The book details the rise of Blackwater USA, a private military company, and the growth of security contracting in the Iraq War and the War on Terrorism. In the book, Scahill contends that Blackwater exists as a mercenary force, and argues that Blackwater's rise is a consequence of the demobilisation of the US military following the Cold War and its overextension in Iraq and Afghanistan. He describes further how Blackwater (at the time of writing) serves in Iraq and Afghanistan like, in his judgement, a Praetorian Guard, protecting top authority figures and enjoying immunity from the usual constraints and regulations on traditional armies. Scahill argues that Blackwater's leadership was motivated by a right-wingRepublican ideology, and that its founder, Erik Prince, has provided significant assistance in that venue. Blackwater is also present in some parts of Pakistan.