The best-known private military forces in American history were the Hessians hired by the British throne to fight its proxy war against General Washington. So naturally today's Republicans want to get in on that -- after all, just paying our troops what they're worth would funnel money to the people who deserve it least: the troops, instead of their corporate masters.
The answer is blindingly obvious, when you think about it. You just get a prince to start a private army, and hire him to do the job of American troops, for a fraction of the price. If by "fraction" you mean "factor of ten" -- which, as long as it's going to the Right People, is fine by the Cheney Administration.
Then, just to make sure those barbarians in the Middle East get the right idea about American democracy, you make sure that your private military isn't subject to any laws. Thanks, Mr. Bremer. That's sure to make those ragheads realize they should have thrown Saddam out earlier.
Nothing says "America rocks" quite as much as American mercenaries using heavy ordnance to clear their way through traffic because they don't want to wait that long. (Oops, turns out a couple of those caught in that particular incident were American soldiers. Oh, well, private military isn't subject to American law either. So that's fine, right?)
As I'm sure you're aware, the poster child for this new growth industry is Blackwater, founded by a Republican partizan named, um, Erik Prince. You can't make this stuff up, can you? Blackwater's not the only one, of course -- but they're kind of the archetype.
And no, they don't really like democracy, as evidenced by their reaction to some uppity guy running for Congress in their own hometown:
There is a man named Marshall Adame who is running for congress in our district. He just put a quote online which says he wants this company and all of us to cease to exist.
Do you like your jobs? Are you sick and tired of the slanderous bullshit going on in DC?
If so, would you all mind joining me in reminding Mr. Adame that he is running for office in our backyard. Tell all your friends and family too. We welcome their assistance in making this point very clear to Mr. Adame......
Anyone who wants to send a letter may do so at the following address.....
MARSHALL ADAME FOR CONGRESS
1250 WESTERN BLVD. #L2
JACKSONVILLE, NC 28546
His email is email@example.com
He was too cowardly to put a phone number on the web. I ask that you keep your comments to Mr. Adame professional (well, mostly professional). We help him if our comments get threatening or too crass. Let's run this goof out of Dodge....!
Executive Vice President
850 Puddin Ridge Road
Moyock, NC 27958
Wow. Not only do they operate lawlessly in Iraq, not only are they reputed to be gearing up for "crowd" control (that means controlling you, if you were wondering) -- they also think it's fine to use intimidation to affect free elections. It'll start there, sure. Want to bet it won't spread?
These people are not Americans at heart; they're Hessians at best, the very crap our forefathers declared independence to avoid. I don't know about you, but I'm thinking Marshall Adame might be a good guy to donate a shitload of money to, because the reason Blackwater want to intimidate him is that he said this: "There is no place in the American force structure, or in American culture for mercenaries.... Private Armies represent the very things we depise as a people. Servants to the highest bidder with true allegiance to no-one."
The Raleigh News-Observer, local newspaper with the unAmerican letter
Harper's article by Scott Horton with a nice summary
For a rather pro-private stance (I'm a balanced guy) and a very nice historical perspective, try here. (Even this guy assumes that American mercenaries will be subject to Congressional oversight -- touchingly naive given actual reality, but he means well.)
A business perspective at GovExec.com
Commondreams overview to bring the balance back to where I like it.
Marshall Adame's own blog post about hate mail incoming as a result of Mathews' call to arms.
Contact page for Blackwater. Seems like Bill Mathews is too cowardly to put his phone number or email address on the web, so maybe you want to try Anne Tyrrell, their media rep instead: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, kids: War is evil; war profiteering doubly so.