Servants of War

Rolf Uesseler

Private military firms are making a killing. They operate on all continents throughout the world—commissioned by governments, intelligence agencies, private industries, warlords, drug cartels, and rebel groups to support their military and safety interests. Here in the U.S., as sky-high military budgets continue to rise and the massively expensive war in Iraq shows no signs of ending, our forces grow more and more dependent on the assistance of these elusive military contractors. Meanwhile, beyond Iraq, engagements of mercenary firms in foreign countries are multiplying, whether to protect oil investments as in the Nigerian delta or for humanitarian reasons as in Darfur— all to the benefit of soldier-for-hire organizations. In this far-reaching expose, Rolf Uesseler reveals how these mercenary firms profit from conflict: As they operate in a legal twilight zone, the private nature of their work frequently makes them legally impermeable and financially profitable. Uesseler details the many ways in which employment of for-profit fighters compromises justice, jeopardizes international peace and stability, and manages to escape public scrutiny. And in clear and accessible language, he explains exactly what happens when military operations are shielded from democratic processes and are tied to profit, and when the concern for justice and security is overshadowed by the desire for financial gain.

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