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View Diary: "Trophy Video" of Civilian Shootings By Contractors Emerges (255 comments)

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  •  If you Want to get pedantic (none)
    In Greco-roman Terms "mercenaries" were ANY soldiers who fought for pay or profit.  In that world they were despised as landless people who fought for nothing but their own profit.  They were contrasted with the Citizen-armies of the Old Roman Republic and the Greek City-States which were composed of part time soldiers drawn from the ranks of landowners, and wealthy merchants who supplied their own arms and equipment.  Phillip of Macedon was the first one to recognize that a standing professional army was a better system because the soldiers were better trained and disciplined, and he quickly destroyed the old Greek citizen armies.

      The problem with such an army is, it doesn't do very well in peacetime as it is expensive to maintain, and brings in no revenues when it isn't out fighting or looting.  Thus countries with standing armies tended to become expansionist empires (the True birth of the military industrial complex?).

    The other consistent historical danger of professional armies is that when an internal conflict arises they  usually show loyalty to their leaders and paymasters rather than the state they are charge with defense of.  Thus, they can be an extremely effective tool for tyranny by enforcing the wishes of a corrupt powerful or wealthy  minority, on a defenseless population.

    I've personally always believed that Jefferson recognized this danger when he wrote the  Second amendment which I've always read as follows: "since we are going to have to have a professional and standing Army to Keep America independent  {a well regulated militia, being necessary to the Defense of a free state} The people get to keep their guns in case said army decides to turn on them at a future date { the Right of the People to keep and Bear arms  shall not be infringed}.  This is more clear when considered in the context of the almost entirely forgotten 3rd amendment which immediately follows it.  

    [please Note that this does NOT mean that I believe that Rednecks have the right to unlimited ownership of Bazooka and Full-auto weapons.  Like every other right I believe that this one is properly subject to limitations based on time, place, and manner,  when the state can show a compelling interest (and ensuring the public safety is one of the most compelling of all state interests by definition)]

    Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

    by Magorn on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 07:41:13 AM PST

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    •  Too late to rate, but excellent comment n/t (none)

      " this abject posture have ye sworn / To adore the Conquerour?..../ Awake, arise, or be for ever fall'n."

      by Valtin on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 09:36:26 PM PST

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