South Africa passes mercenaries bill Until the end of the XVIII century, armies were armies of mercenaries. You hired a bunch of Scots, Swiss, Suabes or other people from deprived areas and you could go to war. During the 18th century, the French and Prussian kings started to organize national armies and started forced conscription. This was a big step forward in civilization, for it gave rise to civic statistics, even statistics as such. The Napoleonic armies were completely based on conscription, as were the masses of soldiers who died in the First World War for their different countries. The Second World War, the Korean and Vietnamese Wars were also based on conscription. Meanwhile, the use of mercenaries never completely disappeared. The British used, and still use, Ghurkas from the Himalayas as elite soldiers, the French have their Foreign Legion, and the policemen and soldiers left over from the South African Apartheid regime offer their services for all dirty work to be done in Africa and elsewhere. We have seen Serbs taking part in genocide operations in the Republic of Congo and Latin American mercenaries, trained in the Panama Canal Zone by the US, intervening as "guerrillas" in different Latin American countries. One of the most striking innovations, the Bush administration, led on this point by Rumsfeld's Pentagon, has introduced in warfare for "Democracy", is the broad use of mercenaries for jobs as crucial as interrogation, individual protection and undercover prison management. Alongside of the 130.000 "official" American military in Iraq, there are 30.000 "contractors" for (often) the dirty work, operating in a legal vacuum. In a sound reaction, the South African Government and Parliament have taken steps to put an end to the lawless actions of the former Apartheid officials, engaged for an important part in the Iraq war at this moment: South Africa passes mercenariesï¿½bill - Journal - HUIBSLOG ******************************** Well, it appears that all those out of work white chaps with military training will no longer be going around various unstable African countries to create mayhem and greater instability at the behest of the ex colonial power who are still raping and bleeding Africa white! Reminds me of the novel 'Dogs of War' and how the Europeans organise the 'freedom struggles' so as to suit their political and economic interest shrouding the same with false morality and indignation. Likewise, I am reminded of the film and book Blood Diamonds and the French film on Patrice Lumumba and the dirty tricks played by the Belgian Govt.