Increasingly, America, Britain and even Australia are relying on ‘private security contractors’ to fight their wars. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry, but it’s also largely unregulated. Are we heading towards a world where armies and navies are available to the highest bidder?
Antony Funnell at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
At the northern end of the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC there’s a statue that symbolises the way America sees its military.
Six WWII marines are set in bronze, frozen in time as they hoist the Stars and Stripes over the Japanese island of Iwo Jima.
The memorial was created from a real life photograph.
At the bottom of the statue there’s an inscription set into the pedestal in gold lettering. It reads: ‘Uncommon valour was a common virtue.’
This is the way most Americans still like to think of their soldiers: men and women determined in their duty and confirmed in their patriotism.
Whether that ideal was ever a universal reality is impossible to know, but it’s fair to say that for most of America’s history the stated motivation of the average American soldier has been national service.
Something unexpected happened after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, however.