Hired Guns
Mercenaries Are a Bad Idea for Afghanistan
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  • FriendlyGoat

    Great piece. Well-peppered with lists of reasons. Unambiguous in terms of the editorial position. There are many important overtones to consider in this whole concept, including that this appears to be a sign that our Commander in Chief would like to outsource his ultimate responsibility as CIC. It also appears that he would like for a shadow force to operate with no rules reviewable by American citizens. The potential for secret evil with contractors way (WAY) exceeds that with the service manuals of the real U.S. military. The potential for damaging our reputation around the world with contractors way (WAY) exceeds that of regular forces because the appearance of shenanigans is virtually unlimited in anyone’s imagination when the operations are intentionally shrouded. And, then, there is the morale damage which can be done to our own troops after they are permitted to wonder whether they’d prefer serving in a private army.

    The place to stop this is at Congressional appropriations, isn’t it? Are we to assume that Republicans no longer honor the service of real troops over paying secret prices to the likes of Erik Prince? I guess we might soon find out, no?

    • Anthony

      Something related, though, tangential: theweek.com/articles/716818/how-ending-draft-corroded-american-politics

      • FriendlyGoat

        Thanks. There are many reasons we don’t have a draft. We don’t need the army manpower. The military doesn’t want “just anybody”. When and if they decide to do something more on the order of conscripted national service of other kinds, will it include females too? What rationale could be found for not including females on other public works? Just sayin’. Maybe the time comes when job prospects for young people are so poor that LEFT and RIGHT agree we need to have Uncle Sam hire nearly every young person for a stint. If that is contemplated, they might not want to throw away the upper end of the tax code——since paid service needs a big revenue stream, no?

        • Anthony

          My thoughts were more in line with corrosive sensibility (The Week article premise) regarding common national interests makes logical step to mercenaries, as responsible consideration, less questionable.

  • Tom

    It’s worth noting that part of the problem with Blackwater in Iraq was the terms of their contract–the State Department told them to make the safety of the people they were protecting their only priority.
    And the US has used mercenaries before, and we will do so again. Honestly, I don’t see why the notion is regarded as akin to deliberate baby-murder.

    • CaliforniaStark

      The rhetoric contained in the article is a bit too much, such as: “It’s true that the war in Afghanistan may not be going well. But privatizing the war as a cost-saving exercise is not just of questionable efficacy; it is a renunciation of our responsibilities as a constitutional nation-state” This on a website that felt we had some sort of moral obligation to intervene in the quagmire that is the Syrian civil war. A lot of policy decisions that should be made through the evaluation of empirical evidence are being stated as moral imperatives.

      I am skeptical about the U.S. using mercenaries; but nevertheless believe the concept should be examined. Some of Trump’s closest advisers are highly respected retired military generals, and am sure will provide him with expertise needed to properly evaluate the proposal.

    • Claudia Kai


      • Tom

        Scintillating argumentation.

    • Claudia Kai

      They are not protecting anyone. They are LOOTING.

      • Tom

        Well, given that I was talking about events that happened years ago, that seems somewhat irrelevant, even if it is true–which I doubt.

  • Fat_Man

    Nothing like a little ad hominem to make the argument, huh guys? Seriously, I thought you guys wer college professors. Is that what you teach kids these days? “The best way to win an argument is to destroy the character of the proponent because it does not require you to think.”

    I don’t like the idea of send mercenaries to Afghanistan for the same reason I think that we should withdraw all Americans from Afghanistan. Our real enemy is Pakistan. They control the logistics of any force in Afghanistan other than ones who can supply from the North, like the Russians. What we should do is withdraw from Afghanistan and bomb Pakistan on our way home.

  • D4x

    Afghanistan needs an air force, especially for medi-vac, logistics support, and, the ability to call in air strikes on their own. Make it a priority to train Afghans (or bring in Indonesians, Saudis) to fly the “UH-60M Black Hawk is a medium-lift, rotary-wing helicopter designed and manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft to meet evolving warfighting needs. It is a modernised version of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

    The UH-60M has multi-mission capabilities and features a new
    airframe, advanced digital avionics and a powerful propulsion system. It can be
    used to perform tactical transport, utility, combat search-and-rescue, airborne
    assault, command-and-control, medical evacuation, aerial sustainment,
    search-and-rescue, disaster relief and fire-fighting. It offers improved
    situational awareness and greater survivability.

    The US Army deployed UH-60Ms in support of combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    As of July 2012, Sikorsky had delivered 400 UH-60M utility helicopters and around 956
    helicopters are scheduled to be delivered through 2026.”


    Add a small fleet of Apache Guardian attack helos:

    Good to see Bernard reading taskandpurpose, might want to consider the primary task is air support, not prioritizing minimizing civilian casualties over Afghan military casualties for lack of air support.

  • Dude

    So, let me see if I have the right. The very people who have been pushing both (1) American intervention into various portions of Southwest Asia and North Africa for at least a decade in a half, and (2) globalization uberalles and the homogonization tthat inevitably results, are suddenly worried about the erosion of national sovereignty? Ha! Okay, then. So, you object to an Afghan viceroy because it smacks of colonialism, but you are okay with American soldiers propping up the Afghan government 16 years after the invasion and well after al-Queda was driven out? Classic, TAI drivel. This little piece manages to to be both insufferably pseudo-intellectual and sanctimonious at the same time. Outstanding! Oh, and the American colonists resented the use of Hessian soldiers because they viewed the Revolutionary War as a fight by Englishmen against fellow Englishmen for the basic rights they had won in the Glorious Revolution. From that perspective, the Crown’s paying Germans to fight their fellow Englishmen was simply beyond the pale. If you think Pashtos are happier that our “Hessians” wear the uniforms of the US military, you have never talked to anyone who has done a tour of duty over there.

  • Just withdraw from the graveyard of empires. Let China, India or Russia deal with the mess there, not the West.

  • JamesDrouin

    “Mercenaries Are a Bad Idea for Afghanistan”

    a). Capitalism is never, ever, ever a “Bad Idea”.

    b). The US being militarily involved in nation building is not just a “Bad Idea”, but a “Monumentally Bad Idea”.

  • Claudia Kai

    This man and Stephen Feinberg are extremely dangerous killers for hire. And due t their previous crimes they both should be doing life.

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