January 07, 2004
What we have here is a failure to communicate

Guan found a company hring mercenaries, and either a lot of people are having fun with him or his blog comment system has turned into a runaway mercenary market by accident.
The company Guan blogged represents a scary development by the way - namely the privatization of the military. I don't know if Sandline has performed any large scale operations for any reputable government, but other companies have.

Posted by Claus at January 07, 2004 01:03 AM | TrackBack (0)
Comments (post your own)

Sandline does a lot of work for the UK government.

Using mercenaries to fight wars is not a new phenomenon. Before World War 1 almost all battlefields had at least some mercenaries on them. To this day the Pope is protected by the Swiss Guard - the Swiss are famous as good mercenaries.

Besides, before the Napoleonic Wars few countries had standing armies. Henry Kissinger, in his book A World Restored, refers to the idea of a French army based on conscription as "inconceivable to even the most absolutist ruler by the grace of God."

Using mercenaries to fight wars is not a new development. People just have short memories.

Posted by: Guan Yang on January 7, 2004 12:45 PM

Absolutely right of course - but none of those countries were democracies, but monarchies (i.e. dictatorships). This is a crucial difference. The wars of the Europe of nations (pre Vienna 1815) was territorial battles between powerful men - NOT between democratic nations. Democracies have relied heavily on volunteers and enlisted men to fight their wars and the fact that the armed forces are "of, by and for the people" constitutes an important part of the democratic control of the armed forces (cf. Vietnam). The use of new privatized armies by liberal democracies is a very deliberate attempt to circumvent the democratic control of the armed forces as far as I can tell.

Posted by: dee on January 7, 2004 12:56 PM
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