Erik Prince, founder and former CEO of the notorious security contractor Blackwater, says the Pentagon should hire a mercenary corps to fight ISIL terrorists in Iraq and Syria.
“If the administration cannot rally the political nerve or funding to send adequate active duty ground forces to answer the call,” the US government should “let the private sector finish the job,” said Prince, now the chairman of Frontier Services Group, a company that operates in Africa.
Erik Prince, founder and former CEO of the notorious security contractor Blackwater. Prince is an ex Navy Seal.
As part of his strategy for “degrading and ultimately destroying” the ISIL terrorist organization, US President Barack Obama has authorized airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, but has repeatedly ruled out American boots on the ground in a combat role.
Prince, a one-time Navy SEAL, echoed the concern voiced by top US military officials that an aerial campaign alone would not be sufficient to defeat ISIL.
“If the old Blackwater team were still together, I have high confidence that a multi-brigade-size unit of veteran American contractors or a multi-national force could be rapidly assembled and deployed to be that necessary ground combat team,” Prince wrote this week on the website of his new company.
The Pentagon could hire such mercenaries “for their combat skills in armor, artillery, small unit tactics, special operations, logistics, and whatever else may be needed” in the new military campaign in Iraq and Syria, he added.
Blackwater was founded in 1997 in Moyock, North Carolina. The company became notorious following a September 16, 2007, incident in which five of its guards, protecting a US diplomatic convoy, went on a shooting spree in Baghdad, killing 17 civilians.
Last month a jury began deliberating a case against four former Blackwater employees implicated in the Baghdad shootings.
The private security firm received more than $1 billion in government contracts during the US occupation of Iraq.