Blackwater’s hired guns. The private military firm now operates under the name Xe.
President Obama railed against the reliance on private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan during his campaign, but new Pentagon statistics reveal their number has steadily grown since he took office, increasing 23 percent in Iraq and 29 percent in Afghanistan in the second quarter of 2009. “Blackwater” author Jeremy Scahill investigates.
A couple of years ago, Blackwater executive Joseph Schmitz seemed to see a silver lining for mercenary companies with the prospect of US forces being withdrawn or reduced in Iraq. “There is a scenario where we could as a government, the United States, could pull back the military footprint,” Schmitz said. “And there would then be more of a need for private contractors to go in.”
When it comes to armed contractors, it seems that Schmitz was right.