Author(s): Suzanne Simons
In the long annals of military privateers there has never been a story quite like that of Blackwater USA. No company has ever so quickly amassed its size, fire- and man-power, and full-service military capability. No company did so well during the Bush years, nor crashed to the ground more quickly as those years came to an end. And no man better exemplifies the risks and rewards taken and offered during the Bush years than Blackwater's founder, Erik Prince. Blackwater became radioactive after one particular violent eruption killed more than a dozen innocent Iraqi civilians in 2007. It was only a matter of time before the Iraqi government banned the company from working anywhere within its borders. By 2009, with its Iraq contract finished, its reputation and balance sheet were in tatters. In February, the company changed its name to Xe (short for xenon, an inert and noncombustible gas) and Erik Prince stepped away from actively managing his fiefdom. "Master of War" is a close-up, unvarnished, and unbiased case study of hubris and power--and a disturbing story of a democracy's foreign policy placed in private hands.
Suzanne Kelly Simons is an Executive Producer at CNN based in Atlanta. She has also worked as a freelance anchor for CNN International since 1988 in both Berlin and Atlanta. She was a freelance foreign correspondent in Germany and covered the Kosovo conflict from Macedonia and Kosovo in 1999.