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Aug 08 2017

The Outsourcing of War

The Trump administration has a brilliant idea on how to deael with the conundrum of the 16 year war in Afghanistan: privatize it by outsourcing it to a private mercenary army.

Trump White House weighs unprecedented plan to privatize much of the war in Afghanistan
By Jim Michaels, USA Today

The White House is actively considering a bold plan to turn over a big chunk of the U.S. war in Afghanistan to private contractors in an effort to turn the tide in a stalemated war, according to the former head of a security firm pushing the project.

Under the proposal, 5,500 private contractors, primarily former Special Operations troops, would advise Afghan combat forces. The plan also includes a 90-plane private air force that would provide air support in the nearly 16-year-old war against Taliban insurgents, Erik Prince, founder of the Blackwater security firm, told USA TODAY.

The unprecedented proposal comes as the U.S.-backed Afghan military faces a stalemate in the war and growing frustration by President Trump about the lack of progress in the war. [..]

Prince said the plan will cost less than $10 billion a year, significantly lower than the more than $40 billion the Pentagon has budgeted this year.

The prospect of accomplishing more with less money could appeal to a career businessman like Trump.

Prince, who has met frequently with administration officials to discuss his plan, is the brother of Trump’s education secretary, Betsy Devos.

In a CNN panel discussion, Michael D’Antonio, author of The Truth About Trump, blasted the idea as one more way that the Trump is looting the US Treasury to enrich himself and his billionaire friends.

Then there is the Trump Organization the president has said he stepped away from to let his sons operate. D’Antonio recalled the press conference where candidate Trump appeared with a table full of file folders.

“We all knew most of them were empty,” he said. “We still are waiting for good information about the reality of these properties. So, it really does give a lot of us pause for concern.”

He brought up a what the public response would have been if there was an “Obama hotel” or “Bush resort.”

“There would be no end to the criticism of those presidents,” D’Antonio continued. “And rightfully so. This is why it’s so problematic for someone in that highest office to have such far flung business dealings. Today we hear that there’s contemplation of using a mercenary army in Afghanistan that is owned by his Education Secretary’s brother. You know, this is getting to the point where it looks like they’re looting the presidency for their own gain.”

Prince is making the rounds of cable news shows push his agenda which, he revealed would include taking over the hashish and heroin trade from the Taliban and making a profit for himself. He put that forth this morning on MSNBC in an interview with Stephanie Ruhle and Ali Veshi. The conversation is at the opening of the second video. (H/t to Frances Langum at Crooks and Liars. You can read the full transcript there.)