Trump Considers Privatizing the Afghanistan War With Mercenaries

Included as a key component of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign platform — and as part of his near complete disapproval of President Obama’s policies — was his condemnation of the war in Afghanistan.

And in recent times, President Trump’s distaste for the conflict has resurfaced. According to a report covering a White House meeting last month, Trump suggested that the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army General John Nicholson, should face dismissal for his inability to produce desirable results.

One man, however, thinks he has the answer to Trump’s Afghanistan woes. Enter Erik Prince, the brother of Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.

Prince has managed to stay out of the headlines for some time now, but roughly a decade ago, he and his corporation Blackwater USA became a household name.

For those who don’t recall, Blackwater — along with several other groups known as “private military contractors,” a deceptively benign term for what are essentially modern day mercenary companies –- rapidly expanded under the Bush administration.

Partially in an effort to alter negative press surrounding the prolonged Iraq War, Bush opted to employ these guns-for-hire. And Blackwater was, by far, the biggest contractor to benefit from this policy.

However, the company most likely sounds familiar due to an incident in Baghdad, in which Blackwater’s contractors murdered 14 innocent civilians in 2007. In 2015, four former Blackwater employees were convicted over the massacre.

Though the early years of the Obama administration saw a shift away from reliance on private military contractors, quiet redeployment began in the later years of his second term.

While Erik Prince is no longer affiliated with Blackwater — now known as Academi — he remains a major player in the private military contractor scene. Prince is also a part of an FBI investigation regarding a meeting in the Seychelles in which he acted as an unofficial Trump representative to Russian officials in January.

Prince reportedly drafted a proposal which recently made its way to President Trump’s desk. And in it, Prince suggests that the U.S. forces in Afghanistan should largely be replaced with privatized troops.

Right now there are approximately 8,400 U.S. troops deployed to the nation; if Trump is to follow Prince’s proposal, 5,000 would be supplanted by contractors.

In a recent interview, Prince denied that these troops would be “mercenaries,” despite the likelihood that they would be placed in combat roles. He claims that because the contractors would be “attaching to the Afghan army,” they would not technically fit the definition.

But as the saying goes, if it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it is probably a duck — regardless of semantics.

When asked whether he would profit from such a policy, Prince admitted that that he would: “That’s capitalism. That’s what it’s about.”

Prince also denied that his proposal would present a conflict of interest due to his sister’s position as a member of Trump’s cabinet.

There is little evidence to support Prince’s claim that the privatization of U.S. presence in Afghanistan would serve as a panacea to the region’s problems. In reality, Prince is simply acting as a businessman and trying seize an money-making opportunity, as with the unpopular Iraq War.

Even if replacing U.S. troops with contractors is ultimately cheaper for taxpayers, as Prince claims, it would likely be more costly in other ways. The preservation of human rights is not a high priority for most contractors, thanks in large part to the fact that these individuals are often far less liable than their military counterparts.

Fortunately, both National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis are not yet onboard with Prince’s idea. Hopefully they will be able to convince President Trump that privatization is not the answer to the challenges of the Iraq War.

Photo Credit: MaxMercy / Wikimedia Commons

65 comments

Mike R
Mike R9 days ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R9 days ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R9 days ago

Thanks

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIEabout a month ago

Thank you

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Carl R
Carl Rabout a month ago

Thanks!!!

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Heidi Gail N
Heidi Gail Nabout a month ago

Are mercenaries bound to the Geneva Convention? Is this the way around to torture?

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FOTEINI h
FOTEINI horbouabout a month ago

i agree with Joan E.

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Joan E
Joan Eabout a month ago

You can explain Trump's behavior by knowing he has a tiny attention span and he likes to make deals with his fellow crooks like the one who rents out mercenaries and isn't at all careful how they behave. I'm sure he wants to make a deal with that guy at the expense of America.

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Nancy Wrightington
Nancy Wrightingtonabout a month ago

LOL. LOL. Typical tRump. Can you imagine what he has for us in America who are not his base. Lord help us. mm mm mm SMH

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Leo C
Leo Custerabout a month ago

Thank you for sharing.

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