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View Full Version : 'mercenaries' vs 'civilian contractors'


Volcana
Dec 22nd, 2004, 03:21 AM
Yet another thread about politically correct terminology.

'Mercenaries' are people you hire to do jobs that you standing military would otherwisw do. During the revolutionary war, the British, for example, hired German mercenaries. 'The 'Hessians'. The thing is, while we think of mercenaries as guys with guns, when militaries hire mercenaries, they generally hire entire units. Soldiers, support personnel, lorry drivers, medical people, the whole enchilada.

Which brings us to 'civilian contractors'. Who we know do just about everything inthe Iraq war, even handle prisoner interrogations. Which leads to this question.

Why DO we refer to personnel involved in the war who aren't serving as part of national military units as 'civilians contractors' as supposed to 'mercenaries'? Is this just simply politically correct speech, or is there an actual difference in job function?

Barrie_Dude
Dec 22nd, 2004, 03:24 AM
Yet another thread about politically correct terminology.

'Mercenaries' are people you hire to do jobs that you standing military would otherwisw do. During the revolutionary war, the British, for example, hired German mercenaries. 'The 'Hessians'. The thing is, while we think of mercenaries as guys with guns, when militaries hire mercenaries, they generally hire entire units. Soldiers, support personnel, lorry drivers, medical people, the whole enchilada.

Which brings us to 'civilian contractors'. Who we know do just about everything inthe Iraq war, even handle prisoner interrogations. Which leads to this question.

Why DO we refer to personnel involved in the war who aren't serving as part of national military units as 'civilians contractors' as supposed to 'mercenaries'? Is this just simply politically correct speech, or is there an actual difference in job function?I think u answered your own question, basically..... contractors handle the support structure behind the line sort of stuff where as the mercinaries are on the front lines with weapons actually killing people...there has to be a distinction

Volcana
Dec 22nd, 2004, 03:29 AM
I think u answered your own question, basically..... contractors handle the support structure behind the line sort of stuff where as the mercinaries are on the front lines with weapons actually killing people...there has to be a distinctionMy point is that didn't USED to be a distinction. A mercenary company had it's own support personnel. It's own truck drivers, cooks, mechanics, etcetera. They AREN'T just the people who shoot guns. Well, traditionally.

If I understand your arguement correctly, you're saying that 'civilians contractors' are doing jobs that, in previous wars, were done by people we called 'mercenaries'. Support structure stuff.

'kp' - kitchen patrol, used to be a standard military shit job. Soldiers did that. Brown, Root, Kellogg does that now.

Barrie_Dude
Dec 22nd, 2004, 03:35 AM
My point is that didn't USED to be a distinction. A mercenary company had it's own support personnel. It's own truck drivers, cooks, mechanics, etcetera. They AREN'T just the people who shoot guns. Well, traditionally.

If I understand your arguement correctly, you're saying that 'civilians contractors' are doing jobs that, in previous wars, were done by people we called 'mercenaries'. Support structure stuff.

'kp' - kitchen patrol, used to be a standard military shit job. Soldiers did that. Brown, Root, Kellogg does that now.Yeah, they are... but I think that the distinction is important for legal, moral, and security reasons...

kiwifan
Dec 22nd, 2004, 03:47 AM
On some level, everyone who works for someone that they don't "believe in" (your typical domestic employee for example) is a mercenary. :wavey:

Surely you don't think that its less tragic when a mercenary dies?

Most of them are just trying to feed their families, just like everyone else. The risk is high, so the money is good. :shrug:

Barrie_Dude
Dec 22nd, 2004, 03:49 AM
On some level, everyone who works for someone that they don't "believe in" (your typical domestic employee for example) is a mercenary. :wavey:

Surely you don't think that its less tragic when a mercenary dies?

Most of them are just trying to feed their families, just like everyone else. The risk is high, so the money is good. :shrug:No... I don't think it is less tragic.....

Volcana
Dec 22nd, 2004, 12:14 PM
I have a further issue with this. It concerns the attack on Forward Operating Base Marez in Mosul on Tuesday. (Well, it was Monday for us).
U.S. probes deadly attack on base in Mosul
At least 22 people reported killed in strike on mess hall

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. military launched an investigation Wednesday into the cause of a devastating blast in a mess tent at a base in northern Iraq that killed 22 people and injured 72 in one of the deadliest attacks on American troops since the start of the war.

See link (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6727646/)for additional details.If I understand your arguement correctly, you're saying that 'civilians contractors' are doing jobs that, in previous wars, were done by people we called 'mercenaries'. Support structure stuff.Yeah, they are... but I think that the distinction is important for legal, moral, and security reasons...I DON'T think there's a legal or moral distinction. The guy who drives the wagon with the food supply has always been a legitemate target in war. However, I think there IS a serious security problem, a view I am not alone in holding.Several experts noted that insurgents appear to have acted on accurate intelligence. Kalev Sepp, a former Special Forces counterinsurgency expert who recently returned from Iraq, noted that the attack "was carried out in daylight against the largest facility on the base, at exactly the time when the largest number of soldiers would be present."
"This combination of evidence indicates a good probability that the attack was well-planned and professionally executed," Sepp said.

Infiltration?
A byproduct of such a strike is that it tends to drive a wedge between U.S. personnel and the Iraqis who work on the base. "I think that this tells us first that our base facilities are totally infiltrated by insiders who are passing the word on when and where we are most vulnerable to attack," said retired Marine Col. Edward Badolato, a security expert.

- MSNBC - graph 13-15 (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6743845/)I suspect this is because there IS a difference between 'mercenaries' and 'civilian contractors', but the difference isn't in job function. It's in the hiring process.

A mercenary company has it's own vetting process. And it exists as a unit over time. So you can't easily infiltrate it effectively. That particular mercenary company may not be called to operate anywhere where your infiltrator does any good.

When you hire locals, there's always the problem of insurgents targetting collaborators.

We've actually added a third problems in Iraq. We're hiring damn near anyone who shows up from all over the world to drive trucks, work in mess halls, work in oil fields etc. And the US military isn't handling the vetting process, Halliburton is. Now consider we KNOW 'foreign fighters' are coming to Iraq from all over the globe to fight us. There's at least a good possibility we're actually paying people to spot target for the insurgents.

And, as I said, ths fact has already occurred to the CoW forces, but nobody's providing the additional troops necessary to replace those 'civilian contractors'. In fact, we don't have enough 'gun-carriers'. Replacing hireling support troops with them is just not an option.

But security-wise, I think the heavy use of 'civilian contractors' is proving unworkable in an occupation situation. I suspect it worked much better during the invasion of country and overthrow of the government.

kiwifan
Dec 22nd, 2004, 02:14 PM
...and if we didn't hire dodgy locals, you'd post 19 articles using that fact as proof that we're just there for War Profiteering purposes...

...damned if we do...

...right? :devil: :hehehe: :devil:

Volcana
Dec 22nd, 2004, 08:21 PM
...and if we didn't hire dodgy locals, you'd post 19 articles using that fact as proof that we're just there for War Profiteering purposes...

...damned if we do...

...right? :devil: :hehehe: :devil:a) Hiring 'dodgy locals' has NOTHING to do with 'War Profiteering'.

b) I've certainly posted more than enough times that I think we ARE there, among other things, for 'War Profiteering purposes'. That's EXACTLY what Halliburton got no-bid contracts for. War Profiteering. I only say 'among other things' because getting control of Iraq's oil supply isn't, strictly speaking, 'war profiteering' even though there's a profit motive, and a war.

c) A GOOD use of 'dodgy locals' would have been rebuilding schools, for example. Had to be done, puts money in the local economy, and no concentrations of US troops around. Instead, we used our troops for that. Good from a P.R. perspective, conceded, but maybe not the best allocation of resources.

I opposed the the invasion of Iraq at the time, and in retrospect, it looks even more illegal and immoral than it did at the time. I wasn't expecting NO weapons of mass destruction, just no capacity to threaten the United States. That said, I oppose simply pulling out the troops, and leaving the Iraqi people to suffer a civil war WE started for them by destroying their government.

I don't even favor delaying the elections. Having them will do no worse than maintain the status quo. A puppet government while we really run the country. There's no direction to go but up.