Michael Cohen adds some nuance to my skepticism about the utility of introducing private military contractors (“mercenaries,” as we used to call them) into a crisis situation like Darfur:
In Kenya, ArmorGroup guards protect UNHCR refugee camps; PAE and AYR Aviation are working with the UN and African Union in Sudan; in Liberia, Dyncorp is training that country’s new military. Moreover, no one, including the contractors themselves, are advocating that Blackwater or any other private group should go into Darfur with guns blazing. I have yet to come across any serious player in the industry who is advocating a combat role for private contractors. In fact, quite the opposite.
Fair enough. I was responding to a Michael Walzer piece that I took to be making the case for “with guns blazing.” Insofar as that’s not what we’re talking about, there may be a reasonable role for contractors to play.