What’s a life worth?

(Credit: US Marine Corps/Reuters via BBC)

According to billionaire mercenary kingpin Erik Prince, it’s $6,500, plus expenses. That’s what he’s charging for a seat on one of his chartered flights out of the chaos that is Kabul Airport.

(The situation may be becoming even more dire for those trying to flee Kabul following an apparent suicide bombing attack this morning at one of the entry gates to the airport. The ISIS -affiliated Islamic State of Greater Khorasan claimed responsibility. More than a dozen were reported killed with many more wounded. UPDATE — Apparently there are a number of US service personnel among the dead and injured.)

Of course this is far from the first time Prince has tried to profit from America’s failing military adventure in Afghanistan. Four years ago this Michigan native son, and brother of former Education Secretary Betsy DeVoss, proposed a scheme to the Trump Administration in which the Blackwater founder would hire a mercenary army to conquer and pacify Afghanistan on behalf of the United States.

Prince, naturally, would set himself up as Viceroy of Afghanistan, ruling the country in the manner of Britain’s storied East India Company. In fact, this was precisely the model Prince had in mind, a private corporation whose private army would conquer and exploit a country on behalf of the crown. Of course he’d line his own pockets in the process.

As I wrote about in December 2017, one of the ways that Prince sought to profit from his gracious offer to liberate Afghanistan from the burdensome yoke of American bureaucracy was by stealing the mineral wealth of the territories his mercenary army would pacify. According to the pitch he made to the Trump Administration, Prince estimated the value of strategically important minerals at $1 trillion in Helmand Province alone.

It’s a long way from a possible $1 trillion in stolen loot to a measly $6,500 each extorted from people desperate to flee a nightmare, but to Prince’s credit, the vulturine grift goes on. Never say the man stops hustling.

Given this sorry record, it looks like White House press secretary Jen Psaki has captured Prince perfectly:

I don’t think any human being who has a heart and soul would support efforts to profit off of people’s agony and pain if they’re trying to depart a country and fearing for their lives.

As pointed out in The Independent, Prince’s companies made billions of dollars off of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is it any surprise he’s found a way to profit from America’s most recent defeat?