tv Washington Journal Erik Prince Discusses Afghanistan War Strategy CSPAN August 13, 2017 4:01pm-4:48pm EDT
c-span.org. listen using the free c-span radio app. announcer 2: now a conversation with erik prince, founder of the security firm blackwater usa. from "washington journal," this is 45 minutes. steve scully: we want to welcome to the table erik prince. he is the founder of blackwater, usa and now the founder of frontier service group. thank you for being with us. let's get right to it. an editorial on usa today, earlier this week, you wrote: "the president can restructure the war, similar to a bankruptcy reorganization, by aligning u.s. efforts under a presidential envoy. all strategic decisions regarding humanitarian aid, military and -- military support and intelligence, and become laser focused on creating a table and self-supporting afghanistan." it would give our troops and exit ramp. we have been there for the last
16 years, so outline specifically what you want to to do. erik prince: the president can pull out completely, which i think would be a bad idea. i think taliban and isis would end up taking over the country, and it would be a rallying cry for terrorists around the world that they have beat the united states. or we could keep the way that we have been, we have now spent almost $1 trillion, now more than the entire defense budget the of the u.k., just in afghanistan. more than 2000 american soldiers wounded -- dead, 20,000 plus wounded. health-care costs from that war will be $1 trillion on top of it. at secretary mattis said that we are not winning. the terrorist forces control almost half the country as it is now, so clearly this current strategy is not working. i tried to take a step back, and the reason i wrote restructuring, is to say, let's pare away the incremental decisions that we had. we have had 17 different commanders in 16 years.
there has not been a unity of command. when i say you have to have one leader in charge of all things from the departments of defense, state, the intelligence community, from afghanistan to pakistan. you have to have unity of command one person making the forward, not back here in washington. unified that. second, we need to really support the afghan security forces in a proven way. there is about 9000 u.s. troops in the country right now, another 4000 from nato and 2600 contractors. so i am not even arguing for a -- for the expansion of contractors, in fact i would say a significant contract and of contractors and provide the off ramp for u.s. troops. left, right, or center, i think anyone would say, let's figure out how to be done in afghanistan. this is a terrorist sanctuary, let's get it done. this is an approach that will get us there and it cost less than 1/5 of what we are spending
now. it will return billions of dollars to the state treasury. steve scully: have we tried this before? have other countries tried this before? erik prince: again, this is not unleashing private armies and -- in any way. all of this is doing largely what the u.s. forces have done -- that will be the afghan special forces fight and function effectively. they do 80% of the defensive missions as it is. they have been trained and mentored in the way that i am recommending. u.s. forces operate along them, they live, trained, and patrol together. the rest of the afghan army has not been done that way. the u.s. guys live on one base, the afghan live on another base, they see them each you other once or twice a week. what i am talking about doing is putting contract trainers on a long-term basis that live train , and patrol with those afghan units and provide structural support, a skeletal system that provides leadership, intelligence, medical and logistics expertise with that
unit. each of those afghan battalions from the bottom up, can depend on them. analogies from history, flying tigers. there was a time when the united states was not in world war ii, and we needed help, china -- we needed to help china defend itself from japanese aggression, and in that case you had americans as contractors who went in and fought, and basically became part of the chinese air force in 1940. certainly the first the first , foreign-policy crisis america faced, with the barbary pirates, former army by one officer, eight marines and about contractors. 90 there were italians, greeks frenchmen, and they ended , up liberating the 340 american sailors that were held hostage by the day of tripoli in 1805. -- the bank of -- bay of tripoli in 1805. this is happened more than people want to imagine. erik prince: -- steve scully: for the radio
audience, our guest is erik prince. if you are a veteran of the war in afghanistan, we have been there the last decade and a half. if you have been to afghanistan, with navy seals and in blackwater, how many times? why did we get to this how did we get to this situation? why the stalemate? erik prince: you know, the taliban was decimated after 9/11 by 100 cia officers, a couple hundred special forces, and airpower. they were truly decimated. they were pushed back. but the more we turned it into a conventional army operation, we have gone backwards. and now we are at the point that the taliban, having survived this for 15, 16 years they are , at their best. those survivors of all those wars, they know exactly how the u.s. operates, how the u.s. collects signal intelligence, and surveillance, and targets and all of the rest.
we have the finest military in the world. if they could just get the enemy to fight them the way they want to fight. we have the awesome ability, but picking up guys in flip-flops and pickup trucks is a different war and we are never really adapted to fighting that kind of war. with a military that was largely built to defend western europe from the soviet union. steve scully: the president saying that he is expected to announce a decision soon. what if we pulled out completely? then what? erik prince: people say, what would a post-american afghanistan look like? that is harder to see what it looks like. if we pull back, all the support, the taliban and isis type forces would end up taking over the country. they almost dominate half the country as it is now. steve scully: senator john mccain announced that he would like to see an additional 4000 troops. he would like to do what the u.s. did in iraq to afghanistan. erik prince: 4000 -- it is basically more of the same.
we had as many as 140,000 troops in country, 100,000 americans and 40,000 nato troops and that did not work. they can push in. the taliban says the american have the watches, but we have the time. we have to do a sustainable, cheap, long-term strategy that helps keep unrelenting pressure on those terrorist elements. the u.s. proclivity to what to -- to want to search, -- to--surge, it is a false presumption because the enemy just ducks and covers. they have the time. steve scully: the founder of blackwater and a frontier service group serving as a chair, with your organization, or organizations benefit from this? erik prince: if there's a chance to do some of this work, we would certainly have a go at it. i was asked by folks at the white house, after i wrote in the wall street journal, to
elaborate on the op-ed and ended up making a detailed analysis of what the budget would take. because they wanted a comparison. and so i can honestly and clearly say, this program would cost less than 20% of what the pentagon is spending now. so at least i know what the numbers are, what this thing should cost. steve scully: on a yearly basis, $50 billion a year? erik prince: yes. steve scully: your plan would cost about $10 billion -- billion? erik prince: yes. my plan includes everything on the budget remaining there to keep active duty some guys and -- soft guys, and this contracted piece would provide mentors at the battalion level across the afghan army over the long-term, some air, then government support to make sure the afghan military gets the logistic support they need of it . food, fuel, or ammunition, they get it on time. medical support for them and
some tactical intelligence. i believe that is all you need to do to keep the afghan forces upright. beyond that, we are wasting money. steve scully: what is your view on general nicholson, the commander in afghanistan? erik prince: i think he has been dealt a tough hand to play. being the 17th commander in 16 years, he is living with all kind of incremental decisions, and no one has been in charge there for a long time. again, i had the advantage of being able to come in with a clean sheet of paper and saying this is what needs to happen to make this work. if the u.s. army could suddenly send a brigade of the sergeants, senior sergeants and staff officers to be that embedded mentor piece, i would shut up. but they can't. they have not organized that way in 16 years. they used to do that in a vietnam war where they embedded enters into the vietnam battalion. the u.s. army is not big enough to do that. they cannot maintain the
rotations. they could strip in a sergeants a way to do that, but they would render a third of the army combat inoperable. steve scully: one final point, looking at the military whether , it's iraq, afghanistan, the situation in north korea, is the military prepared for 21st century warfare? erik prince: again, we have amazing conventional capabilities. but look at the last two wars we have been in. largely insurgencies. i mean, the conventional part of the iraq war was quite small, quite short, then it default -- devolved into an insurgency. afghanistan has been an insurgency almost the entire time. getting a military and a paradigm into a mindset to do both is very, very hard. coming at best, these are already that have served the u.s. military, served them well, doing it again. deploying at a different model but it's the same skill set and
the same people. we are a country of great innovation and flexibly. -- flexibility in figuring out how to solve problems. after 16 years, why not consider what has worked in the past? steve scully: here is what sean mcdavid said said. he really crazy idea floating around washington these days, outlandish even by today's outlandish standards. the u.s. should hire a mercenary army to fix afghanistan. wrongrince: well, he is on a couple points. one, the way these mentors would work is they would become attached to the afghan army which even by the u.n. definition does not make them mercenaries. they are not mercenaries, and they are not this private army working around afghanistan. they are under the afghan chain of command. they are accountable under the ucmj, and they are there to sort of serve as a support structure for the afghan military. it is exactly what the u.s. army should be doing but for the last 16 years has yet to be able to organize that way. steve scully: our guest is erik
prince. nancy joining us from concorde, new hampshire. democrats line, good morning. caller: thanks for taking my call. i have some real questions. i am much older than erik prince and i have been around for a long time, but i am curious because you don't seem to operate under these laws. you say you are part of the afghan military. there was no central military or central government in afghanistan before. there was always tribes. i am curious because your men actually were arrested for open fire in that square in iraq when the civilians were all killed. how did you get access to all of our treasury money to build your own mercenary army in afghanistan? i am appalled that we would even consider hiring mercenaries on behalf of the american government. we will never be done with terrorists as long as you continue to occupy afghanistan. i mean, it is unbelievable 16 years later that we are pouring all this money, and dick cheney
has lied through his teeth. you are a good friend of his. i mean how did you get all of , our money from the treasury? i don't understand. steve scully: thank you, nancy. erik prince: let me clarify a couple things. we are not doing that work now. currently the u.s. military is doing it. they have been doing it for years, and it's costing 16 taxpayers more than $50 billion a year. there is an afghan government now. there is one that we recognize, it has largely been elected, and it is representative. and we can either choose to pull out completely, and i believe the afghan government would be defeated, and it would collapse, and it would be another completely failed state harboring a lot of terrorists, or we can keep doing what we are doing. i don't think we should do that either. this is an off-road to end the road and to bring the troops home and be done. steve scully: chris in wisconsin, the republican line. good morning. caller: good morning.
well i am just kind of conflicting this story about $1 trillion. from the facts that i've gained, it's $6 trillion. that is -- i have three points, that is the first point. the other one is korea. dnk. that's the scary situation. i think that we need to -- i don't know exactly what to say about that other than we can't let them loose. the third point is iran, syria, lebanon, israel, all those factors are -- it's trouble. steve scully: thank you, chris. erik prince: look i agree.
,the united states has spent an enormous amount of money between iraq, afghanistan, syria, and all the rest. i am, i am wanting the united states to stop spending that kind of money. i would like to cauterize this kind of unending, bleeding wound in afghanistan. there were americans killed as recently as last week, two kids in their 20's driving back from a meeting with a provincial governor. blown up on their way back to the base. the taliban will continue to do that. they know how to fight the united states. they know how to print at us and cut and cut and cut. the united states is largely on the defense just in afghanistan, and it's time to bring that to an end while not giving the terrorists sanctuary. on the issue of $6 trillion versus $1 trillion, i don't disagree with you. steve scully: we go to sydney in alexandria, louisiana, the
independents line. caller: i would like to ask mr. prince if he will be responsible for the hospital bills on his people, because in iraq, they ended up on social security because the corporations, as soon as they got back to the states and were injured, they were fired and injured on social -- ended up on social security. and they had several, several programs showing this on c-span. steve scully: thank you, sydney. erik prince: so any contractor that goes abroad on behalf of the u.s. government should have what is called as the defense based act insurance, that is a longtime disability insurance in case they are injured or there is a death benefit annuity for any surviving family members. so if there are cases like that, those are an anomaly, and that is not the case with any of our former employees. steve scully: who is funding the taliban? erik prince: the taliban is largely self hunting. they make their money off of
opium, gold, hash. we have been there for many years. there is still not a mining law or energy law. the taliban is taxing the areas that are producing those resources and keeping a huge chunk of the money while legal miners cannot do it legally is -- because there is no law in place. there is a support coming from pakistan. wasteold largely between and the u.s. military, graft and corruption from the afghan government, and trading in those commodities, the taliban is very well funded. steve scully: when you talk to the afghan people, not the military, not the officials what , do they tell you? erik prince: they are mostly concerned about being abandoned as they know the consequences if the u.s. pulls out. for example the afghan government had a bad week last week. they lost an entire company to a taliban ground attack.
60 dead, 30 or 40 captured, 20 guys escaped. where is the close air support? where is the reaction forces? where is the help from the american forces? that embedded structure at the level of their support and metal -- medical support, those kinds of problems go away. they realize that and they appreciate that. steve scully: i am curious. if your company -- this is hypothetical -- your company did get involved, is there any conflict of interest with your sister serving in the cabinet? erik prince: not at all. the education department is very different. steve scully: fairfax, virginia, democrats line. caller: good morning. i would like to ask mr. prince if he has considered asking his sister's husband, mr. devos, maybe he could fund his private military. and i would also like to ask him, to what address should i send my tax money because he wants to privatize basically everything in the government? everybody is all up in arms about having to pay for health
care. the government is mandating them to get something they don't want. i don't want to send my money to mr. prince or anyone like him, but i'm not going to be given that choice. how much money is mr. prince going to make out of this? thank you. erik prince: i think the thing to focus on is trying to end the war in afghanistan while denying terrorists sanctuary. if that can be done for one dollar, unfortunately it cannot be done for $1. let's bring it to a close and return $40 plus billion back to the treasury. steve scully: a go back to the earlier point about the warfare and the 21st century. is the military nimble enough, is it getting the right training to do the things that need to be done? erik prince: well, here is the thing. the taliban now, they are on the best of their game.
we have been there for 16 years. they have that continuity. the problem with the way the u.s. military deploys they are deployed, they leave. andlocal area knowledge experience leaves with them. we had been fighting the same war one year 16 times or more , than that. that is an inherent flaw in how the u.s. deploys and any large bureaucracy is inherently not nimble. and so it's a huge advantage to come at this from a huge clean tesheet of paper and wri down and do exactly what is necessary to a compass that task versus trying to build a -- building with an unwieldy set of tools. steve scully: we have had a couple long -- calls on blackwater usa. what is the status of that company today? erik prince: i sold it in 2010, and is run by a couple of -- it is owned by a big new york hedge fund, and they continue to do
security and bodyguard support to the u.s. government. i am not involved with it in any way. steve scully: what is the frontier service group? erik prince: it is a logistics company. we do most of our work in africa. we do the transportation of groceries and goods from cape town to the north sea. we do support in kenya across the continent. we do medevac, cargo movements by air. calls,cully: vector the falls church, virginia. independent line. caller: good morning. mr. prince, i am listening to you here, i love it. we have been at this a long time. you know you are bringing a lot , of rational thought to a very emotional conversation, and that is a hard one to win, but we need to try something else. it's time and i appreciate everything you are doing. also see a lot of opportunities to blend in new technologies and a new way of fighting that services have not been able to do. so keep it up. thanks. erik prince: thank you.
you know, like i said, the taliban, the first time they were defeated by a few hundred officers, soft guys by air power. going back to that relentless soft pressure on the taliban and other groups in afghanistan, it does not have to be so hard and does not have to cost so much. let's figure out how to bring this war to an end. steve scully: we were in touch to the afghan government does -- ambassador to the u.s., and he said the afghan government does not comment on the internal elaborations of other governments. we are reserving judgment until a former -- formal policy is announced. we are awaiting a decision by the president. have you talked to general mattis general kelly, and , others? erik prince: i talked to general mattis. i have not talked to general kelly yet because he is new in to that position. general mattis said my analysis of the root problems that need to be addressed are the best he has seen.
he might not agree with my policy recommendations, meaning putting contracted guys into those roles, but he said the root problem, meeting sustaining battalions from the bottom up with the structure with , long-term embedded mentors, i think that is the right approach and he would agree. steve scully: so if your plan were to be implemented, how long would it take to succeed? erik prince: well it would take , a year and a half to fully ramped up. people in those positions are almost battalions across 100 afghanistan. you would see significant changes on the ground within months because those afghan battalions would be functioning much better and have viable air support, it will put much more pressure on the taliban. here is the thing. afghanistan,in what afghan soldier wants to leave his base knowing he has almost no chance of any reaction force supporting them if they get in a big firefight? if he is wounded he can die of a , septic infection after 10 days
because he did not get antibiotics, and he is assured you will get no air support if he gets into a fight. what afghan soldier would be confident going into a fight? this model changes that. steve scully: geographically how , big is afghanistan compared to the u.s.? erik prince: bigger than texas and about 30 million. steve scully: we go to nick in arlington, virginia. caller: good morning. steve scully: we can hear you. caller: my question to mr. prince. we are seeing an increase in insurgencies. in afghanistan, kazakhstan, is that stand -- uzbekistan. causing havoc. in your opinion, how can a corporation such as blackwater and others look at this going
forward? reasons, andave with the possibility what sort , of oversight and regulation would need to be in place for that to happen? steve scully: nick, thanks for the call. erik prince: sure you are right. , there is a lot of insurgencies. there are more places on fire on probablyn any time in 50, 60 years. the secondary effects of that with them exporting terrorism, we are seeing a lot of migration and refugees out of those areas. so figuring out how to put out those fires is important. those governments can turn to the private sector, like the u.s. government has, for that kind of training support, is, maintenance and logistics support, to get that done. any time a u.s. company does that it is regulated by the , state department. and it is controlled. you know, those days -- those rules are based on the original arms export laws for preventing
the sale of sensitive missile or weapons technology. those could use updating to make those more relevant, to make the u.s. a more helpful platform to help these countries suffering from these insurgencies. steve scully: our conversation is with erik prince, who is advocating for privatizing parts of the war in afghanistan. we go to nancy from gresham, oregon. good morning. caller: hello there. i was wondering what would be so catastrophic out of just being in afghanistan? the russians did. they had their belly full of it. they did not win in iraq. they did not win in afghanistan. they did not win in vietnam. what makes it -- those countries were ruled by other people long before now, and they were different. different rulers, different ways of living than ours. but we got by. why can't we leave?
the russians cannot do it, what makes you think we could do it? steve scully: thank you, nancy. erik prince: the russians, in the 1980's, had pacified afghanistan. they had put in $1 billion of u.s. legal aid per year that drove the soviets out of afghanistan to include providing the afghans with surface-to-air missiles. fortunately, no one has done that to the u.s. effort in afghanistan. we are certainly not there to colonize it. we are not there to dominate it. the u.s. went there to prevent it from ever being used as a base of operations to launch a terrorist attack against the homeland after 9/11. there is an argument to be made to just pull out completely. but doing that in this era of isis and lots of lone wolf, individual type attacks, it serves as a caliphate, as a base for radical islam to rally around.
so as you go through the process of trying to defeat isis on the ground, in iraq, and syria, and if suddenly afghanistan falls, which it would if the u.s. pulled out completely, you have another base of operations for an isis-like force. and that is what we are trying to avoid. here a cheapovide and solvable sustainable option , between pulling out completely or continuing the same level of heavy spending we are doing. this plan costs less than 20% of the current plan. steve scully: as you have indicated in past interviews, there are a lot of systems in afghanistan that contribute to the problem, correct? erik prince: sure. you know, there are certain things, structurally, that need to be addressed, like the mining law, like the energy law. there is $1 trillion of resources in the ground in afghanistan that the afghan government should be benefiting from from taxes and job creation. , it was kind of a
diplomatic failure on the united states' part to push those laws and bring about a turn in the economy. steve scully: let's turn quickly to north korea. this is what the president said in new jersey. we will follow that with the tweet just a short while ago. donald trump for people who was : questioning that statement, maybe it was not tough enough. steve scully: and this morning, this president trump. "military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should north korea act unwisely. hopefully, kim jong-un will find another path." that from the president this morning. erik prince: so remember, kim jong-un killed his half-brother in an international airport with vx gas. he strapped his uncle to the end of a military gun and blew him away. he is not a rational guy. those comments by the president i don't figure even directed at kim jong-un. they are designed to go to the
people surrounding around kim , jong-un, so that they realize if you do something stupid, it is not just him who will go, it is all of them. it is all the leadership clique. every time kim fires a missile, it develops it is a marketing , project, and it is certainly a threat to the west. his nuclear missile program is iran's nuclear missile program. and the proliferation problems in the other places you want to sell nuclear weapons becomes a real strategic problem to america because the more of those nations have those a canalweapons, it is of the of problems. -- it is a lot of problems. steve scully: can diplomacy work or is conflict and war inevitable? erik prince: i sure hope conflict is avoided. if i were the united states, i would try a program like the united states did in the soviet union in the 1980's.
remember the wall came down, the berlin wall, because people on the east side of the wall figured out what was on the west side of the wall. and really putting an information program together in north korea to push media in from the west, the rest of the world into north korea would make it harder for kim to govern. right? steve scully: but china does not want that, they do not want to see a unified korea. erik prince: they might not, but anything that makes kim's life more miserable in governing is ideal. a peaceful unification is ideal. even better if the general steps up and removes kim himself and then makes a deal to reunify or carry on. twoit is probably time to end the kim dynasty. steve scully: and you know the question everyone seems to be asking -- are you worried, are you concerned? how the you answer that, you are solely? erik prince: if i lived in the
20 miles next to the dmz, that first is certainly the most worrisome spot. but the fact is if kim, every time he tests -- and he is testing out submarines now, as well, and he has the ability for a small nuclear device to get on a missile -- and him shooting into south korea or japan or guam -- 400,000 american citizens there -- that is a problem. so spending on missile defense certainly and deterrence. this is an example of why -- before we worry about another war in north korea, let's finish the one we have been in the longest and find a way to bring it to a close. steve scully: let's turn back to afghanistan and the statement by the chair of the armed forces committee, senator john mccain -- we must face stocks that we are losing in afghanistan. the goal of this strategy is to ensure afghanistan never again becomes a sanctuary for
terrorists to plot and conduct attacks against america, our allies, or our interests. we need an approach to bolster efforts, the strength and capability of the afghan government and security forces, and intensify diplomatic efforts to facilitate a negotiated peace process in afghanistan. your response. erik prince: it kind of sounds more of the same. you could've said that in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, or now. the difference is, look, i call we need to have one person in charge of all u.s. policy for afghanistan. put one person in charge and make them responsible for it. we have not had that. it would be interesting to see senator mccain's response if the president names that person, and senator mccain would expect to have oversight over that guy. be questioning back from washington. treat this like a bankruptcy. this has been going around and around for circles for 16 years.
if you put a business in bankruptcy, you have a court it points -- appoints a bankruptcy trustee. that is kind of what we need in the afghanistan effort. to keep -- let's -- do what we need to do to deny terrorists sanctuary, stabilize the afghan government, and figure out how to leave. that is, that is that is , america's goal. steve scully: erik prince joe is , next, charleston, south carolina. caller: good morning. let me give you a little background, erik. i used to work for the federal government and the dod. as a matter of fact i was involved in logistics and helped units areportable atc used to take over to the sands. i retired in 2007. anyway you are familiar with the a-76 circular, as a contractor. for the life of me, and don't think this wrong, i have always that the military should be an inherently government function.
of course, steve, let me explain something. the government is not supposed to compete with the private sector if the private sector can do a job more efficiently and more effectively than the government. erik knows that. he is familiar with the appropriations. aside from the money thing and tactics and strategy, i would like to go back to a hearing in the senate armed services committee -- by the way thank , goodness for c-span that we can watch those things. general nicholson testified in february. my senator, lindsey graham, questioned him in detail about what was needed to win in afghanistan. he said he needed at least 30,000 more troops. he also said at that time that contractors outnumbered government guys two to one over there. i don't know if that was true. he expressed dismay in that russia is trying to undermine our efforts over there. and he also said if we do not win this thing over there, and
don't get that place stabilized, we will feel their presence on this continent. now -- steve scully: thank you very much. thank you for checking out our website at www.c-span.org. erik prince. erik prince: let me answer last to first. you are right, there are more contractors in afghanistan already. there is 26,000. 9.5 thousand of those are americans in afghanistan. there are another 9000 u.s. troops. so you are right. there are a lot of contractors there. the plan i am advocating severely reduces all of those numbers. the question of inherently governmental comes up. i was born in the summer of 1969, the summer of woodstock and apollo 11. if you were to say is it inherently governmental that only the u.s. government can put a rocket into space, 1969, of course, you would have said yes. but now today, 2017, the only way the u.s. government gets to space is on a private
contractor's rocket or oddly with the russian space program. it was not inherent. time and technology changes that. steve scully: laredo, ohio. good morning. caller: good morning. the first thing i would like to say is this whole thing is ridiculous. i mean the russians warned us 15 years ago, do not go into afghanistan. you cannot win. they were right. the second thing i would like to say is we are spending all of this money, lots of money between afghanistan and iraq. ,i mean, you have to rebuild -- you can rebuild every hospital and school in america with the money we are spending over there. this could be putting americans to work. it would be creating jobs, and you would have money to build up and support entitlement programs we need for people. this whole thing is just ridiculous. erik prince: i think the
president agrees with you. repeatedly in media reports he is not comfortable with the same big military, big spending approach in afghanistan. and i think he wrestles with pulling out completely and putting that money to work back in the united states and infrastructure versus spending it. i tried to provide him an option to keep pressure on the terrorists and still return more than $40 billion back to the budget to spend in america. steve scully: from england, georgia rick. ,you are next. caller: good morning. thank you for your service to our nation. i have a couple of comments. first as far as the ground war in afghanistan, history teaches us that the last four in general to lead a ground war in afghanistan was alexander the great in 400 bc.
and the military privatization is a terrible idea. although it back through history, mercenaries have always been a failure. they cannot be trusted. .hey are there for the profit they have allegiance not to a nation. mr. prince, you revealed your motive when you tried to compare the function of afghanistan to a business. government is not in place to realize a profit. so the analogy with the business taken.tcy is not well thank you. erik prince: i would say the effort is in bankruptcy. 90%fact of an afghan state dependent on donations to operate, we have spent close to
$1 trillion in a rational observer upsets -- investor could characterize that as bankruptcy. money in save a lot of putting this thing, trying to find an offramp to the longest war in history is important. the idea of mercenaries and contractors, i respectfully, strongly disagree with you. anyone that looks at the history of flying tigers, what they accomplished against the japanese, even winston churchill praised those guys, those contractors, those former army, navy, air force pilots that would to work for a chinese company back in 1940, to defend china from japanese aggression. churchill equated those pilots to the raf. steve scully: middleburg, virginia. erik prince. good morning. caller: good morning.
i think that you are trying to come up with some innovative solutions which is excellent. but just a couple of points, one of the things i would say is, have you heard of subways airlines? and the army arsenal to various boko haram, isis and other folks , this airline has been --ducting all the manifest they are all available on crowd .com.e the truth it would make sense to cut out those lines going to all of these fighters fighting against our troops. steve scully: are you familiar with this? erik prince: is there leakage in the illegal arms strength? absolutely. inly that is not necessary afghanistan because the taliban can roll over a base and destroy
it and capture all the u.s.-provided u.s. arms and ammunition, they are self supporting at that point. steve scully: back in april, the blackwater founder held a secret meeting to establish a trump-putin back channel. is the headline accurate? erik prince: as i said earlier in media, i was introduced incidentally to a russian guy that had nothing to do with the u.s. government. it had nothing to do with the trump administration or the united states. steve scully: you have not been contacted by anyone at all? erik prince: no. steve scully: what do you think of president trump? erik prince: i feel for the guy as much negativity as there is at him. he was a multibillionaire living a comfortable life. he cares about his country and decided to step up and do something about it. if he could cure cancer and the left could criticize them for curing cancer somehow.
he is in a thankless position. i am thankful he is president and not hillary clinton. as the administration comes together, good things ahead. steve scully: is his rhetoric appropriate? erik prince: particularly at kim jong-un, that was directed at the circle around him. -- kim. from thedefinition united states about the consequences, firing missiles at guam, is appropriate. steve scully: our last call is from some point, new york. caller: i would like to say it is not deterrence that scares me, it is you. you are nothing more than a warmonger or and baby -- warmonger and baby killer. there is a place in hell for you. erik prince: i'm sorry you feel that way. i'm trying to and the war in
afghanistan and bring the troops home. i question what you have done to do that. steve scully: let's go back to the earlier point. is privatized the right word? erik prince: first of all, let's end the war. everyone us to bring the troops home. you have to leave some kind of infrastructure in place to keep the afghan security forces up right and effective. people want to complain about contractors mother are 26,000 there. contractors, there are 26,000 there. opinions, have criticism to throw around. but the fact is these are difficult problems, and for the united states to pull out of afghanistan completely and leave a terrorist safe haven is a real problem.
so a solution to that, people can criticize me for that, but if you are not aiming the target, your not taking flak. steve scully: how can people get to you? erik prince: i am not on either. steve scully: your website or your company? erik prince: sure, but it has nothing to do with solving afghanistan. steve scully: erik prince. erik prince: appreciate it. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer 1: tonight on humid day -- q and a -- >> the response people have is to put us in cages, cuffed and fist us, treat us as citizens whose rights other people do not respect. we are not full citizens in the united states. announcer 1: professor paul butler takes a critical look at the u.s. criminal justice system and the impact on african-american men in his book chokehold, policing black men. >> there has never been a time
where community relations have been anywhere near good. for a long time if you were a black person, you called the police to report -- if you were the victim, the police did not pay attention to it. now the sense is the police are overwhelmingly in african-american communities not to protect those communities but rather to lock folks up. announcer 1: tonight at 8:00 eastern. election analysts talked about the candidates in the 2016 elections and look ahead to 2018. the net roots conference was attended by online organizers and grassroots activists. this is an hour and 15 minutes. koselcome to the daily elections humid