Mercenary Humanism

Posted on March 27, 2010 by

What an extraordinary piece of twisted thinking this ad represents — it belongs in genocide museums.

This advertisement from mid-2007 was prominently featured in the opening pages of the Journal for International Peace Operations (JIPO), a journal of the International Peace Operations Association (IPOA) — “The Association of the Stability Operations Industry” — which is essentially the representative body for a collection of mercenary military corporations, also referred to as “private military companies,” or even more obscurely as “private security contractors.” Yes, those who bring us scandalous massacres of civilians; torture; crimes against civilian detainees; right-wing religious zealotry and crusader bloodsports; not to mention drunken homoerotic orgies on embassy compounds — are not in it for a buck, it is their “selfless commitment and compassion” that takes them to societies curiously reduced/referred to all as “downrage” (i.e., where the targets are). Apparently Blackwater’s sense of compassion came with an expiry date: it is no longer a member of IPOA. Its profiteering angling for Defence and CIA contracts is, of course, limitless.

Within IPOA we find one Audrey Roberts, an assistant editor for JIPO, author of a few articles on the Human Terrain System within its pages (here and here), and a research associate. She was employed by the Human Terrain System. The very organization, some of whose researchers scoffed at being called “mercenary anthropologists,” are right there, ensconced among mercenaries.

“Mercenary anthropologists,” one critic called them. “The Army’s new secret weapon,” another said.

Ridenour, Bhatia and the others read them aloud with frustration and laughter.

“Our school of thought was ‘come work with us for a week,’ ” Ridenour said. “If you really think I’m a mercenary, come see what we do.”

Still, Bhatia bridled at the criticism. (source)

Interestingly prioritized sense of values. Some might “bridle” more at the way “stability,” “peace,” “humanitarianism,” and “peace keeping” have been flooded with the toxic pollution of mercenary sales pitches and new “humanist” arguments for military intervention. But then again, that would require understanding what is being said, and then caring about it.

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