Soenke Zehle on Mon, 28 Jul 2003 19:51:34 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> PMCs or What Iraq and Liberia Have in Common

"The war in Iraq could not have taken place without a network of for-profit
contractors upon which the U.S. military has come to depend. Some 20,000
employees of private military companies (PMCs) and of more traditional
military contractors accompanied the U.S. forces in the buildup to war in
the Middle East. They maintained computers and communications systems in
Kuwait, Qatar and other locations, handled many aspects of logistics as the
military's supply lines moved through Iraq and helped the Pentagon identify
key targets in Iraq. As hostilities began, many of these PMC employees were
integral to the American effort, keeping communications secure, assisting
with the reopening of Iraq's southern oil fields and performing many other
crucial tasks, often right behind the front lines" [1].

I wonder whether corporate mercenaries could become part of an imperial
symbolic to the extent Jessica Lynch did. Anyway, now that the use of PMCs
in Iraq is attracting some attention, their use by cash-starved (debt crisis
meets corruption) and 'failed' states (as well as ECOWAS) should also come
back into view. The comprehensive disinfopedia entry [2] raises some of the
tricky legal questions (accountability), below some lit not (yet) included
there.  sz

[1] Kurlantzick, Joshua. "Outsourcing the Dirty Work: The military and its
reliance on hired guns." American Prospect 14.5 (01 May 2003).

[2] <>

Leander, Anna. "The Commodification of Violence, Private Military Companies,
and African States." IIS Working Papers 11 (2003).

Mandel, Robert. "The Privatization Of Security." International Studies
Association 41th Annual Convention Los Angeles, CA (14-18 March 2000)

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