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Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror Hardcover – November 18, 2013
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“Prince’s book belongs on the shelf next to the memoirs of the other Iraq and Afghanistan war chieftains…. we need Prince’s story to help us understand the history of the post- 9/11 wars and the myriad roles contractors played in these conflicts.”
—The Washington Post
About the Author
Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL, founded Blackwater in 1997. He served as its CEO until 2009 and its Chairman until 2010, when the company was sold. A native of Michigan, he now lives in Abu Dhabi, where he pursues a variety of business ventures.
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The book is a history of Blackwater and of its founder-author who presents an honest and forthwith account of building a company in the midst of conducting security US State Dept contracts in an environment not known previously in our military history. For those who never deployed or were assigned during our country's time in Iraq (and especially those who attempted to second guess what it was like), Iraq was absolutely monumentally dangerous. The dis-organization that was Bremer's time as a result of inept post invasion planning highlighted by the disbandment of the Iraqi military and moreso, the civilian infrastructure was (in my opinion) a large part of the catalyst and causation of the insurgency.
Although this reviewed never worked with Blackwater personnel, I knew of their missions and of their force protection challenges in terms of both physical resources and qualified personnel. The US State Department was the singular beneficiary, as no personnel were KIA. Blackwater's record of accomplishment was stellar. Several chapters deal with incidents which resulted in civilian deaths-unfortunately war, especially the war in Iraq was in essence.."who are the bad guys?"
Without a doubt, no other organization with that much exposure to the insurgency performed so well under absolutely critical security and force protections metrics. Things changed daily-I cannot imagine how a civilian organization could adjust without dedicated, well trained and focused personnel who understood the dynamics of the overall situation.
So as to the mission, Prince, et al in the management did what few organizations could accomplish. Even our military would of had a difficult time adapting to changing times on the ground with as many troopers and unlimited resources which were available.
The comments about his family and the devastating and horrific personal experiences with regard to his wife while she was undergoing cancer treatment..and the indiscretions along the way.
For those who worked contract in either Afghanistan or Iraq, this book provides and insight into the workings of a company contracted by the Federal government and at the same time viewed with great indifference within members of Congress.
Make no mistake for those who question the salaries of those who worked on conflict/war zones. No benefits, no retirement, just straight salary with the belief one was doing something good (good guys against the bad guys) and supporting our troopers.
Frankly, post Iraq was a mess and as mentioned the Bush, Cheney & Bremer trio "of who made the decision" to totally dismiss some 400,000 Iraqi soldiers who allegedly (read Fiasco by Tom Ricks) and according to their Iraqi commanders wished to support the new government post Saddam. Add to it the civilian infrastructure directly caused the country to fall apart..with some 4468 US KIA and over 30,000 WIA and at a cost nearly one billion US dollars (mostly borrowed from China).
The legacy of the war in Iraq will be with us for decades to come..
RH (Haiti, Bosnia, Croatia, Sudan ( 2 tours), Afghanistan, Iraq, Uganda)
If you're looking for a different perspective of how the world of private contractors works, the challenges they face, and the type of work they do, this is a great book to read.