In case you missed it, the Department of Defense has promulgated new rules for private security services, effective, notably enough, the day after the tenth anniversary of 9/11:
This document is some very artful bureaucratese on how the USA is, and is not, using "mercenaries" in its ever expanding "war on terror" (read, war to control Central Asian and Middle Eastern energy reserves). Consider only this choice jewel:
"Comment: Opposition to the use of mercenaries in the U.S. Department of Defense " Response: The DoD does not use mercenaries. Article 47 of Additional Protocol I to Geneva Conventions provides an internationally accepted definition of mercenaries. The elements of that definition clearly exclude PSCs under contract to DoD. Private security contractors do not perform military functions, but rather, they carry out functions similar to those performed by security guards in the United States and elsewhere. We agree that the behavior of PSCs may affect the national security goals of the U.S. and for this reason we have published guidance on the selection, oversight, and management of private security contractors operating in contingency operations. "Comment: DoD personnel do not want PSCs in a combat situation " Response: The primary role of the armed forces is combat: to close with and destroy enemy armed forces through firepower, maneuver, and shock action. Defense of military personnel and activities against organized attack is a military responsibility. DoD allocates military personnel to these high priority combat and other critical combat support missions. Private Security Companies contracted by the U.S. government protect personnel, facilities and activities against criminal activity, including individual acts of terrorism. They are specifically prohibited from engaging in combat (offensive) operations and certain security functions. DoD PSCs have performed well and are very important to our mission accomplishment in the CENTCOM area of responsibility. "Comment: PSCs should receive Veteran's Affairs benefits for injuries sustained while protecting the country " Response: PSCs and other contractors employed by the U.S. government who perform work outside of the United States are covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA). The LHWCA provides disability compensation and medical benefits to employees and death benefits to eligible survivors of employees of U.S. government contractors who perform work overseas."
I have to confess, that in a world where out government is increasingly only responsive to the needs of the corporate elite, to the grandiose geopolitical ambitions of its "planners and thinkers" playing at being Prince Metternich on the "grand chessboard" in an idealistic "unipolar world", the idea of privatized security functions scares the daylights out of me. There will, of course, be readers out there who will reassure me that the DOD has been using such private security companies for a long time, and this I readily acknowledge is true. But what drew my attention in the above quotation was the prohibition of such private security forces from performing offensive military operations.
But what about "defensive" ones? And what, exactly, is the definition, of such operations? Such mercenaries, for let's be honest here, that's exactly what they are, would not have to be loyal nor swear to defend the US Constitution (not that it's in great shape anyway), but would ultimately be beholden, like the knights of the Middle Ages, to their sovereign liege lord, namely, the corporation employing them.In a world where corporations increasingly usurp governmental functions, one can even imagine the nightmarish possibility that their internecine economic wars, hostile takeovers, mergers, and so on, would be accompanied by similar private armies and private "wars." Of course, it's only a science fiction possibility now, but it's a step closer. It's a dangerous precedent, for note that all-important sentence: "Companies contracted by the U.S. government protect personnel, facilities and activities against criminal activity, including individual acts of terrorism."
The next step? Look for "Gestapo, Inc." to be trading shares on the NYSE. Oh yea, I forgot, they did, and it was called I.G. Farben.