We must fight our instinctive distaste for mercenaries

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by armchair_jihad, Aug 2, 2006.

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  1. No they are mercenaries nothing more

  2. Yes in a NGO/Media support role only

  3. yes in a NGO/Media/Logistics/defence of fixed assets role

  4. Yes in a full combat capibility

  5. No because regulation means responsibility defeating the main purpose

  6. Increase the size of the military instead

  7. Its impossible to do

  8. Only if each PSC adds a Walt battalion

  1. Its Max again saying it like it is and although I hate to say it fair play to the Guardian for giving him the space.

    We must fight our instinctive distaste for mercenaries

    The Iraq bubble has burst but the need for private security companies will not go away. They should be regulated by the state

    A recession is looming in a sector of the economy you may be barely conscious of, PSCs. Since 2003 private security companies have been a great British success story. Worldwide, but notably in Iraq, businesses founded by and employing ex-soldiers have coined it by providing armed protection.

    I sense that many readers will have little sympathy for hired guns who make huge sums of money from stricken societies. Arming men to kill and be killed is among the most sensitive prerogatives of the state. To subcontract such functions to commercial enterprises seems inherently dangerous and pernicious. When these people hit the headlines, like Mark Thatcher's merry band who sought to stage a coup in Equatorial Guinea, it is usually because they have been caught doing ugly and reckless things.

    Yet there is a growing belief in western governments that PSCs - and private military companies, which offer combat services - have a role to play that needs to be formalised.

    Most national armies, including those of Britain and the US, are undermanned and overcommitted. A wide range of national interests overseas demand attention and protection that uniformed soldiers are not available to provide. The holes will increasingly be filled, believe some senior service officers and diplomats, by the private sector.

    "Private security operates in the gap between state will and state capability," declares the pamphlet, After the Bubble: British Private Security Companies after Iraq, written by Aegis's Dominick Donald. He argues that such companies can operate in war zones with more freedom than national forces, partly because their casualties are less politically sensitive.

    But it seems almost inevitable that PSCs will become increasingly involved in the other functions mentioned above, because there is no one else to fulfil them. There are significant areas of the world where the staff of humanitarian NGOs dare not go. It is surely better for food and medical supplies to be delivered by PSCs than by nobody.

    Max Hastings

    Article in full -


    includes a very perceptive piece about PSC guards for journalists in conflict zones ('Kroll envy' mean anything to any of you green zone hacks?).
  2. All I can say is that the main problem through out history with the use of 'Mercinaries' is the standard of men, the standard of dicipline and their accountability.

    If you are paid well you will attract people who want the money but aren't prepared to keep the standards, you will be selective in who you are going to protect and, as it is puerly a financial venture, corners may be cut.

    I'm not saying it can't work, but I can see a whole heap of heartache before they manage to get it right.
  3. Gurkhas?
  4. High standards and switched on cookies where I work,plus we have good Gurkha's as well.Discipline is more strict than the regular force's.ie Have an ND and home you go,sacked.We're also delivering a lot of humanitarian supplies and helping rebuild the infrastructure of the country,Iraq.Its not all about killing and bodycounts.If they weren't there the Regular Force's would be on serious overstretch.There are bad un's but you can say that about any armed force,government controlled or not.
  6. @ Easymoney, i believe we work in the same spot. No shortage of septic nurses next door?

    Agree with what you say.

    Long gone are the "wild geese" days, accountability is the only way forward for this industry.

    Good article by Mr Hastings, journalists normally have an inbuilt hatred of men who carry arms for a living. More so in the private sector, however theres quite a few who also owe their backsides to private security.
  7. Considering most PSD's are made up of ex UK forces, I'd have thought it a little disigenuous to suggest that current PSD's have issues of standards of men/standards of discipline.

    Historically perhaps
  8. He also shot a group of his own men he suspected, in fit of paranoid delusion, of disoyalty. Hardly a role model.
  9. Hansvon, don't start that one up again
  10. Forgot about that MA - 31 years is a long time - tnx for reminding
  11. Wrighty,back in blighty at mo.Work on convoy escort with S********CE,lads are in UmQr at mo.Good set of lads no Dis prob's really good at the job they do.Hansvon,bringing up that old chestnut,regular armies use warning shots as a matter of everyday ops,its the only way to stop locals intent on testing your resolve,or worse.
  12. Nice Comment

    From replies at http://www.craigmurray.co.uk/archives/2006/06/british_mercena.html

  13. Nothing better than a truly objective report hans von,

    did you follow the other link to the New york oirish echo which quotes "A leading Irish human rights group" and their opinions on the topic