Sunday, September 28, 2014

An international mercenary force* to fight Islamic terrorist cells?....needs serious consideration

I never thought this space would mention the Fox "opinionator" Bill O'Reilly in a positive light.
Nevertheless, he has made a recommendation that first garnered the support of Former Secretary of State, and Head of National Security, Dr. Henry Kissinger, and may eventually gather "legs" in the vernacular of the news business...
O'Reilly has proposed an international mercenary force to seek and destroy all cells of Islamic terrorism.
Good ideas need to be free of the baggage of their originator. There is no need for or benefit from a perspective that dismisses the idea, because of the ideology of its generator. This is a conflict, a long-term struggle, for the whole world, far beyond the capabilities and the purview of the United States, Great Britain, France, and a few Middle Eastern Sunni governments. And, the marketplace would certainly attract men and women, with percs like considerable remuneration and enhanced reputation, to fight this cancer.
Clearly, the Islamic terrorists are non-state actors, morphing as the circumstances change into whatever strategy and tactics are required, funded by black-market sales of oil, ransoms of hostages, and recruits streaming from all countries in the world, especially from those countries desperate for their own survival. A mercenary coalition, too, would be a non-state actor, depending on the funding and the political support of several countries willing to permit recruits to join such a force, stripped of all ideological baggage. They would not be a Sunni force, nor a Shia force, not a Christian or a Jewish force....not even a force with any religious ideology, just another agent of the money from governments which could then acquire the political wall of protection, when seeking election.
The model of outsourcing government responsibilities, including military responsibilities, is well established in Blackwater, the mercenary force under contract to the George W. Bush administration in their fight in Iraq, begun in 2003. They were outside the purview of Congress, outside the purview of the international media, operating as they did in virtual secrecy, unless and until their actions were discovered, by accident, by media dedicated to their exposure. Only the bare facts of their numbers and their invoices, paid for by Congress, were available for public scrutiny.
The Islamic terrorist cells operate outside the Geneva Conventions of War, and a mercenary force too would be exempt from such conventions. Whether or not such a mercenary force would have access to the most advanced military technologies of all countries, requiring considerable training and experience to operate, is an open question. The relations between the military establishments of the various participating countries and this mercenary force would, of course, have to be negotiated, considering the support such established forces could provide especially in intelligence.
The model of outsourcing government responsibilities, especially when governments sought deflection from public criticism, has also been deployed increasingly in the United States, to operate hospitals, schools and other social services.
This specific application of the outsourcing model, to a force that would be a creature of multiple governments, would remove government commitments to "boots on the grounds" because all who volunteered would, in effect, be only those willing to risk their lives, for remuneration, to eradicate this cancer. As a consequence, no politician would suffer from the public contempt of having committed their country's youth to a complicated and murky military and quasi-military adventure for which there is very little literature and history from which to draw the parameters.
Nevermind that O'Reilly was one of those proposing the idea.
All options, from all quarters, in this struggle, need to be seriously considered, if we are to defeat and defang this metastasizing tumor.
*From Wikipedia:   
A private military company (PMC), private military firm (PMF),[1] or private military or security company, provides armed security services. PMCs refer to their staff as "security contractors" or "private military contractors". Private military companies refer to their business generally as the "private military industry" or "The Circuit".[2][3] The hiring of mercenaries is a common practice in the history of armed conflict and prohibited in the modern age by the United Nations Mercenary Convention; the United Kingdom and United States are not signatories to the convention, but the United States has stated that describing PMCs under US contract as mercenaries is inaccurate.
The services and expertise offered by PMCs are typically similar to those of governmental security, military or police forces, most often on a smaller scale. While PMCs often provide services to train or supplement official armed forces in service of governments, they can also be employed by private companies to provide bodyguards for key staff or protection of company premises, especially in hostile territories. However, contractors who use offensive force in a war zone could be considered unlawful combatants, in reference to a concept outlined in the Geneva Conventions and explicitly specified by the 2006 American Military Commissions Act.[5]
The services of private contractors are used around the world. P. W. Singer author of Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry says "In geographic terms, it operates in over 50 different countries. It’s operated in every single continent but Antarctica." In the 1990s there used to be 50 military personnel for every 1 contractor, now the ratio is 10 to 1 (Singer). Singer points out that these contractors have a number of duties depending on who they are hired by. In developing countries that have natural resources, such as oil refineries in Iraq, they are hired to guard the area. They are also hired to guard companies that contract services and reconstruction efforts such as General Electric. Apart from securing companies, they also secure officials and government affiliates. Private military companies carry out many different missions and jobs. These include things such as supplying bodyguards to the Afghan president Hamid Karzai and piloting reconnaissance airplanes and helicopters as a part of Plan Colombia.[6] [7] They are also licensed by the United States Department of State, they are contracting with national governments, training soldiers and reorganizing militaries in Nigeria, Bulgaria, Taiwan, and Equatorial Guinea.[8] The PMC industry is now worth over $100 billion a year

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