A Professional Military and the Privatization of Warfare - Miller-McCune
These career officers were concerned over the privatization of the military, a boom industry that was having an enormous impact on war fighting, especially on the ground.
So quickly have logistics and security companies swept onto the battlefield that the government and the armed services have lost control over them. These private contractors, so necessary for the professional military to sustain combat, have also made it easier for America’s leaders to pull the war trigger, the colonels say, and to do it without having to have their policies — or their heads — examined.
What most rankles the colonels is that contractors have only one obligation: to fulfill their contract. They answer to no chain of command; they are not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice; they are not required to have U.S. military training; and they are not subject to the Law of Land Warfare or the Geneva Conventions. Contractors decide on their own rules of engagement. Those security contractors who work for “U.S. agencies” or the State Department, which will soon be taking over control of security in Iraq, are immunized from Iraqi laws, and potentially U.S. law as well. Put another way, they have license to kill.
The U.S. is finding it more complicated to leave Iraq than it was to invade it. The message coming from northern Iraq says that only U.S. troops can avoid a civil war. Two hundred miles to the south in Baghdad, an American presence threatens a renewed insurgency.
What does this dilemma for U.S. forces mean to the privatization of the military? The message seems clear. The private security companies make the process of diplomacy more difficult. Hired guns may provide security on the battlefield, but it still takes an army to keep the peace.
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