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Book Review: Civilian Warriors

Blackwater

The name sounds as ominous as the events that swirled around the infamous company. The media has portrayed the company as a bunch of wild eyed mercenaries killing at will with total immunity. Critics have piled on with accusations ranging from murder to corruption.

Personally, I am skeptical of mercenaries. A quick look at history will suffice to show that  the use of warriors for hire has a checkered past. While I question the media's narrative in general, I certainly have deep reservations about outsourcing to mercenaries.

Civilian Warriors by Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, is an engaging read.  In it, Erik lays out his life story and how the son of a businessman ended up running one of the most famous private military companies. He gives an insider view on how the company grew rapidly from a training company into a diversified contractor with an air wing, weapon development center, and bodyguard services. Their main focus was safeguarding of US State department personal which they flawlessly accomplished.

He tackles the good and the bad including the infamous Nisour square incident. The short version of the story is that an Iraqi vehicle refused to stop and set off a firefight that left seventeen people dead and Blackwater under the cloud of investigation. He makes a strong case that Blackwater became the victim of a media and congressional witch hunt.

 He also rails against Pentagon waste and argues forcefully that his contracting services were a benefit to tax payers through their efficiency.

In the end I still have reservations about utilization private military companies ( mercenaries). However, Erik Prince lays out a thoughtful and compelling case that Blackwater and others like it operate in the interest of the Unites States.

Rating: Silver

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