Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Analyst: 'Private Contractors are as American as Apple Pie'

"While many commentators acknowledge that private military and security contractors are not mercenaries, some of them still contend that their use, both qualitatively and quantitatively, is a new phenomenon, something that emerged full blown from free market apostles like Ronald Reagan, George Bush (senior and junior) and Bill Clinton," military analyst David Isenberg writes in his "Dogs of War" column for UPI.

"But any fair-minded reading of history should quickly expose such a view for what it is: namely nonsense.

"Private contractors are as American as apple pie. In fact, without private contractors there would not have been an America. Or, to paraphrase Genesis: In the beginning, God created private contractors.

"Private contractors helped set the stage for what would become America. Consider that Capt. John Smith was hired by the Virginia Co. to provide security and conduct military operations for the English settlers at Jamestown. He led the 1606 [sic] expedition to Virginia and was elected head of Jamestown colony."

And so on. Isenberg goes on to quote generously from a history of the 400-year tradition of private military contractors that appeared last year in Serviam, the magazine of the private contractor industry. A good reminder to those who think that the Blackwater phenomenon is something new.

(Pictured: Captain John Smith, the first PMC in America, is honored on a 1907 US postage stamp.)

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