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April 05, 2004

Leftwing Economist Magazine

Apparently, the wingnut right should have a new target, The Economist magazine, which apparently used the left jihadist term "mercenaries" for the paid security forces used by Occupation forces. From its March 25th issue (subscription needed):

British companies have been grousing about losing out to the Americans in Iraq. But in one area, British companies excel: security

THE sight of a mob of Iraqi stone-throwers attacking the gates to the Basra palace where the coalition has its southern headquarters is no surprise. What's odd is the identity of the uniformed men holding them off. The single Briton prodding his six Fijians to stand their ground are not British army soldiers but employees of Global Risk Strategies, a London-based security company.

Private military companies (PMCs)—mercenaries, in oldspeak—manning the occupation administration's front lines are now the third-largest contributor to the war effort after the United States and Britain.

I honestly find the hoo-hah over the term ridiculous. Of course I meant to be provocative in using the term, but only in the sense that names are always contested, but the odd denial by some commentators that paid private armed people in war zones are ever referred to as "mercenaries" was just a bit bizarre. It's a sign of encroaching newspeak when relatively common usage of a term -- and as the Economist sentence shows, common across the political spectrum -- suddenly becomes a sign of moral turpitude.

Posted by Nathan at April 5, 2004 06:29 AM