Monday, November 18, 2013

The New Jersey "Knock Out" Game - What It Means to Us In A Peaceful Society

Why hello! It has certainly been a while, but I feel that this is a worthy topic to discuss.

Some of you may have seen the news report on the game "Knock Out", where kids are walking around and blind siding passer-bys with a sucker punch that blasts them to the floor.

CBS Local News Report on The Game

I come from a traditional Okinawan Karate-do background. This training helped me to tap into my combat mindset; the train of thought our minds succumb to when we are in a life-or-death situation. This training was further evolved during my training as a Marine infantryman, and my combat deployment to Fallujah.

This "game" is disturbing. After I saw the video, I was absolutely infuriated and disgusted with society.

"How can people let this fly?" Was one of the first thoughts in my head. It was not "Well, if that was me, I would have blocked the punch and threw them over my hip into the concrete." I feel that a lot of arrogant martial artists / veterans / Air Softers / keyboard commandos would pull that card. But no one can stop a blind side sucker punch. No one.

A friend posted the link to the CBS report on their FB, and this is what I said (with very minimal edits):

Yea I saw this a week ago. Disgusting that people would do this to another individual. This could happen to anyone, from a school teacher to a 10th degree black belt. Here's my take on it...

It's all about situational awareness and making yourself a non-target. If you walk past a group of people and you start to feel uneasy, listen to that voice, because more likely than not, you are picking up on a potentially hostile signal that your potential attacker is unconsciously sending out. Professional (trained) attackers won't look at their targets for that very reason, but I can promise you there is still that "weird" feeling in the air a few moments before shit gets real. Watching this video, all I can say is that I wish those people had listened to that feeling.

It's not based on race, gender, class, or any other societal, politically correct bullshit. It's a survival mechanism that is built into our psyche and was developed before we had language to communicate "Watch out for that bad guy!"

The greatest martial artist in the world can't stop a blind side sucker punch, but I would be willing to put money that he will notice the tension in the air mere moments before the punch is swung, which will allow him to posture, flee, or prepare to defend himself. Society has turned us into fairly peaceful creatures that normally don't have to tap into this "combat mindset", but that is how good, peaceful people get taken advantage of. The greatest warriors are the ones who will, in the same breath, beat the crap out of a thug and then call an ambulance for him.

Keep your head on a swivel.

What are your thoughts? 

Monday, December 3, 2012

The United States and Its Economic Crisis

"Here, take a bunch of our jobs."
There is an economic crisis occurring in the United States right now. It is affecting millions of American workers, national employment and wage levels, and the overall health of our national economy. The threat of outsourcing is sucking our country dry. What is outsourcing? According to Merriam Wesbter, outsourcing is a means to procure (as some goods or services needed by a business or organization) under contract with an outside supplier. There are positive and negative aspects to outsourcing. For the companies that outsource their goods or services, they are saving a bundle of money on wage levels, products, and technology. This is, however, negatively affecting workers and skilled individuals within the United States. When did this all occur? In 2001, two significant events happened that would alter the future of the United States economy. First, the technology bubble, in which Americans and the economy were very reliant upon, burst underneath our feet. Second, China entered the World Trade Organization. Silicon Valley in California, where booming technology industries once thrived, became a desolate wasteland as thousands of workers were laid off and replaced by cheaper, yet equally skilled workers halfway around the world. The result of these companies and their negligent activities have attributed to staggering unemployment levels, stiffly fierce wage competition, and an overall unhealthy American economy.
    The areas hardest hit by outsourcing are some of the biggest industries in the United States. According to an article by Robert Scott, the hardest hit congressional districts in the country between 2001 and 2010 were California (454,600 jobs), Texas (232,800 jobs), New York (161,400 jobs) and Illinois (118,200 jobs) (Scott, 2011). These are states in which a variety of manufacturing industries thrive. The hardest hit industries include computer and electronic parts manufacturing, textiles and apparel, furniture, and waste management. Imports of the computer and electronic parts have accounted for more than 44% of the US trade deficit with China. (Scott, 2011). According to estimates from McKinsey Global Institute, an economic think tank, 300,000 American jobs will move overseas in thirty years, totaling nine million jobs (Meredith, 2007). This is an astronomical number, and should leave an uneasy feeling in the stomachs of the working class American. Competition with workers overseas is leaving the American working class stranded as American companies are finding skilled workers overseas for a fraction of the cost that an American would work for. This fraction can be anywhere from ½ to 1/10th of Western rates! (Meredith, 2007). This stalemate is reducing wages and the bargaining power of non-college educated workers throughout our economy (Scott, 2011). This is almost 70% of the nation’s work force! Don’t think that you’re safe in your well cushioned job. Nationwide, companies are scouring their rosters to see what kind of cuts can be made in the pay roll.
    The idea that some of the countries biggest companies are turning their backs on the American economy is revolting. Technology giants like Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, and IBM are all investing billions of dollars into countries like India where they can save some money by outsourcing their work to non-Americans. This absolutely makes me sick. These companies should be heavily penalized for these despicable, almost criminal acts. Thanks to these companies and their treason, the United States will lose 3.3 million jobs by 2015 (2% of the nations entire work force), and these jobs could have totaled more than $136 billion in wages (Meredith, 2007). These companies are breaking the back of the American working force. While they bring in billions of dollars for their technology (and the millions they’re saving on cheaper workers) the American working class is being sucked dry. Human capital is being transferred, physical capital is inching halfway around the globe, and technology is made for cheap in foreign countries. Economic growth in the United States has been compromised.

     Meredith, R. 2007. The Elephant and the Dragon: the rise of

India and China and What It Means For All of Us. New York: W. W. Norton

     Scott, R. 2011. 2011. Growing U.S. Trade Deficit with China

Cost 2.8 Million Jobs Between 2001 and 2010. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Two Hundred and Thirty Seven Years

Every great nation has had their culture of great warriors. The Romans had their Legionnaires. The Greeks and their Spartans. The Egyptians and their Medjay. The Japanese and their Samurai. Regardless of political, cultural, or ideological beliefs, these men (and sometimes women) have waded into the fields of battle, watching horrors manifest before them, creating the strongest bonds human beings could ever endure.

Growing up, I idolized these warriors and their great traditions. Not necessarily the wars in which they campaigned, but the lifestyles they lived. I did not grow up in a military family. The closest military base was over an hour drive in any direction. But war and its combatants have always fascinated me. The beauty. The horror. The struggle. The personal conflict of the soldier who raises his hand and says, “Take me. I’ll go.” Leaving behind their family, friends, and community to travel to a land they probably barely knew anything of to face an enemy they knew little about. I saw it in movies. Read about it in books. Tried to attach some sort of personal anguish to the video game characters I played as. But none if it was real. It seemed so real, and yet so far away.

I made up my mind some time in High School that doing the military thing was going to be my personal right of passage. College was a definite, but sometime around fourteen or fifteen I decided I wanted to enlist. I tossed around the idea of the Army National Guard. Maybe be a Military Police officer so I could work the weekends, go to school, and get some real education and training that I could take with me into the “real” world. I’d be lining myself up a path of education, financial security, and a personal pride for myself and my family.

The Marine Corps always fascinated, yet intimidated me. I read about their battles. Their tenacity in the face of danger. Men literally rushing head on into firefights. Running TOWARDS the gunfire, not away. These people were not human. Their pit bull like mentality won the Marines many battles, and also caused some horrific losses. For a while I told myself, “I can never be that good. I could never be at that level.”

Then September 11th happened. Without a doubt this was the event that would shape my transition from youth to adult. This was my call to arms. I decided at that moment that I didn’t want to be a soldier pulling over drunk guys on base and locking up rowdy bar patrons. I wanted to hold a rifle. I wanted to be alongside the men rushing head first into a firefight. Kicking down the doors of the sick men who supported the terrorist attacks that killed more than 3,000 Americans.

I wasn’t a football player and I didn’t do team sports. I was the guy who preferred to write a paper over going to the local basketball game. What I did do for extra curricular activity, though, absolutely helped to mold my mindset into that of a Marine. For years, I did the Boy Scouts thing. It was pretty cool. I did some camping, learned survival skills, outdoor first aid, etc. Useful stuff, in the long run. After getting sick of that, I joined the Civil Air Patrol (United States Air Force Auxiliary). It was cool. We learned how to march, perform search and rescue, and mild leadership courses.

But what really prepared my mind was the two years or so that I took a traditional style of Okinawan Karate, Shorin-Ryu. It was during my years as a martial artist where I learned the importance of intangible things that the warriors of yesteryear trained in, like controlled aggression, situational awareness, and muscle memory. All three of these things I would carry over into my career as a United States Marine. Especially in the world of the infantry.

I was seventeen. I told my parents I wanted to go to boot camp right after High School and if they would sign me over to the recruiter, I would be forever in their debt. With little hesitation they signed me away. They knew it was coming. It was just a matter of time. I went to the recruiter with very little questions. I just wanted to start training. My first choice was to become a combat videographer. Unfortunately, this was not offered to Reserve Marines, so my next pick was infantry. I wanted to be in the fight. Manning machine guns and going out on patrols. For me, the Marine Corps WAS the infantry, and the infantry was the Marine Corps.

I remember a phone call I received from one of the recruiters while I was coming back from my medical examination to enter the military. My long time friend from town and I were planning on doing the buddy program together where we would go down to boot camp together. The recruiter on the other end says, “Your buddy Marc wants to leave earlier.” We were planning on going to Parris Island sometime in July. “June 15th. Do you wanna go with him?” June 15th... that was only ten days after we would graduate. I wanted to spend time with some friends, family... “Yea. I’ll go.” I knew going with a friend would give me that added boost of motivation. That added courage to keep on pushing. To look over and see my friend enduring the same amount of suffering that I was... if not more... Well, selfishly, that made me feel a little better about the situation that I was in.

So ten days after one of the biggest accomplishments of my young life, High School graduation, we ventured off to Parris Island, South Carolina. The land that, some say, God forgot. Boot camp was a hellacious but absolutely fulfilling time in my life. After boot camp I went off to infantry school in North Carolina. It was there that I met a member of the unit I was about to join. He was in a program that split up his boot camp and infantry time, allowing him to go back to the unit and start some training with them. He told me that our unit was slated to deploy at the beginning of the new year, 2006. I remember a cold feeling embracing me. That kind of feeling when you find out someone in your family is gravely ill. After infantry training, I checked into my unit. The feeling in the air was electric. The Staff Sergeant checking me in was asking if I was ready to go “down range”. The First Sergeant gave me a speech, asking if I was mentally ready to partake in this deployment. I told him I was.

For 236 years, the Marines have gone to some of the most treacherous war zones in the world. It’s been six years since my deployment. I’d like to consider myself a bit wiser. But nothing will ever take back the feeling of accomplishment I had when I walked away from the parade deck in which thousands of civilians had become Marines before me. That feeling of absolute terror mixed with the greatest excitement I’ve ever felt when I was first engaged in a gunfight. Each month that passed while I wore that uniform, I felt like I aged another 5 years, so I think I’m up to about the 237 mark. I’m proud of our generation of warriors. We accomplished a lot. We lost too many. It’s our job now to tell their stories, and to preserve the honor of the warrior, not the disgusting face of war.

Happy Birthday Marines.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Keyboards in Heavy Metal

 It is difficult to find an individual who would argue with the statement that heavy metal was a ground breaking and revolutionary style of music. Metal has a reputation of being loud, angry, and fast, but since its conception, it has matured into an internationally recognized genre of music. In the past thirty years that metal has been around, instruments from synthesizers to full scale orchestral ensembles have been heard on metal albums throughout the world.
    This essay will explore the history of instruments in metal music, particularly, the keyboard. Influential keyboard / piano players will be discussed, how the keyboard is used in metal music, and the story behind what seems would be the last thing one would find in a metal group.
    The debate of where heavy metal music originated from is clouded in opinions and an assortment ideas of who was the first to influence metal. Most music advocates, however, would not disagree that two of the god fathers of heavy metal were Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Their heavy and unique sound was a shock to many listeners at the time.
    In 1972, Black Sabbath released "Volume 4". The song "Changes" reflects on the hardship of a break up. The entire song is orchestral based with a piano and mellotron melody. Although this wasn't the first instance of metal and classical fusing together, Black Sabbath showed the world, and more particularly metal musicians, that not every song has to have a wall of guitars and drums.
    This is one of the many ways that Black Sabbath revolutionized the heavy metal scene. In the 80's, even hair metal dared to show their softer side. Groups like Whitesnake, Motley Crue, Poison, and Bon Jovi had songs with keyboards. One of the greatest things that musicians realized is that the keyboard not only had to be played as a piano, but had almost an infinite possibility of synthesizer effects. Who doesn't recognize the memorable opening riff to Europe's "Final Countdown"?
    When musicians began to realize the full potential of this incredible instrument, they jumped at the opportunity to maximize its importance... even in metal. Whether the artist feel they want the keyboard to add more depth into their sound, or to have the instrument right up front, dueling along with guitars and shredding on solos, there is a sound and a mood that is created from an excellent keyboardist that no other instrument can emulate.
    Take for example the Swedish progressive metal band, Evergrey. Since their inception, Evergrey has always had a keyboard player. Not only is this position unique, it is vital to the group. The melodies and structure of their songs rely heavily on the keyboard. Some of their songs are almost entirely piano or synth! Even to some of today's standards, Evergrey is an incredibly unique group that utilizes a keyboard player to their fullest potential.
    Another notable group hails from Helsinki, Finland. Children of Bodom is a relatively younger musical group in the heavy metal scene, but is still regarded as a classic of their time. Bodom, as they are usually known short handed, takes many old classical music melodies and puts them in their songs. For example, a song may start off with a thrashy riff, and suddenly transition into a Vivaldi song.
    Bodom's use keyboards in their music is very up front and in your face. Janne Warmen, Children of Bodom's keyboard player, even started an instrumental solo project, where Janne basically gets to show off his talent.
    What metal has done for music as a whole is absolutely breath taking. Bringing one of the oldest instruments into one of the newest forms of music (in the past thirty or so years) is amazing. Not only do many of these artists retain the original sound of the piano in many cases, but they create their own unique settings and sounds to take their music to a different level.  
    When musicians refer to shredding, they are most likely not talking about what they did with their cheese last night. The art of shredding is to simply take your instrument and create a ridiculously fast, often very intense solo. Beethoven was very good, but he didn't shred like keyboardist Jens Johannson can shred. Jens is a Swedish born keyboardist who has been featured in more than two dozen albums. Since 1982, Jens has worked with notable acts like Dio, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Stratovarius. He is known for his incredibly fast and melodic keyboard solos, shredding up and down the keys.
    In this paper, the use of keyboards and piano in heavy metal music has been discussed. The history behind piano in metal, although it can be a grey area at times, can still be pointed out and made note of. Metal music is quite simply a great grandchild of classical music. Very few styles of music can implement a keyboard / piano the way that metal bands do, and more often times than not, many of these metal keyboardist emulate the classical composers that have influenced them to play in the first place.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Mercenaries in Modern Warfare

Not all wars are fought by uniformed soldiers. At the same time, not all wars are fought by non-uniformed guerrillas or insurgents. Somewhere in between is a no man’s land where blood and honor go hand in hand. This is the world of the mercenary.
Soldiers for hire are nothing new. With the birth of warfare came the birth of the mercenary. Over the course of time, warfare has evolved and taken shape as tactics, equipment, and weapons make the battlefield subject to constant change.  Its not always a matter of who has the biggest army, the most advanced tactics and maneuvers, or the most deadly weapon. Many times its a simple matter of having boots on the ground, and men who are willing to fight and die to accomplish a mission.
image courtesy of Google
With the evolution of warfare, the mercenary has never had any trouble finding a job. His tactics, weapons, and equipment may have changed, but the simple fact is that he is getting paid (usually a significant amount more than their uniformed counterparts) to fight in a war, similar to his uniformed counterparts. So what is the major difference between a uniformed soldier and a mercenary?
The laws of war. Although it seems almost contradictory in nature, there are rules and laws that govern how wars should be fought. As a young Marine recruit entering my military service, I was taught the fundamentals of marksmanship, leadership, and the articles of the rules of war. Giving aid to enemy combatants, allowing combatants to surrender, and providing for civilians in occupied territory.
When an individual is in the armed forces of the United States, they are held to the laws of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The UCMJ is very similar to laws that civilians must abide by, but are usually much more strict, with less chance of leniency, due to the professional nature of the armed forces. Mercenaries that are working for a host government should follow the host governments military laws if they are not already. Mercenaries are an invaluable asset to the battlefield. However, many times they are looked upon as cowboys and adrenaline junkies just trying to get their fix. Private security companies, as they’re known in the “professional” world, should hold high standards to their operators. If a US private security company is going to war for the US government, that company should be following the same exact laws as their uniformed counterparts have to follow.
In my research of modern mercenary groups, there are very few pieces of literature that come off as either “pro” or “anti” mercenary. The issue at hand is not the fact that mercenary groups exist, because as long as wars exist, mercenaries will have jobs. The issue at hand is responsibility in the mission, and who should take the heat when a mercenary acts inappropriately. Grouping my research together, I have decided to put them into two separate categories:
Literature written for the eyes of policy makers.
Literature written for the average reader.
The reason behind organizing my research in such a manner is because the issue of whether mercenaries should exist is not in question. Organizing the research by the target audience of the author is of most importance.
Jed Babbin is former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense and a political author. In his article, Prosecution of Blackwater’s Raven 23 Begins, Babbin feels that there is political motivation behind the prosecution of Blackwater mercenaries. “An Iraqi investigation found that the Raven 23 team fired without provocation. That conclusion--disputed by all but one of the Blackwater guards--falls into a legal void. Post-invasion Iraq has been a largely lawless place.” (Babbin, 2009) Babbin’s article is geared towards the average reader, as there is no call for action in policy change.
Louise Gerdes has an excellent article that calls for a change in the way that the government handles mercenary organizations. He notes that congress has taken some steps towards making changes, after it “...repeatedly expressed its concern at the lack of proper regulations for the oversight of PMSCs*.” (Gerdes, 2010) His article is geared distinctly towards policy makers, as the article was published in a 2010 issue of Armed Forces. At the bottom of the article is an excellent bullet list of recommended policy changes that the US government should have in regards to private contractors.
Ryan Kelty, a professor of sociology at Washington College, wrote up an impressive piece in the Journal of Political and Military Sociology concerning the physiological effect of private contractors in combat zones. Not only does this article address the mental well being of mercenaries after experiencing combat, but the relationship between mercenaries and uniformed soldiers working together in the field. This article is geared towards military and civilian leaders who are concerned with the way mercenaries are treated when they return from war, and what steps can be taken to prevent any catastrophic disasters during a time of conflict.
James Kwok wrote a piece for the Harvard International Review that goes over the history of mercenaries in our current conflicts. Kwok goes over the problems that mercenaries are facing in our current conflicts, and some ideas on how to regulate and monitor the activities of our private contractors. Although Kwok has some issues with the way that contractors are integrated in our modern battlefield, he feels that these men take a lot of strain off of our military, and can become an invaluable asset, if used properly. Kwok’s article can be used to target both policy makers and the individual reader, although I feel that a policy maker would get more out of the article.
image courtesy of Google
Sarah Percy wrote a lengthy piece on how modern mercenaries are often tossed into the mix of civil wars by their host state / government. The United States in particular, has done a poor job of integrating military and private contractors in occupied war zones. “The relationship between the American military and the private security industry in Iraq demonstrates a striking lack of policy forethought that has had a noticeable (and mainly negative) impact on the prosecution of the war.” (Percy, pp 6) Many of the suggestions that Percy makes are beyond the control of the average individual, which makes this piece perfect for policy makers.
Fred Smoler’s six page article on Mercenaries and the Market provides a good history of various mercenary groups. “Precisely because many employees of the best PMFs* are former
elite soldiers, they have internalized many of the norms and loyalties of the modern profession
of arms.” (Smoler, pp 6 ) This is a key statement that is made in the article. Simply put, the employees of these contracted agencies are already familiar with a set of rules that they have to abide by as warriors. Smoler’s piece provides a great amount of knowledge for the average reader who may not be fully aware of different private security contractors and their histories.
Mateo Taussig-Rubbo’s piece on mercenaries is a quick tug on the heart strings of the average reader, and is the most “anti-mercenary” of all of the literature that I encountered. Although the piece is short (just a few paragraphs), it contains a strong emotional appeal to the reader. “The use of military contractors separates the soldiers from the established lines of military command and control. Their emergence is one way a government can avoid liability for the actions of those fighting a war.” (Taussig-Rubbo, 2008)
    When we read about wars, there are very few positive things that can ever be said. When we read about mercenaries, there are even fewer positive things that are said. Almost as if by default, mercenaries, private security contractors, soldiers of fortune, or whatever you want to call them, have a strong cliche as the renegade warrior. When they screw up, as anyone in combat is likely to do, the hammer comes down hard.
    Let’s take a look at Max Babbin’s article about Raven 23. The incident occurred on September 16th, 2007, in Nisour Square, Baghdad. Somewhere along the line, there was a lapse in communication, and Raven 23 opened fire. When the smoke cleared, fourteen Iraqis were dead. Twenty were wounded. It was this incident that caused Blackwater’s license to operate in Iraq to be revoked on September 18th, two days after the massacre.
    Up until this point, there was no clear and definitive guidelines as to how to prosecute private security contractors working in other countries. Although Secretary of Defense Robert Gates claimed to be able to be able to hold Blackwater accountable within the confines of the Pentagon, there were logistical factors that said otherwise.
In November of 2000, seven years before the incident at Nisour Square, the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA) was passed. This was a law that was intended to encompass any contractors hired by the Department of Defense. Since 2000, there have been twelve prosecutions under MEJA. Of those twelve prosecutions, only one has been successful.
In response to the Nisour Square incident, the US House added a clause to MEJA that would encompass an even wider range of employees contracted for the government. If you look at the prosecution rate, though, there seem to be some serious flaws in the rules that are being set forth by the government. If a military convoy shot up fourteen civilians, there would be an immediate action taken upon the aggressive unit. Raven 23’s court date was set for sometime this year. It was dismissed by Judge Ricardo Urbina, a justice that Jed Babbin felt would burn the Blackwater employees to the fullest degree.
Military outsourcing is not a new idea. In most cases, its cheaper to train private contractors (since most of them are prior military), they are reliable, and they can perform missions that the military may not be tasked with. That’s where I feel the biggest issue is.
The average job for a private security contractor is a personal security for high value targets (officials working for the Department of Defense, State House, etc.) There is an awesome success rate at which private contractors can be very proud of. Normally, a soldier in the field would not be tasked to transport and protect those sorts of individuals. Not to say that it never happens, but its not a routine part of what it means to be in the military and in a combat zone.
Image courtesy of Google
I feel that any private contractor working for the Department of Defense should be subject to a “civilian version” of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Firstly, a good majority of these contractors will be very familiar with the laws and the consequences. Having a clear cut system set up, and training contractors on that system will avoid any grey areas in the law.
Why should it be the UCMJ, and not MEJA? Simply because the UCMJ is already a set of rules that is already in play, and has been for many years. If you think of the hierarchy of the military, they are ultimately under the watchful eye of the government that they work for. The hierarchy of security contractors should be no different. They are clients for a host government, and the host government should enact the laws that they subject to the military to any military outsource.
Private security contractors don’t normally go where there isn’t already an occupying force. The military should have complete jurisdiction of how laws are followed in combat zones, and they should be the enforcers of those laws. I’m not saying it should be a part of their mission to police after mercenaries, but if a mercenary group commits an atrocity like the one at Nisour Square, it falls under the jurisdiction of the military, which ultimately falls under the jurisdiction of the occupying government.
Is this not a simple solution to the confusion of laws in warfare? Eliminating all of these forks in the “road to responsibility” will prove to be easier and more effective than trying to throw around an assortment of bills and laws. As we have already seen, the employees of private security contractors are already very familiar with the warrior ethos and laws of morality.
Mercenaries are war fighters, and in the times that we live in, war is played by rules. Uniformed service members are expected to carry themselves with the highest professional standards. At all times, they are expected to follow the rules of war, and are fully aware of any consequences that may come down on them if they break the law.
Not everyone who joins the military stays in after their contract is up. Many of them move on and take the skills that they have learned to other fields. For the ones who choose not to don the uniform, but still operate in combat zones, I feel there is no excuse for ignorance of war crimes and other laws of war. These men have already been trained on the use of firearms, controlled aggression, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
All members of the United States Armed Forces are held accountable by the UCMJ. The government has once again let us down by attempting to complicate things, and throwing in laws that only affect certain employees of the government. This is wrong.
Any person who is working for a host government, either as a contractor or military personnel, and operating inside occupied territory should be subjected to the same laws. Justice is blind. Whether or not a person is wearing a uniform should not be the discriminating factor. There have been several cases where Marines, sailors, soldiers, and airmen have had to stand before a trial of their peers due to a catastrophic incident that occurred in a combat zone.
Why are mercenaries that commit crimes treated differently than their uniformed counterparts?

*PMSC - Private Military & Security Companies
*PMF - Privatized Military Forces

BABBIN, Jed. (2009, Jan 5). Prosecution of Backwater’s Raven 23 begins. Human Events, Vol         65, Issue 1, pp 7.

GERDES, Louise. (2010). "Private Military Forces Must Be Made Publicly Accountable to Protect     Human Rights." Armed Forces. Ed. Louise Gerdes. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
KELTY, Ryan. (2009, Winter). Citizen soldiers and civilian contractors: Soldiers’ unit cohestion         (sp) and retention attitudes in the “total force”. Journal of Political and Military Sociology,         Vol 37,     Number 2, pp 133 - 159.

KWOK, James. (2006). Armed entrepreneurs: private military companies in Iraq. Harvard         International Review 28.1 pp 34.

PERCY, Sarah. (2009, March). Private security companies and civil wars. Civil Wars, Vol. 11         Issue 1, pp 57-74.

SMOLER, Fred. (2008). Mercenaries and the markets. Dissent, Vol. 55 Issue 2, pp 111-117.

TAUSSIG-Rubbo, Mateo. (2008, April). Should Americans honor soldiers for hire? USA Today,         Vol 136, Issue 2755, pp 13.