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The Contender
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United States is justified in using private military firms abroad to pursue its military objectives

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/1/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,302 times Debate No: 15747
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




Dwight D. Eisenhower said "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplace power exists and will persist we must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. Because I agree with our former president I must negate the resolution Resolved: The United States is justified in using private military firms abroad to pursue its military objectives.
My first contention is that the private military firms violate human rights in the name of the US. Private organizations like CACI and Titan directly contributed to violations of common article 3 to Geneva Conventions (III) and (IV) and article 76 of Geneva Convention (IV) as well as violations of articles 7 and 10 of the ICCPR and article 1 of the CAT. The United States is responsible for acts of commission or omission that these organizations are doing. Kateri Carmola political philosophy professor said "PMSCs can be said to provide security for some, but not justice. To the extent that they are a new face of international policing, they are thus ethically problematic in their social impact," The private firms are going against US morals, we cannot have that in our country. In no way can the US be justified in sending these private firms abroad because they are no following the morals that our country was made on.
My second point is that the private firms undermine professional military ethics. Andrew F. Krepinevich said "the continued existence of PMFs performing a military function destroys the ability for the profession to exist at all. If the performance of military functions in contingency operations by PMFs becomes a commonplace occurrence (and, if something is not done very soon, we will reach this point in the very near future), then our military uniforms, medals, and even codes of honor will become nothing more than anachronistic window dressing." If we continue to have private military firms the honor and prestige in joining our military will be lost, witch is not what we need. Peter W subger said "the military is a unique sort of profession. It is responsible for the safety of all of society. It is for this reason that the military is the only profession to have its own system of law and we speak of its role in society as one of duty, honor, and sacrifice. Insert "private" in front of military and we must, in turn, substitute such honored concepts as "service" and "mission" with profit-oriented words like "job" and "contract."" Motivation for joining the military will be money and the prestige will be gone if we continue to use these private firms.
My third contention is that the private firms are violating international law. International humanitarian law (IHL) is the body of law that contains both human rights law and the law of armed combat (LOAC), and since its twentieth-century codification, it has consistently banned any person on the battlefield that might appear to be anything resembling a mercenary . Centuries of civilization have realized that war needs rules in order to be fought and survived even as war is transformed the necessity of the rule of law remains . America needs to take international law seriously and ban private military firms.
The government is obligated to make sure their government and military is not corrupt. A lack of morality is corrupt and the private firms are not being moral. The private firms don't care about anything but the money so they will go against morality for money witch we cannot allow. The United States is not justified in sending private military firms abroad to pursue military operations because the military firms are not just.


Thanks to my opponent for starting this debate.

While this is an ld topic, my opponent did not follow the format. Despite being neg he went first, and he had no value or criterion. So I will assume he wants to do this pfd style.

First my points.

1. Private military firms solve genocide

A. Past record

PMC's have the experience and technology to solve foreign genocides, empirically proven. I will focus on two examples for now.

1. Sierra Leone Civil War

Randal Parker 03,

In 1995, the Sierra Leone government was near defeat from the ruf, a nefarious rebel group whose habit of chopping off the arms of civilians as a terror tactic made it one of the most truly evil groups of the late twentieth century...the government hired the private military firm, made up of veterans from the South African apartheid regime's elite forces, to help rescue it. Deploying a battalion-sized unit of assault infantry (numbering in the low hundreds), who were supported by firm-manned combat helicopters, light artillery, and a few armored vehicles, Executive Outcomes was able to defeat the RUF in a span of weeks. Its victory brought enough stability to allow Sierra Leone to hold its first election in over a decade. After its contract termination, however, the war restarted. In 1999 the U.N. was sent in. Despite having a budget and personnel size nearly 20 times that of the private firm, the U.N. force took several years of operations, and a rescue by the British military, to come close to the same results."

2. Rwanda genocide

Parker continues,

"Similarly, the aforementioned Executive Outcomes performed a business exploration of whether it would have had the capacity to intervene in Rwanda in 1994. Internal plans claim that the company could have had armed troops on the ground within 14 days of its hire and been fully deployed with over 1,500 of its own soldiers, along with air and fire support within six weeks. The cost for a six-month operation to provide protected safe havens from the genocide was estimated at $150 million (around $600,000 a day). This private option compares quite favorably with the eventual U.N. relief operation, which deployed only after the killings. The U.N. operation ended up costing $3 million a day (and did nothing to save hundreds of thousands of lives)."

These are merely two examples. There others such as Kosovo and Angola where PMC's have been successful.

B. Future solvency

PMC's evolving capabilities make them a viable option to solve conflicts in the future. One example is Darfur.

"In a speech at the Naval Academy in 2007, Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, advocated sending Blackwater (now called "Xe"), the private military contractor, into Darfur to end the genocide for the bargain price of $40 million. When combined with a no-fly zone over Darfur, putting private military contractors on the ground there is a viable option for bringing the genocide to an end quickly and cheaply. Analyses of past no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq and of South African private military contractor actions in Angola and Sierra Leone suggest that the United States could end the genocide in Darfur by implementing such a zone over Darfur and introducing military contractors...

Furthermore, their capabilities aren't limited to these three examples. They are effective solvers in general.

Tony Geraghty, (British War Correspondent), SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE, 2009, 17

"PMCs offer the only military forces both willing and capable of providing rapid and effective military services in most Third World conflicts. Their operations have saved tens of thousands of lives but their potential is even greater. PMCs can provide the competent military backbone to ensure the success of UN or regional multinational peacekeeping or peace enforcement operations... More critically, given an international mandate, PMCs can decisively intervene in instances of genocide, as in Rwanda."

Contention 2: Military overstretch

A. The US military is overextended now

Our military is burdened with 2 wars and constant deployment for humanitarian missions across various nations. Over 250,000 American troops are deployed in 128 countries.

Aida Akl, Military Connections, August 2005 (

"...the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan have strained the military to a point where it runs a higher risk of not being able to quickly and easily defeat potential enemies. U.S. military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, and recruitment shortfalls in some branches of the armed forces, such as the Army and National Guard, have alarmed some observers who warn that the military is overburdened and overstretched. "

B. PMC's solve. Problem is worse without them.

Deborah Avant,

"Contractors are also quite useful to powerful nations such as the United States, which is managing the chaos in Iraq with fewer troops than many believed necessary by increasing its (private military) personnel pool. By having flexibility, the united states is able to engage in more expansive operations that are essential to winning conflicts in the interconnected world. Also, since PMF’s are used by countries around the world, if the United States were not to utilize the market, it would be comparatively disadvantaged in terms of military readiness."

Therefore, affirming benefits foregin nations and ourselves.


1. Rights abuses

Con: PMC's violate human rights

First, only two examples of this are given. Not sufficient to negate PMC's in general.

Second, the actions of a few corrupt individuals does not destroy the integrity of the entire industry.

Third, non-unique. PMC's dont violate human rights, people do. Humans violate the right to property all the time by stealing. Does this mean the human race isn't justified?

Four, PMC's are held more accountable than previous years, meaning rights abuses are minimal. The Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act grants the US jurisdiction to prosecute private contractors who commit crimes overseas.

The act was recently amended in 2005 to where any firm employed by the DoD can be prosecuted. This means there is incentive to not commit abuses.

Five, the Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act is another bill to regulate the private industry.

It will expand and encourage contractor accountability to an even greater extent. The bill will be passed in order to solve the abuses you refer to.

Six, life is a human right. At the point where I prove PMC's end genocide as described in the AC, I show that PMC's save more lives (human rights) than they could ever take away.

2. Military ethics

Krepinevich: Using PMC's means military is unnecessary

Turn - this is a good thing. Who wants to see more American troops going to the middle east.

Krepinevich: Military honor lessened

No warrant as to why this is true. The existence of PMC's does not cause medals to magically dissipate.

Con: Services turn into contracts

No reason given as to why this is bad.

3. International law

Con: PMC's are mercenaries which is against international law

No impact. According to him, we have been doing illegal activities for years then, yet nothing has happened because of violating this law.

Also, the definition of a mercenary has been defined by the Geneva Convention.

However the US and other nations have not agreed to this definition and law. Therefore the burden is on my opponent to prove that we should 1. Look to this definition of mercenary in order to prove that PMC's even qualify, and 2. that the law against mercenaries is justified. He has done neither.

Debate Round No. 1


mcgrif45 forfeited this round.


Well thats a shame. Please vote pro.
Debate Round No. 2


mcgrif45 forfeited this round.


Well my opponent has quit the debate, please vote pro.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by BlackVoid 6 years ago
Oops, forgot this.

Geneva Convention mercenary def:
Posted by BlackVoid 6 years ago
Actually, if you could just give me a link to the source that would be fine.
Posted by BlackVoid 6 years ago
What year did CACI and Titan commit the abuses?
Posted by mcgrif45 6 years ago
I had footnotes in the original document and I didn't put them in on this, if you want to question any of my facts I will provide sources
Posted by gavin.ogden 6 years ago
How about some sources?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeits.