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A US Army of Mercenaries
Posted by: Jon Henke on Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Kos sits down for an interview and immediately slurs his "brothers and sisters in uniform"...
TAPPER: A comment a lot of people cite as an example of the harshness of your rhetoric on your Web site is after four contractors were killed in Fallujah, you wrote these are mercenaries making money off the war, screw them. And I wonder if you regret having written that?

MOULITSAS: Yes, I don't regret that at all. I mean, the blogs are a raw, emotional medium, and they are what they are. And they're not measured conversation, they're not edited, they're raw. And at the time, the context, the reason I was so angry is that same day that those four mercenaries were killed, five U.S. Marines were also killed, and they were completely ignored by the media, by the traditional media. And I wear combat boots, my allegiance is with my brothers and sisters in uniform, not with people who are there to profit from the war.
Let's ignore for a moment the fact that the 'mercenaries' — private security forces — are Americans, protecting Americans, and performing the same functions as the troops in the US military. Leave that aside.

Kos' objection cannot be that the private contractors were making money for their service, because his "brothers and sisters in uniform" also draw a salary. Presumably, Kos would not say "screw em" when a private security guard is shot, simply because they aren't "real" police officers.

I don't mean to re-hash years-old 'sphere arguments, but this is important. When the end of the Draft was being debated during the Vietnam war, Milton Friedman and William Westmoreland had an argument about the nature of military service. General Westmoreland said he didn't want "an army of mercenaries."
Mr. Friedman interrupted, "General, would you rather command an army of slaves?"

Mr. Westmoreland replied, "I don't like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves."

Mr. Friedman then retorted, "I don't like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries. If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher."
If the contractors about whom Kos said "screw em" are 'mercenaries', then so are Kos' "brothers and sisters in uniform" to whom he professes allegiance.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Kos would need to oppose reenlistment bonuses and combat duty pay as well. We wouldn’t want to compensate our combat soldiers with any extra cash.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
What I find interesting is the dead silence on the Left and with Kos himself about the armed security (mercenaries) protecting MOULITSAS’s favorite people in the same country. The human rights NGOs, the overseas health care charities, the private force assigned to "important" TV reporters when they come in country to "report", even the armed contractors protecting the folks that Kos and his kids maintain have absolute moral authority - the UN officials visiting, and their designated observers.

Many protected by the very same the same company as those "screw ’em!" Americans killed and mutilated and burned and hung on display in Fallujah - Blackwater.

Logically, it appears Kos and company believe when American security personnel protect non-Americans, Leftist NGOs, Left-leaning media - they are good!

When they protect Americans, they are mercenaries and "screw ’em hope they die" - major league bad.

It is not the security people, evidently, that MOULITSAS has problems with, it’s who they work for.
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
Wonderful, wonderful bit with Friedman and Westmorland. I’ve never seen that. "Patriotic drafees." Sheesh.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
The amazing thing about Friedman as a live debater was his ability to cut to the heart of an argument in real time. He was devastating whether you agreed with him or not. I would love to see a debate between he and Kos on, well anything. "Screw ’em" indeed.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
MOULITSAS: Yes, I don’t regret that at all.
Then why did he delete the reference from his site, including trying to erase the google cache?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Ah Kos.

If Rove didn’t have him, he have to be invented.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Now I understand why he never just came out and said "It was a stupid and thoughtless remark done off the cuff, and I’m sorry I posted it." Apparently he really believes what he said originally.

Shark, the only thing he regrets is that showing his true feelings a bit too explicitly gave the right something to beat him up with. So he did what he could to cure that problem. He’s being honest. He doesn’t regret making the remark. He just regrets getting any grief over it.

It’s the Scarlett O’Hara attitude. Recall Rhett Butler’s line:

"You’re like the thief who isn’t the least bit sorry he stole, but is terribly, terribly sorry he’s going to jail."

 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
HOWEVER, profit is evil. Profiteers deserve liquidation or the gulag. Capitalism is evil, capitalists deserve death.

Is this so hard a concept for you wingnuts to understand?
 
Written By: Kommie
URL: http://www.dailykos.com
It’s the Scarlett O’Hara attitude. Recall Rhett Butler’s line:

"You’re like the thief who isn’t the least bit sorry he stole, but is terribly, terribly sorry he’s going to jail."
Billy, you can never go wrong quoting Rhett Butler.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Of course, one cannot help but note Kos’ little paean to socialist agitprop rhetoric in his retort.
people who are there to profit from the war.
He is not against workers earning a salary. No, no. Honest working people doing an honest day’s work. And they should be paid "fairly" for their efforts. He is only against making a "profit". And, of course, we know how evil it is to "profiteer". Now, basically, if you are self-employed or part of a company working as a service vendor to the Armed Forces you are "profiting". But if you work directly for the Forces you are just a paid worker. The money may well be the same as well as the significance of your contribution to the war effort. Heck, maybe you would feel just as patriotic and proud to be there either way. Nevertheless, in Markos’ warped little mind, the label he can slap on your toe-tag makes the only significant difference.
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
Don’t forget to mention that those "mercenaries" were former Army rangers. Brothers in uniform? Sure.
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://moorejack.ytmnd.com/
I see he is backpedaling from even the non-apology apology he gave at the time.
 
Written By: Sebastian Holsclaw
URL: http://
Except by every reasonable definition, they were mercenaries. Making claims of ’mercenary professors’ and ’mercenary physicians’ is completely baseless, because those have nothing to do with warfare. What seperates ’mercenaries’ from regular military, is that they are not a part of the regular military and yet do "the same functions" as the US military. They are not subject to the UCMJ, they are not bound to the same oath as every soldier takes, they lie outside of the chain of command, and numerous other things which distinguish them from regular troops.

I’m not defending those who would express glee over the killing of these individuals, but they most certainly are mercenaries. If the word is to have any meaning whatsoever, it must apply to individuals exactly like this.
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
So, our troops who are deployed under UN auspices and command rather than stricly US command - Mercenaries or not?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I’m not so sure Rosensteel that you’re right. Conventionally one thinks of mercenaries as Mike Hoare’s crew, acting as an Army solely for the pay. Blackwater and their ilk aren’t behaving as an ARMY but rather as trainers and security personnel. It’s a close call...Mercenary has become a perjorative, but it really means someone who fights for pay. In the age of Nationalism or Religion fighting for MONEY has taken on a nasty connotation, Killing for a Cause is OK, but Killing for money is not.

Though I’m not really sure mercenaries are a good bet, unlike Michael Kinsley. Actually they would stink pretty badly...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Rosensteel, I believe you are mistaken. Mercenaries fight for which ever side offers the most money. I may be wrong but I don’t think that was the case with these men. It’s my opinion that no offer would have been enough to get them to fight against the US, so no, they weren’t mercenaries.
 
Written By: snafurious
URL: http://
The real lie is that, after reading Kos for any length of time, you find out he does not really have that great an opinion of the people in uniform either.
Don’t believe me? Just google Daily Kos and US Soldiers, or US ARMY.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
A fun and somewhat related read.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Wow and I thought the "A Team" was merely a tool to get folks to watch TV so we could advertise Soap Powder to them... and now I see it oh so much more...now I no longer have any guilt for watching BA, Murdoch, Face and Hannibal... never again will I feel embarrassed when I utter the phrases, "I pity da Fool" or "I LOVE it when a plan comes together" because now I will know I am particiapting in an An-Cap meme demonstrating the effectiveness of Security via the Market.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
A lot of Fijian troops ex-UN service have taken up well paid positions with Halliburton and the like. Until now I had always thought they were acting as mercenaries.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
And your proof of the allegation is? For that matter I have heard that the draw down is of US/British SPECIAL OPERATIONS personnel, pay 2 to 3 times the military level. Why would Fijians be in such demand? They can be good troops but they haven’t developed the best reputation in Peacekeeping missions. I’m not saying that you’re wrong, but a little evidence would be nice.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Personally, I don’t think it matters whether they are mercenaries or not. People enter the military for a number of reasons, but the important thing is how they are used; mercenaries can be, and have been, used to support worthy causes, while troops motivated by "better" reasons such as patriotism have been used for bad purposes. The motives of the leadership are more important than the motives of the troops.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Heard as a factoid and not checked until after spouting, but thankfully true enough. Cannot prove direct Halliburton involvement.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
Rosensteel - At the insistance of Arab nations, the Almightily moral UN has refrained from defining "terrorism" so far.

It appears others have equal difficulty, and equal stakes against - defining "mercenary"....and unlike Friedman responding to Westmoreland on any occupation having "mercenary aspects" to it...confine it to armed security or paramilitary.

In the 2nd post, I tried understanding what MOULITSAS’s evident criteria were. It is OK to Blackwater to protect UN functionaries, it seems, but not American engineers repairing Iraq’s oil, electrical, and water treatment infastructure.

It appears that Kos is against any private security deployed - perhaps overseas amongst the "exploited brown peoples" to protect America or American interests keep them "safe", but not against UN-paid "peacekeepers" intended to keep the Haitian President du jour or Bosnian Muslims "safe". Or Kos and companiy’s lack of outrage about security here on critical assets like profit-seeking banks and chemical factories owned here in America by the French, Saudis, Overseas Jewish financiers - against theft and terrorist attack.

Blackwater "mercs" evidently transform back into uncriticized "private security" when they squire Brad and Angelina around "the suffering" in Afghanistan or Africa. Or protect NGOs.

So what constitutes a Merc? A private security or para force that is paid to invade and conquer a foreign country for beaucoup bucks? That’s a traditional definition. So too are foreigners fighting in another nation’s military for good pay or other rewards (power, prestige, advancing international Communism, guaranteed Paradise if martyred)- folks like - though some might argue about including each sort of reward I listed as "pay" - Hessians, Gurhkas, Lincoln brigade, Apache Scouts, foreign mujahadeen.

But to me the line between Blackwater being paid 600 per person per day - working for Halliburton, MGM studio for Brad & Angelina profit-making publicity overseas, Chinese Petroleum Co in Indonesia, or paid to watch over Catholic Relief Charities workers in Pakistan makes for a hopelessly muddled & futile definition if all security protecting people outside their native land is somehow bundled by the Left - into being "mercenary".

Maybe Lefties and their liberal Democrat and radical ISlamist allies have a more concise definition than I realize.

(1) If it is private security that protects Americans or American interests, it is mercenary activity.
(2) If it serves China’s profits, protects liberal do-gooders, guards citizens of other countries....it is merely "sensible security precautions".
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
This was a stupid comment, but clearly the man has particular and visceral feelings about mercenaries. Growing up in El Salvador, that’s a pretty understandable feeling. One way to characterize the death squads in El Salvador is as mercenaries.

I don’t equate Blackwater with El Salvadoran death squads, obviously, but US people with guns in war zones, not subject to clear chains of command, the UCMJ, and with much weaker oversight & accountability than the US military, despite said military’s issues with such things in the Iraq war, is absolutely going to be a problem at some point. I’m amazed it hasn’t been one already. That much is pretty defendable, it seems to me.

As for the rest, it’s an insensitive and morally questionable statement - but it was a five-page interview, and nary a word about the parts that don’t, in fact, fit popular stereotypes. Par for the course..
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
And I wear combat boots, my allegiance is with my brothers and sisters in uniform, not with people who are there to profit from the war.
He’s just pissed that they make more money than a uniformed soldier performing similar functions. The contractors are there because they are just not enough uniformed soldiers to go around. Maybe he would prefer to be deployed until the bad guys give up or until the democrates regain control. Even then I still dont think there would be enough of us to fill all the spots that have been turned over to contractors.
 
Written By: Mac
URL: http://
As for the rest, it’s an insensitive and morally questionable statement - but it was a five-page interview, and nary a word about the parts that don’t, in fact, fit popular stereotypes. Par for the course.
But it is the degree to which he IS a stereotype which is politically troubling for the Democrats—to the degreee he has success attracting adherents—and the grounds on which he can be fairly criticized.

The rest doesn’t matter so why should we care?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
." Cannot prove direct Halliburton involvement."

Proof? You don’t need no stinkin’ proof, it’s HALLIBURTON!! (The focus of evil in the world).


 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Having been both military, and a contractor in Iraq- I might be forgiven for being a little ’sensitive’ (man of the 21st century, you know) when people casually degrade the deaths of people I work alongside. El Salvador be damned- interesting bio, but nothing to do with this place that we find ourself in the Middle East.

Mac is right- there are jobs here that the military won’t or can’t do. I think it’s reasonable to claim that some of these are due to faulty planning or organization that should be the responsibility of Pentagonian bureaucrats (your taxes at work)- but the fact remains that they need to be done.

What a mercenary is or isn’t has been flogged to death all over the internet. Suffice to say, I don’t consider my work to have been ’merc’ work, in fact, I found it a rewarding experience as well as a conscious method of supporting my ideals. The fact that the marketplace makes it profitable is a side benefit. But that’s not good enough for the ’progressives’ like Mr. Moultitsas. Oh well. Don’t try to fool me that he cares about the military.

I won’t waste any more breath on his ’contributions’ to American politics. Let the voter decide, and (what’s the running tally?) 1 for 17 sounds about right to me.
 
Written By: Sunguh
URL: http://pmclassic.blogspot.com
Maybe Lefties and their liberal Democrat and radical ISlamist allies have a more concise definition than I realize.
Was the name calling really neccesary?
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
Was the name calling really neccesary?
Hey, as long as it was accurate.

Shoes. Fitting.

YMMV

yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Hey, as long as it was accurate.
Shoes. Fitting. Both feet Left and Right.

Let’s call it accurate by ommission only.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
Funny, in trying to make a counterpoint, Unaha mentions two books that are completely irrelvant.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Hey, as long as it was accurate.
It wasn’t. I think it is time to grow up, and a little bit of maturity would go a long way. Simply disagreeing with an individual dosent neccesarily involve them being the member of the enemy camp, be that whichever camp you happen to find yourself opposed to.
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
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Written By: OOOYY
URL: http://

 
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