"CONUS". Love it. This raises some issues that have been on my mind since about when the Abu Ghraib scandal first went public last May. There were quite a few reports at the time that private contractors had been heavily involved in interrogation sessions, some of which resulted in fatalities.
In general principle, the privatization of combat functions for the military is kind of a scary thing anyway. Remember, the military theoretically is beholden to -- and speaks for -- the American citizenry. The mercenary is not; there is no accountability. In fact, that's why they're being used more and more -- it's much easier to flush their wrongdoings down the memory hole.
So why exactly are mercenaries being deputized and empowered with shoot-to-kill orders? Is this some sort of end-run around Posse Comitatus?
It's somewhat frightening to think about just what kind of powers certain corporations are allowed to exert over supposedly free, independent American citizens. At this point though, it's the intellectual equivalent of shutting the barn door long after the horse has gone down the road. Most prisons across the country are run by private contractors like Wackenhut and Unicor. Certain aspects of military ops have been getting privatized for years now; companies like Blackwater, Titan, and CACI are generally started up by ex-special ops guys in the first place.
The reason why they leave for the private sector is obvious -- more money. But you have to consider the upside for the government here to outsource cerain military functions. Less accountability. Less scrutiny. Easier to cover tracks. Less chance of internal whistleblowers. And it's all on the "black budget" -- only certain members of Congress are fully apprised of the specifics, and the public will never know the full extent of this.
This is a perfect example of the very real danger of allowing corporate interests to literally have the power to make life-or-death decisions for people.
That can't be good.