11 July, 2017
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Re: Private armies
The scariest story (amongst several, sadly!) on the front page of the New York Times today? In my view, it’s “Businessmen get a Say on Afghan War Strategy.” That Erik D. Prince, of Blackwater infamy, should be invited by the Trump team (to wit, Stephen K. Bannon) to consult with the U.S. military on the conduct of that never-ending and, to my mind, historically unwinnable war is both preposterous and dangerous.
Remember, Congressman, it was men from Prince’s private army who stormed into a public square in Iraq and shot up everything in sight, killing 17 innocent civilians?
Two obvious problems here. First, privatization. It’s a Republican obsession. You people seem to want to privatize everything, from the public education system (with Prince’s sister, Betsy at the helm of the Department of Education) to the national infrastructure—roads, bridges, tunnels, the whole lot—to the prison system, and so on. Everything for profit. Even government it seems, these days, has been co-opted as a for-profit branch of the Trump empire. By ostensibly making government “smaller” and “cutting taxes,” you are opening the door for Americans to be paying more out of their pockets, except to greedy private corporations instead of public-minded government agencies. Something wrong there. Especially when it comes to our military presence in the world.
Second, yes, because of the profit motive, in re-assigning responsibility for military action to the private sector, there’s the problem of conflict (excuse the term! The pun is appropriate here!) of interest. When corporate chiefs have a vested interest in sending men off to their deaths—and to inflict more death on their targets—their decisions become questionable to say the least.
May I know your opinion in this matter, Congressman? Would you support paying taxpayer to private, for-profit corporations, to have them fight our wars for us?
Peter Clothier, Ph.D.