Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Crown Prince Of Darkness At It Again

The least that can be said about Erik Prince is that he worships a very unusual God. The son of the co-founder of the ultra-conservative Family Research Council, Prince considers himself a Christian of the highest order who holds strong views on the sanctity of life. How then to square this with Prince's decidely un-Christian avocation as an entrepreneur specializing in death and destruction?

Don't bother to try.

Prince was the founder of Blackwater Worldwide, which in a short 11 years earned a reputation for being the most draconian of military contractors whose highly-paid mercenaries had unparalleled reputations for thuggery, most infamously
a shootout in Baghdad in 2007 that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead.

Blackwater's sidelines have included operating assassination squads and gunrunning for at least one terrorist group. Several government agencies, notably the CIA and State Department, funneled nearly $1 billion to the company, including $100 million or so since Barack Obama became president. Prince routinely stiffed the widows of slain mercenaries when they sought to obtain death benefits, but while the list of litigation against he and Blackwater is lengthy, he and it have literally gotten away with murder time and again.

Prince changed the name of Blackwater to Xe Services because of all the bad publicity and then sold Xe in 2009. He moved to Abu Dhabi, possibly to escape his mounting legal woes, and is said to be writing his autobiography. And, according to The New York Times, assembling a secret 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the United Arab Emirates.

The UAE considers its own military to be inadequate, and Prince's force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down pro-democracy uprisings and unrest in the emirates' notorious labor camps.

No pun intended, it was Machiavelli who said: "In mercenaries dastardly is most
dangerous; in auxiliaries, valor. The wise prince, therefore, has always avoided these arms and turned to his own; and has been willing rather to lose with them than to conquer with others, not deeming that a real victory which is gained with the arms of others."

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