Bill O’Reilly, better known as Billo the Clown in some circles, stuck his foot in his mouth on This Week with George Stephanopoulos in discussing whether our military could beat ISIS or not. The Raw Story reported that O’Reilly was on the show to discuss his book, Killing Patton.
Stephanopoulos asked him how he thought Patton would have dealt with ISIS, and a mercenary military, which is an idea that O’Reilly put forth a week ago. That idea, according to the Washington Post, was to use mercenaries from all over the world, that spoke English and got trained in the U.S., to fight terrorism all over the world. “Would [Patton] really believe in outsourcing our national security like that?” Stephanopoulos asked O’Reilly.
O’Reilly replied with this insulting nonsense:
“No. Patton would want to just go in himself to do it. If George Patton were alive today, he would be saying to President Obama, ‘Give me the third, I’ll go into Syria and I’ll wipe them all out.’ And he would. That’s what he would absolutely do. We don’t have any Pattons today.”
So, Billo the Clown has it all figured out. Create this wonderful mercenary force that’s trained by the U.S., and we can get around all the politics and international laws associated with warfare. See how easy it is? What could possibly go wrong here?
The problem, as The Washington Post article notes, is that mercenary forces can cause more problems than they solve. Author Ishaan Tharor listed three known instances of this. The mercenaries from Carthage that fought against Rome, for instance, rebelled against Carthage after they defeated Rome, and Carthage couldn’t pay them what they promised. That conflict was known as the Truceless War, and it took Carthage four years to put it down.
Mercenaries, by definition, are generally only interested in riches. They do what they do because they want the reward. That means if you can’t sweeten the pot every time you want to, or need to, change the deal, they’ll walk. Or worse, they’ll turn on you. And they’re sure to turn on you if you can’t pay what you promised. Saying that our military ought to be replaced by mercenaries, because we have no Pattons who could put ISIS down once and for all, is not just insulting to the men and women who do put their lives on the line trying to fight terrorist threats, it’s also stupid and ignorant.
It’s not very likely that General Patton would consider O’Reilly’s ideas, and comparisons, worth much merit. It’s also not likely that Patton would consider fighting terrorists the same way he fought organized militaries.