Blackwater founder Erik Prince made a statement recently that was roundly critical of Obama administration policies, calling Obama out for having destroyed his company that could otherwise have solved the ISIS “boots on the ground” issue.
“It’s a shame the [Obama] administration crushed my old business, because as a private organization, we could’ve solved the boots-on-the-ground issue, we could have had contracts from people that want to go there as contractors; you don’t have the argument of U.S. active duty going back in there,” Prince said in an on-stage discussion featuring retired four-star Gen. James Conway. “[They could have] gone in there and done it, and be done, and not have a long, protracted political mess that I predict will ensue.”
The left already thinks of US troops as mercenaries (Washington Post writer Bill “American troops are baby-killing mercenary scum who need to shut up and do what I tell them” Arkin is infamous for it) and uses it as an epithet. And they generally tend to hold Tim Robbin’s opinion on business (that aren’t their own) as well:
The solution to dealing with ISIS might actually be to just agree with the left and actually let corporations go in with mercenary forces to clean up the mess.
If corporations actually had fought a blood war for oil in Iraq (as per the leftist fantasy), then there would be corporate entities with an interest in the final outcome of the conflict. If Exxon/Shell/BP/Texaco were all invested in the nation as part of their bottom line, they’d be interested in building the place up.
Historically, US companies have built infrastructure in other nations. The first example that comes to mind is Creole Petroleum Corporation, which built up Venezuela’s oil business (which Venezuela took over by nationalization in 1976). MST3K riffed one of their short films back in the mid-late 90s.
I started writing this whole post a few days ago, then life got in the way, and now returning to it, I see it still holds quite true. The world has started asking questions about this shaky coalition of the unwilling, Iraqi civilians who haven’t fled are left between the Scylla of American airstrikes with no ground support and the Charybdis of ISIS which still controls their lives.
President Obama has declared “war upon war so we can have peace upon peace” which sounds like Woodrow Wilson’s lying promises of noninterventionism coupled with his propaganda that dragged us into WWI now married to Neville Chamberlain’s naivete when it comes to dealing with aggressors.
Ultimately, a mercenary force on the ground would solve the political quandary of putting American forces into active combat (even though we have troops on the ground… and they are wearing boots, no matter how many times the lie of “no boots on the ground” is repeated). If Iraq as a nation were run by anyone who cared about the nation – whether decent Iraqis or foreign business interests, they’d have hired mercenaries on their own by now. If Iraq’s war were privatized and subject to market forces, it would be won and stabilized already.
The problems of the Iraq war, both under Bush and Obama, are representative of their respective ideologies. Bush believed in spreading freedom and democracy to people whose capacity to immediately accept freedom and democracy even the Founders would’ve been skeptical of. Bush’s domestic policy in the US ignored the US borders and ignored sovereignty for domestic business interests, so thinking of the border as something that should be sealed didn’t really occur to him or those around him – hence the foreign fighters who were swarming across in the 2004-2006 timeframe. The HET team I got to work with briefly near Fallujah in 2005 explained that the entire problem in Iraq stemmed from foreign terrorists that the locals could clearly identify, but who kept coming in because borders were porous. But Bush’s failures were contrasted with successes, though – the surges worked. It was a fix to a problem that could’ve been prevented, but it still was a fix.
Obama’s ideology when it comes to problems is to talk about them just enough to say they aren’t important (or to blame Republican partisanship for them while claiming to be nonpartisan), and then handwaving them away. His problem-solving methods are limited to rhetoric and using the bully pulpit to be dismissive of all criticism, and enjoying a press that willingly obliges his every whim. His answer to Iraq is that it’s Bush’s fault because of the status-of-forces agreement of 2008, one which Obama did not seek to change with Iraq because he accepted the will of the Iraqi government as being every bit as important as America’s. The US isn’t exceptional to him, and all countries are equal.
This led the US-Iraq relationship to become one that may as well have been a Maury Povich show with “out of control” children telling their parents off, and the parents sighing that they just can’t do anything about it. Iraq needed to be leaned on until they accepted. Obama was unwilling to lean on Iraq and tell them they had to accept in order to prevent a predictable result like ISIS, because Obama didn’t want to be involved. He’s the absentee parent who doesn’t want the kid, so he lets the kid run wild – and/or blames the kid’s other parent for the problems while absolving himself of responsiblity and saying he never wanted kids in the first place. None of that solves the problem and all of it contributes to it.
Nonetheless, he uses the 2008 status of forces agreement as an excuse. When ISIS threatens everyone in the world, he responds with “I will not be intimidated” and some more words. Now, pushed hard by his staff, he’s barely on board with half-measures that will accomplish little besides aiding Assad against ISIS and give ISIS a rallying cry for more terrorists to join them. A declaration of “I will put no American boots on the ground” (technically already a lie, but the intent to avoid conflict is clear) is a declaration that thoroughly emboldens the enemy as much as a retreat date in Afghanistan did there, and that declaration of timidity reminds our other geopolitical foes like Russia that we aren’t going to do anything to save the Ukraine.