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View Diary: Mercenaries, war, and my childhood (368 comments)

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  •  You misunderstand me (none)
    Quite a bit actually...

    First off your words aren't too big. They just seem to be getting bigger and bigger as the argument goes along. Which amused me. But that is neither here nor there.

    You keep talking on some hypothetical plane. Yes the US government has misused mercenaries. Hell you site everything back to useing Pinkertons to break mine workers if you want. There is no proof that applies here.

    The US military is facing an acute manpower shortage in the area of light infantry. They don't have enough men to guard all the places that need guarding. So the mercenaries are being used supplement the same mission and force structure that the Army would prefer to carry out on its own. If you have a platoon of soldiers doing street patrols and Mercs guarding specific buildings on the same street their mission is the same. From every news report on every outlet I've read thats how they have been used to this point. There are no accounts of private death squads or merc armies roving the desert. What they are doing is the same thing the Army and Marines are doing. Patrol, recon, and defense.

    Under these conditions that exist. If a lobbed grenade kills a Merc instead of the soldier standing nearby I fail to see the difference. Likewise if they both return fire and kill people how is the soldiers actions more justified.

    The Mercs in the humvee have NOT been accused of acting outside the UCMJ. They're just soldiers by another name. Performing the same tactical mission.

    •  No, they are not soldiers by another name (none)
      ---The Mercs in the humvee have NOT been accused of acting outside the UCMJ. They're just soldiers by another name. Performing the same tactical mission.

      Maybe they are, or maybe they are not.  I believe the same argument is used with mercenaries used in Colombia.  They of course perform all sorts of things we wouldn't allow regular troops to do.  But regardless they do not exist within the same structure of accountability.  

      IOW, they are not soldiers under a different name, they are mercenaries hired to perform paramilitary functions outside the military command and control structure.  

      Equating killing as being the same regardless of context is simply wrong.  

      •  Dead end. (none)
        Like I said a year ago we're at loggerheads over unmovable assumptions. I think your distinctions are either naive or inane. Bullets don't care who they're fired by.

        That disturbs you. I guess we can leave it at that.

        •  And again you fail to address anything at all (none)
          If you want to claim that this is just an impasse, you are allowed, but you have yet to engage the basic point that participating in an unaccountable institution with a history of abuses is not performing the same task as being a soldier in the US Armed forces.  

          You are linking two jobs together as being the same because the involve some of the same dutie  Being a soldier carries far greater responsibilities than killing on command.  Those responsibilities include obeying the law, respecting human rights and showing compassion to your enemy when appropriate. If you think those are naive or inane, I'd suggest you are amoral and were quite poorly suited to the modern military.  

          None of those responsibilities are carried out by private contractors the same way.  And the people taking those jobs are aware of this. It is, in fact, you with a naive view of what is occurring.   Then again, if you wish to argue that unaccountable institutions are the same as a highly structured military, I'd be careful throwing around the word inane.  

          •  Laughable (none)
            In basic training I got almost the exact opposite speech from the post you just gave. Our life experiences are just clearly too disparate to see eye to eye here.
            •  Sad (none)
              If that is what you got out of your military service, I think it is safe to say you weren't really paying attention.  The problem isn't seeing eye to eye, but your inability to address a point that has been made to you repeatedly.  
              •  I've addressed your point. (none)
                You just didn't like the answer. I wrote a much longer answer but IE decided to die on me randomly towards the end of it, and I'm not expending the energy again. But the answers are there, repeatedly.

                As for my apology, I didn't use the words anti-veteran bias once. I didn't accuse anyone of holding such a bias. I expressed outrage at arm chair warriors pontificating over the relative values of human life as predicated by vocation. It's offensive to me and the people that flamed kos, and the people who got the ads and the links pulled from the site. I think thats a bit excessive. But the underlieing galling arrogance is repulsive nonetheless.

                •  Really, never said it? (none)
                  To date, your claims to have addressed my point rely upon your argument that your experience in the military were that you killed on command and that is all.  As I mentioned, such a claim is sad, and certainly not something I would ascribe to most of the individuals in the military.  You fail to deal with the moral decision to take part in shady operations. Saying that they are the same tasks simply avoids the reality often the tasks aren't the same as is demonstrated by the roles these organizations have taken in Colombia and elsewhere.  The same task would be under the same rules--the same rules don't apply.  

                  ==There seems to be a resentment of servicemen and women converting their experience into higher pay

                  Which was in response to a criticism of the individuals perpetuating violence, not because of money.  

                  ==Its like its no longer proper to spit on vets so people are trying to backdoor the sentiment in any way they can.

                  I'm sorry, that wasn't accusing someone of anti-vet bias? I mean the little dodge saying you didn't use the word is just a little too cute by half.  

                  •  So I did respond (none)
                    You just didn't like the answer. Thank you for finally admitting as much.

                    As for the veteran bias, that was not what I meant by the statements you quote. If anything I was referring to a latent pacifism that is too cowardly to contradict the current flag waiving enviornment. So the main question of the righteousness of our forces is ceded, while tangetial aspects of the situation are attacked with full vigor.

                    I'll throw out the loggerheads comment again. But by all means if you want to give the wheel of sophistry another spin feel free.

                    •  No, You Didn't Answer, You made a non sequitur (none)
                      Saying you have answered something and repeating it doesn't mean you have answered it. It means you have repeatedly avoided answering it.

                      Claiming I'm guilty of sophistry is a cute dodge to your claims of anti-vet bias that you did make and refuse for which to take responsibility.  Really sort of ironic in this thread, isn't it?

                      •  To parse this to death (none)
                        "You fail to deal with the moral decision to take part in shady operations. "

                        Lets try step by step. You presuppose there is a moral choice in choosing Freelance security work over remaining in uniform. Why? What is it? And how are these contractors morally deficient?

                        We both think we've saiid all this 1000 times already. So humor me if you will.

                        •  Gee, Why Don't You Answer Me Then? (none)
                          Because they joined an occupation known for being shady and used for shady purposes in contrast to being in the military that is governed by strict accountability and the law.  You can look at their roles throughout the last 30 years or you can look at the last five years in Colombia.  No one with a moral compass would defend their roles nor an institution with no accountability.  

                          Then again, killing is just killing to you.

                          Are you going to apologize for your comments regarding anti-vet bias or not? Or continue practice sophistry as you so lamely accuse others?

                          •  So this comes down to guilt by association? (none)
                            Mercenary is an adjective. Its not a global association or corporation with standards of behavior. Over the past 30 years all the places where mercenaries have committed attrocities have been lawless, or at least have been areas where ther was no higher authority to effectively restrain them.

                            None of the things that happened in South America or Africa has been alleged in Iraq. There have been no executions or mass rapes or any of the attrocities that you're harkening back to. They're not even performing the kind of roles currently under way in Colombia. The most anyone can say about them is they're pricks. Which isn't a warcrime last time I checked.

                            You have no proof of any misdeed. You just don't like the institution. I agreed that its a bad policy but that doesn't inherently pass on negative motivations or actions to the current contractors.

                            As for the Vet bias, I answered that 3 or 4 or 5 posts ago. I don't mind that you rope a dope my arguements ignoring what you can't respond to. But you could at least keep track of things you're avoiding.

                          •  I think the institution is immoral because (none)
                            of its natural inability to be constrained by the law.  In fact, it is a result of avoiding the law in most cases and hence taking part in it is subject to moral choices.  Bad moral choices. Maintaing institutions that are corrupt and promote the violation of human rights is a choice people make for which they are responsible.  

                            And no, you didn't answer the anti-vet bias issue. You avoided it. You claimed,
                            "As for the veteran bias, that was not what I meant by the statements you quote. If anything I was referring to a latent pacifism that is too cowardly to contradict the current flag waiving enviornment. So the main question of the righteousness of our forces is ceded, while tangetial aspects of the situation are attacked with full vigor. "

                            explained this statement:"==Its like its no longer proper to spit on vets so people are trying to backdoor the sentiment in any way they can. "  

                            While I'm not Scalia, a plain reading here contradicts your claims.  

                          •  Lets try word linkage maybe (none)
                            Latent, backdoor
                            pacifism, sentiment

                            You can lead a horse to water...

                          •  Uh-huh (none)
                            Yeah, right. So you don't have the integrity to apologize?  Figured as much.   Only an idiot would equate pacificism and spitting on vets.  
            •  Also (none)
              You have made accusations against others in their thread that they are anti-veteran.  I would suggest you apologize unless you can demonstrate where this anti-vet bias was demonstrated.  

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