The growth of U.S. militarism over the past few decades appears to have moved beyond the confines of the Pentagon behemoth, with the rapid expansion of corporate warriors – referred to here as Professional Military Contractors (PMCs) – that have taken off with the Bush presidency and its shift toward a “Revolution in Military Affairs”. These “private soldiers”, many regarded as highly-paid mercenaries, now perform a wide range of battlefield, security, and “reconstruction” activities at a time when U.S. armed forces face mounting recruitment crises as combat troops are stretched to exhaustion in Iraq and Afghanistan. PMCs like DynCorp, KBR, Blackwater, and MPRI draw from combat veterans around the world to provide vital military-support, construction, and related functions. Predictably, those who run the PMCs harbor a strong, even fanatical, interest in war, promoting an aggressive foreign policy where U.S. geopolitical ambitions are viewed as being at stake. Such interest is stimulated by a mixture of profit-making and patriotism, infused (for most) with a love of battlefield adventure. A major problem with PMCs, as many critics stress, is their near-total immunity from legal sanctions in countries where they operate – and, to some extent, from established rules of warfare. There is growing agreement that, in the wake of repeated atrocities, PMCs have come to represent an outlaw force beholden to no domestic or global authority.
Carl E. Boggs
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