cross-border vowel raids conducted by the English from the 13th through the 19th centuries. If anybody can help those poor bloody Arabs, we can.”

8/16/2005 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

"Cindy Sheehan is a nutcase and I don't *care* what she says or thinks -- ignore her."

Right you are. But why is Cindy Sheean a nutcase?

Because she is the antithesis of everything her son was. He entered the military and reupped because it was everything his mother wasn't.

In short he entered the military to get away from his mom. He preferred death to being near her. From her perspective he committed suicide to be away from her.

What's a mother to do? Either become suicidal herself or to blame someone else and become a stark raving lunitic.

8/16/2005 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Confusing isn't it? It wasn't EO in Equatoria Guinea, it was Sir Mark.

"The coup plot was led by former SAS officer and mercenary Simon Mann, one of Thatcher's friends and former neighbours in Cape Town, where Thatcher has lived since 1995."

The debacle in Papua New Guinea was brought to you by Sandline/Executive Outcomes.

These are the mercenaries who were hired by a previous PNG Prime Minister to put down the rebellion in the North Solomons province.

8/16/2005 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There are two seperate lines of thought on this thread.
First regards the use of civilians, working in concert with US troops. These individuals seem to be veterans of US military service. While civilian truck drivers and mechanics working hand and glove with US military draws little comment, armed guards, seem to many, a different catagory of worker.

The second line runs to the use of self contained units of military professionals. These units would be used in UN Peacekeeping missions, protecting unarmed civilians from exploitation and death. Congo, Liberia, Sudan, Zimbabwe are examples of countries where these type units could be successfully deployed.

This professionalization of the Peacekeepers, could be one of the positive outcomes of US sponsored UN reform and reorginization

8/16/2005 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

As part of the conscription act for WWI the US Congress outlawed the use of letters of marque by the United States Government.

I am unable to find any verification of this. Given that the issuance of letters of marque is Constitutionally authorized to Congress under Article 1, Section 8, I find it difficult to believe that this authority would be removed by anything less than a Constitutional amendment.

8/16/2005 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger deeds not fap said...


I agree wholeheartedly. However, there are benefits to being the "bigger" person so to speak - so long as we broadcast heavily being the bigger person. The media's morbidity can be at least managed if public figures took some cues from the executive branch (as far as showing leadership goes) and publically trounced these naive bulls***ers and delivered some swift and sure rhetorical combos to their idiotarian glass jaws. Id be willing to wager that the american people dont identify with this woman, or code pink or the rest of the cutesy masturbatory leftist groups out there. However, nothing has inspired profound disapointment in my 21 years of life than letting these people have air time while good men and women remain quiet. We can portray the MSM and all these hooligans in whatever unpatriotic or evil light suits us - but the leaders of this country need to take on these n00bs and do so in a very public manner. they can quote windsofchange. they can just read off a bullet point version of the belmont club. Whatever. its not difficult and it would make a huge difference. The blogosphere is a welcome step in coalescing the counter-arguments to leftist n00b BS but until the blogocracy, more americans who do not read blogs need to rely on those elected to take these little media darlings to task for being the ignorant and harmful tools that they are.

Of course this pleading is moot if indeed most Americans, as possibly evinced by the last election, simply here this stuff and are galvanized against it. Still, some loose ends could easily be mopped up...

8/16/2005 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"Without the guys with the guns, you aint gonna have reason for translators or intel, counter-intel or analysts.. All you have are hostages or future hostages with beheading film at 11, courtesy of Al Jizz !! The guys with the guns arent miscreants or outcasts"

Dear Bill,

My husband's one of the guys with guns. I was one of the gals with a gun, once upon a time. Miscreants and outcasts I've known - but guns have nary a thing to do with it.

8/16/2005 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

the truth?

the jews stole the u's and are keeping them and torturing them....

i personally have a collection of several thousand u's

all mine!!!!

8/16/2005 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Cll m n ntSmt, bt ll wrld prblms r csd b Jws stlng r vwls!

8/16/2005 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger red-state-peltast said...

Some one spoke about the "up and out" component of the current US military...

What I think they may have meant was "up OR out". Meaning that there are time limits for how long that a person can be at a certain rank without promoting. For instance, if I'm not mistaken, you can't retire from the army as a Captain, because it takes 20 years to be eligible for retirement and if you dont make Major you will be out before you get 20 years.

Also some one refered to using PSC's as "hiring spartans"... Just for the record when ever Sparta was asked for military aid their custom was to send a single Spartan General, he would then be obeyed, more or less with out question, or if not he would go back to Sparta. Actual Spartan troops would not participate directly in any battle unless, directly or indirectly, Sparta itself was under threat.

As re: use of mecrenary troops, here are some words of wisdom (?) from Machiavelli "Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy. ... They are ready enough to be your soldiers whilst you do not make war, but if war comes they take themselves off or run from the foe;... I wish to demonstrate further the infelicity of these arms (i.e. mercenaries). The mercenary captains are either capable men or they are not; if they are, you cannot trust them, because they always aspire to their own greatness, either by oppressing you, who are their master, or others contrary to your intentions; but if the captain is not skilful, you are ruined in the usual way."
-- The Prince, CHAPTER XII
How Many Kinds Of Soldiery There Are, And Concerning Mercenaries

This may be an overly harsh assesment given that in Machiavelli's day mercenaries were commonly used in leiu of a standing army and therefore expected to press the assault when ordered to do so. While the PSC's under discussion here are deployed defensively.

Food for thought.

8/16/2005 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Of course this pleading is moot if indeed most Americans, as possibly evinced by the last election, simply here this stuff and are galvanized against it.

See that's the problem right there. MOST Americans vote FOR Bush and therefore FOR the War in the last election. I don't see how anyone can possibly make the claim that Americans were galvanized against anything except, possibly, John Kerry's looking too French. Or had you forgotten that mathematical evidence in the intervening nine months since the election?

8/16/2005 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger deeds not fap said...


yeah yeah i know - its just that if american public opinion is our achilles heal (strategypage had an article about how the army concludes its 4 to 5 years before a anti-war tipping point...though its nothing written in stone of course), it is in the interest of our security to explain to the fence-sitters why our positions are more rational than the nefarious hooks of pathos pandered by the left. It is also important that we not fall into the solipsistic ideological masturbation that has so reduced the left to nothing but a surface avant garde of tattered clothing, profane slogans, and unseemly homeliness (generally speaking). Their strategy depends upon either our "screwing up" (abu gharib) or our lack of plain-jane explanation to the public (gitmo). I dont want to see them make inroads if someone blunders or we have a bout of bad luck, and undermine what weve done thus far.

I do more or less trust americans, and people in general (including saudis, iraqis etc) to not empower these n00bs - however, i saw clinton's 8 years worth of damage and so im very inclined to not have to sit through that again in my lifetime. So if i seem naive or missing a point, just consider me anal and paranoid.

8/16/2005 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"Just ask one what they are fighting for and they will tell you, that they just want there to be no more wars.. Almost every one hopes that this will be the last one, and that noone else will be needed to take his place"

- Wild Bill

Ask what they are fighting for and you will get fifty different answers inside of 15 mins. - many of these being in essence some version of Larry the Cable Guy's simple but eloquent "Git 'er done" - go home and have a beer and a night with the girlfriend and leave behind forever the particular pesthole you found yourself in. But no more wars? For many, Bill, the intimate dislike or weariness or dread or misery or horror or loneliness or monotony that attatches to war is surpassed only by the uniquely positive challenge and strangely compelling experience of it. I remember young tankers in Germany sincerely bummed when the Wall came down and the Cold War ended - and absolutely thrilled when a short time later they headed off to the Gulf.

Samuel Johnson said that given the choice between going to sea and going to jail, he'd choose the latter. Better circumstances, better food and better company. And yet no perilous, emiserating voyage was ever canceled for want of a crew.

Not unlike war.

8/16/2005 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Re: Cindy Sheehan

Grieving parents of soldiers are allowed to say whatever the hell they want to say, no matter how mistaken or fruity. I think Miss Manners and most military commanders will back me up on this.

If the anti-war movement is already moribund and/or self-discredited, no reason then to worry that she'll spoil the party, right?

8/16/2005 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Grieving parents...

first and second cousins,
childhood friends,
and kindergarten teachers

of soldiers are allowed to say whatever the hell they want to say.

8/16/2005 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As I recall the father of one of the Rangers lost in Somalia met with Clinton, telling him that Clinton did not deserve to be CiC.
At the time the anti-Clinton partison did trumpet the parents disdain for the President.

"... After inviting the families for a moment of quiet reflection in the Oval Office, the president approached Herbert Shughart, the father of one of the two soldiers, and offered his hand.

To his astonishment the handshake was declined. ''You are not fit to be president of the United States,'' said Shughart Senior. ''The blame for my son's death rests with the White House and with you. You are not fit to command.''

Parent's lament

8/16/2005 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Mike J. said...

Your blog is really nice! :)

webhosting news

8/16/2005 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Grieving parents of soldiers are allowed to say whatever the hell they want to say, no matter how mistaken or fruity...

or pointed, honest, incriminating, and painful.

8/16/2005 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Cll m n ntSmt, bt ll wrld prblms r csd b UUU's!

8/16/2005 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"stln U's"

8/16/2005 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Rght n Dg !

8/16/2005 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We'll retrn all but the U's
Okay with yo, dog?

8/16/2005 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...


It might be time for you to do an article on Able Danger. It appears there's some serious fire under the smoke. Both Weldon and the Commission are jerking around like bacon in a skillet.

Something's hinky there.

8/16/2005 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

No one is saying that Sheehan should not be allowed to say what she is saying. The problem is that there is an assumption that being a grieving mother who is against the war gives more credence to her political philosophy.

8/16/2005 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey Devil Dog:
I don't want no _N Mercenary Peacekeeping Force!
Screw _!

8/16/2005 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If you agree with Ms Sheehan and her feelings about Mr. Bush, her status as grieving mother adds potency to "position".
If you agreed with Mr. Herbert Shughart and his feelings about Mr. Clinton and the Somalian Intervention, which I did, it added potency to the argument.

Both parents are examples of feeling that the 'powers that be' has let down their side.

8/16/2005 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Wretch is not known to censor:
Any good links or insights would be appreciated.
Be sure to check out my AJ Strata links if you haven't yet.
He's the best I've found.
The two biggest names,
JPod and Gerehty are the most risk averse and jump at the slightest threat of being wrong and open to criticism.
Malkin was sounding skitterish too:
Goes to show what tends to happen with the big names.
I like Dr. Sanity's approach:
Address the doubt, but don't jump ship at the sight of the first wave.

8/16/2005 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

How about if they worked directly for US, on those missions?

8/16/2005 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Dsrt Rt,
Shughart is Right, Sheehan is Wrong.

8/16/2005 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Dsrt Rt,
2:32 PM, don't drag me into that mercenary quagmire:
I've labored hard to stay clear so far.

8/16/2005 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

See my
"Alexander the Average"
link above for another opinion.

8/16/2005 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey Verc:
Can you beat that Name?

8/16/2005 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I put this in the previous thread:
OT, but a great, short read!
VJ day 60 years on
.Forgotten Army gathers. does seem like the folks in power serve a lot less these days than then, even if it is a moveOn mantra:
Not a left right issue I think.
Duke Cunningham's son is a great example.

8/16/2005 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

If by "potent" you mean "effective", I will agree with you to a very limited degree. If by "potent" you mean "viable" then I disagree. The only reason that a grieving parent/relative makes a more effective argument in a case such as this is because no one wants to argue the merits of the case with someone who just lost a loved one.

8/16/2005 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

A Letter of Marque is a grant to do offensive operations. Capture enemy ships or destroy them.

Defensive operations need no specific authorization. Merchantmen are allowed to be armed and use those arms for defence.

Why there will be on Letters of Marque soon and possibly forever:

War as a profit making venture by capturing enemy ships and cargos is going to gather a lot of bad PR.

8/16/2005 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

I'd like some balance.

Where are the Gold Star Mothers on the other side?

8/16/2005 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...


Yes, I did. And I won't. That's why I've been waiting. And that's partially what prompted the request of Wretchard. There is something REALLY funny there isn't there? Where are the other congressmen? Even the red state big mouths are muted.

It's hard to get good analysis. Three sharp people could do their diligence and come up with three different conclusions. Based on things like reach, bias, proclivity, expertise. I mean we ALL use to trust Walter Cronkite, 'member? I'm real tired of having to connect the dots for myself. But who to trust?

I think that's why us little wretchs hang around the 'Cat. Why not make a request. Sorting thru the b.s. seems to be his gift.

8/16/2005 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Good Queen Bess made great use of just an opportunity, hiring Sir Walter Raleigh to engage all the cutthroat pirates he could find, to pillage enemy (Spanish) shipping, on a share-basis with England, giving the former criminals a little pardon and respectability for awhile there, in the late fifteen-hundreds.

8/16/2005 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

potent as in effective.

8/16/2005 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

I have always believed private security firms can play a useful role in Iraq (exhelodrv does a fair job of explaining the need, as do other posters). As usual, the NY Times (the antitheses of Wretchard's web log) paints them as "hired guns" or loose cannons on the deck. That is not true.

If one closely reads they NY Times article it never actually presents any hard facts supporting their thesis that these private security firms are operating with no restraint and are injuring innocent civilians (the facts are out of context and out of time frames).

Further, the whole NY Times piece is a crafted work of division, confusion and dark Innuendo on the part of the coalitions efforts to secure Iraq (one wonders who the NY Times is working for).

Look, the American Military and its Coalitions partners are at the top of the military pyramid. No private contractor could survive without them.

No private contractor would have the ability to launch military air cover operations and other heavy lifting operations in a pinch. And, most historians will agree that heavy weapons are always needed to win a war.

Contrary to being a loose cannon on the deck, the military contractor is subservant to the US Military. Sure, in certain instances they have less weight in their saddle than the military to performs certain tasks (maybe in the past some guy could fire a "light belted machine gun from a truck window" - if that were true). But, in the final analysis they are depended on heavy military might.

I must agree, the private security firms provide a needed service - yet are dependent on the Military and it's infrastructure to function. It's a mutual service arraignment.

8/16/2005 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat, coming from you, I knew it didn't have another meaning.

8/16/2005 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Washington vs. Bush:

More than one person is credited with the quote, "A nation which forgets its past is condemned to repeat it." More dangerous –even- is the idea of rewriting a past because we've forgotten the context in which the events took place.

The Reason for War

GW: "Nothing short of Independence, it appears to me, can possibly do. A peace on other terms would, if I may be allowed the expression, be a peace of War.

GWB: "Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th.

The Greatest Military in the World

GW: "No history, now extant, can furnish an instance of an army's suffering such uncommon hardships as ours have done, and bearing them with the same patience and Fortitude. To see men without Cloat to cover their nakedness.

GWB: "The dangers are real, as our soldiers, and sailors, airmen, and Marines fully understand. Yet, no military has ever been better prepared to meet these challenges.

Fulfilling Their Destiny

GW: "But, as it has been a kind of destiny that has thrown me upon this Service, I shall hope that my undertaking of it, designd to answer some good purpose. You might, and I suppose did perceive, from the Tenor of my letters, that I was apprehensive I could not avoid this appointment, as I did not even pretend to intimate when I should return.

GWB: "We did not ask for this mission, but we will fulfill it. And I pledge to you that America will never relent on this war against terror.

You're either with us or Against us

GW: "It cannot be fairly supposed, that she [France] will hesitate a moment to declare War, if she is given to understand, in a proper manner, that a reunion of the two Countries may be the consequence of procrastination. An European War, and an European alliance would effectually answer our purposes.

GWB: "And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make.

Intelligence Measures

GW: If possible, I should also suppose it absolutely necessary, to obtain good intelligence from England. Pointing out the true springs of this manuvre of ministry.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ): “I feel compelled to point out three obvious facts: One, an intelligence failure is not synonymous with a misuse of intelligence. Two, this intelligence issue does not fundamentally change the case against Saddam Hussein. Three, since Iraq itself had provided documentation to the United Nations on its production of chemical and biological agents, the question is not whether but what happened to the stockpiles."

The Ring must be destroyed

GW: "Men are naturally fond of peace and there are symptoms, which may authorise an opinion, that the people of America, are pretty generally weary of the present war. It is doubtful, whether many of our friends might not incline to an accomodation of the grounds held out, or which may be, rather than persevere in a contest for independance."

GWB: "The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September the 11th, if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi, and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like Bin Laden. For the sake of our nation's security, this will not happen on my watch."

Troops Must Come First

GW: "The necessity of putting the Army upon a respectable footing, both as to numbers and constitution, is now become more essential than ever. This will conduce to inspire the Country with confidence.

Congressman Harold Ford: "More than two years after the start of the war in Iraq, it is distressing to hear yet again that our troops, who are risking their lives on behalf of American security and freedom, lack the basic equipment needed to carry out their mission.

Volunteer Army

GW: "I refer you to my Letter to yourself & Colo. Lee, which accompanies this, upon the subject of money for such of the old Virginia Troops, as have or may reinlist. In respect to the Volunteer plan, I scarce know what opinion to give at this time.

Col. Oliver North: "Current reenlistment rates indicate that those who are serving today -- and those who are volunteering to serve tomorrow -- still believe that this country is worth defending. Thankfully, in this war where every American is a terrorist target, there are still enough bright, tough, young Americans willing to stand up and fight."

Fifth Column

GW: The Enemy are beginning to play a game, more dangerous than their efforts by arms, tho these will not be remitted in the smallest degree, and which threatens a fatal blow to American independence, and to her liberties of course: They are endeavouring to ensnare the people by specious allurements of peace.

Knight Ridder Newspapers : "Bedeviled by the mounting casualties in Iraq and increasingly confused by the mixed messages emanating from war leaders, Americans in large numbers are losing confidence in the mission. New polls report that for the first time, a majority of Americans reject President Bush's contention that the war over there is making us safer over here.

GWB: They fight because they know that the survival of their hateful ideology is at stake. They know that as freedom takes root in Iraq, it will inspire millions across the Middle East to claim their liberty, as well.

People who buy into revisionist history -which teaches us that the founders of our country were not virtuous or to be honored for their courage and tremendous foresight, are likelier to believe President Bush responsible for putting our military and citizenry in harms way. Most assuredly, if George Washington were alive today, he would affirm it is exactly this kind of thinking that will lead to our demise.

Your Most Obedient Humble Servant, GW

8/16/2005 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

trish: "Grieving parents of soldiers are allowed to say whatever the hell they want to say, no matter how mistaken or fruity."

Last I checked everybody in this country was extended that courtesy, by the Constitution, no less.

Sheehan's right to speak is not in question. Sheehan's right to demand a second audience with the President is not even in question. What's in question is whether the substance of her daily diatribes should be listened to and trumpeted around the globe by patsy fellow-travelers bored by the August news slowdown. What's in question is whether every left-leaning club, newspaper, and website is behaving ethically by using Sheehan's grief as a bludgeon on the American people, exploiting her "moral authority" to avoid critical argument so the Leftist opportunists can advance their subversive agenda of pacifism, socialism, and anti-semitism.

Sheehan has an almost absolute right of speech, and she has an absolute right to be wrong. She is currently exercising both.

8/16/2005 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Desert Rat -

Hebert Shugart was waaaaaaay out of line with Clinton. As much so as Sheehan is with Bush.

Want only war heroes who proved themselves in combat to be CiC? That rules out the likes of Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, Eisenhower, Reagan. And makes Jean Claude Kerry, George McGovern, John (Who am I? Why am I here?) Stockdale the choice of their eras. Thankfully the public said no,

Shugart Sr. has also recently declared his son's hometown "unworthy" as well, after the Navy names a class of ships for his kid, a street is named after him....Shugart Sr got pissed when the local Big Spring HS refused to rename itself "Shugart HS" on the basis that other HS grads have served and died in other wars, inc Vietnam & Iraq...and besides..."sorry Shugart...but we like the name Big Spring".


8/16/2005 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Aristedes - Sheehan's right to speak is not in question. Sheehan's right to demand a second audience with the President is not even in question.

The free speech argument I get.

Not sure if you are saying she has the right to speak out for a 2nd Presidential audience. Or are saying her right to have one is not in question.

This is something Bush decided to do, not something he was required to do, and not something Lincoln, Wilson, Truman, FDR, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, etc. did. And it is unfair. He lacks the time to meet with all parents who lost a son perhaps rarely a daughter in combat, to visit all the severely maimed, and clearly doesn't have the time to meet with all parents of all kids killed by cancer, severe genetic defect diseases, accidents pushing their "cause" for more research, safer cars, etc.

Sheehan was lucky in the sense she is in a very, very small class of widows or parents of a serviceman or other person meeting a tragic fate invited to meet and talk with the President about it. Most don't get that priviledge. Future Presidents will likely be more wary of awarding such invitations to any class of "victims".

8/16/2005 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger deeds not fap said...


if im understanding your sorta-point more or less sufficiently, i think the criticism of clinton had nothing to do with his lack of military service and everything to do with his not being a good leader, demonstrated by cowing to big mean printed numbers instead of leading a fully-fledged, committed operation in somalia etc, for instance.

If FDR didnt serve, then that is a standard to which clinton could be held and he certainly didnt deliver us from anything but our own security.

8/16/2005 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"What's in question is whether every left-leaning club, newspaper, and website is behaving ethically by using Sheehan's grief as a bludgeon on the American people, exploiting her 'moral authority' to avoid critical argument so the Leftist opportunists can advance their subversive agenda of pacifism, socialism, and anti-semitism."

Egad, aristides. That sounds positively HUAC-ish.

8/16/2005 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Critics of Clinton focused on the Tactical Decisions he and his underlings made concerning the Somolian Operation.
Critics of Bush claim both the Strategic and Tactical Decisions have been faulty, in Iraq.

To focus upon the opinions of the Parents of a dead troopers is an error. They are anything but objective observers.

8/16/2005 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

Red State Peltast-If you read Machiavelli REALLY carefully, you'll find what he actually meant was to 'convert' mercenaries into national troops by playing upon their leadership and suborning their loyalties. The examples he used in those chapters bear this out very clearly. IIRC, Cesare Borgia's rise to power was the example he used.

For the mercenaries in Iraq, most of them are probably still very pro-west and patriotic at heart, so while their working title is 'mercenary', in many other ways they can be considered 'national' troops.

8/16/2005 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"To focus upon the opinions of the Parents of a dead troopers is an error. They are anything but objective observers."

Well, yes, desert rat.

Opinions are to be judged on their merits or lack thereof - not on the emotions that may attend them. Yet for many or most people war is, though not exclusively, an emotional subject -
as is death.

In war as in peace, the grieving are wisely given a pass and wide berth. Just sayin'.

8/16/2005 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

A Paen to Sheehan .
Version 2
. They've got the fever.

8/17/2005 01:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Egad, aristides. That sounds positively HUAC-ish."
Egad! Aristedes:
That sounds like the FACTS!

8/17/2005 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Officer Says Military Blocked Sharing of Files on Terrorists .
The officer, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, said military lawyers later blocked the team from sharing any of its information with the bureau.

Colonel Shaffer said in an interview on Monday night that the small, highly classified intelligence program, known as Able Danger, had identified the terrorist ringleader, Mohamed Atta, and three other future hijackers by name by mid-2000, and tried to arrange a meeting that summer with agents of the Washington field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to share its information.

8/17/2005 01:38:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Clinton Ignored 1996 Warning On AQ?
Posted by AJStrata on August 17th, 2005
While we are realing from the Able Danger blockbuster news, Clinton decides to come out trying to claim he wished he had better information on the USS Cole bombing so he could have acted on Bin Laden. So one has to wonder about this news out from the Dept of State saying they tried to warn Clinton about Bin Laden in 1996, only to be rebuffed:
State Department analysts warned the Clinton administration in July 1996 that Osama bin Laden’s move to Afghanistan would give him an even more dangerous haven as he sought to expand radical Islam “well beyond the Middle East,” but the government chose not to deter the move, newly declassified documents show.
In what would prove a prescient warning, the State Department intelligence analysts said in a top-secret assessment on Mr. bin Laden that summer that “his prolonged stay in Afghanistan - where hundreds of ‘Arab mujahedeen’ receive terrorist training and key extremist leaders often congregate - could prove more dangerous to U.S. interests in the long run than his three-year liaison with Khartoum,” in Sudan. _____AJ Strata_____

8/17/2005 01:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Lowlife Scumbag Demos Again:
"Monday, Aug. 15, 2005 10:41 p.m. EDT
Clinton: I Would Have Attacked bin Laden.
Ex-president Bill Clinton now says he would have taken out Osama bin Laden before the 9/11 attacks – if only the FBI and CIA had been able to prove the al-Qaida mastermind was behind the attack on the U.S.S. Cole.

"I desperately wish that I had been president when the FBI and CIA finally confirmed, officially, that bin Laden was responsible for the attack on the U.S.S. Cole," Clinton tells New York magazine this week. "Then we could have launched an attack on Afghanistan early."
"I don’t know if it would have prevented 9/11," he added. "But it certainly would have complicated it.”
Despite his failure to launch such an attack, Clinton said he saw the danger posed by bin Laden much more clearly than did President Bush.
"I always thought that bin Laden was a bigger threat than the Bush administration did," he told New York magazine.
. _____The Jerk_____

8/17/2005 02:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

He still gives three or four paid speeches per month, at anywhere from $150,000 to $250,000 a pop, though his aides say the money he receives from poorer . countries goes into his foundation.
. the money he receives from poorer countries

8/17/2005 02:30:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...


right to demand.

8/17/2005 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger Eric Stratton said...

To Belmont Club: Have you seen the live journal blogger's, "Ginmar", post on Bergner's NY Times " Other Army " piece? This gal in her post say's it is totally inacurate. She claims to be a USMC and to have been there at Kut that day during the assault. Female with infantry unit and rifle in hand..hmmm.. doesn't past the smell test. She clearly has contempt ( jealousy ) for the contractors like Triple Canopy. Do you have contact with daniel Bernner. I would like to see what observations he might make on Ginmar's post. Thanks

8/22/2005 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Eric Stratton said...

I posted but it hasn't appeared . It has been about two hours now

8/22/2005 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger Eric Stratton said...

To the person who entered the Original Post....
Have you seen the post by blogger Ginmar on Live Journal. This rant says the article by Daniel Bergner ( "The Other Army " ) ain't so. She ( ? ) claims to be attached to a USMC infantry unit, with rifle in hand.(And was there in the thick of things that day at Kut) Doesn't sound like the Marine Corps I know. They won't even let women in the cockpit. She seems consumed with contempt and or jealousy for private contractors like Triple Canopy. If you have contact with Daniel Bergner please make him aware of this assault on his journalistic integrity. Thank you.

8/22/2005 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger neo said...

IS there a rough guestimate as to the number of US trained "private soldiers" operating in Iraq, Afghanistaan , Syria, etc.?

8/24/2005 08:19:00 AM  

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