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The Making of Blackwater
Added 2531 days ago in
Erik Prince bounded up the stairs of a sand-colored building and paused on the flat roof, a high point of the 7,000-acre facility in North Carolina known as Blackwater Lodge and Training Center.
As owner of Blackwater, he has been the focus of intense scrutiny recently by Congress and critics because the company's private security forces have at times operated with impunity in Iraq, including allegations that they murdered innocent civilians. But on a steamy afternoon this week, just days after testifying on Capitol Hill, Prince seemed like a king surveying his domain.
There's no other place quite like Blackwater, at least not in private hands. The complex anchors a global training and security operation that is one of the government's fastest-growing contractors and both a fixture and a flashpoint of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In a decade, Blackwater's revenue from federal government contracts has grown exponentially, from less than $100,000 to almost $600 million last year. In August, the company won its biggest deal ever, a five-year counternarcotics training contract worth up to $15 billion shared with four other companies.
Blackwater's extraordinary rise would not have been possible without a swirl of historic forces, including sharp cuts in military and security staffing in the 1990s, the Bush administration's drive to outsource government services to the private sector and the sudden demand for improved security in response to the threat of terrorism.
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Should all U.S. Government contracts with Blackwater be rescinded?
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2529 days ago
if we're going to win this war, we need to privatize warfare. you can't expect the government to get these barbarians under control. it's time for the american people to step up and take control of the situation.
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