Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News Private contractors

  1. Nov 29, 2005 #1
    Private contractors, or mercenaries, i chose the first name for the topic so maybe it won't be closed now. (Doublespeak you know..)

    Ok, what do you think? it's ok that the goverments of the "Civilized World" pay mercenaries to do the dirty work?

    The number of mercenaries has climbed exponentialy since the gulf war. They do not wear uniform and they are not bound by the genova conventions.

    A test ground for this privates armys is Colombia, where the corporation DynCorp operates since 1993.

    In this video you can see London-based company Aegis Defence Services mercenaries shotting at random civilians for fun..

    http://movies.crooksandliars.com/Aegis-PSD.wmv [Broken]

    The file was downloaded from: http://www.aegisiraq.co.uk/

    Seem to be a site made not by aegis but by aegis employes (Mercenaries)

    I think privatization of war is a subject very important to discus and should not be censored...

    Someone who has been paid to kill will not follow an ideal, will not fight for patriotism, not for his country, will only kill for money, doesn't matters if it's ok or wrong, if he is killing the bad guys or the good guys, he will KILL FOR MONEY. This is a barbaric practice that should be prohibited.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 29, 2005 #2
    Assuming that it can be established that the shootings were done by the contractors or mercernaries, their defence would be they were using gun fire, as authorised, to keep the civilian cars (possible suicide bombers) from coming too close to them, which is true as I recall except in the third case where there was no traffic behind them.

    What is the length of distance that they are allowed to keep? Does anybody know?
  4. Nov 29, 2005 #3
    Authorised by who? they are private contractors! so i can go to the US, Pay a security guard to drive in the highway and authorize him to shoot any car that drive near him?? Great!!!
  5. Nov 29, 2005 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    That is strictly an issue for the local government to deal with. To say that this should be prohibited is nice and all but who has the right to actually enforce it outisde of the local government? It's a domestic issue.
  6. Nov 29, 2005 #5
    I think since the US set up the local government in Iraq and American taxpayers are footing the bill to hire these guys it is an American issue.
  7. Nov 29, 2005 #6
    Actually as far as I understood you probably more or less could do that in the US (j.k) by the way sorry
  8. Nov 29, 2005 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    Private security guards are authorized to shoot anyone that they reasonably believe to be a threat to their own or someone else's life.

    By the way, Burnsys, you can title your thread "Mercenaries" whatever you want. It's not the topic that's being censored; it's the quality of the post. It wasn't that hard to actually write something in your opening post, was it?
  9. Nov 29, 2005 #8


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Here is an interesting link regarding many aspects of private contractors in Iraq.


    Last edited: Nov 29, 2005
  10. Nov 29, 2005 #9


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

  11. Nov 29, 2005 #10
    Here is the tragic story of Col. Ted Westhusing, a military ethicist who was deeply disturbed by a war with so many private contractors.

    Is this privatization and profit taking what Bush meant when he said "we are redefining warfare on our terms"?
  12. Nov 30, 2005 #11
    Soldiers are paid to do what they do. Originally soldier actually meant more or less "a paid combatant" and it was not meant in a very nice way.
    Any soldier in any military is only a man doing a job for money. Individual reasoning for doing the job may vary but that does not change what the reality is.
  13. Nov 30, 2005 #12
    But i don't think the insurgents in irak are paid by anyone.. I think they fight becouse they think it's right to defend they countries, not for money.
  14. Nov 30, 2005 #13
    maybe in america, but you wouldnt get away with that in europe. You would have to Prove that fact if you didnt want a manslaughter/murder charge
  15. Nov 30, 2005 #14
    The guidance on force in Memo 17 is thus (emboldening my own for pertinence):

    The evidence in the video would seem to suggest the contractors are not acting in their allowed capacity. It would be very interesting to see if they did indeed report these incidents as demanded if they fire their weapons. Interestingly, Aegis provide the security solutions in my place of employment.
  16. Nov 30, 2005 #15


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The fact that they aren't paid is related to the reason why they are an illegal force: they don't fight for a specific government/entity.

    And no one answered this, possibly because it should be rediculously obvious, but....
    Um....you don't think local murder laws would have something to say about that?

    Lets make that scenario a little more like the one described in this thread - because what I quoted above bears no relation to the scenario at all. Say, you came to the US, rented a van, and drove it through the gate of a military or government installation at a high rate of speed. What do you think would happen? How about if you drove it through the gate of the French embassy?

    In the US, Burnsys, a kid gets shot every now and then for pointing a toy gun at police and people get shot every now and then for reaching for a wallet when told to put their hands up. It's regrettable that people get shot for accidentally threatening police, but that is a necessary biproduct of the dangerousness of the job. I only have a little sympathy for adults who get killed in such situations - they should be smart enough to not do something so stupid in front of someone in a high-stress position, carrying a gun.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2005
  17. Nov 30, 2005 #16
    They wouldn't. He did not ask about shooting people; he asked about shooting cars. Murder laws come into effect when... you know... someone is murdered.

    How is that akin to shooting civilians' cars?

    I think Burnsys' point was that it is unfathomable that a security company's employees could be defended for shooting at American civilians' cars in America, so why is it fine for them to do so in Iraq?
  18. Nov 30, 2005 #17
    do you think they should start their own corporation????
    Insurgent Corp!

    My example has nothing to do with what you are saying... Acording to this Mercenaries policy in irak, then i can go to USA, found a private security guards corporations, drive in my van with a sign on it that says: Stay away, lethal force will be used... and then i can shoot any civilian car that comes close to my ban.... Or even to adjust more to what you are saying...

    I am a private security guard, i can shoot any kids, who takes his wallet.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2005
  19. Nov 30, 2005 #18


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    It's definitely okay to subcontract out security to private companies, where security is strictly defined as only taking defensive measures. Even so, some authority (either the local government or, in the case of Iraq, US authorities) should provide some kind of review to ensure the actions of the security personnel are reasonable.

    Actually subcontracting out combat duties is a little more of a gray area. I don't think it's a good idea in general. The official government military should have more control of combat actions than I think they would have if they subcontracted out combat to private mercenaries.

    In spite of that, contracting out combat duties to civilians does have some successes. Claire Chenault's AVG (the Fighting Tigers) in China during WWII is a pretty good example. In fact, when the US decided they needed a true military presence in China, they recruited a core group from the civilian AVG to serve as the military leadership within the new US Army Air Force units (the 74th, 75th, and 76th Fighter Squadrons). That had some very special circumstances that made it successful, though. The Aviation Volunteer Group had backing from the military and most of the 'civilian' members of the group were released from the military in order to volunteer to fight as civilians (and then reentered the military as members of the new USAAF squadrons).

    Trivia: All three of those squadrons still exist. Two still fly airplanes (A-10s), while the 76th was the Air Force's first offensive and defensive counterspace technology squadron. They still have reunions and there's still some of the original AVG members that show up, along with some vets from the first Gulf War, etc.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2005
  20. Nov 30, 2005 #19


    User Avatar

    It is interesting that the reason given for the assault on Fallujah was the killing of 4 contractors yet the Geneva Convention specifically states that mercenaries are not 'protected persons' and are allowed to be executed if captured.
  21. Nov 30, 2005 #20


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Local authorities in Iraq have no real jurisdiction over foreign security forces. The most that can happen to a foreign securty person is that he/she may possibly lose their job.


    And from what I have read the militaries ability to coordinate with the private forces is just about nil.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2005
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook