View Full Version : Erik Prince Q&A @ Oxford: quite a grilling

03-09-2019, 02:30 PM
Caught this via Twitter and have watched parts of the interview at The Oxford Union, by Medhi Hassan, a UK journalist and it is intense. The programme is part of 'Head to Head' a series of interviews from Al-Jazeera; which may put off some, don't watch and judge yourself.

They explain the programme as:
Head to Head is Al Jazeera's forum for ideas, a gladiatorial contest tackling big issues such as faith, nationalism, democracy and foreign intervention, in front of an opinionated audience at the Oxford Union.

Adding more:
In front of the Oxford Union audience, we challenge Prince on the record of his private contractors in the Iraq w ar and ask him to explain how his controversial plan for the conflict in Afghanistan would bring it to an end. We’ll also ask Prince, who previously served as an informal advisor to President Trump and has been interviewed by both the US House Intelligence Committee and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, about his ties to the current administration.

There is an existing thread on Blackwater into which this thread will go one day, meantime some publicity:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?629-Matters-Blackwater-(Merged-thread)

Bill Moore
03-09-2019, 08:07 PM
After listening to this interview I'm further convinced Prince's plan for Afghanistan is a failure, and only a naive administration would adopt it. Prince is either a simplistic liar, which is doubtful or a borderline traitor when it comes to his business with China. Helping China with trade in Africa simply means he augmenting one of China's three warfares, economic warfare to achieve a coercive advantage over African nations. His flippant comment that he believes that countries that trade with one another won't fight each other is simply an attempt to justify the unjustifiable. His comments on Afghanistan also demonstrate either a lack of strategic understanding or deception. The story that the CIA and Special Forces won the war in Afghanistan and the conventional forces lost it is rubbish. CIA paramilitary, Special Forces, and the Air Force (the first two heroically) successfully won the conventional fight. The unconventional fight started afterward when the Taliban started waging their insurgency. In short, the war was never won, a key battle was. Prince's strategy still represents a forever war, and of course a forever paycheck. He further undermines his proposals with his comments about replicated the East India Company model, which is a colonization model. He could use a good public affairs manager to help him avoid major missteps like this.

In Prince's favor, I think he handled himself well under some very intense questioning, and some of the accusations were out of line. His folks in Iraq were bodyguards/security details, not warfighters. Within his ranks, he had some highly professional and capable people and some ass clowns. The State Department accusations about Blackwater contractors being a bunch of drunks and problematic was not inaccurate. I saw it in one location. This particular group created a lot of problems for us due to the hostility they generated within the local population towards us. In fairness, they didn't represent the entire organization, but we all know it only takes one ass clown in an organization to give the entire organization a black eye. Sadly, Blackwater had a lot more than one ass clown in its ranks.

His point about having his men carry cameras is a good one, I'm not sure why they weren't doing so years ago? Maybe the State Department contract prohibited it? The host of the show didn't seem to grasp that you have to fire first if you believe a suicide driver in a car bomb (VBIED) is coming at you. He kept accusing Prince of his men shooting first in numerous reports. If the host educated himself on the threat prior hand, he may have reconsidered that line of discussion. Still, at the end of the day, Prince resembles the mercenaries in Machiavelli's writings, loyal only to the dollar, but to no nation (or city-state). In my opinion, this isn't what the U.S. should represent. Contractors will always be required to support our operations, but leading them is a step down the wrong path.