Shadow Company

Category: Shadow Company News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: October 4, 2006 | Publication: The Vancouver Sun (British Columbia) | Author: Kevin Griffin
Publication/Article Link:http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/index.html

Copyright 2006 The Vancouver Sun, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publication Inc.
All Rights Reserved


In Iraq, there are about 20,000 civilians working for private military companies. These mercenaries get paid up of $1,000 a day to "protect the nouns" -- a person, place or thing. Since they exist outside the law, they can do pretty much whatever they want. So far, none has been charged with any criminal offence.

Shadow Company uses the surprising growth of soldiers for hire in Iraq as the starting point for an investigation of the history and culture of mercenaries. Our belief that the state has had a monopoly on the military arose only about 150 years ago with the rise of modern nation-state. Back in the Middle Ages, monarchs realized that peasants with pitchforks weren't going to defeat the principality next door: they needed professional soldiers to get the job done.

More recently, the collapse of the colonial regime in Rhodesia in the 1960s meant that a whole army of angry white guys with guns found themselves without work. They hired themselves out for profit next door in South Africa and so started the modern era's privatization of war. Today, private military companies generate about $100 billion a year.

Shadow Company doesn't demonize the men -- and they're all men -- who hire themselves out as mercenaries. They come across as intelligent, principled and utterly blunt. Shadow Company adds a nice bit of playfulness by interviewing Stephen J. Cannell, creator of the '80s television show The A-Team, one of the few TV programs about mercenaries.

Screens today, 7 p.m., the Ridge; Oct. 9, 1 p.m., Pacific Cinematheque.

Copyright 2006 The Vancouver Sun, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publication Inc.
All Rights Reserved