A group of teenagers are celebrating a birthday party. They hear a crash, followed by a hail of bullets. The party-goers lay dead in a pool of blood. This was the scene in Ciudad Juárez last month. These were the latest victims of a drug war that has claimed 28,000 lives since 2006.
I was surprised to hear this story, as The Mexico Daily stopped reporting on the drug war after its second journalist was killed this year. Mexico has become a war zone. Mexico City, Ciudad Juárez, Oaxaca and even Acapulco have all witnessed massacres this year.
The drug lords shoot, behead and set on fire anyone who opposes them, including policemen and mayors. A worse problem is that cartel members have murdered at least two American citizens, on American soil, since the beginning of the year.
The drug wars need to stop, but not the way the Oaxaca City Council is considering — by paying the drug lords protection money. Why would the Oaxaca city council pay off drug cartels to not kill people when they could hire a private army to eliminate the threat in its entirety?
Private security contractors — the government’s name for mercenaries — have become commonplace in U.S. military operations. Blackwater Worldwide, as Xe Services was formerly called, has the largest number of personnel of any security contractor. The company gained prominence under Donald Rumsfeld, as the privatization of the military was a staple of his doctrine. After some civilian deaths in Iraq, Blackwater changed its name and cleaned up its image. It now handles crisis management instead of security and defense.
However, behind the scenes, Xe has a new option for customers who require special protective services. Its name is Greystone LTD, a company with expertise in criminal investigative training, maritime training and counter-terrorism.
Greystone has so many uses that future clients will probably be found on every continent. Mexico could definitely use them (the investigative training would be helpful).
I believe that counter-terrorism will become their most requested service as places like Gaza and Pakistan are in desperate need of it and Nigeria, an oil giant, has already witnessed a spate of  several attacks this year. Now, some may be wondering why I listed maritime training alongside counter-terrorism. Well, the answer is one word: pirates.
Greystone needs to head out to Somalia as soon as possible. Kenya is also a hot spot, with two European freight ships being hijacked in late October.
Greystone and Xe are both like great utility players that can be on a different team every week. The U.S. government can take advantage of them today, Mexican city councils tomorrow and Israel next week. Mercenary companies like Xe have been able to avoid irksome restrictions that President Reagan faced when he tried to wage a war of counter-terrorism and containment against the U.S.S.R. and its allies. When Reagan used counterinsurgents and black ops in countries like El Salvador and Nicaragua, multiple agencies confronted him about his actions.
Now, since former ambassador to Iraq L. Paul Bremer prohibited the prosecution of private security contractors used in the war, mercenaries can travel anywhere they need to in order to complete their missions. They can do whatever is necessary to ensure security.
United States civilian courts do not have jurisdiction over them, while U.S. military courts lack jurisdiction and other countries’ courts are prohibited from exercising jurisdiction over American mercenaries. The United Nations can protest the use of mercenaries to no avail (just like they did our invasion of Afghanistan).
Liberal congressmen can condemn their actions, but mercenaries remain a valuable resource that is practically untapped.

The ‘Raw Laef’ lament

Me, trundling by you in the haet and swaet of a post-9-to-5 commute. You, a fucked-up misspelled storefront sign.

A year later, recognizing Lunar New Year

No longer will observing students be forced to either run the risk of missing a crucial lecture or lab — or dutifully attend class and miss out on their most significant cultural festivity of the year.

New academic accommodations announced for Lunar New Year

Faculty members have been informed to give proper academic accommodations to students celebrating the Lunar New Year.