Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Here We Go Again

Back in the 16th century, the Dutch had a bright idea- private companies would use mercenary soldiers to attack foreign lands, reaping huge profits, and relieving the state of the expense of maintaining an army or navy in those foreign lands. Eventually, the thieving, brutality, financial shenanigans and just plain waste made this whole scheme a big headache for the Dutch, and they dissolved their East India company in 1795.

Taking its place as world hegemon of the private colonial powers was the British East India company, which in turn cost the British huge sums of money while siphoning the profits to private owners and eventually provoking the whole of India to rise against their rule. So the British dissolved their East India company.

So today we have American companies promising to rule Iraq with mercenary soldiers, and produce windfall profits that will relieve the American taxpayers of the cost of maintaining an army or navy. Well, not actually, of course- why give away the cow when the taxpayer can be forced to pay more every year for the milk?

But the general idea is the same and it will come to the same bad end. The only real question is how long it will take.

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