Thursday, April 15, 2004

Mercenaries in Iraq

According to The Guardian:
It is thought up to 10,000 "security consultants" - who critics say would be more accurately described as mercenaries - are working in Iraq, on salaries at anything between £600 and £3,000 a day.

I'm getting really tired of hearing about how a bunch of guys with guns patrolling a war zone are "consultants." Come on, a consultant is a guy in a suit who shows you a Powerpoint presentation and babbles about enhancing productivity and adding value. A guy who carries automatic weapons and provides "security" during a war is a mercenary.

Now, I'm not saying there is necessarily anything wrong with being a mercenary, or with using mercenaries. Mercenaries have been around for thousands of years, probably for as long as there have been wars, and now they have become "corporate warriors". But I think it is ridiculous to try to sugar-coat everything with doublespeak. To see how silly the term "consultants" really is in this context, try it out in a sentence like this: "The Roman Empire needed more manpower to defend its borders, so it employed the Visigoths as consultants." Yeah, that's the perfect term.

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