Comments: Hessians? Think Again.

Couldn't agree with you more, Deb. Well said.

Posted by gary at April 5, 2004 03:07 PM

Excellent post, Debbye, just bloody excellent.

Posted by Paul Jané at April 5, 2004 03:19 PM

Since when did mercenary become a term of abuse & denigration anyway?

You read history and some of finest, most loyal and competent troups and commanders have been mercenaries. And if they were dishonest, cruel, brutal or vicious it's been my observation that they were not much worse than their enemies and allies. They are what they are, and deserve no more blame or credit than they earned themselves.

to wit:

Epitaph On An Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth's foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling
And took their wages and are dead.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

Alfred Edward Housman

Posted by Fred at April 5, 2004 04:18 PM

Gary, Paul, thanks. Sometimes I get on a tear . .

Fred, I really don't know. Americans didn't like having to quarter Hessians in their homes, but that anger was because England sent Hessians to fight Englishmen, not a disdain for mercenaries in general.

You're right about the honourable history of mercenaries, which Grimbeorn covers extensively.

Posted by Debbye at April 5, 2004 10:55 PM

Damn fine Deb.

This is the reason you're up as a Canadian top blog this month.

We're proud to have you with us.

Posted by Jay Currie at April 6, 2004 04:00 AM

I thoroughly agree with the sentiments you expressed. With that said, it is important to note that these murdered men were NOT mercenaries, not by common usage of the term, not by definition, and not by Geneva Convention rules. Many are using the term to heap abuse upon the Blackwater team. "Mercenary" refers to those who soldier for money, most often in the service of a country other than their own, and usually for the highest bidder. These men certainly did not fit that description, just as I'm sure Grim does not. But that is the common meaning of the term and it hurts the cause for us to defend them AS MERCENARIES. Many ex-military men and women who work for security outfits, and others, have comfortably adopted the term. To them the title means something else entirely, but I am concerned that when most people read it, they will use it to wrongfully condemn the dead. The left is certainly doing exactly that. Also, to his credit, Grim researched the issue and posted a comment pointing out that the murdered security team members were not mercenaries. Again, I appreciate your eloquent defense of those Americans. I also enjoy your blog, checking in almost daily.

Posted by mikem at April 6, 2004 04:13 AM


Great Post. From reading your words, I clearly see this is from your heart.

Can I toss out a word seldom used that I think is a better one than mercenary? Paladin

Definition below is from I think meaning number 2 says it best - leading champion of a cause.

That they were prepared to sacrifice themselves for their cause - helping save and protect others rebuilding Iraq - contrasts very clearly with terrorists and dead enders who may sacrifice themselves attempting to kill everyone within reach.

Main Entry: pal·a·din
Pronunciation: 'pa-l&-d&n
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Italian paladino, from Medieval Latin palatinus courtier, from Late Latin, imperial official -- more at PALATINE
1 : a trusted military leader (as for a medieval prince)
2 : a leading champion of a cause

PS: at some point I want to use a real email vs the fake one's I have been using. Any way to avoid becoming spambait?

Posted by Warren at April 6, 2004 08:19 AM

The 4 in Falluja broke procedure, they weren't supposed to be there. IF they were doing recon.....

Posted by Sandy P. at April 6, 2004 11:54 AM

Sandy, I too have read differing accounts, and there's something missing in them all: namely, why they were unable to keep to their planned route.

I have a feeling portions of the incident have been suppressed, and probably it has to do with the pretty clear indications that this whole thing was a set up as well as suggestions that elements in the Iraqi security units collaborated.

The only thing that makes sense thus far is that somehow they were herded into Fallujah, but that's strictly conjecture on my part.

Posted by Debbye at April 6, 2004 01:47 PM

Fred: Thank you, the poem is so true. Here is another which befits Andy.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not here, I do not sleep
I am the thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sun on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
I am the shining stars at night
When you awake to the morning light
I am the soft uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
My time has come, I am at rest
I am the sunset in the west
I am the clouds that race above
Where I watch over those I love
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not here, I do not die
So hear the words that here I say
I am the love that guides your way.

Posted by June Bradell at April 6, 2004 03:50 PM

June, that is a lovely poem. I'm so glad you came and shared your thoughts and memories of Andy. Many of us have come to know and cherish him through you and the others who have paid their tributes.

I don't know if managed to convey this sufficiently, but I want you to know how very grateful and humbled I am by his sacrifice and yours.

My deepest respects to you and Andy's family. God bless you all.

Posted by Debbye at April 7, 2004 11:53 PM

Thanks Deb. Well done.

Posted by Mark at April 11, 2004 05:09 AM

No, Mark, my thanks to all of you and the posts on Andy.

This post came about because some things needed to be said. I'm so sick of the sanctimony of some of those who, as an expression of their enlightened state, look down on people who are actually doing something to better the lives of Iraqis. By passing judgement on men like Andy and the others we've lost this past month they've revealed a shocking emptiness of soul and spirit. It's past time they were confronted and exposed.

I refuse to believe that words like valor and honour are outmoded. If we don't stand at attention to honour those who've risen above and beyond then our civilization is already dead.

Posted by Debbye at April 11, 2004 12:24 PM