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The profit motive is a serious threat to peace

First things first: I do not believe that private military companies are malicious, morally-backwards, evil, conniving corporations which hire only the most bloodthirsty criminals and malcontents as contractors to work for them.

I also acknowledge that PMCs, as with any other company, exist to provide a service to governments and firms that require support forces or combat troops to assist them in their business (if war can be called business).

The way I see it, the private military industry serves a valuable service to provide contractors-for-hire to those who need their services. A need for well-trained support-troops-for-hire arises on a worldwide scale, so an industry is formed to take care of the need, generating profit for those companies working in said industry. Like any other successful business, it’s all capitalism at its finest.

Or is it capitalism at its worst?

I ask this question because, although PMCs are indeed classified as businesses in the definition of the word and act as such in the ways they operate, they hire out mercenary-like contractors to make profit. This scares me.

Why? Because any company on this planet has the potential to do drastic things for the sake of making money. Insider trading, “cooking the books,” making deals with organized crime and even selling inferior equipment to the military are all crimes for which U.S. companies have been indicted and convicted.

Now, insert into the equation multi-million dollar companies that literally train soldiers for the purpose of warmaking; suddenly, the threat grows beyond typical commercial crimes and aggressive corporate dealing.

Yes, the true threat of the private military industry is its profit-from-war mechanic, which is so threatening to world peace. Allow me to make a simple statement to demonstrate why: PMCs need conflict as a resource for them to thrive. Fortunately for them, they have picked one which will be abundant until the end of time, or until humans are gone from the surface of earth (whichever comes first).

These companies need war because they train lethal, hard-core professional soldiers to fight for their clients, and the clients return money to them in exchange. Without war, the industry collapses.

My reasoning on this issue is that the private military industry actually does its part in the world to propagate war and to indirectly promote imperialism on the part of its clients (not necessarily with the intention to do so, of course).

The United States military higher-ups realized they would need additional support in order to oil the gears of war for the U.S. war machine, which is precisely why they chose to employ contractors from so many PMCs. Without assistance from the PMCs and security companies, the wars in Afghanistan and the occupation of Iraq might not have progressed in the ways they have over the past half-decade.

Without assistance from corporations like Defensecurity, KBR, Paratus and Blackwater Worldwide (regardless of the controversy) to provide valuable support troops, vehicles and munitions, front-line soldiers, wartime housing and supply management and distribution, I strongly believe that the U.S.-led effort in Iraq and Afghanistan would have turned out much differently.

In this light, the merit of such companies shines through. Should a government, military force or other client hire out the services of private military companies with the intent to utilize their services for a productive, strategically sound and morally right purpose, then the purpose of the private military industry as a peacekeeping force and valid business model is realized.

Unfortunately, as time will tell (and as it has told over the centuries), the aforementioned scenario is not always the way things tend to work out.

Take this one into consideration: It’s the early 1920 in West Virginia. The Baldwin-Felts Private Detective Agency, an organization which loaned out armed thugs masquerading as detectives, is hired by anti-union coal mine owners to disrupt union activities and to terrorize union laborers.

This company is a perfect example of how an organization was able to violate civil rights and wreak chaos under the guise of the law and for coal mine bosses to solidify their power bases.

How does this past event apply to modern PMCs? Certain rules of war do not apply to military contractors as they do to regular military soldiers. For this reason, PMCs operate differently from regular militaries, such as that of the United States. Overall, private military companies pose threats to peace because of less-strict laws applying to the way they operate, how they generate profit and due to the fact that they hire out contractors trained to fight, shoot, survive in war zones and sometimes kill for money.

But the ultimate worst case scenario? The gradual dissolution of regular militaries as they are made obsolete by military companies.

In such a world, the person or company who holds the most money would also control the world’s military might.

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