Fox News bloviator Bill O’Reilly did the rounds of various shows on his network promoting his idea that that US needed troops to fight in Syria but that the task should be given to mercenaries rather than members of the US armed forces. He was widely ridiculed even by the people of Fox
But what struck me is that the US has been using mercenaries for a long time except that it calls them by the different name of and calls it ‘outsourcing’. After all, what were the ‘contractors’ working for the company Blackwater (that renamed itself Xe in 2009 and again changed it to Akademi in 2011) that was doing so much of the work for the US in Iraq if not mercenaries? What about the contras who were financed by the US to fight the Sandinistas in Nicaragua? What about the Mujahideen in Afghanistan (the proto-Taliban) who were supported by the US to fight the Soviet backed government? The examples are almost endless.
In fact, whenever governments finance and support non-governmental groups to fight on their behalf, are they not hiring mercenaries?
Stephen Colbert was one of those who made fun of O’Reilly’s plan. An annoyed O’Reilly shot back at him and of course made himself an even more inviting target.
(This clip aired on October 1, 2014. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)