While initially heartened by Iraq’s cancellation of Blackwater’s licence to do “business” in Iraq–the revocation coming because of the killing of 11 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad–the on-second-thought came quick enough. Second thought: Since when does Iraq tell an American firm what to do?
And sure enough, today, Iraq appears to be backing down from it’s resolve to withdraw Blackwater’s “business” the license.
My interest in Blackwater however is over its founder. You see, Blackwater was founded by Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL, and a multi-millionaire right-wing fundamentalist Christian from a powerful Michigan Republican family. His wealth came from his father, Edgar Prince, who headed Prince Automotive, an auto parts and machinery manufacturer.
Prince shares Bush’s Christian views and not surprisingly is a major Republican contributor. His social circle includes Gary Bauer, who, with help from his father, started the Family Research Council.
Whether Blackwater is the most powerful mercenary army in the world, with a blank cheque from the Bush administration, as Jeremy Scahill claims in his book, or whether it is just a private security firm operating in a war zone, and other zones–like protecting corporate holdings during the New Orleans flood–one thing is clear; it has become the most successful security organization, and the richest, in the history of security firms (a.k.a. mercenary armies).
And why? Well, probably because Blackwater does have something like a blank cheque from the Bush administration.