Mercenaries, Private Defense, and Genocide

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Genocide is one of the worst of crimes, usually committed by one state against its own people or some portion thereof while other states look on and do nothing. No foreign state stopped or even tried to stop Stalin from murdering millions of Russians, and no foreign state today is stopping the Sudanese government and the Myanmar government in their genocides. The U.S., other countries, and the U.N. talk a good game, but they don’t stop the killing. What do they do? Talk and institute sanctions. These sanctions harm the people of the countries involved and strengthen the rulers who are heading up the genocide.

It is clear that the world’s system of states does not have a method of policing genocides, despite the fact that the states claim to be in the business of protecting citizens. Why not? Such a method would require interference of one state in the so-called domestic affairs of another state, and states do not want to interfere with other states typically. If they did, it would mean war and they avoid wars unless there’s something in it for them. Each gang (state) more or less respects the turf of the other gangs. In this way, each gang holds on to its power — the most important aim of the gang. Stopping genocide and saving lives is not the object of these gangs (states.)

I don’t even have to say that states shouldn’t be in the business of stopping genocides or go into the reasons why they shouldn’t be, because they don’t do it anyhow. This is one government program they avoid like the plague.

It’s one thing for states to do nothing, but they proactively make matters far worse. States do not allow mercenaries. This is U.N. law! Being a mercenary is a crime, forbidden by international law.

Such a prohibition amounts to an international law against gun-carry. The people being killed off in a genocide can’t even (legally) hire other people to come to their defense. They can’t even (legally) receive foreign nationals as voluntary fighters on their behalf. The result is that any state wanting to commit genocide has a green light. It doesn’t have to worry about mercenaries or other privateers coming into the country.

The U.N., which is the place where all the gangs convene to talk over matters that affect them, look out for the member gangs first. The states come first, no matter what. People’s rights are given all sorts of lip service; and there are even bureaucracies set up to make us think how humanitarian these gangs are. This is rather like the mob bosses handing out turkeys at Christmas.

If a state is committing genocide, the people being killed have the right to self-defense. They have a right to hire mercenaries and recruit volunteer soldiers to defend them. Right now, a private regiment could be recruited and sent to Darfur. Financing would not be a problem. Right now, trained operatives could be recruited and sent to Myanmar. Might they attempt to detain the criminals who are doing the killing? Yes. This is within their rights as agents who are defending the target population.

Obviously the last thing that the existing gangs and gang leaders in this world want is to be detained and brought to trial by outside forces. They will go to any lengths to protect themselves and their power. They will countenance the most horrible genocides rather than let loose a principle of justice that undermines their power.

The U.N. passed an anti-mercenary law to protect the powers of its members. In doing so, it simply acted as a political cartel out to protect the member gangs at the expense of the citizens ruled by these gangs.

What are mercenaries but a form of the private defense companies dreamed of by market anarchists (or anarcho-capitalists)? Allow this innovation to be regarded as a just measure, and the entire system of state power is challenged. This system of state power is one critical reason why we do not observe serious attempts to stop genocides. The U.N. law and the U.N. stand in the way of stopping genocides by the natural means of self-defense. The member nations will protect their sovereignty first and foremost.

States can’t allow international mercenaries or defense firms on principle. For if defense firms can operate internationally, what is to stop them logically from operating domestically? No state can operate, committing the domestic crimes it does, if its officials are being detained and brought to trial. Therefore, we can always expect states vigorously to condemn mercenaries and paint them as some sort of lawless beasts who are out for money at the expense of some poor and persecuted people.

In this season, our messages are supposed to be of love and peace. I can only convey the message that has come to me this day, the message you are reading. There is no peace on earth. There are many vicious, brutal, and evil men. They need to be stopped and brought to justice. The system of states is designed to protect and coddle many of these beasts. Genocide is one result.

My peace message this year is that the new year and all future years will be much happier when people gain the basic right of hiring their own defense.

Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York.

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