President Trump’s announcement of a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan on Monday brought about a wide variety of responses.  Many hoped that the President’s “America First” mindset would lead him to withdraw U.S. forces from the nation’s longest war, while some others lamented the idea of yet another troop surge… but President Trump’s announcement was particularly disappointing for one man in particular: Erik Prince.

Over the past few months, Prince has been actively peddling his private contractor-wares to high-ranking officials in Trump’s cabinet and multiple news outlets.  He penned an OpEd in the Wall Street Journal explaining his own strategy for Afghanistan – one that involves sending 5,500 contractors, sometimes referred to as mercenaries, to supplement Afghan security forces, rather than U.S. troops.  Further, it hoped to establish a private air force in the nation, to serve as a supplement for Afghan air power in the absence of U.S. air support.  Prince, undoubtedly, would oversee operations in the country, but his plan also called for the appointment of an American “viceroy,” which, aside from sounding a bit like a rank appointed to senior members of the Empire in Star Wars, would also have the authority to manage American interests via the contractor force.

I’ve been active there as a government vendor since early 2002, and I’ve seen this thing drag on endlessly,” Prince said in an interview on the conservative outlet Breitbart. “We’re now approaching a trillion dollars in spending that the U.S. Defense Department has consumed in Afghanistan. We have another trillion dollars in healthcare costs yet to be expended to all the wounded and damaged veterans that have gone there. And we’re losing.”

To be fair to Prince, the founder of the controversial private contracting firm Blackwater, the war in Afghanistan has turned into an extremely expensive quagmire, with many Americans growing frustrated with the prolonged expense, both in terms of money and human lives, the effort has amassed.  Prince’s answer to the messy questions of how does one find victory in a war Netflix crafted a (somewhat) fictional movie decrying as unwinnable, came in the form of PowerPoint presentation.

Although the presentation itself hasn’t found its way onto the internet, images of a few pages have.  On one page, posted by The Atlantic, Prince declared Afghanistan to be “effectively a failed state,” adding that American defeats in the region have emboldened the enemy.  His new approach, dubbed “Strategic Economy of Force,” according to Prince, would apply pressure to all terrorist organizations active in the region, while eliminating terrorist “sanctuaries.”  He also argues that it would prevent the collapse of the Kabul government, while minimizing risk to U.S. troops.

Most prominent in his goals, however, are the reduced “political risk” for the United States by employing private contractors in the fight rather than deploying its own military, and the cost savings, which Prince estimated to be a whopping 92 percent.

That all honestly sounds great.  So why didn’t Trump, a candidate that ran on a platform that included pulling U.S. troops out of these sorts of conflicts, and a business man that values bottom-line savings, sign off on it?  Well, if you ask Prince, it’s because the President is in a bubble full of advisors that only know how to think within their respective boxes.  Steve Bannon, Trump’s recently fired chief strategist, was said to support Prince’s plan, but the Generals Mattis, Kelly, and McMaster have all dismissed it.  For those in Bannon’s corner, they argue it’s because he’s the outsider, free from the political pressures of the military industrial complex. For the more reasonable, that sounds a bit like the experts agree Prince’s plan doesn’t work, and a man who has earned a living through click-bait in recent years stands as one of the plan’s few supporters. Objectively, that’s not a glowing recommendation.

“I think it will make Erik Prince billions of dollars while he loses the war for us,” a congressional aide who has seen the plan said.  Another said, “the adults hate it,” referring to the three generals in Trump’s cabinet. Mattis himself would only say that Prince’s plan was among the strategies on the table for discussion, and that although his analysis of Afghanistan was sound, the strategy thereafter was flawed.