Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Food for thought . . .
Mercenary, also known as a professional soldier or soldier of fortune, is a person who takes part in an armed conflict based on the promise of material compensation rather than having a direct interest in, or a legal obligation to, the conflict itself. A non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he gets monetary reward from his service. The Geneva Conventions specifically define a mercenary as being "motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party".
As a result of the assumption that a mercenary is essentially motivated by money, the term mercenary usually carries negative connotations. There is a blur in the distinction between a mercenary and a foreign volunteer, when the primary motive of a soldier in a foreign army is uncertain. For instance, the French Foreign Legion and the Gurkhas of the British and Indian armies are not mercenaries under the laws of war, since although they may meet many of the requirements of Article 47 of Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, they are exempt under clauses 47(a)(c)(d)(e)&(f); some journalists describe them as mercenaries nevertheless.
I have always maintained that I am not a mercenary, on the premise that there are certain people and organizations for whom I simply will not work, for no amount of money. Upon careful reading of the above, however, I see that I not only qualify for the broadest definition of the term mercenary, but at the early stage of my career - as an Australian citizen serving in the United States Army - I was also a foreign volunteer.
Posted by STORMBRINGER at 02:32