Sunday, June 3, 2007


So I can’t exactly pinpoint where today’s anger is stemming from. In fact, I don’t even know what got this subject on my mind. However, there is something – an ideology I guess you could call it – brewing from the Left that is really building a nasty taste in my mouth.

I simply can not tolerate the word “mercenary” being used to describe American corporate contractors currently working in Iraq.

Oh, brother, this really makes me hot.

I would say that the forthcoming rant is based on paging through the book, Blackwater, The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. However, that would not be true. While I did thumb through the novel a few weeks back, it did not leave enough of an impression to warrant commenting. In fact, the brief skimming that I completed of Jeremy Scahill’s work read more like a farce then any sort of informative effort concerning the Blackwater company. I am open to opinion differing from mine. However, it took deep digging into this book to even find mention of Blackwater-related events. It seemed that, instead, the author was more content to go on his opinionated rants throughout the text instead of focusing on the solid facts of the case that he was ineffectively attempting to build.

But, oh well... I wasted more time on that book already then it was worth. Back to the subject at hand.

Mercenary: The Free Dictionary (source linked) describes the term thusly: One who serves or works merely for monetary gain.

To those who would call members of entities such as Blackwater or Triple Canopy “mercenaries,” I ask you this: what have you done for your country? Let’s look back at the accepted definition above. I want to focus on the word, merely, because it is key to unlocking the deeper understanding of what drives these honorable individuals. Nearly every member of any reputable defense security contractor company has past military or law enforcement experience on their side. They have proven their desire to defend land and country. To those that have labeled them with the negatively implicated “mercenary,” I ask again: what have you done for your country?

Most of these individuals have proven themselves exemplary. Many are former members of special operation units such as the Army’s Special Forces or the Navy’s Seals. They have completed some of the most grueling training that our country offers for military types. They have deployed before and risked life and limb. Now, they are out there, lives on the line, doing it again. Many have retired from their respective services, having completed over twenty grueling years of duty. Again, what have you done for your country? Don’t hang a flag or place a sticker on your bumper, call yourself a patriot, and degrade these men. You don’t have the right.

So are these men working merely for money? I doubt it. Is money a motivating factor? Of course. But money is a motivating factor to those that reenlist in the Army’s infantry. Does the desire to secure your children’s futures make you a mercenary? I hardly think so.

Please quit attempting to degrade individuals that you simply do not understand. You don’t have the mind of a warrior and you, probably, don’t understand what it is like to be one of a few individuals between a highly valued target and a country chock-full of evil-intended types that want nothing more then to kill him. These men have honor and they have courage. They would gladly step in front of the bullet intended for the individuals that they protect. If you want to compare these men to groups from the past, they hardly seem like mercenaries but, rather, Spartan warriors who thrive on their chosen lifestyles. I doubt you would understand.

And, finally, curb your unabated desire to begin unneeded controversy. These men are not running around rabidly, killing foreigners aimlessly. In fact, most Blackwater or Triple Canopy operators are hardly killing anyone. And they like it that way. They have a mission to protect those they are assigned and to return themselves to their waiting families. Do you really think that they traveled across the globe to destroy a lifetime of honorable service by recklessly acting out in aggression? You obviously don’t understand what drives these men.

The next time that you claim to “support our troops,” remember that there are more then service members that are willing to lay their lives out for yours. There are hard men working in hard places, earning their pay, but still willing to do what you are not.

I am happy I got that off my chest.

In closing, I want to remind everyone that tonight, at 9PM, on the National Geographic channel, there will be a special called Inside the Green Berets. I’ll be catching it on Tivo at the end of the week and hope to discuss it then.

1 comment:

John said...

I'm glad you were able to get that off your chest also. I agree with you. It's despicable that contractors of the United States of America's government are labeled as mercenaries just because the accuser disagrees with their use and employment.

Just look at what Markos of Daily Kos said when the four contractors were killed and burned and hung from the bridge - they're mercenaries, I feel nothing. Screw 'em.

At my last duty station I met and became casual friends with a Marine who was the Marine Aviation Detachment First Sergeant. At the end of his tour there, having done 23 years in the Corps he retired. The next time I ran into him he was supervising the grounds maintenance crew for a services contractor on the base - and mostly hating it. After OIF started I ran into him again while he was on a leave from working for Blackwater in Iraq. He was enjoying himself, he felt useful again. Yeah, he said the money was good, but he was just happy to be in the fight in some way.

If someone wants to learn what a mercenary really is, they should read Frederick Forsythe's excellent book The Dogs of War. True mercenaries have no loyalty to country or cause - only to the highest bidder.

BTW, I think Forsythe is the absolute best writer in his genre. Better than Clancy, Ludlum or any of the others.

Lately it has become fashionable in the anti-war circles to label our soldiers and other military as mercenaries because they are being paid large bonuses in some cases to reenlist and return to Iraq. They claim that makes our Armed Forces a force of mercenaries, only willing to fight because of the money. I guess they never consider that those people would have reenlisted in many cases without the bonus, that was only a sweetener.

Liberals always want to talk about living wages and dignity of the working man - until it comes to paying our service members what they are worth for the jobs they do.

The use of contractors like Blackwatch and TC is a prudent use of money and manpower. They provide a quick way to establish an experienced and trained force of personnel that can be employed in the stead of regular military forces. It's a force extender, a force multiplier in some cases.

I say good on 'em.