Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Let's Call a Spade a Spade, Mr. Friedman!

Outsourcing is Big and is "in". Everybody does it.

Simple economics. If Country A can make the same product, if not better, at a lower price, than in your own country, you move your factories to Country A. Economic patriotism, as is taught in freshman economics, is for the birds.

But when it comes to fighting a war and you are not finding sufficient volunteers, you pay up. It too is called "outsourcing". Remember Blackwater?

This is a "cheaper" outsourcing as well measured in politics, not in $$. Since casualties are not counted as military but as civilian. Since outsourced fighters are not technically soldiers, lots of stuff can be done under the radar.

There is another more important dimension. Outsourced firms on a military contract are not bound by the same military codes of honor, such as the Geneva Conventions governing the conduct of war, especially on how prisoners of war should be treated. Why? Because those firms are technically not military and the fighters are not strictly speaking GIs in uniform.

US historically adhered to Geneva Convention codes. That was then. This is now.

Tom Friedman has written an interesting column here on this subject, but he tried so hard not to utter the M word it is embarrassing.

The word is spelled 'MERCENARIES'.

There was a time when GIs were welcomed in a foreign country by men, women, children and pretty ladies with flowers and open arms. Not any more as mounting "collateral damage" has all but accepted as "normal".

In Iraq and Afghanistan there is a widespread desire for the US soldiers to leave. It is particularly sad that while uniformed solders tend to behave honorably, those who are "contract" soldiers do not often do so. Let's call them for what they are: mercenaries, Tom.

1 comment:

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