Anyone who thinks Blackwater is in serious trouble is dead wrong. Business has never been better for Blackwater and its future looks bright. It seems that executives from Blackwater Worldwide, the Bush Administration’s favorite hired guns in Iraq and Afghanistan, are threatening to pack up their M4 assault rifles, CS gas and Little Bird helicopters and go back to the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina whence they came. Or at least that’s how it is being portrayed in the media.
This story broke on July 21, when the Associated Press ran an article based on lengthy interviews with Blackwater’s top guns. Since then, the story has picked up considerable steam and generated a tremendous amount of buzz online and in the press. After all, Blackwater has long been a key part of the US occupation and has been at the center of several high-profile scandals and deadly incidents. Add to that its owner’s ties to the White House and the radical religious right in the United States and it is clear why this is news. On top of that, Barack Obama–a critic of Blackwater–had just completed a tour of Iraq, where he was touting his "withdrawal plan."
Among the headlines: "Blackwater Plans Exit From Guard Work," "Blackwater Getting Out Of Security Business," "Blackwater Sounds Retreat From Private Security Business," and "Blackwater to Leave Security Business." One blogger slapped this headline on his post: "Blackwater, Worst Organization Since SS, To End Mercenary Work."
Frankly, this is a whole lot of hype.
Anyone who thinks Blackwater is in serious trouble is dead wrong. Even if–and this is a big if–the company pulled out of Iraq tomorrow, here is the cold, hard fact: business has never been better for Blackwater, and its future looks bright. More on this in a moment.
Back to the matter at hand:
Complaining that negative media attention and Congressional and criminal investigations are hurting business and that the Blackwater name had become a catch-all target for antiwar protesters, the company’s brass told the AP Blackwater was shifting its focus to its other areas of government contracting, like law enforcement and military training, as well as logistics.
”The experience we’ve had would certainly be a disincentive to any other companies that want to step in and put their entire business at risk,” said Erik Prince, Blackwater’s reclusive, 39-year-old founder and owner. Company president Gary Jackson said Blackwater has become like the "Coca-Cola" of war contractors, a brand representing all private companies servicing the Iraq occupation. Jackson charged the company had been falsely portrayed in the media, saying, ”If [the media] could get it right, we might stay in the business.”