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by going there and fighting they become non-state actors.
originally posted by: JiggyPotamus
I am relatively certain that they would be considered mercenaries under the United Nations definition, mainly because they have no direct link to any of the forces in the conflict, nor are they residents of any nations involved in the conflict. If they were operating on behalf of a military that was involved in the conflict then that would mean they aren't mercenaries, but they are acting on their own. So I suppose this is breaking some UN measure, although I doubt anyone would be interested in punishing them. People think that you have to be paid to be considered a mercenary, but this is not the case. I definitely support defeating ISIS, but I do not condone the use of mercenary forces for a few reasons. Of course in this situation there is no great downside, but I dislike the idea of mercenaries mainly because there often are downsides. And nobody should bear the weight of taking something like this on themselves, when their home country is not prepared to put soldiers on the ground. I just dislike the idea of being a "cowboy" when it comes to war and death. I think there are other people who would go and fight in Iraq and Syria if they had the opportunity and knew they could get there, but how many of these people would truly understand what they are doing? I would bet that not many would truly understand the danger. They would think that nothing bad would happen to them, just like those aid workers who go over to these regions and end up getting captured. It seems like a good idea, but I just feel that many would fail to grasp just how serious the situation is. There is no coming back from death. We call this "bravery," when often times it is ignorance.