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Erik Prince Thinks He Can Turn Around The War In Afghanistan With 6 Months And 3,600 Men
The former founder and CEO of Blackwater says he needs just six months and roughly 3,600 men to make the Afghan War look far different from the shitshow it is now.
In an interview with Afghanistan's TOLO News, Erik Prince once again pitched his idea to privatize the nearly-17-year-old conflict, offering up a force of "contracted veteran mentors" from the United States and NATO countries to serve alongside Afghan security forces.
“Well, I would say six months after the program is fully ramped up, you have a very different situation on the ground, I will commit to that,” Prince said, outlining a plan to provide 36 contractors for each unit of Afghan security forces, who would serve for two to four years at a time.
Yes, you read that right: Erik Prince says he can turn the war around in six months while suggesting his contractors could be there for at least four years.
“They provide leadership, intelligence, communications, medicals, and logistics expertise to their Afghan counterparts and go with them in the field all the time to make sure their Afghan counterparts are paid and fed, that they are well led, that they have a communications plan, all those essential elements of soldiering don’t break down,” he said.
Prince also said that if one of his contractors "does an evil act" such as intentionally injuring a civilian, they "could" be held accountable through the military's Uniform Code of Military Justice, which brought military contractors into the fold back in 2007.
"It's legally possible" to bring charges against a contractor in Afghanistan or elsewhere, according to Phil Carter, a lawyer and senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. "Contractors can be subject to the UCMJ in war or contingency operations."
But... there's a big but.
Carter mentioned the court-martial of Alaa Mohammad Ali, an Iraqi working for a contractor who was convicted of stabbing a fellow contractor. Although Ali was convicted and his appeal was subsequently denied, it still remains an open question of whether an American civilian could be convicted under military law and still pass constitutional muster.
"It's not really been tested otherwise, and there's sort of a big question as to how this would take place," Carter said.
Prince has been shopping his privatization plan for several months to American officials and in the media. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis shot down the idea last month, telling reporters at the Pentagon that "privatizing is probably not a wise idea."
A spokesman for the U.S. Resolute Support Mission declined to comment.
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.