Previously I wrote disparagingly about mercenaries. It may well be that many mercenaries are motivated solely by money and would work for anybody who paid. We have however to make a distinction between those, and the many who fight for a cause in which they believe and for which they may receive pay. I can offer as an example the many who fought for the International Brigade in Spain in the 1930’s and who received modest pay for their efforts. Unfortunately the division between good and bad is not so clear now. As the old English saying goes “One mans meat is another mans poison”. It is perhaps worth comparing the volunteers fighting for elected government in Spain in 1936 with the young people going to fight for the Islamic Caliphate. Both groups could be considered mercenaries since in the least they are being fed, and in all probability paid. Both groups share a great adventure. The difference seems to me to be that in the one they were fighting against military aggression, in the other they are fighting for it. A very big difference. Faced with the politically correct paralysis of modern politicians What is the best thing to do?
If you are young, fit and particularly have any military training I would suggest that fighting with the more tolerant Kurds might just be the best place to be right now.
That the UK and European governments want to stop people going to fight for the death cult which is ISIL it completely out of step with the general feeling. In my limited pole I have found that all felt that if people wanted to fight for the Caliphate, they should not be prevented but rather should be provided with a one way ticket. Your home is where your heart is and if it is not in Europe, perhaps you should not be here.


One thought on “Mercenaries”

  1. Mercenaries go back many, many years and often there is a cause or religion that notionally sanitizes the act of war. One only has to consider the number of factions supporting various Popes throughout the last millennium.
    Splinter groups also seem to proliferate in the middle east, although again the uneasy alliance of Republicans and Communists in 1930’s Spain saw a good deal of internecine incidents.

    One does get the feeling with the conflict in Syria and Iraq that any intervention would be like trying to put a fire out with petrol. Fanaticism and common-sense are not bedfellows and unfortunately accommodation is likely to have to be reached with governments that wield rather more authority than democracies are generally comfortable with. The Arab Spring that promised so much has faltered and reversed from the attempted imposition of fundamentalist values that we, in an increasingly secular world, find hard to comprehend.

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