The Business of War

| January 8, 2003

National militaries aren’t the only ones responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people since the reported end of the Cold War. According to a two-year investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, armed confrontations all over the world are being fought with the help of—and sometimes even by—private companies.

“Private military companies—a recently coined euphemism for  mercenaries—are just one face of the increasing trend of the privatization of war,” reports “A small group of individuals and companies with connections to governments, multinational  corporations and, sometimes, criminal syndicates in the United States, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East have profited from this business of war.”

The U.S. Defense Department alone has more than 3,000 contracts with 12 private military companies, although the actual nature of the work is not made clear by reports from the Pentagon. These “new mercenaries,” alongside infamous arms-trade profiteers like Victor Bout and Leonid Minin, demonstrate a frightening new trend of “military outsourcing” that has been identified in more than 100 countries already.

--Chuck Terhark

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