The op‐ed, titled “Mercenaries for Darfur,” suggested using personnel from Blackwater Worldwide.
The opinion piece was not novel. Such calls have become increasingly popular and fashionable in recent years. The actress Mia Farrow, for example, has suggested that Blackwater should intervene.
In 2006 Max Boot, a senior fellow at the uber‐establishment Council on Foreign Relations, wrote that private units would be far more effective than any U.N. peacekeepers. He wrote, “Yet this solution is deemed unacceptable by the moral giants who run the United Nations. They claim that it is objectionable to employ — sniff — mercenaries. More objectionable, it seems, than passing empty resolutions, sending ineffectual peacekeeping forces and letting genocide continue.”
That same year Blackwater Vice Chairman Cofer Black, a former CIA official, said at a conference in Jordan that Blackwater was ready to provide brigade‐size forces — i.e., 1,500 to 3,000 strong — for peacekeeping missions around the world.
Also in 2006, Chris Taylor, a vice president of Blackwater, said it “has a database of thousands of former police and military officers for security assignments. … Blackwater personnel could set up perimeters and guard Darfurian villages and refugee camp in support of the U.N.”
In January 2007 New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote there is “a pretty good argument for Western governments or the U.N. to hire Blackwater or another private security company to go in and do this. There’s no reason, for example, why the U.N. (which has already authorized peacekeepers for eastern Chad but can’t find the troops) can’t just hire a security firm to do it and call them U.N. peacekeepers.”
But what was noteworthy about the Journal piece was who wrote it. The author, William McGurn, was the chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush until Feb. 8, 2008. McGurn wrote: