Mark Perry returns to the show to talk about his latest exclusive for The American Conservative Magazine, “Bannon & Kushner Want to Outsource Afghanistan to Mercenaries.” Perry explains that Kushner and Bannon are against a troop surge in Afghanistan, but don’t want to be blamed for losing the war if they withdraw completely. Instead they’re pushing Donald Trump to outsource the war to mercenaries. According to Perry’s sources, Trump is in favor of the idea, at least privately. But his top military advisors, James Mattis and H.R. McMaster, are not. If Trump decides to go with Bannon and Kushner, the CIA would contract with the companies—run by Erik Prince and Steve Feinberg—to run the war in Afghanistan.
Perry believes what’s more likely is that the U.S. attempts to bring the Taliban back to the negotiating table and figure out a political solution. In order to do so, however, they will need Pakistan’s help as the Taliban has steadfastly held that they will only negotiate after the U.S. leaves Afghanistan. Finally, Perry notes that there will almost certainly be a “surge of enablers”—4,000 troops and specialists to buttress the government in Kabul. But will there be more than that? And will they be conventional troops or guns for hire? Washington is divided between the army guys who are dead set against mercenary warfare and the CIA operatives who are in favor. A decision should come soon.
Mark Perry is the author of Talking to Terrorists: Why America Must Engage with its Enemies and The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthur. His next book, The Pentagon’s Wars will be released in October. Mark Perry is on Twitter @MarkPerryDC.
Discussed on the Show:
- Erik Prince
- Frontier Services Group (FSG)
- James Mattis
- H.R. McMaster
- Steve Feinberg
- “Emirates Secretly Sends Colombian Mercenaries to Yemen Fight” (New York Times)
- “The MacArthur Model for Afghanistan,” by Erik Prince (Wall Street Journal)
- East India Company
- Bagram Air Base
- Helmand Province
- Hessian soldiers
- “A New U.S. Approach to Pakistan: Enforcing Aid Conditions without Cutting Ties,” by Lisa Curtis