I'm not going to pretend that these hired guns are going to have anything like the negative domestic effects Niccolo Machiavelli reported they had on the Italy of the Renaissance:
"Mercenaries...are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy. The fact is, they have no other attraction or reason for keeping the field than a trifle of stipend, which is not sufficient to make them willing to die for you. They are ready enough to be your soldiers whilst you do not make war, but if war comes they take themselves off or run from the foe; which I should have little trouble to prove, for the ruin of Italy has been caused by nothing else than by resting all her hopes for many years on mercenaries, and although they formerly made some display and appeared valiant amongst themselves, yet when the foreigners came they showed what they were."The United States is not the Florence of the 1500s; we will neither be conquered nor ruined by these mercenaries.
But a putative republic should be concerned with the interests of its citizens. When it increasingly becomes, through using hired troops to further divorce its actions abroad from its people at home, more of an imperium it furthers the conditions that make all the more likely that - although the standards may still read "The Senate and People" - that the orders that move those standards do not reflect any actual intent to do good for, or further the interests of, We the People.
I wish I could, as I so often do, make this into a partisan problem. It's not; the desire to make the nation's military adventures less fraught with political consequences has been sought by the "leadership" of all factions outside the tiny genuinely Red Left (such as it is) and the equally tiny isolationist Right.
No, it's not a Democratic or Republican problem.
It's an "American" problem, and one generated by the massive indifference We the People have shown towards holding our "leaders" accountable to us for their indifference towards...I won't even say "our interests"; it's an indifference towards even trying to honestly and openly assess what those interests are.
Any truly rational evaluation of the value of spending blood and treasure to send soldiers - any soldiers - to chase the ragged aspirants of a theocratic fantasy around a disputatious and chaotic foreign region would quickly conclude that value is utterly nil. All the bullets ever cast cannot kill the notion of Islamic hegemony any more than they could kill Christian dominionism when it was the animating force of the West. It took an Enlightenment to do that, and by our part in discrediting and destroying the secular authorities in the Islamic lands we've done a hell of a fucking good job ensuring that the Islamic Enlightenment is further away than ever.
I have not desire to see my fellow soldiers thrown into this pointless abyss.
But I have even less desire to see my country continue to sow the dragon's teeth simply because I and my fellow citizens are too lazy and disengaged to bother with that sowing when it's done not by our "own" hands but by hired ploughmen tilling foreign fields with the seed my taxes have bought.
Those underneath the harrow are not too stupid to know whose money is behind the rifle, regardless of who is actually carrying it. If we do not understand that, if we do not understand the idiocy of trying to use those hired rifles to divorce ourselves from our cluelessness and geopolitical stupidity, we will never understand that we can never hire enough of those rifles to ever prevent being continually nipped by the dragons.