blackwater usa

private military contractors are nothing new. they've been around in one form or another since humans have been finding ways to kill each other. because wherever there is war, there are profits. these contractors are basically mercenaries, except with logo branding and better funding. funding from where? well, the united states government.

private military contracting has become a lucrative industry, and it's only gotten bigger as these businesses become corporations. there was heavy activity by mercs in sierra leone and other parts of africa during the 1990's, working primarily as security forces protecting diamond mines and other resources that "belonged" to various corporations. and now, as they've grown in popularity, one of the biggest, blackwater usa, has become quite an issue in iraq.

blackwater usa is one of the companies that the u.s. government has been using to contract out various security details, logistics, as well as other more unsavory missions. although some of these fighters used to be soldiers, they are technically not soldiers anymore, and they're not even police officers; they're a legal quagmire, like so much of what this whole so-called war on terror has produced: from guantanamo bay to blackwater usa.

because they seemingly work without regard to the law, and because these aren't your regular combatants, there is a huge problem if they ever get caught, if they get killed... but as far as the u.s. government is concerned, they are just hired guns. does it matter if they get killed? i guess not. and what of the crimes that they commit? do their victims matter? probably not. at least not in any traditional legal sense, because nothing seems to get logged or recorded statistically and no one gets punished.

what the iraq war is doing is providing some interesting precedence. we have a situation where for the first time, the u.s. government is flagrantly ignoring the geneva conventions, where the u.s. government has taken away the right of habeas corpus from its own citizens no less, where private military personnel are now becoming part of growing corporations with government backing. all this goes to blur the line between combatants and soldiers. i wouldn't be surprised if a whole new crop of international laws come to pass as a reaction to this increasingly murky grey political and legal area.

the problem with the law is that there is hardly any foresight, if ever. you can't legislate what you don't anticipate, and a lot of the times even if you do anticipate it, chances are it doesn't become law until the damage is already done. the law tends to be reactionary more than anything, especially in international law. and most of it is based on previous case studies and laws, as opposed to precedent setting rules. and on top of this, in order for international law to be effective, you need the superpower on board (re: see geneva conventions).

and since the u.s. government is the one allowing this to go on in the first place, chances are pretty slim that they will ever sign on to any international agreement limiting their ability to wage war unless there is a public outcry. because grey armies like blackwater usa are effective both militarily and politically. better they get killed than actual soldiers. the prime example being the difference between the mogadishu incident where u.s. troops got strung up and dragged through the streets versus the blackwater employees enduring the same thing in iraq. if it had been u.s. troops, reaction would have been much more different domestically.

the following is a video from the nation, giving a brief overview of blackwater usa and their activities. it's interesting, and it points out how blackwater usa employees are now operating on the streets in certain u.s. cities, possibly bringing their legal and moral problems onto home soil. blackwater usa seems to be a cut above the rest, not content to simply provide security for corporations and governments overseas and out of bounds of prying eyes. instead, they seem to be actively seeking the domestic market. and who can blame them? there's money to be had.