Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Privatizing War

Blackwater founder and former Navy SEAL Erik Prince is recommending, as the Trump administration debates its Afghanistan War approach, that the U.S. military go back to its light footprint approach in Afghanistan.

Prince told the “Breitbart News Sunday” radio program that the approach – which would see CIA, special operators, and contractors working with Afghan forces to target terrorists – would be more effective and save the U.S. billions of dollars annually.

“I say go back to the model that worked, for a couple hundred years in the region, by the East India company, which used professional Western soldiers who were contracted and lived with trained with and when necessary fought with their local counterparts,” he said.

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The East India Company model is one the US has employed for quite some time, with the US military functioning as the "professional Western soldiers". Prince is merely trying to contract out that role to mercenaries such as himself.

And isn't that how King George III fought HIS wars against us?

It would not surprise me if ALL war making soon was contracted to private companies. Here is what I predicted in my 2015 book No More Patriots:

Although we buried our war dead with honors, we also buried our living and dying veterans in a Department of Veterans Affairs which at times seemed to treat them in a dishonorable manner. The VA response to Agent Orange and Gulf War Syndrome had been too little and too late. The response to the flood of traumatized veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in many cases had been to just hand them a few pills and send them home. More of our troops had died from suicide than had died on the battlefield. There always seemed to be plenty of money for more wars, but little left over to care for the wounded. Shifting the burden of “boots on the ground” to mercenary armies whose CEOs and bankers would have to bear the cost of the wounded would help relieve the pressure on the VA, even if it was a cynical way to do so.

And instead of boots on the ground, our future wars would be fought using weapons and methods which would keep our forces as removed from harm’s way as possible, such as unmanned aircraft, drones, other long-range weapons, and snipers. Some day we would even use autonomous killer robots. Such changes required that our sense of “righteous warrior” had to be shifted from the GI Joe foot soldier to the mercenary, the drone operator, the sniper, and the robot. The movie “American Sniper” had done much to help in this regard, but so far it had proven difficult to glorify mercenaries and drone operators.

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Erik Prince is a shrewd businessman. He may succeed in his quest to privatize war. The US cannot afford a huge military, Social Security, Medicare, etc. all at the same time. Clearly something has to give, and unless we want to starve our own people the military should be the first thing to be cut back. As repugnant as it seems, Prince's plan may be our only viable solution.

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