Blackwater Peace Keepers
October 16, 2007
On The Charlie Rose Show, the CEO of Blackwater suggested that he could provide soldiers to help protect people in places like Darfur. Or his company could provide support and training for African Union and/or UN soldiers. US or UN soldiers could provide oversight and his men would submit to American legal jurisdiction should a few of his soldiers go nuts. I think this is a terrific idea bound to go nowhere.
Consider Darfur. It would take a small number of well-trained soldiers to crush the rebels and protect the villagers. No country wants to send soldiers to help because they remember the lessons of Somalia: your citizens will be pissed if a few soldiers die while attempting to help millions of desperate people. The UN is useless. Poor 3rd world countries provide soldiers to the UN because they are paid for each soldier. In addition, Western countries equip and train those soldiers. It’s a terrific deal for countries like Bangladesh. However, those countries and their soldiers don’t want to fight and die in some foreign place they couldn’t care less about. That’s why you hear about those UN losers who give up as soon as a truckload of rebels with handguns drive up. They are useless pussies.
The reason Western countries will never hire Blackwater is because of the potential bad PR. First, people think Blackwater is a mercenary organization, when they are really a temp agency for soldiers. Second, people worry that Blackwater will amass a huge private army (to do what?), whereas those soldiers are working for their country and a paycheck. Blackwater alone couldn’t pay an army for a week before going bankrupt. Third, people worry that Blackwater soldiers would run wild and slaughter people for fun, even though he said they would submit to American law and authority. Fourth, people complain about paying these soldiers large sums of money, even though these soldiers are short-term contractors responsible for their own pension, health care and other benefits (just like me). Of course they get paid more; everything is an out-of-pocket expense for them. Finally, the American military would rather keep those contracting dollars for themselves and undermine efforts to go help people in need.
Bleeding heart liberals with a knee-jerk fear of guys with guns should suck it up and accept this as the least bad solution. The alternative is to continue on the path we’re on: politicians wring their hands and complain about Darfur, but no one does anything about it.
My own preferred solution is a volunteer peace keeping force within the military where members have chosen to fight in these foreign adventures, sorta’ like an American foreign legion. The problem is that soldiers today have sworn to fight for American interests, but they didn’t sign up to fight and die for another country. That’s why we can’t push them into fights like pieces on a giant game of Risk. If they aer willing to put their lives on the line for others as well, then politicians might be more willing to take a risk in Darfur.