Monday, October 01, 2007

Mercenaries without borders - Final Part

The warning: from Machiavelli to Eisenhower 
As in the times of imperial Rome when generals got themselves crowned emperor by buying the votes of the plebe by the loot of imperial conquest, the election of the Bush dynasty has largely benefited of the contributions and donations of the mercenary PMC’s and the investment funds that control them.
It remains almost impossible to evaluate the total figures of the millions of dollars donated by Carlyle, BDM International, Enron, Halliburton, DynCorp or Blackwater USA to many candidates running the show of media politics. What is known is that DynCorp, Bechtel and Halliburton gave together over $2.2 millions to mostly republican candidates and the Bush campaign.
Are we ready to sell our freedom and souls to the devils of war by accepting the “privatization” of one of the last state missions of our sovereign nation-states?
One time, according to an eyewitness, Bush was asked at a forum at John Hopkins University by a student about bringing PMC’s under a system of law. Bush replied, laughing, that he was going to ask Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, “I was going to – I pick up the phone and say, Mr. Secretary, I’ve got an interesting question [laughter]. This is what delegation – I don’t mean to be dodging on the question, although it’s kind of convenient in this case, but never – [laughter] I really will – I’m going to call the Secretary and say you brought up a very valid question, and what are we doing about it? That’s how I work.”
Two wiser voices of the past warn us against all excessive power of what was a military-industrial complex before and became military-financial now.
One of the major warnings came from Leonardo da Vinci’s friend, the Florentine statesman Machiavelli, writing “The Prince”, published in 1532. Then, closer to us, there was the warning of a great friend of French General Charles DeGaulle, the U.S. President-General Dwight Eisenhower at his last speech in January 1961.
Machiavelli (photo), who realized that the condottieri and their mercenaries where the main cause for the ruin of Italy at his time, wrote in “The Prince”, chapter XIII, “Concerning Auxiliaries, Mixed Soldiery, And One's Own”:
“Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy. The fact is, they have no other attraction or reason for keeping the field than a trifle of stipend, which is not sufficient to make them willing to die for you. They are ready enough to be your soldiers whilst you do not make war, but if war comes they take themselves off or run from the foe; which I should have little trouble to prove, for the ruin of Italy has been caused by nothing else than by resting all her hopes for many years on mercenaries, and although they formerly made some display and appeared valiant amongst themselves, yet when the foreigners came they showed what they were.”
(…) “The mercenary captains are either capable men or they are not; if they are, you cannot trust them, because they always aspire to their own greatness, either by oppressing you, who are their master, or others, contrary to your intentions; but if the captain is not skilful, you are ruined in the usual way. And if it be urged that whoever is armed will act in the same way, whether mercenary or not, I reply that when arms have to be resorted to, either by a prince or a republic, then the prince ought to go in person and perform the duty of captain; the republic has to send its citizens, and when one is sent who does not turn out satisfactorily, it ought to recall him, and when one is worthy, to hold him by the laws so that he does not leave the command. And experience has shown princes and republics, single-handed, making the greatest progress and mercenaries doing nothing except damage; and it is more difficult to bring a republic, armed with its own arms, under the sway of one of its citizens than it is to bring one armed with foreign arms.”
Finally, U.S. President General Dwight Eisenhower (photo), on January 17, 1961, three days before the end of his mandate warned against the growing danger of a military industrial complex saying:
“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, and even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, and every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.“

Mercenaries without borders : Indybay