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

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  •  There is a pretty clear (none)
    and rather easily recognizable distinction between "humanitarian" efforts and "for profit" efforts.  Just as the distinction between "humanitarian" and "security" is fairly clear; its all in the objectives, not necessarily in the language, but you do have to be willing to look, and entertain the possibility that security != humanitarianism.  

    If you are asking whether or not there's a difference between an ex-military guy who chooses to work for the Red Cross/Oxfam and an ex-military guy who chooses to work for Blackwater, Dyncorp, KB&G or any of those other "for-profit" gigs, the answer is "damn-straight".      

    "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -- Martin Vanbee

    by a gilas girl on Fri Apr 02, 2004 at 08:17:33 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Two points... (none)
      One, bestowing legitimacy (or casting aspersions) based solely on the status of the organization is a piss-poor way of determining merit or value. Unless, of course, you believe that even the laziest sob's in NGO's are more honorable than a for-profit project manager who's building a school overseas or reconstructing a water supply.

      And it's quite possible for individual greed and bestiality to exist outside the private sector. Many NGO/IGO jobs pay quite well for the region (with per diem in addition), enabling aid workers to live in the largest houses, hire a housekeeper, and dash off to Italy once a month for clothes. Nor are these workers incapable of being involved in say, prostitution and slavery rings, as has been proven before.

      Two, this thread has misused the definition of mercenary both by the textbook definition and by the general definition that most people would agree upon. When we think of mercenaries, most would picture soldiers hired to pull off a coup or assassinate someone--that was not the case. American Heritage Dictionary defines mercenary as "motivated solely by a desire for monetary or material gain," which cannot be proven; and "hired for service in a foreign army," which is not the case here.

      In short, are you convinced that these men would have sold their services to a foreign power?

      There's room to argue against private contracts without implying that anyone not in uniform is a wild-eyed, greedyheaded, Soldier of Fortune type.

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