By Debbie Gregory.
Blackwater Worldwide founder Erik D. Prince and Stephen A. Feinberg, a billionaire financier who owns the giant military contractor DynCorp International, want to rely on hired contractors instead of American troops to fight in Afghanistan.
Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, his senior adviser and son-in-law, are pushing this idea, suggesting that the president and his top advisers have been dissatisfied with the military’s thinking on the conflict, the subject of an intense series of a consultations between senior military officers and Trump’s national security team over the last several months.
Prince called on the White House to appoint a viceroy to oversee the country and to use “private military units” to fill the gaps left by departed American soldiers. Modeled after General Douglas MacArthur, who ruled Japan after World War II, the viceroy would consolidate all American power in a single person.
Blackwater has become synonymous with one of the most notorious episodes of the Iraq war, when its employees opened fire in a Baghdad square, killing 17 civilians.
Prince has close ties to the Trump administration through his sister, Betsy DeVos, who is the education secretary.
The Pentagon has options to send 3,000 – 5,000 more American troops, including hundreds of Special Operations forces, with a consensus settling on about 4,000 additional troops. NATO countries would contribute a few thousand additional forces.
But the proposal has shocked the handful of senior Pentagon and CIA officials familiar with it, who point out the difficulty the United States has had in controlling private armies—and those who run them.
The decision, ultimately, will be Trump’s. He will decide whether America’s wars should continue to be fought by Americans or whether they will be contracted out to an out-of-uniform army of guns for hire who will be allowed to kill in the name of America.
What do you think?