Former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince argues for the use of private soldiers in war
You know what's a good example of political correctness gone out of control?
Referring to the CEO of a mercenary company as a 'security contractor'. It's the same thing George Carlin brilliantly pointed out, when the harsh shellacking of the word 'shellshock' became the sterile and clinical PTSD, and 'collateral damage' is used to describe the firebombing of a village.
Perhaps this PC culture is what allowed Erik Prince to get his name in the New York Times, the American paper of legend, respected by every writer and journalist on Earth as a bastion of objectivity. Well, let the record show that on August 30th, the Times allowed something very strange to occur in its opinion pages, a bubbling up of the modern war economy.
If you're not familiar with Erik Prince, he's a former Navy Seal, and the CEO of Blackwater, a mercenary company now known as 'Academi'. He sold the company in 2010, after Blackwater soldiers were banned from Iraq, following a massacre at Nisour square where Prince's mercenaries killed 17 civilians.
Now, he wants to deploy the private armies of his industry in Afghanistan, a nation that the British, Russians and now Americans have failed to conquer. The Taliban is alive and well as an insurgent force, and America's longest war seems to be scheduled to drag for the rest of eternity.
In the Times, Prince proposed "a contractor force of less than 6,000 (far less than the 26,000 in the country now). This team would provide a support structure for the Afghans, allowing the United States’ conventional forces to return home."
In other words, replace US soldiers with hired guns.
Of course, there's a major conflict of interest here. Prince has a great deal of stake in the future of his industry, which is the private sale of weapons and soldiers. His op-ed amounts to an advertisement for the private war economy, a bleak future of killers-for-profit going to war with local rebels and other mercenary companies, bankrolled by extremely wealthy venture capitalists, using theaters of war as an exercise in profiting from death and the real suffering of soldiers.
US soldiers are also not so keen on Blackwater and private military companies. Mercenaries are completely unaccountable to anyone but their company, have less respect for the local rule of law, and can engage in war crimes with less consequences. Furthermore, they tend to get paid better than US soldiers. It's a slap in the face to our troops.
Why give a modern warlord the space to pitch his industry in the nation's most respected newspaper? The New York Times is simply not the objective outlet it claims to be. Its allegiance seems to be toward corporate forces, and little else. If 'centrism and objectivity' includes mercenary armies, then what good is it?
What do you think? Should we hire private armies to conquer Afghanistan? Is money earned directly from war a legitimate profit? Surely, as drone technology and endless war spiral and proliferate, we will have to face the question of the war economy, the great reverberating engine we have made in the heart of our civilization.