Phil Carter on contract fighters

How about having enough soldiers in Iraq, rather than using contract fighters?

Phil Carter has a piece in Slate concluding that contract fighters engaged in combat operations, since they’re not either “soldiers” or “noncombatants,” might fall into the legal category of “unlawful combatants,” with possibly disastrous results. He’s also worried about the problems of discipline and coordination. (Phil doesn’t go into the Constitutional issues, which I regard as substantial.)

Phil has some proposed fixes for the operational problems, but despairs of fixing the legal problems.

He doesn’t consider what seems to me the most straightforward approach: have in Iraq, or elsewhere there’s likely to be fighting, enough regular, uniformed, sworn soldiers, with officers appointed by Act of Congress, to handle any assignment that might involve killing someone, and restrict contractors to support missions.

(Previous posts here and there.)

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: