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May 01, 2006



There was case (I'm doing this just from memory) just a seeming few years back when a mining company hired a private army (about 300) to restore order in some country in Western Africa and it worked will till the UN ordered them out and chaos resumed.


UN Peace keepers in Africa have even a worse odor. Send in the mercenaries.


Call them the Abraham Lincoln Brigade II. Invite all those guys in papier mache heads on the streets screaming for "Peace and Justice" "No More War(except in Darfur where there is no US interest at all)" and offer them IPPods if they sign up today.

Rick Ballard

Mebbe the 'Che Guevara Peaceful Shields' would be better. None of those nasty guns involved. I'd chip in for a ticket. One way, of course, no sense wasting money.


" Bold, yes?"

'Bout as bold as any Instapusillanimous
post ever was, ever was, ever was.

"In short, the evidence that Bush knew about and condoned, if not promoted outright, abuses of Iraqi civilians is screaming at the American public...which has, alas, so far chosen to turn a deaf ear.Torture, Rape and Murder by Halliburton Mercenaries in Burma while Cheney was CEO

Background Paper on Geneva Conventions and Persons Held by U.S. Forces

Declassified Paper proves torture was taught by CIA

US Officials Misstate Geneva Convention Requirements

International Law, Article 7.

Mercenaries in Africa's conflicts

Russian Mercenaries Accused of Kosovo Atrocities http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/375754.stm

Mercenaries 'R' Us


Well,off you go Cement,set an example,interpose your body,stand around wringing your hands,whatever.

Steve White

My personal option, where I President (don't worry, not going to happen) would be this: send in a couple companies of Green Berets. They're the part of our Army with skills with working with local populations in counter-insurgency warfare. Have them teach the people of Darfur how to defend themselves against the Janjaweed. Provides rifles, ammo, radios, and provisions. Back the Green Berets up with a battalion of Rangers, helos and a squadron of A-10s in Chad, so that the Sudanese government gets the message that we're perfectly willing to chop them up if necessary. But don't send in Blackwater, and don't escalate.

Consider it an international version of the Second Amendment: an armed society is a polite society that can defend itself from gangs and thugs.

At some point the Janjaweed would decide to quit raiding villages, because after all you can die from doing that, and take up auto mechanics or computer programming instead.

Steve White

An addendum: since that part of the world is very tribal (and what part isn't? ed. um, maybe Minnesota, now go back to hectoring Tom), we don't give the people of Darfur heavy weapons (artillery, heavy machine guns, etc.). If you do, you run the risk of the Darfurians marching on Khartoum, and while that might be fine in the short term, you run the risk of another Afghanistan ~ 1994.

What you want is to create a new balance of power in which the people of Darfur can defend themselves but can't go on the warpath. The Green Berets can do that. To me it's the most logical option.

Rick Ballard


Doesn't the question of "The US should commit resources to the resolution of this teribble problem because....?" need to be answered prior to putting anyone at risk?

I agree that Special Forces would be one way in which we might proceed but I'm at a loss as to why we should any resources at all. Gordon didn't have much luck there 120 years ago and very little has changed. The new Mahdi's the same as the old Mahdi and the Saudi's still like Christain slaves.


Mr Ballard,
Kitchener ,however did.Gordon was sent to evacuate the Egyptian forces at Khartoum,but did not,there was something of the Custer about him.


If Blackwater can't meet the $20,000,000.00 George Clooney get for 6/7 months work, I would be willing to pitch in.

How about you.

Let's start a fund:

Send Hollywood's experts to Darfur.

S.H.E.D. !!!!

Sounds good to me.

Harry Arthur

As we "learned" in Afghanistan, whatever the British or the Russians or whomever did in the past, recent or distant, says absolutely nothing about what our SF can do now. Remember?

Steve, I like your idea. First we need to ask the UN for permission ...

Semantic, you do want us to ask, right? Or is this one we can do on our own like, say, the Balkans? Or should we just ignore it? After all it's just black people (followers of the "religion of peace") killing other black people...

But before we proceed, let's definitely address Rick's question.



The topic is; are mercenaries the way to go?

cost per mercenary=$450K (Financial Times

If this seems reasonable to liberatarians,
and CERTAINLY reasonable to free-marketers;
how do true conservatives feel about the


What do you think the total cost of putting any US Military in the field is?

Can't just think salary - have to think supply/logistics etc etc.

Hate to press your reality concepts.


Why didn't they demonstrate in front of the UN?

In front of the embassies of:


African Countries that get our aid?

Muslim countries that get our aid?

They now imply GW/Rove are so powerful that they could if only they would send mind rays and fix the world.

But how about this:

We cut all aid to the UN that is to be used in such instances.

We cut all aid to African countries who have militaries that should be taking care of this.

We cut all aid to Muslim countries who also have militaries - the same ones that Gen Clark and the Dems wanted to send into Iraq.

We pressure France and Germany and Portugal and Belgium and Spain and others who have made and continue to make $$$$$$$ from African countries.

Who do you think gets all the contracts and all the $$$$ the USA sends to Africa either directly or thru the UN or World Bank or or or?

Then with all that money we hire Mercenaries and give the force a nice LEFTY sounding name that Orwell would appreciate.

GOODFELLOWS comes to mind - but think I'm mixing up threads.

S.H.E.D. could be a special battalion for Hollywood.

Can't get this just right for the media battalion:

Yelling Everyday Lefty Loudmouths Onway to War!


**These people are afraid to go to a movie FGS!


This mercenary thing has provide a real education.

First we have two stories on domestic mercenaries, with drug smuggling Zetas in U.S. and the "original "screw 'em" Blackwater">http://www.guardian.co.uk/katrina/story/0,16441,1567656,00.html">Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans.

I did find the story that I had alluded to in my original post. It seems that mining companies are now the biggest customers for mercenaries. More specifically, our friends in the "Great White North" with Canadian mining companies accused of complicity Sierra Leone in civil war. Seems that Canadian mining companies have been picking up mining rights in Africa at an extraordinary rate.

And there is the answer, we get the Canadians to handle Darfur. They already have a hangle on the mercenary thing. All we need now is something for them to mine when their done.


This Sudan factoid stuck out ..

Uranium reserves are also believed to exist near the western borders with Chad and Central African Republic. i.e. Darfur

And on Darfur ..
Although the ethnically diverse people of Darfur were predominantly Muslim, more than 40 percent were not Arabs and generally felt more affinity with related groups in neighboring Chad.

The Unbeliever

This article and the accompanying comment thread over at Winds of Change is a good summation of the "what can/should we do" questions, touching on mercenaries, arming the populace, and the ever popular "get Bush to do something". Which led to the obligatory parody of a parody of a plan:

1) Bush makes Darfur a priority
2) ?
3) No more janjaweed!


It's pasture, dear ones, solar energy.

Is it better for the soul of the human race that we die from the machetes and machine guns of our fellow sufferers or from the ravages of the small pox virus?

Cecil Turner

Let's see . . . the problem is that it's not worth sending our own soldiers to fight. So we should:

  1. Send in mercenaries; or,
  2. Send in nobody.
I lean toward (2). Or perhaps we ought to rethink the premise.

Steve White

All the other trolls and nonsense aside, let me try and answer Rick's question:

The U.S. should intervene whenever genocide is being committed.

After WWII, the world said, 'never again.' The world lied, of course. The U.S. should take the lead in stopping clear instances of genocide around the world. I define that as being in the long-term interest of our country, for practical and moral reasons: the latter is obvious, but the practical reason is a good one: we will generate clear good-will of various peoples around the world, and take away the idiotic 'morality' the Europeans have been foisting on the world the last couple of decades. Let them pass laws that claim they have the right to try a genocidal dictator in a tribunal. It's the Americans that actually do something about it.

How practical is that? In global politics, over time, it could be substantial. It would force the Euros either to back up their own words or learn to defer to us -- either helps us in the great game of dealing with China and Russia. Note the divergent approach we've had to Iran, for example, lets Iran off the hook, because the Euros can't do anything, and they won't defer to us. Therefore, Russia and China can checkmate the U.N., and we're left with very unpalatable choices. A strong Europe might actually be believed by thugs like Ahmadniejad, and a deferential Europe would follow our lead. Either is helpful to us.

I don't think we'd be alone in leading a crusade (he used a bad word! Ed. it's generic). Australia, a conservative Canada, Britain, Japan, perhaps India would be with us. But we'd definitely have to lead.

That's my answer.

Cecil Turner

How practical is that?

It's not, unfortunately, or at least not in the sense of stopping genocide in Africa. We can't do it conventionally, because the American people will not accept casualties to save Africans from themselves. Mercenaries is a cute idea, but it undermines the moral goal it's supposed to achieve (even if the effort didn't go South . . . and in time I'd bet it would). Without numerous spine transplants at the UN, it ain't gonna happen.

Soylent Red

Here's an idea I haven't heard yet...

How 'bout we badger the U.N., in their infinite and majestic power, to get off their dead asses and get someone else to start cleaning up the world's hellholes?

The one that comes quickly to mind is China, who has extensive contacts in Africa, has a million or so trained military types hanging around with nothing to do, and is not already participating in swamp draining anywhere else.

Seems to me that Iraq served an American interest in both getting rid of a perrenial thorn in our side, and further isolating Iran and Syria who are prone to screwing with our ally Israel.

While Sudan might be the next front in the GWoT, it isn't yet. So let's see China, Russia, and India, who seem so petrified to do anything about Iran, put on their U.N. humanitarian hats and robes and start pulling their weight in the fight to make the world safe for commerce.


Just after I painted the addendum on My NO More War Sign to add (Except in Darfur where we have no interests to be served).Sheesh


SR, much better to keep the world's peace keeping and civil order responsibilities in the hands of functioning democracies, like the US, Poland, Italy, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, and sometimes Germany, Japan, France, and Spain.


But the most civilizing may be by private forces of multinationals. It's cost effective for them to keep order.

Rick Ballard

Steve White,

That's a legitimate argument. My reply is that we're engaged on two fronts today. The collapse of the USSR still left us with the internal (and more pernicious) Gramscian War to complete and there is no end in sight to it. On top of that we have to dissuade the Arabs from the belief that terrorism is an effective tactic. That is also a very long term project and it's not helped at all by the demographic collapse of every country in Western Europe which imbibed too heavily from the communist/socialist cup.

As much as stopping the genocide in Sudan might please our moral senses it may be better that the UN's impotency and complete moral bankruptcy is kept in front of the world.

I still have hopes that the 21st century will be less bloody than the 20th but they are not high hopes. Not with the number of home grown seditionists and groveling appeasers that exist here.

Soylent Red


India's a democracy. Russia is too, nominally.

But WRT China...

It's not like Sudan could get any worse. And I, for one, am sick of China getting a free ride on the globalization train. If they want to participate in the world economy, it's about time they start doing something to secure it.


Yes, and you note George Clooney waited a week until Hu was out of the country to start calling for world action on Darfur. Talk about no war for oil. With China it's no war, for oil.

Let all the people that complain they fear the US more than China take their Darfur protests to Tienemen Square.


Seriously. Think of the protests George Bush is greeted with every where he goes, and then think of the protests Hu met with when he visited the United States.
That's why China won't do anything for anyone else. The do-gooders refuse to challenge them.


Don't you people read. China is part of the problem. It has interests in the Sudan, primarily the oil.

I would be surprised if any reputable mercs would work for the UN. After all. Who in their right minds would be part of a peacekeeping force when offensive operations are required.

Mercs have operated well in Africa (I forget the country) but several Western countries and the UN got their nickers in a knot because the company was run by whites and they had whites in the force on the ground. The mercs had the rebels (you know, those nice guys and kids running around high and chopping off heads and other assorted body parts) on the run but were forced to leave. They had less than a 1000 men (much less) on the ground and the UN replaced them with 22,000 peacekeepers. As with any peacekeeping group they did not stop the bad guys from building up their strenght.


WAIT! It just hit me.

We're forgetting an aspect to this whole 'why is the Left demanding we go in there NOW'?

Bin laden in his latest tapes exhorted all jihadis to converge in the Sudan.

And I don't think the Left even noticed! They don't pay any attention to bin laden anymore except as an object to beat Bush over the head with.

Buzz has building up about Darfur for a while now and the left is pushing louder and louder. And guess what cave dweller has noticed?

Rich. So the Left is sending America into another quagmire and another battle in the WoT.

There's some irony here.


Yeah, davod. That's what I meant. For oil, China won't go to war with the Sudan. They won't help in Nigeria or the Congo either. Yet we are the evil ones about oil.

Go figure.

Soylent Red

I read plenty davod, but you're misreading what I'm suggesting.

In order to get a long term solution, I'm sure you will agree that some kind of separation/barrier type of force is not the answer. It will simply put off fixing the problem.

The problem is in part janjaweed, and that element has to be dealt with by elimination. There will be no negotiated settlement. They have to be wiped out, or laid so low they choose to behave.

Khartoum supports janjaweed, making themselves another part of the problem. That part of the problem can be dealt with by elimination or negotiation.

China has direct contacts inside the Sudanese government regarding lucrative oil exploration and development. Thus it is in China's interests to maintain the current government. However, that interest is in jeopardy if those who don't have direct ties get involved. Genocide is generally frowned upon, and state sponsored genocide usually gets you a trip to The Hague.

So China should want to manage the situation to avoid the entirely plausible Bosnia scenario from happening (i.e. government is ousted and turned over to the ICC). Only this time, the scenario would involve a non-U.N. coalition, and thus be beyond China's veto.

That's the playbook. Basically tell China to get together a group, or go on their own, and fix the problem. If not, some combination of Western countries will (extra-U.N.), and it will involve the removal of the current government (which is wildly unpopular BTW).

Multilateralism without the approval of the impotent U.N., or Chinese intervention with the sanction of the U.N. Either way, no one will say peep if the problem gets taken care of.

It will also put the Chinese in force at the next front in the GWOT, wrecking A-Q's escape from Iraq into Africa.


The Thirty Years war (1618-48) was fought with mercenary armies who had no loyalties execpt to themselves. When they weren't paid they raped and pillaged their way across Germany resulting in the the death of half the civil population from starvation, disease and murder. The nations of Europe learned a valuable lesson. Once you unlease soldiers of fortune it is very dificult to contain them. Mercenaries were replaced by standing armies that were instruments of state power. You are advocating a return to the Barbarism of the 17th century. If we want to end the brutality in the Sudan you send regular forces whose mission is to find the militias and kill them.


Hey, jerry, that sounds like a good idea, do you suppose it would work in Iraq?

Jim Miller

Just so there is no misunderstanding: I favor using private security firms for some of Africa's civil wars. (You would have to know the particulars in each case to decide whether they could be effective.)

I favor using mercenaries because that is the least bad practical solution, not because it is a good solution. (And, yes, I do know about some of the disasters with mercenaries in Africa.) In theory, one could use military forces from nations with real armies, such as the United States or Britain, but the Rwanda example shows that's often not practical -- though Bill Clinton did apologize nicely after the genocide.

In some cases, using special forces to train native soldiers would also be a good solution. But it is often poltically more practical to use those same men -- after they have retired and joined a private firm.


Yes, JM, and getting paid what the market will bear.

Cecil Turner

I favor using mercenaries because that is the least bad practical solution, not because it is a good solution.

There are several practical difficulties. The first is that the most recent protocols to the Geneva Conventions essentially equate mercenaries with war criminals:

Art 47. Mercenaries
1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war.
2. A mercenary is any person who:
(a) is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;
(b) does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities;
(c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain . . .
The second is that a mercenary arrangement is inherently unstable. Their motivations don't match their employers' (they wish to maximize profit whilst minimizing risk, which does not militate toward mission accomplishment), and neither side has an incentive for fair dealing. As Machiavelli famously quipped: "for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy."

Lastly, the use of mercenaries would tend to strengthen the worst negative perceptions of the US (in particular, insensitivity to the horrors of war and unlawful aggression). Color me skeptical.

Steve White

I have to agree that mercenaries are a bad idea. Even the best of them (e.g., Blackwater) could be very problematic in a long-term, combat or near-combat situation. Mercenaries are useful as adjuncts -- they can handle rear-guard, or protection of VIPs, etc. -- but I wouldn't want them trying to secure Darfur.

The only people who can secure Darfur are the people who live there. Give them the means to do sol. Use Green Berets for training and keep a very low profile.

Rick: I rather suspec the UN's complete, utter moral bankruptcy will remain in full view even if we do manage to fix Darfur.

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