How’s this for a recipe that defies the seeming laws of common sense:
First, take Blackwater, otherwise known as “Xe,” a private security contractor that has been accused of abusive, hostile and violent behavior against the indigenous population of Iraq — including murder — not to mention corruption and intimidation of its employees, throughout the Iraq conflict. Then take the Afghan National Police, probably the most derided institution in all Afghanistan today for its legendary corruption and abuse of the Afghan population. Put them together and what do you get? Well, perhaps we don’t even want to know — but I’d bet money it don’t smell like “victory.”
Apparently the Department of Defense knows better. Laura Rozen over at Politico is reporting that Xe is poised to win a HUGE police training contract in Afghanistan:
Controversial defense contractor Blackwater, now known as Xe, is being told that it is likely to win a major contract to do police training mentoring and logistics in Afghanistan, a source tells POLITICO.
According to the well-informed source, U.S. authorities in Iraq including Gen. Stan McChrystal and US Ambasador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry had urged the Defense Department to issue the police training contract through DoD as opposed to through State/International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. DoD decided to use existing contract vehicles, where there are only five primes to use: Lockheed, Raytheon, Northrup, Arinc (owned by the Carlyle Group), and Blackwater.
None of them know anything about police training, the source said. Of those five, several decided not to bid, including Raytheon. Arinc’s parent company, Carlyle, got cold feet, was fearful that the contract could hurt the company’s reputation if people got killed. Lockheed was close to making a deal with DynCorp to do the police training, but decided against it. Instead it bid on the logistics part of the contract. (The contract has two parts- TORP 150 –Â police training; TORP 166 is logistics).
The only company to bid on both parts of the contract — the police training,Â and logistics parts — was Blackwater, the source said. Northrup decided to bid on the police training with MPRI.
I’m no expert, but if this war over thereÂ is all about doing battle with the Taliban for the “hearts and minds” of the people, then hiring Blackwater –Â whose name is so synonymous with arrogance and brutality that they had to change their own moniker –Â to train the Afghan police might not be very good “strategic communications.”
UPDATE: Maybe when Blackwater gets the contract, they’ll give the Afghan police back their guns.