Privatizing The War In Afghanistan

Jul 20, 2017

Talk in the West Wing about using a private army of mercenaries to take over the war in Afghanistan. Blackwater founder Erik Prince is with us.

This fall will mark 16 years of U.S. troops in Afghanistan – war in Afghanistan. America’s defense chief says we’re not winning. The Trump administration is looking for ways out of the box. One idea, with interest from Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner: hand the US Afghan operation off to private contractors. Mercenaries. Let them deal. Blackwater founder Erik Prince is all for it. He’s with us today. This hour On Point: the mercenary option and Afghanistan. — Tom Ashbrook


Joshua Smith, Afghanistan correspondent for Reuters. (@joshjonsmith)

Erik Prince, founder of the government services and security company Blackwater. Executive director and chairman of Frontier Services Group, a global private security firm. Head of the private equity firm Frontier Resource Group.

Sean McFate, senior fellow at The Atlantic Council. Professor at the National Defense University and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Former manager at DynCorp. (@seanmcfate)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Trump Aides Recruited Businessmen to Devise Options for Afghanistan — “President Trump’s advisers recruited two businessmen who profited from military contracting to devise alternatives to the Pentagon’s plan to send thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan, reflecting the Trump administration’s struggle to define its strategy for dealing with a war now 16 years old.”

The Atlantic: The ‘Blackwater 2.0’ Plan for Afghanistan — “Here’s a crazy idea floating around Washington these days, outlandish even by today’s outlandish standards: The United States should hire a mercenary army to “fix” Afghanistan, a country where we’ve been at war since 2001, spending billions along the way. The big idea here is that they could extricate U.S. soldiers from this quagmire, and somehow solve it.”

Wall Street Journal: The MacArthur Model for Afghanistan — “Afghanistan is an expensive disaster for America. The Pentagon has already consumed $828 billion on the war, and taxpayers will be liable for trillions more in veterans’ health-care costs for decades to come. More than 2,000 American soldiers have died there, with more than 20,000 wounded in action. For all that effort, Afghanistan is failing. The terrorist cohort consistently gains control of more territory, including key economic arteries. It’s time for President Trump to fix our approach to Afghanistan in five ways.”

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