Erik Prince, owner of the “shoot first and make excuses later” group of mercenaries called Blackwater Worldwide (formerly known as Blackwater USA) claims calling his collection of hired killers “mercenaries” is a “slanderous term.”
I don’t know if it is possible to slander a slimeball like Erik Prince. A soldier of fortune who built his empire with his daddy’s money, Prince is just another killer for hire.
He’s also dumb as a stump when it comes to American history.
As Evan Thomas and Mark Hosenball report in Newsweek:
Erik Prince likes to point out that in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, stand the statues of four military officers who helped whip the ragtag Continental Army into shape to defeat the British in the Revolutionary War. Prince can quote the inscription under the statue of Gen. Wilhelm von Steuben, who trained George Washington’s troops at Valley Forge, Pa.: “He gave military training and discipline to the citizen soldiers who achieved the independence of the United States.” The private soldiers employed by Prince’s company, Blackwater USA, to protect American officials in Iraq are in a “noble tradition,” Prince tells NEWSWEEK. Indeed, at Blackwater, Lafayette Park is jokingly called “Contractor Park.”
But don’t call the Blackwater men “mercenaries.” That’s a “slanderous term” used by Blackwater’s detractors, “an inflammatory word they use to malign us,” says Prince. Mercenaries, he says, are professional soldiers who work for a foreign government. Blackwater’s men are “Americans working for the American government.” (Never mind that von Steuben was Prussian, and that the other three statues-of the Marquis de Lafayette, Comte de Rochambeau and Thaddeus Kosciuszko-honor two Frenchmen and a Pole.)
But dumb or not, Prince is more than just another right-wing kook with a lot of guns and a no-bid government contract to kill at will. Jeremy Scahill, author of the book Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, told Newsweek that Prince is a “neo-crusader,” a “Theocon” with a Christian-supremacist agenda.
Which means Prince fits right in with the madman of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – George W. Bush – the deranged President who sees the invasion of Iraq and massacre of thousands upon thousands of that country’s civilians as a mandate from God.
Prince’s private army of professional killers operates without rules, without boundaries and with the full blessing of the Bush administration. Still, their tactics shock and scare even those they are hired to “protect.”
As Newsweek also reports:
Some American diplomats-and not a few professional soldiers in the U.S. military-look askance at the heavy-handed swagger of the Blackwater guards, who often sport goatees and tattoos, wear wraparound shades, brandish their weapons and have been known to run anyone off the road who gets in their way. One State Department official, who spoke anonymously so as not to offend any guardians, tells NEWSWEEK, “It was one step forward in a meeting with Iraqis and two steps back as cars were getting bumped off the road on the ride home.”
Prince says it is a “slander” to call his operatives “mercenaries.”
If anything, calling them mercs is too kind.
Blackwater operatives are murderers, thugs and goons – just the kind of people we would expect to work for – and support – the likes of George W. Bush.