Saturday, March 17, 2007

The new dogs of war.

Here's an important post by Scott Horton about the Pentagon's increasing use of mercenaries and other military contractors, a development that I've seen noted in passing but never given attention from his perspective.
For George Washington and his contemporaries, the mercenary was a symbol of a corrupt and enslaving Europe that they sought to avoid. The citizen-soldier, by contrast, was the model for a democracy that places great value on stability and peace, that abjures military adventurism. But today, under the corrupting influence of those potent narcotics, money and power, all these lessons seem forgotten.
As Horton suggests, part of the attraction for this administration of contracting is the opportunity for patronage. A foreign policy with costs measured in dollars instead of soldiers' lives also is more free from political constraints.

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