Erik Prince, the former CEO of mercenary contractor Blackwater, recently spoke to conservative commentator Candace Owens in a PragerU clip. The video teased a Sunday show that explores the question of how to stop “endless wars” and the possibility that the private sector might be part of the solution.
During the clip, Prince touched on why he believes people on the political left have targeted the private military company.
“You know, in the Vietnam War, the anti-war left went after the troops,” Prince said. “And in the Iraq War, this time they went after contractors. And Blackwater represented everything they loved to hate. I was a heterosexual male with children that owned a lot of guns and a weapons training facility.”
The 50-year-old former Navy SEAL later said that Blackwater was the “perfect target for the frothy left.”
Per The New York Times, Blackwater came under scrutiny for its role in the 2007 shooting of unarmed Iraqis in Nisour Square in Baghdad. Although four Blackwater Worldwide contractors were found guilty of murder in 2014 for their role in the massacre, three of the verdicts were thrown out, and a retrial was ordered for Nicholas A. Slatten.
Slatten, who was reportedly the first to fire the unprovoked shots into the square, was eventually found guilty again.
How do we stop the endless wars?
Does the private sector hold the answer?
— PragerU (@prageru) December 20, 2019
Given the controversy surrounding Blackwater, Prince’s response to attacks on the company drew criticism.
“PragerU playing defense for a firm with multiple atrocities on their hands,” one user wrote.
“Blackwater are hired killers who committed war crimes, but please go on about how they are good actually and ‘tHe LeFt’, lmfao, this is beyond parody,” another wrote.
“Whitewashing war criminals to own the libs,” another joked.
In a piece for The Intercept, reporter Matthew Cole noted that Prince’s stint in the Navy SEALs lasted just three or four years and didn’t include any time in battle. According to Cole, people who know Prince well believe that what drives his work in private military contracting is this purported lack of real-time experience on the battlefield.
Prince previously made headlines when he admitted that he was present at the controversial Trump Tower meeting that took place during Donald Trump‘s 2016 presidential campaign. Other figures who attended the meeting include Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., as well as representatives of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Prince notably testified before a congressional committee under oath in 2017 that he did not have an official or unofficial role in Trump’s 2016 campaign, and he did not reveal his presence at the Trump Tower meeting.