Mulling over what to do next.
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Obama and the privatized military industry

I have been wondering what Barack Obama is going to do with or about the privatized military industry that grew and flourished under George W. Bush. Presumably, Obama has a more sensible and less opportunistic approach than his soon-to-be-predecessor.

David Isenberg writes:

Obama's campaign said he will focus on bringing accountability to these forces while increasing funding for the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the agency that employs Blackwater and other private security contractors.
Accountability is nice. And phasing back in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security as the provider of security for diplomats and their entourages etc. in places like Iraq is a really good idea. Also, as Isenberg discusses, ending the "outsourcing" of things this like interrogation of enemy prisoners of war is also essential.

But there are other problems than the lack of accountability and inappropriate with the emergence of the PMC industry. As with most other industries, US governmental entities are not its only clients. And inasmuch as the government reduces its spending on security contractors, companies will look for other clients.

One possible scenario is that as the US pulls its military forces out of Iraq, security contractors of various nationalities replace them. This will probably happen to some extent. There is wide variation among those who sell security services, and inasmuch as the US is not paying the tab, the US loses the possibility of demanding accountability. It is not in the national interests of the US to have a large PMC industry that the US has little or no control over out there in the world selling security services to whomever will buy them.

Blackwater CEO and Chairman Erik Prince is well known for his large political contributions to Republican and right-wing causes. Unsurprisingly, he gave $20,000 in July of 2007 to the Republican National Committee. But while he gave the maximum to George W. Bush in addition to a $25,000 contributions to the RNC in 2003 and 2005, Prince appears not to have contributed directly to the campaign of John McCain.

It's hard to know where the US government relationship with PMCs is going, but I am hopeful.