US narratives of private military and security companies in Iraq
in Romantic narratives in international politics
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Chapter four investigates US narratives about PMSCs in Iraq. In contrast to the previous chapters on rebels and pirates this chapter will indicate the cultural absence of romantic stories about PMSCs. The first part retraced the historic development of the anti-mercenary narrative from Machiavelli via the American Declaration of Independence to representation of mercenaries in international law texts. The persistence of this anti-mercenary narrative is then shown in literary texts on mercenaries by examining Sir Walter Scott’s novel A Legend of Montrose and Frederick Forsyth’s novel The Dogs of War. The second part turns to the US media narratives on PMSCs and shows the persistence of these negative elements. The third part of the chapter engages the narratives found on the websites of PMSCs and illustrates how these actors try to tell a romantic story by constituting themselves as brave patriots and noble humanitarians. The final part of the chapter then illustrates the narrative struggle and the marginalised status of these romantic stories and the persistence of the highly negative anti-mercenary narratives by examining the story told in US print news media, among the political elite, in international institutions as well as in pop-cultural representations in films and video games.

Romantic narratives in international politics

Pirates, rebels and mercenaries


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