July 09, 2003

Shock & Awe, Incorporated
So, when the Cold War ended, nations around the world began to reduce the size of their military, which meant there was a glut of guys skilled in things that they couldn't talk about in polite conversations that suddenly found themselves without jobs. But, as we all know, military budgets are inflated, and there are things that the government does for a dollar that the private sector can do for 10 cents.

Enter the next generation of mercenaries: Corporations that offer military services for hire, everything from operations and security to special ops and intelligence. Very profitable.

The problem is, since these guys aren't actually soldiers representing a given government, they're not subject to the Geneva convention or any of the presumed rules of engagement. Moreover, most of the places they're sent aren't exactly governed by the rule of law. Imagine the temptations available when you enter a ravaged nation with the physical prowess of the United States Military, with the burden of the law to check your behavior.

See what writer P.W. Singer had to say about all this on NPR as he plugged his new book: "Corporate Warriors".
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