Blackwater: the Coca-Cola of Security Contractors, But Not For Long
Remember Blackwater? They're kind of hard to forget for obvious reasons, but not necessarily as well-known for others. But, take it from them, security was never "part of the master plan." Or the brand.
Publicly, they claim to be shifting gears away from the business that's earned them "hundreds of millions of dollars" during the war in Iraq.
But it's anyone's guess as to what is actually going on in this shadowy world of private military forces.
And, in my view, Coca-Cola isn't going to stop selling cola anytime soon.
Blackwater Worldwide, the company that unwittingly became a catchall brand name for security contractors in Iraq, wants to shift its business away from the sector that earned it hundreds of millions of dollars.
Blackwater executives said Monday that they never intended security to become such a large part of their business. They said the intense and often negative media attention, coupled with multiple government investigations following a deadly shooting last year in Baghdad, simply make the cost of doing business too high.
"The experience we've had would certainly be a disincentive to any other companies that want to step in and put their entire business at risk," company founder and CEO Erik Prince told The Associated Press during a daylong visit to the company's North Carolina compound.
Blackwater will continue guarding U.S. officials in Iraq — under a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars — but its future will be focused on training, aviation and logistics, the company said.
"Security was not part of the master plan, ever," company president Gary Jackson said.
Nevertheless, the company became synonymous with the image of private security guards in Iraq.
"It's been like Coca-Cola," Jackson said. "Blackwater: Security contractors."