Thursday, February 17, 2005
mercenaries beyond the law
They worked for an American company named Custer Battles, hired by the Pentagon to conduct dangerous missions guarding supply convoys. They were so upset by what they saw, three quit after only one or two missions.it's long been understood that the united states has been forced to hire mercenary armies in afghanistan and iraq because its forces are either insufficient in number or too expensive to operate in certain tasks. they are a consequence of imperial overstrech, and have been for millennia. for that reason, they aren't going anywhere. the empire of liberty needs them.
"What we saw, I know the American population wouldn't stand for," says Craun.
They claim heavily armed security operators on Custer Battles' missions — among them poorly trained young Kurds, who have historical resentments against other Iraqis — terrorized civilians, shooting indiscriminately as they ran for cover, smashing into and shooting up cars.
On a mission on Nov. 8, escorting ammunition and equipment for the Iraqi army, they claim a Kurd guarding the convoy allegedly shot into a passenger car to clear a traffic jam.
"[He] sighted down his AK-47 and started firing," says Colling. "It went through the window. As far as I could see, it hit a passenger. And they didn't even know we were there."
Later, the convoy came upon two teenagers by the road. One allegedly was gunned down.
"The rear gunner in my vehicle shot him," says Colling. "Unarmed, walking kids."
In another traffic jam, they claim a Ford 350 pickup truck smashed into, then rolled up and over the back of a small sedan full of Iraqis.
"The front of the truck came down," says Craun. "I could see two children sitting in the back seat of that car with their eyes looking up at the axle as it came down and pulverized the back."
the trick, it would seem, is how to use them effectively and retain control over them. plainly the defense department has not yet completely worked out how to do that. and they will likely never -- mercenary armies are notorious in history for being nihilistic vicious, unresponsive and halfhearted, and ours are surely no different.