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Stossel: Blackwater and Erik Prince Do Mostly GOOD

Media slam "profit-seeking" military contractors, yet evidence shows they're more efficient and even helped end piracy in Somalia.

Media slam "profit-seeking" military contractors, yet evidence shows they're more efficient and even helped end piracy in Somalia.

Trump recently agreed to send more troops to Afghanistan, instead of adopting a proposal from military contractor Erik Prince that would have meant fewer troops at a fraction of the cost.

How could it be done so cheaply by private contractors? Erik Prince says private is better because the military–like all government agencies–is bloated and bureaucratic.

While government once used 35 people for a helicopter resupply mission, Prince did the same job using only eight.

The government is also inefficient because it fails to adapt. Prince says government uses "equipment that was designed to fight against the Soviet Union [against] an enemy with pickup trucks and people living in local villages."

Contractors, on the other hand, have to compete. You've probably heard about their mistakes from the media, but you probably haven't heard of the successes, like helping to end piracy in Somalia.

The video has the full story on that, and John asks Erik Prince about the attacks on him and profit in general.

Produced by Maxim Lott. Edited by Josh Swain.

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  • Juice||

    fewer troops at a fraction of the cost

    Duh. That's why it was rejected. Not nearly enough money flowing to cronies.

  • Mitsima||

    When one hears "industrial complex" one tends to think, "production" & "wealth creation". Unfortunately, if you use the 'military' prefix, it modifies the subject so that the meaning becomes the opposite of the root. English is so weird like that.

  • Mark22||

    When one hears "industrial complex" one tends to think, "production" & "wealth creation"

    When Democrats hear that, they tend to think "inequality", "pollution", "oppression", and "exploitation".

  • CE||

    No, they just see a feeding source.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Troops which were trained by the US military.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    I never saw US soldiers kill civilians recklessly in combat.

    TOTALLY different case with Blackwater.

  • Juice||

    I never saw US soldiers kill civilians recklessly in combat.

    LOL

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    I didn't, in daily patrols as a combat arms soldier in one of the most contentious AOs in country. You can laugh based on your own perceptions of what Americans do in combat, but that was my experience.

    American soldiers, almost without exception, err on the side of preserving life. Contractors, almost without exception, kill first and ask questions later.

    I know what the sound of children burning to death is because of Blackwater. Then I read in the papers the next few days how they only killed insurgents, and claims of civilian deaths were lies by terrorists. I guess the 2-dozen murdered kids sleeping on that roof were all secretly JAM.

  • Sevo||

    "American soldiers, almost without exception, err on the side of preserving life. Contractors, almost without exception, kill first and ask questions later."

    Cites, please.

  • sarcasmic||

    American soldiers, almost without exception, err on the side of preserving life. Contractors, almost without exception, kill first and ask questions later.

    So contractors are ex cops?

  • Brother Kyfho||

    Not surprisingly, yes.

  • sarcasmic||

    I find that to be surprising. I mean, these contractors actually go into harm's way. They put themselves at risk. That goes against every rule of being an American police officer.

  • Sevo||

    I still see no cites, so we can assume you're a liar?
    Put up or shut up, liar.

  • Paint Thinner||

    Go back to sucking Drumpf's cock. You'll be called back when you are needed.

    LOL, Sevo needed?

  • Mitsima||

    You have to enlist NYPD to get those results.

  • Steven Ray||

    2012 SSG Bales USA Army killed 4 men 4 women and 9 kids in Kandahar,he just walked off base and whacked them.I worked as a contractor for over 2 years and never fired a shot nor had any reason to,same as most everyone I worked with.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Sounds like they do stuff efficiently. Whether each of those actions are good is a different thing. That being said, I can't help but wonder how Mercenary armies would differ from standing national armies we have now

  • Juice||

    The individual soldiers would be paid WAY WAY more.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    But aren't most of these mercs trained up by one national army or another? Without that taxpayer subsidy fielding an effective force becomes much more expensive. Not to mention the global logistics network that they hook into. Profits go down and pay wouldn't be far behind.

  • Mitsima||

    Indeed. Without a national plumber's force or air conditioning corp we'd be so screwed.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Well, if that was the case I imagine that plumbers and HVAC techs would be more numerous and therefore less expensive. Look at the situation with professional pilots. Cheap and abused because we train thousands of them every year.

  • CE||

    You know who else used mercenary armies?

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    King George III?

  • Domestic Dissident||

    Christian Britschgi will be seething with rage when he sees this one. He's got a major bug up his ass about this Prince guy running for office.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: Blackwater and Erik Prince Do Mostly GOOD: New at Reason
    Media slam "profit-seeking" military contractors, yet evidence shows they're more efficient and even helped end piracy in Somali.

    Since when does the government want that exclusionist policy of efficiency.
    That only breeds production and satisfaction.
    No one in their right mind wants that.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Was it really those mercenaries that took out the pirates in Somalia?

    Wasn't there a lot of US/EU Navy activity during about that same time?

    Don't get me wrong, I want this to be true, but I am sworn to the cause of looking gift horses in the mouth.

  • Mark22||

    Wasn't there a lot of US/EU Navy activity during about that same time?

    See, you have the evidence right there: the mere presence of incompetent European militaries would have made any attempt of US action against Somali pirates impossible; the US military would have been far too busy trying to keep the European soldiers from hurting themselves accidentally.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Only if they were Italian. If they were British, we would have been too busy trying to persuade them to come out of their quarters and deign to deal with us to be able to act against the pirates; if they were French, we'd have to sink them after the pirates managed to seize one of their patrol boats, thus forcing them to turn their whole fleet on us; and if they were German, well, the constant flow of relieved officers being sent back to Nuremberg to await trial for their actions would likely render the operation too dysfunctional to proceed.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Anyway, a free market requires competition among consumers, not just vendors. As long as the US government retains a monopsony on military spending by the American people, these mercenaries are only as trustworthy as the DoD bureaucrats waving the Milkbones above their noses.

  • Charles Easterly||

    Telcontar the Wanderer,

    May I use or paraphrase the comment (which I consider insightful) that you made here on H&R for future use?

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    With due citation, and appropriate royalties, absolutely.

  • Magnitogorsk||

    "Trump recently agreed to send more troops to Afghanistan, instead of adopting a proposal from military contractor Erik Prince that would have meant fewer troops at a fraction of the cost."

    We need to spend MORE money on the military to make them stronger. If we spend less money, we get less military. Less military must be weaker than more military. Why do libertarians hate our men in uniform so much that they want a weaker military?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    The Somali Pirate example was nice though.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Sorry Stossel. Its one thing for private companies to do security but completely another for them to be our army and prison guards.

    Giving the power to murder without state sanction is just too slippery slope for me.

  • CE||

    Depends. Can the private contractors be held liable (sued and/or indicted) if they commit crimes beyond what they are authorized to do? Because government police forces seem to not get punished too frequently when they stray. And how often is the Army held accountable for their errors?

  • XM||

    Have you ever heard of SOFA? The "non profit" soldiers are theoretically more protected than privateers.

  • meister574||

    I see this in the same way I private prisons. The issue is not that private prisons or private armies are the problem. It is that the conditions have been created so there is a market for these things to exists. The drug war is the problem, not the private prisons. It is the ongoing war in Afghanistan and Iraq that is the problem, not Blackwater.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Those are the underlying problems that are causing the need for more troops and prison guards.

    I still find a problem with the state giving the green light to non-government employees to use deadly force without it being self-defense. Its hard enough trying to keep agents of the government from killing people unlawfully, to then add in private persons doing the same thing sometimes.

  • Tony||

    John Wayne Gacy *mostly* did good too.

  • Sevo||

    "John Wayne Gacy *mostly* did good too."

    Rely on Tony to come up with some asinine comment.
    Way to go, Tony! Your rep is secure, asshole!

  • Tony||

    Sevo *mostly* doesn't have to wear adult diapers--not for any medical reason, but because he simply couldn't learn--as there are times when he's not having a bowel movement.

  • sarcasmic||

    You know, talking with you and taking a shit do have a few things in common. Like stinking up the place for example.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|10.24.17 @ 6:19PM|#
    "Sevo *mostly* doesn't have to wear adult diapers--not for any medical reason, but because he simply couldn't learn--as there are times when he's not having a bowel movement."
    I'm guessing that you actually thought that was clever. Which says 'way more about you than is does about me.
    Fuck off, asshole.

  • Mark22||

    Well, Tony, one thing is pretty obvious: little separates your mind from that of John Wayne Gacy.

  • sarcasmic||

    Profits are the price paid for efficiency.

    Government does not profit, so it's no surprise that it is the most inefficient organization in existence.

  • BlueStarDragon||

    I believe the use of mercenaries can be good. I agree with Machiavelli and Sun Tzu That a nation should not solely relied on them.

  • King's Ransom||

    Agreed....especially if you can't afford the retainer. Long colorful history that speaks to the usefulness of Mercenary forces. Interestingly the modern need for the US to contract with mercenaries is not to acquire better talent cheaper it's actually to bypass "formalized" agreements as to how we conduct ourselves in the business of murder....in other words it's all nonsense. Our lesser paid regular military is fully capable of all the same necessary violence Blackwater is capable of but they have fewer lawyers and politicians to answer to...which is in effect why they are more efficient.

  • sarcasmic||

    The military might be lesser paid on an individual soldier basis, but because of bureaucratic overhead it is vastly more expensive. As in the total number of personnel per soldier is much smaller in a mercenary force.

  • King's Ransom||

    Agreed

  • Chippy McChippy||

    Stossel, you jackass. Military contracting is not an example of a free market.

  • sarcasmic||

    He's talking about mercenaries, not General Dynamics.

  • TGoodchild||

    Hey, don't knock cost-plus contracts until you try them. There is actually, even at that high level, some genuine competition among GD, Raytheon, Boeing, BAE, etc.

  • Warren||

    No sale.

  • PaulTheBeav||

    I'm so glad you guys picked up Stossel. I've watched every one of his videos and they've all been highly insightful. I had no idea the Somali pirate thing had been mostly fixed.

  • Zoidzilla||

    Stossel is NOT and never was a libertarian. He is a fraud, he was pro war immediately post 911 and only relented, when it became obvious that he couldn't square it with liberty, didn't stop him and other Koch-puppets from trying though.
    The world is turning against the use of the U.S. military to fight zionists wars for them, now Stossel thinks he's found a way to square such brazenly unjust and murderous actions within the context of the free market, and keep cost below the radar. So transparent.
    Lol, high verbal iq, but so little imagination, says it all really...

    The wheels are falling off guys, get used to it.

  • Widhalm19||

    You are 100% correct. The US should never have engaged in the 2003 Iraqi War. Damn mercenaries to Hell.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Tin foil hats are 2 for 1 at Wally world......back to the DU with you, chump.

  • Paint Thinner||

    Drumpf recently agreed to send more troops to Afghanistan, instead of adopting a proposal from military contractor Erik Prince that would have meant fewer troops at a fraction of the cost.

    Cool, fire some of the troops from the volunteer military, and let Prince handle it.

    Privatize the military.

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