How do we stop the endless wars? Does the private sector hold the answer? Blackwater founder and former U.S. Navy SEAL, Erik Prince, discusses the controversy surrounding the national security company during the Iraq War and how bureaucracy harms national security. PragerU is a 501c3 non-profit organization. To help keep our videos free and produce more content like this, please consider making a tax-deductible donation: https://donate.prageru.com/CO
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Really something Herbert Crescent subject you blockheads awhile ago, I've got out an injection alright! Ladies and gentlemen, we are rolling into another episode of the canvas Owen showing today I want to talk about what drives people you guys know them
I am especially interested in stories of motivation, things that get people to start from nowhere and to go somewhere in their lives, and I'm so excited to introduce you guys to my next gas. If you do not know him Eric, Prince Walker, the Kansas Alan show the Trautmann guys Eric friends. Just so you know was I get all of the screams on you too. He is the founder of Black Warner, the private military contractor, and today he is the managing partner of Frontier resource group Eric. I have to be really honest with everybody watching. Why have people on certain shows? My husband, huge fan, demanded that we do this episode a sap. There is actually a group chat that therein and they think
The call was person the entire world because a year military history. So I want you to know that and be honest with everybody watching like George, are ours aren't the beginning and end particularly? Why talk about a success story? You have a tremendously successful family and today people tend to think that if you are Successful is just the way it always was. I'm in that is not the truth. Your father, I want to start their tummy, live it about your father. I grew up in HOLLAND Michigan. They obviously a very judge, timidity and in West Michigan right along the lake and his dead, bad news. Only thirteen during the great depression, oh, he was the oldest of his two other siblings and dumb. at a very stubborn, stiff, necked mother, who wouldn't accept any help from the state or the community of the church,
They are going to make it on their own, and so my dad was pretty much work in full time from thirteen on and he installed a hot water heater at age. Fourteen in there and by sixteen he was managing a local car dealership and in all that p, he worked here. He played one sport in one season or his entire school career and so he forbade me from working during the school year. So I play sports and pay attention to school. He came to every game and I played through sports a year, so he he grew up working hard. He knew how to no- I had some some success later in life and business, but that's a guy who, in nineteen sixty five, we had three daughters, re mortgages, his house and car and everything else and started the business from scratch with six other employees which became presbyter Jamie. He may die cast machinery, and then he started making automotive parts and their businesses.
very very well know you get in a car and you took the you took them. I sure down, there's no mere there with lights. It go on that was their patent started in nineteen. Seventy five credible! Really incredible! then you're the wave of outsourcing of all those car parts that you gonna take for granted, but they have we made somewhere. So I have a controversial opinion, and this is kind of gets into my stance on welfare benefits and in trying to give everybody just helping that right. Now we actually helping that may have the perspective that you should maybe teach a man to fish as opposed to fishing, for having giving him fish for free and your father story is interesting because he started with his back against the wall rate. So in your back, I think our instinct, when you're back against the wall, you will fight the tray and can take that away from some binding. You say never mind will have to fight here's a little bit. You know it's not really enough a little bit on your sort of removing that human spirit and the human spirit is what is needed to become really successful? Look. I want my dad's mothers,
waste. All this was where the great things you can do is give somebody a great job because they find personal and professional. Satisfaction fulfilment by trading there. time and their labour and their effort and an into advance their own cause? I you know I have a country manufacturing business today, and- in a very full economy. Now we constantly but up against the welfare, because will hire somebody and they'll say ten days. Manufacturing is really not for me. I want to go back on unemployment or welfare and- and I think a safety net is one thing
but not a permanent stasis of multigenerational people trapped in that psycho because it, I don't think anything great comes from that light- can guarantee that I was telling you before we get started. Why I found that story, your father so inspiring. I come from a family of people, multiple that our own welfare currently almond, if I may be used to be extremely controversial, yet they inspired them user able, bodied individuals that turns the government for solutions that can go out and get a job. And yet when it becomes multigenerational and all you know, was turned to the government to give you handouts, you actually dont know how to inspire yourself to get out of the current rights that you are in. It is a it is a permanent, its approach, almost a prison, you place, people live of that right and if you want to be dependent on the government for your livelihood, That is an awful place to be hard and I to find out it s right. My dad's told a story of probably about employing number. Ten gay was a was a guy who was dynamic
education, a pretty simple guy and he was hired to be the floor. Sweeper of the factory and and he came out and he got overwhelmed. He was gonna quit my dad said now. It's all right! You can do it go this way, Not this way and you and your make it. And after thirty years in my dads and they had a stock option programme for the employees and the guy retired as a millionaire, no started sleeping flow, stars weeping floors, new charges and multi millionaire, because that was that that's the piece of Amerika of american Capitalism that hard work and risk concrete? value right and we say great value by the way. You're being humble, when you sail my foot, my father found some success. He did find some success in and that company how success was wasn't you turn down the wiser everybody watching every time you turn adviser down and lights, come on, you better think of air prince and spam wake.
While in others it was originally designed the seventies for that big, beehive, hairdo and in which, which was timely, then, and they made the digital compass Israel thermometer in your car licence? That from NASA but an vehicle and then in the light of the guts of the of the insurer of a car, but my dad also focused on giving back to community and he he gave ten percent of all products, profits to to charities and the employees got to pick and whatever they gave to the
but he would manage it or double it, and you know he. I remember at his funeral, one of his friends said Ed viewed wealth as Asia as a sort of fight able and as a bomb to help the afflicted, and he lived it and I'm still sat he's gone now. Make us well long live the legacy of a prince. I think it lives on in you and your career took a different path, so you weren't Navy seal. Yes, I love Navy seals, everybody loves, maybe seals. I think everybody loves, feels how You end up, there have been logged. Vainly does fair enough. Candice always has just been owned, honourably shuffle. I will give you that and is exactly correct. How did you end up as a Navy seal the other policy my dad had, was that the kids couldn't come and work in the family business. She had to go to your own thing first, and it, wasn't a decision for me because I had, I frankly, paid no attention the business at all.
I always want to be in the military and You know I remember nineteen. Seventy six, I had my seventh birthday in EAST Berlin, gay and the seven year old, even see the guns and the dogs in the mind fields in the barbed wire all facing in all, literally keeping people held hostage held prisoner under a caught in a communist per state from very early. I wanted to do some part of defending my country and so. I won't open the seal teams, but I went to the name Can we plan to be a pilot? I was a pilot in high school, and then along comes top gun and a lot of other people have the same right the other. They want to be a pilots as well, but I ll never forget dumb, my first year ethic he academy and there is to seal officers to s there, and I was the of
the seal teams and they gave their little presentation and they said if you want to come out and pity with S got exercise Commoter five o clock the next morning, right today, we're just gonna run a mile get a partner put em on your shoulders. and I was hooked and now leaving the Naval Academy at it like to school. what I want to be a seal, and so I I finished it. They in school went to hails Dale. I went back in through a after candid school and it was a fantastic programme. have a very high regard for the programme. Cuz, it's very, very old school. It is theirs, but I was just out there These are gonna water, demolitions, you'll draining the the schoolhouse looks exactly the same way it did thirty years ago. I have to ask you what is Navy seal training like especially the underwater stuff? I've heard so many rumours another some books, but I wanna, because I'm telling you I
Yet, when a mile with you in the back is hard, it's as most people quit, because the cold and and being wet and sandy and cold all the time tends to sap Ura yours gimme a little something I want to know. What are you doing? The water? Just one thing: it's fine, you know surf torture, in the first phase, it's all Do you really want to be part of the programme, because this a voluntary program right and they make it very easy, very desirable for you to quit. They make you measure and so are you know it? You know that the next France is gonna, be miserable when the doktor shows up gay with a thermometer because you're going to take. Your body temperature down to you, know hypothermia, and so why are they lining up and they walk in the surf zone and you sit down the waves brake on your head, your linked together and and this so it makes you feel.
Miserable as an individual, but also teaches teamwork, right cuz they sing and to be defiant and to say, together. You know screw you you're, not gonna, break us, and it is it s, a fantastic memory. It's a fantastic formation and I really hope they don't change it while it is. That is absolutely incredible. So what did you do? She became a Navy seal ominous. I mean you can't tell me divulge all of the you know what I was. I was a seal on the EAST coast and I plan to stay for ten to twelve years. as an officer. Those are kind the best years to be a seal before he could suck at a desk made a couple of points. but then my on my father died and my wife got cancer and we just at her second child. And so I go the Navy earlier than I plan to business in the same year. Within a few months,
So I was a shock and my mom asked me to come home and can help sort out the family business, because there was the largest employer in our town. Six thousand employees in a city of thirty thousand, so it was with a lot of moving parts, and so I got out- and I really It was actually wanted employment. I wrote a letter home to my wife and laid out the business plan for what became black water because seal teams in those and the units have been using private facility, since nineteen seventies rightly maybe have body, do Joe or a small shooting school, but no one had done it on an industrial scale and believe it or not. As many ranges firing range as a military has she'll teams and really have great access to them, and so black water was built as a purpose built phenomenal experience. to deal with every kind of threat from one meter away out to twelve hundred meters so from from nice fight,
into vehicles too long range, sniper shots and so built it. I knew nothing about business, nothing about land development and nothing about government contracting, but can go wrong and you know you can't go back to the same gene pool that you know right. I ended a pirate. some other seals that I worked with Anna and we just figured it out, and I know the name came from. It was a big track of old forestry land and when the rain come through in this very organic soil. Called peat is also very flammable. By his haven't made is the dishes. It was very black right, lily, r, r r legs we're getting died from this autumn.
Organic material in the water and saw the name was born and the in the logo that bear Paw came from the bears. Who would we put in power? Poles were ripping their claw marks in our power poles, marking their turf and Sally had to give them and we just figured it out, and the initial teams special forces units were first customers and then, after a terrible that my column, my high school right in the nineties, rubber the imo, active shooters kind of the first big public active shooter disaster, and there is dozens of police units that showed up and they surrounded the place and they try to negotiate It was a different paradigms, so we actually built a mock up of a high school call. Are you ready, high school? We train thousands of police officers to go in and solve the immediate threat at black worry facilities that at the compound, and where was the compound out North Carolina Northeast Corner, just south of Norfolk saying you purchased, it avoids a whole bunch of
land that had been logged in was pretty ugly and and did. I building small camp compound, which became the largest private weapons raining facility in the world. How many acres it was just under seven thousand. It is nothing, nothing was there nothing. He built included bound up a little He acted out of the earth. So it was. I was very satisfying and at peak volume we were shootin or on one point three million rounds per month out there and safely so We had damn tens of thousands of of U S: military law enforcement ally countries and then at some civilians as well. So how do you go about selling got no experience, you got this idea. You write a letter to your wife, here's the blueprint, here's! What I'm going to do you name it Blackwater you purchase office land, you build it up. How do you go about getting a government contract?
accept the in that case the at that time. The seal teams down to a unit level could use a credit card to say I'm gonna go to this place and notes, probably a fifteen or twenty thousand dollar purchase, and so that's that's all that starts and with their first government contract large one was after the USS call. Blown up right. There was a? U S, Navy ship blown up by a suicide boat in Yemen. in the Navy, I've got so bad and maybe training that they work. Shooting live weapons anymore there are shooting laser simulators because of safety, and so the the sailors guarding the ship that they were large holding unloaded weapons that they never fired. Before
they became because it they'd optimized to fight it a hundred miles out of two hundred metres, and so we ended up training, tens of thousands of sailors to defend and to retake their ship from that kind of a threat. Wow. That's how you know you look up black water, its origins and things online. It gets messy you're. Some people say black wireless is bad. This is not the way things should be, and you have an interesting perspective on those critiques. What is it you know? In the end, the Vietnam WAR, the Anti WAR left when, after the troops and in the Iraq war, this timely whenever contractors and Black water represented everything they love to hate. I was a heterosexual mail with children that only a lot of gods and in a weapon Travis
bloody and sometimes our guys were armed and sometimes you have to use those weapons to defend themselves or their. U S, government protect ease, and so it was a perfect, a perfect target for the frothy left to go after my absolutely any. No it's interesting is it's that tell us all this time, a story of the government doing something in an insufficiently and then a private industry coming in doing it better than I think I read. Where that you said it was like: U S, P S, verses acts here, that's what we intended to be. Look we're not there to replace the postal service which want to help improve, like that extent, ran If you remove market forces from anything, you get a monopolistic bloated disaster That's exactly right! Guide! You wanna go! If you're sick, you really want to go to the veterans administration. Or do you want to go to a private they hospital private passport or any day the weakest in school choice in public education, more effective or is the current state of public education? Big sees America
it's very. It's very simple. So look we want it when we started off as a training facility. We want to give the units that came inexperienced like they would if they went to a country club regularly and luxury for giving them punctuality back as retraining, seal teams were doing serious stuff in us very serious schedule and organ go to war, and so their ammunition show up the day before the guys you can assure the day before at eight o clock in the morning, they're gonna show up whether we can it. Given the brief as to the safety, what they can do, what they can't do in a radio, that's done. Fifty minutes in their honour No bs arranges are gonna work. The chow time is at twelve o clock, don't be late because others lily three ships. of a running through the job all and we just go the machine that watch predictably and reliably with no bureaucracy, and that's why they came, and they came in droves. How many years, where you with black
water started in ninety seven. I sold it to turn a while when, at that point the left said, we don't care what you do want a ride. You until you we destroy you, I put you in prison, and so I finally sold it for about one tenth of what it had been worth just two years before and and moved on, never back down to the left, You shouldn't have back down. You know what, when you're spending two and a half million dollars a month in legal fees, gets old ere. I bet and look the nature of how the? U S fights it's worse, certainly changed and I don't think
He body can look at how the? U S is done, Afghan stand or Iraq and said Antarctic. We want to replicate that's right, because we spend hundreds of billions of dollars wasted thousands of american lives and the health of tens of thousands of other veterans, and we haven't actually accomplished a whole lot. And so taking a the taking the most expensive military in a world which is very capable at doing conventional war, but then turning that in trying to go after and fight deeds, fighting inflict lapse with a pickup truck. It's a different paradigm. In clearly the U S is never made to turn and adapted to that. We actually want to go back into the livid about the laughed and how they were able to sort of get in front of this narrative in costly. Hell for you on the back and cost here's what I've always been curious about. You, identifiers, libertarian, the libertarian, I'm I'm I'm conservative,
libertarian conservatism. I find it to be common, the common sense perspective, and yet we see that the left is able to have so much power when it comes into twisting the narrative and getting people to get up upset and basically argue for things that are going to ultimately harm them. In this case are talking about the security of America right, it should be top notch. It should be privatized if we know that the waited there doing it isn't actually working. It is not up to par. How are they able to be so effective in the face of common sense? One of the things that there is a huge gap between the average American and all things, foreign policy or military? If you think it would have been all volunteer forest
which is about one half of one percent of the population and there's another three or four percent that know that half percent leaving the other ninety five percent of America without a clue about anything to do with military operations, counterterrorism or anything to do in foreign lands and so they're, totally unqualified to the judge or to call bs and so you have the longest war in american history and no one is called bs except me. I think, on on trying to change this paradigm of how you do it to rationalize it. You people say they want to support the troops in and then love their veterans. They should demand better if the same way in talking about private education, you bought up school choice, and I say half of the early making people educated about it, I mean they think that you say the word school choice and it means that suddenly, their kids are not going to be able to go to school or going to have to pay for the kids to go to a private school. They don't understand about your programme whatsoever. How do we fix that? How do we make sure people
are educated about these things, look, I think, getting people educated as too to allowing market forces in price, right, arms, austrian economics, major from hills, deal in the foot staying the most important thing: that's that's removed, from a socialist economy, is essential. Information that comes from price right. Praise reflects- There are six scarcity and demand, but it also reflects exactly what something is worth to someone and so people say education, private education, when they realise how much the taxpayers are spending for public education and if you sit here I'll take half that amount and spend it at this school over here down the street from with some teachers are early care. It's a much better deal. So injecting people with choice, actual market choices makes them immediate capitalists and immediate believers, and they will defend it. and then on the other side of that. By the way for those you there aren't where your sister fights in this
regard Betsy devolve I'd, never school choice, which is a big issue for me, because I think I mean just the way that black Americans that live in inner cities are just getting be bad end of the stick. Look. The public education system was found in America, backed by Thomas Jefferson, to give all kids from every walk of life right. Poor of any color and equal shot at an education, because if you really want to climb the ladder and education can never be taken from you, but sadly the education system has become sober socratic and so defended by the permanent state that it is literally sequestering kids into a continuous loop of misery, as that is a great evil. Absolutely I totally agree, so, let's go back to use EU you throw in the towel on having to do with all the legal crap, and I totally get that. I really understand that some. What do you do.
I moved to the Middle EAST because of piracy off the coast of Somalia. At that time. two thousand and ten eleven twelve there was somali pirates were taking an average of eight thousand two hundred and ninety ships per per year, ransom of two hundred and twenty five million dollars, and at that point the UAE government. I want to do something about it and I gave him some ideas about building a police force and how to do that- and you know this is at a time comparing big governor, persons, a smaller market approach at that time, the? U S, Navy European Navy is the? U N were patrolling all over the ocean trying to find pirates? And you know if you have a wasp problem in your yard. You dont chaser, the washed the spray. Can you find the nest you deal with a nest and it doesn't take a genius to find the Paris flying along the coast of Somalia because they anchor a thousand foot ship about a mile,
blocked, or is it go and grab that sucker out in the middle of the ocean a take it back in the anchor it and they got to wait to get paid and they're waiting six months to a year? So if you build a pool unit in you roll up on that little village, and you deny them the logistic support. They have no sanctuary anymore and interrupt their logistics chain and the piracy goes away. Largely finding a shot three, even though they re move there, but some ideas are to do that. That unit, one active in two thousand twelve funny on here, but small- Piracy, honestly, don't unless it's a movie, it's a vision for the operation when the Navy went to their captain, Philips right, the? U S, captain that was rescued, that operation cost. The taxpayer is almost as much as our programme did, which actually ended all Percy. So look, it was a. It was a passion project and it worked, and it is not. The Euro
go for me anymore from doing what did a black water and then taking a nagging problem that the international community was having a hard time solving and oddly enough, it went away and that programme cost less than the pirates are taking in ransom every year, The same time, the Obama administration you wanna State Department, Obama's yea, did everything they could to block and fork and shut down that programme. Oh so it is a perfect example of the permanent state bureaucracy that doesn't want any interlocutor any challenge. Anything to the current state of I was the current state of stupidity, I always say the government looks me ever talk to people. I think we need to expand government. What they're talking about issues lining their own pockets right. I mean I mean some of the people that we have as employees and think that there is an employee at goes around, knocking on doors to make sure dad don't live in the home because the mother we get more welfare money, I mean an end
obviously- and I believe in a limited I've- a limited government perspective in hearing. What would why would the president? The United States want to stop that programme knowing that it was going to eliminate a problem. I dont know that it was went to his level, but for having sex all the permanency eurocrats in between the all they could to block it right and the guys because it actually went and did the job were called their threatened, being embargoed having them the house frozen for doing exactly what the? U N asked was to build counter piracy capability, people I was really sad into- and you know there was enough in that programme- that it could have gone in Somalia and finished. L should bob the terrible located affiliates, but the? U n crushed it. So I'm I'm. I'm will continue We speak out on these issues because there is a lot of people there's hundreds of millions of people that are living in great suffering,
in terrorism and deprivation because of a permanent state of bureaucratic idiocy that keeps them they're right, you're, so passionate about security. the underpinning that makes economic development possible. Think about what is a farmer former takes long term thinking right, cuz. You have yet to dig and plough and weed and clearer field and get the rocks out of it. planting, a seed watering it hoping that eight months, nine months later, the crop comes up, that long term. Thinking you can't steel or or or the negative way success. Long term thinking you need me you're enough to know that I'm putting up working now that my crop is going to be secure and may be able to bring it to market and sell it. The hundreds of millions of Africans that are suffering from a lack of security don't have that luxury
Term, thanking my that is exactly right, so when this government gotcha, when this programme got shuddered, what did you do after that? You keep doing independent interact, serve no started investment firm front. Your resource group came back home Ah you came back Virginia, but started day a GEO science business right, so we fly around and we do fly with it. Very high dollar box in the back of an airplane protects small J. the gravity and magnetic field of the earth, and it gives you a pretty good idea, was under the surface of the earth for oil and gas for minerals. We built a bauxite mine boxes which he used to make aluminum. What's it boxer Bauxite here is the essential element that makes me by my side and did something some copper and again in Europe. I an advocate of green energy traditional energy began moving
trust me, you need copper because there's no substitute for copper wires, that's correct. I know that I die. That's actually one thing that I do not see the thing you do. What you doing a ton of stuff I kind of took the knowledge of how to operate in difficult places, an implied that the resource base, so there's not many places were afraid to go so what's next sphere I'm working on a fund, a bigger investment funds, to do some of the strategic minerals that you need to make electric vehicles or or more green energy right. There's a big shift coming in electric vehicles as much as I love a good for five hundred horse power, car electric vehicles are are coming. You think that China makes half the world's electric vehicles there. It is very much state policy. China can't compete with the likes of of United States and the european Japanese in internal combustion engines right traditional pistons.
So the kind go on all in on electric and so the demand curve that comes to that for all the things it takes for electric motor for the batteries that DR train there's a big uptake those minerals coming and you have to go, find those, and indeed those and generally weird places to make that happen. So question I always ask all my guess is what drives you. You know. I had great thing. My dad told me early on is you'll, never have satisfaction like doing something on your own and building a business and employing people and in applying a team and he's right. I mean the satisfaction I had of building and running black water and employing thousands of guys remember showing up on the first. It was a sea five. It was the only time the air force provided any left to us for our assets to get him into Iraq.
we're all floating little bird helicopters at two o clock in the morning in Baghdad officer five and there was a bunch of vets Army. That's that had been and not more Mogadishu for black hawk down you stand there is why ensured goes thanks. Mr P, I never thought I'd get to do the stuff again and I love giving people a chance to do that. Getting really high RPF people giving them a chance to be excellent, what they do and say what results? Are you actually sticker? as MR about the direction that America is going in. You know I'm giving to talk soon on the threats to american Liberty and I dont believe it's it's not China. It's not Russia, it's here and the experts in the explosive
both of the super state and how we allow governments to permeate our lives at the state, local and federal level that that is the problem? It is a far cry from what the founding fathers ever envisioned and- and that is the greatest threat to Amerika Liberty. So I'm at this point I am not dumb. I'm gentlemen optimist on things, but I think things you're gonna get worse before they can get better. Why I hate to say this, but my husband was right words, I hate to say he was right, your incredibly entrusting character. I can't wait to follow and see where you go at this level, I agree with you more about the threat that we face is one hundred percent internal at the moment, the first right that we face, we wrapped every single episode by allowing our guests to live, to leave it to. video message to the world serving to look into that camera. And you're. Just gonna speak. What's on your heart for two minutes, if you wish, I had become the thing: the call to action for
every single person in the world and I'll have you know that a person in the world watches the cancer cell ensure. Are you ready for this Are they shut? I'm your mark get sat world I'll, give you Eric Prince look like, I said There is a lot of things at America's involved in overseas that can be done in a much simpler, smaller, cheaper way, I love United States military. It needs to come home and to clean up. and to allow the private sector to work more closely with it to end these endless wars again, because my great fear is that all the technology- all the capability that comes out of these endless wars and all the spending eventually gets comes home and it restricts our own liberty, gay, the surveillance state
the the all the car terrorism policies end up applying here as well, and so government expands at the cost incrementally of each Americans liberty, and so we need to push out and to retake our liberty and to restrain the growth of government. That's Iraq, ladies and gentlemen, thank you. so much for coming out, and that was also looks so much gonna. Think you guys were watching the latest episode of the Canvas Owen Show. I hope you guys enjoyed the conversation as much as I did. As many of you guys already know, Prager you is a five or one c, three non profit organization, which means we need your help to keep all of our content free to the public. Please consider making a tax deductible donation today. I would really appreciate your support.
Transcript generated on 2020-12-01.