Thursday, February 24, 2011

U.S. Condemns Libyan Use of Mercenaries, but Depends on Hired Guns in Afghanistan & Iraq

Libyan Dictator Gaddafi using Mercenaries
The attention of the American public has in recent days become rivetted on reports that beleaguered Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi is relying on Serbian, Ukrainian, and sub-saharan African mercenaries to push back pro-democracy forces.  Regrettably, there has been little public notice or debate in the U.S. about the Obama administration's expanded reliance on foreign nationals, hired as "armed private contractors," in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Although most of these individuals are Americans, growing numbers are being recruited from as far afield as Bangladesh and the West African nation of Sierra Leone.     
 Gaddafi is using foreign mercenaries because he cannot trust the loyalty of troops from his own nation to fire on Libyan civilians.   The Obama Administration's dilemma is that it does not want to be held accountable for casualties in wars that have lost their popularity at home. 

According to a report prepared by Steven Schooner and Collin Swan of the George Washington University Law School, the number of contractor deaths have now surpassed U.S. military losses in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

In October 2007, the United Nations released a two-year study stating that the use of private military contractors such as Blackwater was a "new form of mercenary activity" and illegal under International law.  Not surprisingly, the  United States refuses to become a signatory to the 1989 United Nations Mercenary Convention banning the use of mercenaries.

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