mercenaries are nothing new. they've been around as long as there have been armies to fight or defect from. these days, mercs are quite prevelant, making quite a bit of money working for private security firms like blackwater in iraq, doing whatever they are paid to do. it can range from being hired out by humanitarian groups as protection, or by corporations to protect property, to pretty much everything in between.

these private security companies were having quite a bonanza in africa, protecting corporations and their diamond mines, and now they're having another field day in iraq, where a merc can be paid up to $600 usd a day. these companies and their mercs go where the money is, pure and simple. politics and humanitarian issues are secondary unless it becomes beneficial to dovetail their policies together.

these companies are often a legal nightmare. nobody regulates them, and they aren't considered legal combatants, so they can pretty much do what they want, so long as they they don't get caught or killed, and if that happens, they don't have a government to bail them out.

the following is a video that's been on the net for a while. it's been called a "trophy video" of some private contractors who are shooting at iraqi civilians, seemingly at will, all set to the music of elvis presley, an american pop cultural icon. just a warning, you may find this a bit disturbing and offensive. DO NOT WATCH if you are at all squeemish to violence.