The Afghan War Is No Place to Turn a Profit by Brad Taylor – Bloomberg
The idea of “privatizing” the war in Afghanistan is back. Erik Prince, the founder of the now-defunct security firm Blackwater Worldwide, is making the rounds in a self-described “aggressive media air campaign” to make the case that 6,000 private military contractors can do what 110,000 uniformed soldiers couldn’t. Anonymous White House sources have said President Donald Trump has shown interest.
This would be a terrible mistake. I’m a capitalist at heart, but capitalism has no business in a war zone. Privatizing our fighting forces would ultimately cause any national strategic objectives to be subsumed by profit motive.
How do I know this? Because after serving more than 20 years in the Army, most of that time in Special Forces, I retired and became a private military contractor. I was one of the first soldiers in Afghanistan after 9/11, fought in Iraq, and I’ve seen it from both sides. Trust me, the U.S. doesn’t want a company looking to turn a profit running national policy.
One of Prince’s favorite talking points is that small teams of Special Forces and CIA operatives overthrew the Taliban in lightning speed in 2001, then the conventional forces took over, and 17 years later we’re at a stalemate. Thus, the argument goes, it’s time to go back to an unconventional campaign.
This makes a great sound bite, but is a completely flawed comparison…