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Q&A With Col. David Hunt

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I have enjoyed your analysis on FOX News, however, you commented on Sunday about Walter Reed, and it causes me to wonder if you were located on some other planet in the 1990s. You don't recall, I guess, how the administration and Congress nearly gutted the military health care system. 'Send'em out on TRICARE to those civilian hospitals! Shut down those military hospitals! Consolidate everywhere!' they said.

Maybe you'd like to go over to Congress and point the finger where it should be directed. Uniformed military health care people have done a remarkable job the past five years. And while you're at it, maybe you better talk with my old friend Tom McInerney. I think his bulb is a little brighter than yours.
— Larry

Col. Hunt: Larry, I was not on some other planet; I was in the Army at the time, thanks for asking. You are of course correct that the military health care system has been gutted. We do a great job in patching up our guys and saving their lives; we suck at outpatient care and have since World War I. All the military health care and VA has been under funded. However, and these are still my main points the current administration has had the power for six years and military has owned the problem since Christ was a corporal. No one has quit over this and if it were not for the 'liberal' press we would not be talking about right now. My fear on this is that they will only paint Building 18 and not fix the outpatient care. General McInerney is, of course, smarter; he is a general after all.


Is there a safe zone in Baghdad in which life for the natives can be considered normal? Is the 'surge' strategy to start in the center of the city, clear out all insurgents and keep enough forces there to maintain a 'safe zone' for the locals? If this is the objective, is it working?
— Karen

Col. Hunt: Karen, there is a safe zone in Baghdad called the Green Zone, where our senior generals and state department people get to live and work in Saddam's palaces. Out side of the Green Zone it so unsafe that VIPs fly the four miles from the airport to the Green Zone.

We are starting the surge all over the city but most importantly in Sadr City. There is still great conflict all over Iraq but the surge is having initial success. The trick will always be if the Iraq military and police can sustain what we give them. Also, the ultimate solution in Iraq is not a military one; it is political and economic.


I have my only son leaving May 8th for basic training. I am trying do as he wishes support him but now with this garbage about the medical care our vets are getting makes me want to change my way of thinking and just tell him 'your crazy' our military isn't what it was when granddad was in. Any words for a mom who is afraid for her son? How can I help change things for our troops?
— Robin (Bonifay,FL)

Col. Hunt: Robin, I think, hell, I know, the military is better than it was in granddad's day. There were over 110 percent causalities from D-Day to the Rhine River; that means dead, wounded or pulled of the line. In Korea, we had piss-poor leadership for much of the beginning of that war. In Vietnam we had officers in the field only six months while the soldiers stayed for 12 or 13. We have a great military because of sons like yours, who always make up for bad poor leadership and care they do not receive and we have the best non-commissioned officer corp. In the world. If you want to change things, get mad and write, call, or email you political leaders. Buy my next book, and after you read it throw it at a congressman.


What happened to Walter Reed during the tenure of Bill Clinton? I bet that is where the money and support got cut — and Bush is having to clean up the mess.
— Karen (Salem, OR)

Col. Hunt: Karen, this problem of terrible outpatient care has been with soldiers since World War I. We give great initial care to our guys and then we let them down in out patient care. The Bush administration had both houses of Congress, the White House, total control of the military and years to correct whatever you think Bill Clinton did. How is this anyone's fault but the current guys in charge? We know from previous wars what kind of wounds, deaths and other traumas we are likely to see and hell we have had over four years to adjust and we have not. I am sorry this is not a political issue this is a soldier issue and we need this fixed now and not shy away from who is responsible.


I retired from the U.S. Army back in 1986, served two tours in 'Nam, and was wounded twice. It is about time for the folks in the high command to start doing and less talking. I don't know why so many civilians are so damn surprised that this happening. Hell, when I came back from Vietnam, I had some bad living conditions — and I do mean bad — and no damn body gave a damn about it. I am thrilled that someone is taking action to try and fix the problem. It will be like all the other times they forget about as soon as some smoke blows away. Also, I said back in the 1990s that our Army was being destroyed and it surely is; it is way too small. I hope our government will wake up, but I doubt it. We need two more divisions trained for anti-insurgents operations. Do you think we should have two more divisions? Do we have any American general that has the balls to carry out a war against these godless dogs in Iraq without any regards to his or her career? Where's a Gen. Patton when we need one?
— Mack

Col. Hunt: Mack, welcome home, brother. You are, of course, correct. We need two more divisions, and the Marines need two more divisions, and we need hundreds or more special operation-types of every ilk. We have a few generals that fit the mold. Gen. Jim Jones recently left NATO, a Marine, but no one is perfect; Admiral Snuffy Smith retired but we can bring him back; Gen. Hank “The Gunfighter” Emerson retired, but he would jump back if asked. Some young current guys, Brigadier Mike Jones and Brigadier Dave Perkins, should be moved ahead and given divisions now. We do need another Grant or Marshall or Patton, but the way we have selected and promoted in peacetime has given us the current crop of PC types, who have forgotten if they ever knew how to fight.


Many of the current members of the Armed Services Committee have been members for many years. Several of the members are running or have run for president. Many have used Walter Reed as a photo op. Their responsibility includes oversight of Walter Reed and other military and veteran hospitals. They should have known the state of the care and they should have made the medical care of the military a priority.
— David

Col. Hunt: David, yes they all suck! We need to keep the pressure on them all. I am concerned that they will only paint the walls at Building 18 and hold a hearing or two and appoint a committee to study this and then it and the soldiers get lost again.


Sir, I clicked on your bio link and there is not much there. I was wondering if you had a complete military bio from when you where in, the details, units that you have served in, and so on. Thanks!
— GySgt Andrew Harrell USMC

Col. Hunt: Gunny, first thanks for you service. I have always thought that what we did was less important than who we are. However, I did attend the Marine Command and Staff College, and kicked so much Marine ass that they awarded me the Leadership in Physical Training Award, and Army Major. Go figure!


Myself and other Air Force LT's were informed that we would be cut out of the ranks, due to downsizing while we were risking our lives in Iraq — not just sitting on base either, but flying and convoying across the triangle of death and other areas. We came home to a pink slip. We deserved better, but absolutely no one has spoken out on this. Will you?
— Ross

Col. Hunt: Ross, that sounds like a RIF, a Reduction in Force, while we are at war. Take a trip to DC and camp on your congressman's door. That is just crap. I will ask around but I am only an old fat Army guy, you need serious Air Force help. Good luck, and thanks for your service.


You were right to criticize the treatment of our military at Walter Reed, but everyone knows this hospital as well as many others are inadequate because it is run by the Federal government. By joining in the criticism, you are giving the victory to the Democrats, who could care less about our military, and are just joining in with The Washington Post to blast the Bush administration again. Also, someone needs to point out that the Democrats will gladly provide this kind of health care for all of us if they get elected in 2008. And, this kind of health care conditions didn't just happen under George Bush. Someone should question the conditions under previous administrations, including Clinton. We know, of course, what they would find: bureaucratic bungling, waste and lack of oversight. Welcome to what we all will face after 2008 if we aren't careful! And, I'm surprised you would help the enemies of our military out.
— Louise

Col. Hunt: Louise, why are you giving this administration a pass? Of course these conditions existed before Bush, however, he has been in charge for over six years. Does he not get the hits? This cannot be about elections; if it is it will not get fixed. Our soldiers deserve better than they have gotten from us, regardless of what political party you are from.


With all the uproar, and rightly so, lately over the care given our troops coming back from Iraq, why do you think the Congress allows some 20 percent or so of our troops to live on food stamps, but yet has the nerve to ask them to go and maybe die in combat. That in my opinion, sir, is a national shame, and should be shouted from the rooftops.
— Bill

Col. Hunt: Bill, Amen. We still have NCO's working two jobs to make ends meet. Soldier pay and because of what we are seeing at Walter Reed now, and soldier care are criminally low. Give them all a 50 percent tax-free raise now.


I just got done with your book. Great book! When is Israel going to war? Will it be this spring or this fall? What will happen if Israel goes to war?
— Michael (Springfield, MI)

Col. Hunt: Mike, thanks for getting the book. Here is a self-serving plug. My new one comes out April 2 titled, “On the Hunt." Go figure! Israel will not go to war Iran without talking to us first. I do think we will see some bombs drop in Teheran this summer; there is too much saber rattling to not make that prediction.


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Colonel David Hunt, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a FOX News military analyst and the author of the New York Times bestseller They Just Don’t Get It. He has extensive operational experience in counterterrorism, special operations, and intelligence operations. He has trained the FBI and Special Forces in counterterrorism tactics, served as the security adviser to six different Olympic Games, testified as an expert at many major terrorist trials, and lectured at the CIA, the FBI, and the National Security Agency. You can read his complete bio here.