Blackwater Founder Unapologetic on Company's Role in Iraq
By MaryAlice Parks, James Hill, and Ely Brown
The nation's most infamous private security firm, Blackwater, Inc., has a new weapon these days: the written word. Three years after selling the controversial company, Blackwater founder Erik Prince is opening up in a new book, "Civilian Warriors."
In an interview on "This Week," Prince discussed the civilian armed forces company's rapid rise and the controversial end to its operations in Iraq.
A former Navy SEAL, Prince is unabashedly unapologetic for Blackwater's contentious record. He blames the company's demise on "cold and timid souls" looking for scapegoats, specifically pointing to those already set against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The anti-war left went after the troops during an unpopular Vietnam War. This time they went after the contractors. Blackwater was a very easy whipping boy for them," Prince told ABC's Martha Raddatz.
The contracting group's aggressive tactics gave its critics ammunition. In September 2007, one Blackwater team coming to the aid of another after a car bombing fired on approximately three dozen Iraqi civilians, killing at least 11 people, including a 9-year-old boy. A handful of Blackwater members now face manslaughter charges related to the confrontation. While they deny any wrong-doing, the incident led to Blackwater's eventual expulsion from Iraq.
But for Prince, the charges are all politics.
"If the amount of scrutiny paid to that event was paid to every other shooting of any U.S. forces or other contractor forces, it would tie up the Justice Department for the next decade," Prince said.
"War is dangerous. It is difficult, and unfortunately, civilians get killed," he added.
Prince told Raddatz his biggest regret was working with the State Department in Iraq. When asked about criticisms that Blackwater's tactics inflamed anti-American sentiment, Prince pointed to State Department rules that he said in his view were misguided.
"You shall use American vehicles. A washed and waxed Chevy suburban between point A and point B with lights and sirens on," he said. "It's pretty easy for the enemy to play Whack-a-Mole."
"If I sound unapologetic, I guess I am. Because the company did exactly what it was asked to do," Prince added. "It did it well. Every diplomat, bureaucrat and member of Congress that visited Iraq came home alive under our guys' care."
Read an excerpt from " Civilian Warriors" and watch the full report Monday on "Nightline."
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