Saturday, January 26, 2008

Letters of Marque

A lot of pixels have been lit over the question of private military companies, of which Blackwater is the most well-known. Many have argued that private military companies are evil, even when they are performing acts contracted out by sovereign countries. But relatively few pundits have noticed that fundamentalist terrorism -- in fact terrorism in general -- is really private warfare waged by subnational groups against enemies. Thus, when Hamas shells Sderot, it is never an "act of war"; and consequently Israel, by blockading Gaza response to Hamas' actions is engaging in "collective punishment". The condemnation of Israel is really an equivalent way of saying that a sovereign state should not retaliate against another state for the actions of a private group of individuals, i.e. "Hamas", for actions taken against it.



If America has laws which govern the actions of Blackwater, then who is responsible for the acts of Colonel Khadaffy's son? The Associated Press says Iraqi security forces are accusing him of "behind a group of foreign and Iraqi fighters responsible for this week's devastating explosion in northern Iraq".

Col. Jubair Rashid Naief, who also is a police official in Anbar province, said those attacks were carried out by the Seifaddin Regiment, made up of about 150 foreign and Iraqi fighters who slipped into the country several months ago from Syria.

Naief said the regiment, which is working with al-Qaida in Iraq, was supported by Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, 36, the eldest son of the Libyan leader. "I am sure of what I am talking about, and it is documented," Naief said, adding that he was "100 percent sure" of the younger Gadhafi's role with the terror group.

Assuming the allegations are true, what responsibility does Libya have for the actions of Seif al-Islam Gadhafi? Two historical parallels come to mind when examining the consequences of so-called private acts upon the international peace. The first incident is the Jameson Raid, an attack "on Paul Kruger's Transvaal Republic carried out by a British colonial statesman Leander Starr Jameson and his Rhodesian and Bechuanaland policemen over the New Year weekend of 1895-96."

The Boer government later handed the men over to the British for trial. The prisoners were returned to London, and the Transvaal government received considerable compensation from the Company. Dr Jameson was tried in England for leading the raid; during that time he was lionized by the press and London society, where his defeat was widely interpreted as a victory. Jameson was returned to London and was sentenced to 15 months, which he served in Holloway. The Boer government was paid almost £1 million in compensation by the British South Africa Company.

For conspiring with Jameson, the members of the Reform Committee (Transvaal), including Col. Frank Rhodes and John Hays Hammond, were jailed in deplorable conditions, found guilty of high treason, and sentenced to death by hanging. This sentence was later commuted to 15 years’ imprisonment, and in June 1896, all surviving members of the Committee were released on payment of stiff fines. As further punishment for his support of Jameson, the highly decorated Col. Rhodes was placed on the retired list by the British Army and barred from active involvement in army business. After his release from jail, Col. Rhodes immediately joined his brother Cecil and the British South Africa Company in the Second Matabele War taking place just North of the Transvaal in Matabeleland.

It's highly improbable that the young Khadaffy, even if found guilty of such offenses, will serve in prison. But the other historical parallel that comes to mind is the Manchurian incident of 1931. The Manchurian Incident incident is interesting because the perpetrators were rogue officers within the Imperial Japanese Army who were not acting on direct orders of Tokyo.

The Mukden Incident of September 18, 1931, known in Japanese as the Manchurian Incident, occurred in southern Manchuria when a section of railroad, owned by Japan's South Manchuria Railway, near Mukden (today's Shenyang) was dynamited by Japanese junior officers.[1] Imperial Japan's military accused Chinese dissidents of the act, thus providing a pretext for the Japanese occupation of Manchuria. The incident represented an early event in the Second Sino-Japanese War, although full-scale war would not start until 1937.

One of the justifications for the existence of the modern nation state is that it creates a collective responsibility for large scale belligerence by its citizens. In decades past, it was inconceivable that a group of private citizens should rocket a neighboring country on a large scale without their state being responsible for it. Today, the state has gone from being a safeguard against private warfare to a shield behind which it can be waged. The ironical result has been the weakening of the nation-state system. It is no longer designed to take responsibility for warlike acts, but to absolve it. It no longer prevents private war but makes its conduct a routine. Someone should note that the world's largest private military company is not Blackwater, which is liable under American law. It is al-Qaeda, which is responsible to no law but itself.

10 Comments:

Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Of course, this opens up the options of contracting these groups for offensive anti-terror operations.

1/26/2008 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

More Americans killed by illegal aliens than Iraq war, study says

When you start digging into the numbers the only ones that can be
sourced with the feds are the number of American murdered in 2005: 16692I have seen federal numbers for illegals held in jail ranging from 19.3% to 27% of the federal prison population.

Here's a sampling of USA cities wanted for murder. What you'll see is
that in big USA cities like LA or NYC most of the murderers are
Hispanic. Many of these cities are sanctuary cities. Unknown are the % of illegals. In smaller cities the FBI will
post the nationalities of the murderers. About 25% of the most wanted
are illegals wanted for murder. This number agrees with the percentage
of illegals incarcerated in federal prisons. +-25%

Pictures of top 10 most wanted in LA.
Up until recent stories about crime in LA posted by the LA Times--the
pictures included the nationality of the murderers. They were all
foreign nationals and mostly Mexican.
Wanted for Murder in New York City.
Chicago wanted for Murder

Philadelphia wanted for murder
San Francisco wanted for Murder

New Orleans wanted for Murder
Pictures of suspects wanted for murder in Washington DC
FBI USA 10 most wanted. (two of 10 are Mexican nationals)

There are currently no exact numbers on the number of Americans killed
by illegals. Part of the reason is that the government deliberately
obscures the number. I talked on the phone with the head of statistics
for the US Bureau of Prisons. He said his office wasn't allowed to
publish the number of illegal alien murderers. Rather they were forced
to put legal and non legal residents in the same category. I talked to
ICE. They put out detailed numbers on illegal child molestors. However,
they put out nothing on illegal murderers.

Part of the
reason for the silence on the matter is that there is evidence to
suggest that most Americans being killed by illegals are black--as is
the suggestion in this LA Times Article. Also this article from the LA Times.
This makes intuitive sense. We see stories regularly of drug gang
killings in Mexico but we don't see those same stories in the USA. The
reason we don't see those stories is not because its not happening. The
mug shots above show that. Rather we don't see the stories about
illegals killing blacks because that kind of story is terribly
politically incorrect. The populations being displaced in downtown
sanctuary cities especially are American blacks. That means that their
criminal elements would be pushed aside by Mexican gangs as well.
That's also the story that the wanted for murder posters in all the
major cities seems to suggest.


To look at other USA cities go here http://stlouis.fbi.gov/ and replace stlouis with the city you want.

All that said the true number of criminal aliens is far higher than is
revealed by criminal aliens in prisons. Most are simply waived through
the courts.DHS Secretary Chertoff, has been quoted by Senator McCain repeatedly as warning that two million people in this country illegally have committed serious crimes. See also here and here

1/26/2008 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

The thought of losing a loved one at the hands of another human being is horrible enough... but the thought of the same loved one dying at the hands of some illegal, in part because our elected elite refuses protect our borders, is rage-inducing in the extreme.

1/26/2008 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Smitten Eagle said...

There's also the case of Operation JUST CAUSE in Panama. We essentially went to war so we could serve an arrest warrant.

1/27/2008 03:37:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

We essentially went to war so we could serve an arrest warrant.

Isn't that the defnition of all wars? We wanted to serve an arrest warrant on Hitler, on Hirohito, and on Mussolini.

More lately I'm pretty sure there are warrants out for the Great Leader and Ahmadinnerjacket.

And exactly what sort of an invitation to you suppose President Bush has caused to be engraved for Osama bin Laden?

1/27/2008 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Elmondohummus said...

Excellent analysis, Wretchard. This brings to mind how simplistic too much of the analysis of the WoT is in the media. Clearly, terrorism is not merely a "law enforcement" issue, as some war opponents have tried to claim, but just as clearly, law enforcement has a part to play every bit as vital as military action, in contradiction to what some unfortunate kneejerk responders to those opponents have implied.

There should be - and from what I can glean from my far-removed perspectdive, thankfully is - a continuum of response from purely military to purely law enforcement, and many steps in-between. Law enforcement cannot deal with actors hiding behind the sovreignity of a state, but having the military deal with terrorist operating within a governed area is problematic too.

Wretchard, you have any stories or analyses on the legal-military areas of cooperation?

1/27/2008 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

The sovereign Westphalian nation-state can no longer claim to meet the security needs of the peoples who live within it's ever-shrinking jurisdiction. Neither can it expect the unquestioned loyalty of the peoples it claims sovereignty over. Diasporas physically inhabiting one country but spiritually and emotionally tied to the Motherland don't assimulate.

The services that the State can provide you in exchange for your taxes can be bought more cheaply from contractors. Not all services, not yet, in America, but State bureaucracies cannot compete. They must either hire more contractors who actually can do the job OR they must drive out any private alternatives.

Empowered individuals are going to expect less and less from the State and obtain the services they want from for-profit providers, seceeding from the unempowered into gated communities, while beyond the pale supernational continental "Unions" or Federations of no longer sovereign nation-states impose the Transnational Progressivist dream on the rest.

As the Westphalian construct disintegrates, so does the State's monopoly on the use of deadly force.

1/27/2008 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Another New Player:
Private Military Companies


Fourt Generation Warfare Evolves, FIFTH EMERGES

1/27/2008 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Cannoneer No. 4 said...

The sovereign Westphalian nation-state can no longer claim to meet the security needs of the peoples who live within it's ever-shrinking jurisdiction.
/////////////
tell that to the chinese

1/27/2008 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Consul-At-Arms said...

I've quoted you and linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2008/01/re-letters-of-marque.html

1/27/2008 11:11:00 PM  

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