Resolved:The United States is justified in using private military firms abroad to pursue its military objectives.The United States increasingly depends on private military firms to support its fighting forces around the world. However, that supporting role has become more of a solo act, as firms like Xe (formerly Blackwater) have moved beyond security details or logistics, into combat operations in everything but name--and with problematic results.
This raises several questions. Are private military firms effective, or even necessary? Are they legitimate--whether under U.S.law or under international law? Will their reach and influence continue to expand in a perpetual War on Terror, and, if so, what will be the costs? To whom are private military firms accountable? To whom are they loyal--especially when many of their employees or shareholders aren't U.S. citizens? Is this the "military industrial complex" Eisenhower warned about? Are we seeing the rise of shadowy corporate governance? Is "private security contractor" a mere euphemism for "mercenary?"
Expect security, justice, peace, international law, the social contract, Just War Theory, and corporatism to crop up in discussions. Also, expect huge criterial clash: the word "justified" isn't synonymous with "just."
Analysis and links, as always, are forthcoming--and, as always, your comments and questions are critical.
Added 2/2: A look at some definitions.
Added 2/3: Some initial Aff arguments mostly based on effectiveness considerations.
Added 2/13: More arguments and analysis for the Affirmative, based on military necessity.
Added 2/24: A formative list of value and criterion pairs.
Added 3/7: How postmodern developments change the nature of war.