Undiplomatic Immunity

Interesting bit of breaking news concerning one of the many wars we’re involved in: the final U.S. troops (except for some staying to guard the U.S. embassy) are supposed to actually leave Iraq by years end.  The reason for this?  Iraqi politicians rightfully crying foul over U.S. demands for legal immunity.

“Let us commit crimes or we’re leaving!” An easier choice may never have been offered in history.

Lingering question: does this include the mercenaries — excuse me, “contractors”?


About b-psycho

Left-libertarian blogger & occasional musician.
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9 Responses to Undiplomatic Immunity

  1. Todd S. says:

    As someone who spent 5 years in the army, the question of “what exactly is a mercenary” has always bugged me. Even while I was in. It seems to me that a mercenary is anyone who gets paid for military action, which would include all “official” military personnel as well. I mean, just because you are contractually obligated to a single employer doesn’t change the fact that you’re getting paid to fight. Just a quibble, and nothing really to do with your post.

  2. B Psycho says:

    I came to think about it as an official layer of ass-covering, really. Like the difference between hiring an employee and paying a temp agency for someone to do the same work.

    Odd thing about that comparison: when businesses hire temps it’s to save money, meanwhile most of the PMC recruits were originally trained by the government anyway (lot of them are ex-military, others are ex-police). So they’re essentially swallowing the cost of training, then paying an additional premium for them to do the same thing just wearing a different uniform. It’s as if someone worked for a company for a few years, then quit and joined a temp agency that asked a higher wage per employee — only to end up working at the same place you just left.

  3. Todd S. says:

    And I don’t know for sure how much these “private security contractors” actually make, but back about 8 or 9 years ago when demand was ramping-up I kept hearing 6 figure sums. And that was just for people like me who were prior enlisted members. Which is a damn sight more than what anyone below maybe the rank of colonel (captain in the navy) in the military makes.

    And that’s generally how temp agencies work in my experience. The agency charges considerably higher than what the position actually would pay a full-time person (where I used to work, a full-time position that paid 10/hr was filled by temps and the agency was charging 15/hr – I wrote the time-tracking/payroll software we used so I had all kinds of knowledge of that place they probably didn’t want me to have). Of course, a large portion of that is their own premium and the agency gives the temp worker what’s left. The hiring company pays the premium because they deem it cheaper than providing a full benefits package.

  4. B Psycho says:

    …and we have our answer.

  5. AR says:

    There’s a big sentimental factor in there, though. Really big. To my understanding, our enemies also have far more respect for soldiers performing civil service to their government, however much they may see that government as evil, than they do for mercenaries. I’ve heard this put forth as the reason why those Black Water personnel get strung up on bridges while soldiers who are KIA do not.

    Which, really, makes me even more inclined to call this a bad idea. Mercenaries are going to have just that much less respect from the Iraqi people, and there’s no way that employing them isn’t going to reflect poorly on the USG itself.

  6. Todd S. says:

    I’m not sure who “our” enemies are here.

  7. B Psycho says:

    Odd. I’ve read about contractors in Iraq and the assumption from the locals according to the people embedded with them was that they assumed contractors were CIA.

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