modern mercenaries, terror, and stability

Recently read John Robb (of the excellent Global Guerrillas)’s new book Brave New War.

In it he essentially argues that terrorism can defeat states by forcing them to wear down through systems disruption, and the solution is for states to become decentralized, resilient and sustainable – essentially lifting the methodology and solution set of the green left, though from a completely different ideological perspective – and he seems to assume that capitalism will underlie the resulting global order.

In it he also mentions the role of mercenaries, arguing we are now returning to the status quo of warfare, in which mercenaries play a huge role, after being made redundant by the development of weapons (rifles) which levelled out individual differences on the battlefield.

(We noted back here in Aug 2007 that there were twice as many private military contractors in Iraq than there were US soldiers.)

So what about these private military mercenary companies? Who the hell are they?

A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”

Right. I mean, I guess you need a certain moral ambiguity to be a mercenary, but yeah, I guess it helps to be actually psychopathic.

To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

Oh baby.

Doe #2 also says Prince “repeatedly ignored the assessments done by mental health professionals, and instead terminated those mental health professionals who were not willing to endorse deployments of unfit men.” He says Prince and then-company president Gary Jackson “hid from Department of State the fact that they were deploying men to Iraq over the objections of mental health professionals and security professionals in the field,” saying they “knew the men being deployed were not suitable candidates for carrying lethal weaponry, but did not care because deployments meant more money.

Wow. A legitimate role for mentally unstable white supremacist hate mongering far right religious nutters – come and live your murderous dreams and kill the heathens. That’s a much better sales pitch than the army has. Plus better pay.

Ah, the unsavory dynamics of our happy future happening now.

Oh, there’s more. And way more in the article. I’m not even going to go into “hotwashing”.

I’m not sure I have anything terribly coherent to say about this stuff, actually. Just connecting dots.

4 Responses to “modern mercenaries, terror, and stability”

  1.   Scott
    August 7th, 2009 | 4:28 pm

    As David pointed out over on LJ – does this John Robb provide any evidence for a claim that “terrorism can defeat states by forcing them to wear down through systems disruption?”

    Not seeing a lot of evidence of that so far in the world, unless one counts states that were firstly significantly weakened by the involvement of a major power, leaving a vaccumn for the ‘terrorists’. (thinking Afghanistan and Somalia here).

    On the other hand, that claim that terrorists can defeat states is exactly the sort of fearmongering that Western elites love so much, because it allows them to destablise their own countries for their own gain, and contract out violence to religious extremists.

    And, on that note, it makes one realise that the relationship between the Pentagon and Blackwater isn’t that far removed from the relationship between the US and Israel…

  2.   Administrator
    August 7th, 2009 | 6:51 pm

    That is basically the thesis of his book, so yeah. There is more to it than my one line summary, and, indeed, more than the potted summary which follows.

    The major set of examples he uses stem from the US experience in Iraq. His analysis of the economic costs of sabotage (millions), vs how little it costs to perform that sabotage (thousands), multiplied by the impossibility of preventing them and the way saboteurs are getting smarter at picking targers, leads to economic fallout which leads to the state having to commit resources and perform actions which cause its moral cohesion to fail – sort of like bleeding a wild animal to death, driving it mad in the process, and provoking it to tear itself apart.

    The book is a quick read and well worth a look. I don’t think I am doing it justice. He acknowledges his analysis is unpopular :)

  3.   Administrator
    August 7th, 2009 | 6:54 pm

    Also, do people comment on the LJ feed often? I don’t actually check that for comments… although given the comment moderation thingy here is still fubarred, maybe I should be.

  4. December 14th, 2009 | 1:58 pm

    [...] A quick interesting read if you are into the tensions of the modern world, globalization vs terrorism, etc. Fascinatingly, he argues the solution line that the green left does – sustainability, resilience, decentralization – as the way to adapt to the current political and economic situation, though coming from a completely different perspective, and he seems to assume capitalism will underly a changed system. Reviewed back here. [...]