In an opinion column for the New York Times, former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince continued his push to hand control over America’s longest war to armed mercenaries. To hear Prince tell it, America’s victory over Japan in 1945 was due in large part to “paid volunteers” known as the “Flying Tigers.” Prince suggested hiring a “contractor force of less than 6,000” to “provide a support structure for the Afghans, allowing the United States’ conventional forces to return home.”
Allowing Prince any op-ed space in the Times to promote his agenda of privatizing the War on Terror is problematic for a number of reasons, including the heinous crimes committed by Blackwater mercenaries in Iraq. On September 16, 2007, four Blackwater guards opened fire on Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square, leaving 17 dead and 20 wounded.
Although all four security contractors — Nicholas A. Slatten, Paul A. Slough, Evan S. Liberty, and Dustin Heard — were convicted in 2014 of charges ranging from manslaughter to murder, a federal appeals court recently ruled that three of the men should be resentenced while the fourth is entitled to a new trial.
Prince reacted by rebranding Blackwater as Xe before his private army was finally booted from Iraq for using excessive force. In 2009, ex-employees alleged in sworn statements that under Prince’s leadership, Blackwater had smuggled weapons, destroyed incriminating evidence, and “murdered, or had murdered, one or more persons who have provided information, or who were planning to provide information, to the federal authorities about the ongoing criminal conduct.”
One employee claimed that Prince, a Christian Dominionist, “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and “intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis.”
Last year The Intercept revealed that Prince was under federal investigation for money laundering and illegal deals with foreign governments. And that’s not all. Prince is also the brother of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and has been working behind the scenes to advise President Trump. In September 2016 Prince endorsed Trump’s idea of seizing Iraq’s oil supply during an interview for Breitbart Radio.
Which is why this amoral imperialist’s appearance on Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio is so unsurprising. Molyneux, a misogynistic Trump supporter and quasi-cult leader, regularly books far-right and white supremacist figures on his YouTube show, which he uses to excoriate liberals and promote scientific racism.
On Molyneux’s show (which predated the NYT article), Prince lamented that in fifteen years of military occupation, the U.S. has failed to “push the Afghans to complete a mining law or an energy law, so an investor that says ‘I want to dig or mine gold in this area’ can’t even get the legal permission to do that.” He suggested putting Afghan battalions around gold mines or other resources to guard them from the Taliban and promote trade.
He compared his proposals to the reforms instituted in post-War Japan by Douglas MacArthur, and remarked that “we haven’t don anything like that in Afghanistan.”
“Yes it’s wonderful that people are going to school more,” Prince continued, “but, the fundamentals of an economy, are — our bureaucrats and leaders seem to have forgotten over the last fifteen years — property rights, mining law, energy laws would’ve injected huge amounts of capital and taken a lot of people off the streets and put them in jobs instead of as jihadis.”
Molyneux suggested that he would be sympathetic to the idea of withdrawing U.S. forces altogether, but is wary of a power vacuum forming — though he couched his reasoning in his usual Social Darwinist tripe:
So I am, of course, very tempted as I think are a lot of people to just say, you know, “We can’t fix it. You’ve got an IQ 83 population. It can’t be turned into anything productive. People have been trying to fix Afghanistan from the outside for 250 years. We got a country [where there was] a Communist insurgency, and then warlords, and then fundamentalist Islamists. We can’t fix it. The time is to get out. The time to do it is now.”
He asked Prince to elaborate on some of the crises that would occur following a pullout of American troops. Prince replied that, were the war to end, ISIS would fill the void in Afghanistan and make it the new site of their Caliphate — and would wage war against the Taliban in doing so. “So it becomes a fetid swamp of terrorist groups competing,” Prince claimed.