Military Questions Answered by Col. David Hunt

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After serving over two years in Iraq and always hearing about shortages for company-level officers in the Army, I have a question: Why doesn’t the Army give battlefield commissions anymore? Yes, we have green to gold and a few other options, but with today’s OPTEMPO, it’s not all that realistic. It seems that the Army would rather have junior officers proficient at PowerPoint than solid leadership. — Jake, Army SGT

Col. Hunt: Jake, thank you for you service. Sarge, if the Army gave battlefield commissions, it would be admitting that the Officer Corps we currently have is working. The Army is loath to change the one thing holding them back from true greatness: its officer corp. We changed your NCO Corp after 'Nam and we changed for the better with our intelligence preparation of the battlefield and the added National Training Centers. But, we never fixed the Officer Corps and the end result is what you are seeing and serving with today. You deserve better.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE! I have no military experience, but I know for sure that war is hell! Our leaders don't seem to understand this. It is my belief that we will win many battles but never win another war. As an everyday American, I am sick that our men and women have been thrust into a conflict without the absolute desire to win. I hate to think that the only way we will get tough and serious is with another attack (much more serious then 9/11.) WAR IS WAR. Do you agree that America is not acting in the best interest of its citizens? Where are the simple men in America that would cut the head off the snake before it bites us … instead of wondering if it is endangered? — Scott (Hobart, ID)

Col. Hunt: We have lost our way when it comes to making war. Political correctness is literally killing our guys. It may take another attack on us to really wake us up.

Your honesty and candor in regards to the situation in Iraq and the Middle East in general is truly refreshing. I have a cousin serving in Iraq and I only wish that persons like yourself were leading our effort there, as well as elsewhere in the Middle East. This leads me to my question: If you were asked to advise President Bush on our efforts in Iraq, what new directions would you advise him to pursue? Your insight would be appreciated, and thank you for your service to our great nation. — Bill

Col. Hunt: Bill, guys like me are never asked to advise presidents, but OK, let’s play. I would tell him to follow the 9/11Commission Report, or at least use it as a guide. I would embrace Israel more. I would tell him to put serious public pressure on the U.S. companies currently doing business in Iran and deal directly with Iran and North Korea, with a very strong hand — economically, politically, then military as a last option. I would advise the president to listen more than talk. I would advise that is OK to admit when you are wrong. You see … this is why guys like me are never asked.

What I want to know is: Why can't we fight this war like we did World War II? It wasn't that we didn't care about what collateral damage we caused; we knew there were certain things that had to be done, and we went ahead and did them, and consequently won the war. Why can't we let the generals and the military people fight this war and leave the politicians out of it? Unless, of course, the generals and the military people are part of the politics, which, I suspect, may be the case. It seems to me that politics seem to start most wars. I have an idea: Why don't we shoot all of the politicians? That may be a bit harsh, but who knows — it might work! Thanks for your time! — JoAnne (Texas)

Col. Hunt: JoAnne, nice … but, save the bullets and vote them all out.

I love your commentary, both on TV and in print. Isn't it time to conspire with Musharraf to take out the Al Qaeda leaders hiding in the tribal regions of Pakistan? Why can't the coalition from the Afghan side and the Pakistanis from the Pakistan side squeeze Al Qaeda out of hiding and eliminate them? I am sure it can be done. The operation would have to keep in mind that all known escape routes would have to be covered. Too bad we did not carry out the snatch and grab operation nixed by Rumsfeld in 2005. — George

Col. Hunt: George, it’s a great idea, but it would take political courage, by both the U.S. and Pakistani presidents. Both have been lacking in said courage to do something like you suggest, but again, it is a damn good idea. Our intelligence community is telling us that Al Qaeda is now stronger than it was before 9/11, so we better do a lot more than we are going now.

It is my understanding that most of the IEDs in Iraq are detonated by cell phones (remote control). As these are just radio frequencies, why can't we jam those frequencies as we used to jam radars, etc.? Or, why can't we broadcast multi-frequencies ahead of a convoy that would pre-detonate these IEDs before the bad guys have a chance to detonate them when our trucks and humvees drive by? Certainly U.S. technology should be able to figure out a way to do this. — Bill (Goodyear, AZ)

Col. Hunt: Bill, great idea, and we are doing that and lots of other innovative things. However, terrorists with serious help from Iran keep adapting to what we do to stop them. We have a retired four-star general and a task force working on this, but the only real way to stop these bombs is to kill the bad guys before they can make the damn things.

Thank you for your service to our great county. Maybe I do not understand who we are fighting in Iraq. “The War in Iraq” keeps being placed in the headlines and references to the incompetence of the president and his advisers. I have a slightly different take on all this. With our few allies, we defeated the Iraqi Army, Navy and Air Force. So please explain who we are fighting now and what the implications of losing this fight are. — Tom, USCGR (ret)

Col. Hunt: Tom, thanks for you service. In Iraq, we are fighting Al Qaeda and Iran’s proxies like Sadr’s militia, Sunni insurgents and government death squads. We will not lose the military fight in Iraq. But — and in this stuff there is usually a but — we are losing right now the political and economic fight in Iraq. We also are losing the “hearts and minds” fight. While this is going on, Al Qaeda has regained its post 9/11 strength. The implications of losing are catastrophic to us and the rest of the world. But this fight with Al Qaeda cannot be won by just our great military, they are doing their jobs the rest of our government needs to step up to the plate.

I have been hearing reports that the tide of war in Iraq may be turning in our favor. The reports claim that the Iraqi's are now seeing Al Qaeda as the threat and not the American forces. These reports claim that different tribes have also taken up arms against the insurgency. I'm open for any good news that comes out of this war. What have you heard on this subject? — John (Seattle, WA) U.S. Army ADA Vet 1973 - 1976

Col. Hunt: John, thank you for your service. We have had great success all over Iraq, but they are one-sided. We, the U.S. military, wins the day and turn it over to the Iraq military or police who then piss the victory away. In the Ramadi area, we have armed some Sunni tribes and had better success. The ultimate success in Iraq will not be a military one; it will political and economic, which are almost totally up to the Iraqi people and government who to date have been unwilling to step up.

We know that the Iranians are manufacturing the IED components that are killing and maiming our servicemen and women. Why can't we locate and destroy those factories? Have they ever heard of Google Earth? I’m ashamed of our lack of courage to respond. — John

Col. Hunt: John, we are busting the factories, but not all of them. Iran is still supplying the insurgents and terrorists at a rate faster than we can stop them.

My question is related to Usama bin Ladin. I’m sure with all the military intelligence that we have, they know where he and his deputies are. Why is that we have not killed them, What has become of the military leadership in this country? — Joseph, former military intelligent

Col. Hunt: Joseph, in 2005, Rumsfeld canceled such a mission. You are right we do know, but we lack the political guts/will to do the right thing. Bin Laden being alive all these years is a massive mistake — which is a mistake we have made.

I am very disappointed that our leaders keep saying that we have the best equipment out there. Bull. We are still using the M-16. Unless you keep this thing really clean in the right spots, it will jam. Just ask the ‘Nam boys. It should say something when our soldiers would rather shoot an AK-47 or SKS. Our Special Ops folks are using better rifles. Why does the Army refuse to switch and why is no one talking about this? — Doug, Guardsman for 20 years

Col. Hunt: Doug, thanks for you service. There are some units still using the old M-16; all are reserve or guard units and that is very wrong. The new M-4 is a better weapon and must be issued to all. Why this has not been done is a flat out leadership issue, meaning a total lack of military and political leadership.

I have sadly read the names of the many men and woman who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan on the FOX Web site. It seems the vast majority are killed by IUD devices during routine patrolling. Obviously, the devices are planted ahead of time and it’s also obvious that the information of where these patrols are going is coming from the Iraqi police and military, perhaps even the Iraqi politicians. In your opinion, is there any way to stop patrol and convoy information from getting to these cowardly insurgents? Can’t our military do any better at preventing this information from getting into the wrong hands? — Jerry

Col. Hunt: Jerry, the road from Kuwait to Iraq is full 24/7/365 with military and civilian convoys. First of all, the terrorists, insurgents and militias killing our guys do not need inside information. Having said that, there are a limited number of options our guys can use to try and fool the bad guys. The best way to stop these instances is to get to the bombers and their suppliers before the do their murder. This is a tough, very nasty war and we have been fighting it with one hand tied behind our backs, for example not going right at Iran and Syria for what they have been doing; instead we talk about it and make threats and send Navy ships to steam around the Iranian coast.

I’m a 63-year-old retired Army LTC and Vietnam company commander, who just can’t stand the way the Iraq campaign, is being run. Why are we mollycoddling the totally ineffective government in Baghdad? If they won’t compromise and work with each other, then let’s let them fight it out between themselves. Let’s redeploy our troops to the borders with Syria and Iran, while providing security for the oil fields, pipelines and the Kurds. Then, tell the Shiites and Sunnis to have at it. My guess is that once we declare our intent to do this, there will be a massive migration of Kurds to the north and peace-seeking minorities to the remaining U.S.-protected areas. After that, let the remaining Muslim radicals; Shiite and Sunni kill each other with impunity. The more the merrier! What say you? — David

Col. Hunt: David, welcome home brother. Our generation of soldier is almost uniformly pissed at the way this war on terror and in Afghanistan and Iraq especially. You and I and the rest of our brothers have learned the ugly, hard and true lessons of how to fight in our war and for several rather self serving reasons the military and government have forgotten almost all of them. As always, you who share my name, it’s the soldiers, the guys, the lads that always pay for these mistakes. I say your idea is truly ugly, very simple, straight-forward and workable, and therefore will never be tried.

Again Col. Hunt, why are you not active in the military and one of the leaders doing the "right thing"? It is frustrating to see you in print week after week with nothing good to say about our leaders in Iraq and then I wonder again: where are you in all of this? Sour grapes or a man who knows how to be a critical adversary? I'm sure Usama will be hunting you up if he hasn't already. — Anonymous

Col. Hunt: If you like what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, then OK. It did not have to go this way. How else do you explain what happened, since our great military took Afghanistan and Iraq so easily that they have both turned into the mess they both are today? To me, the answer is obvious: piss poor political and military leadership, saved only by the bravery of our soldiers and spies. You are also correct it is easy to sit on the sidelines and throw rocks. That does not mean I intend to stop. Oh, and sorry I am not a Democrat or Republican, but a registered Independent.

You are one of my favorite military men that still is willing and able to tell it like it is. My question to you is: Where along the line did the politicians gain the feeling and belief that they know more about running a war than our military leaders? It appears that the current leaders of our country have become more concerned about getting reelected than doing what is best for our country. Many of these so called leaders haven't a clue as to how the military works, and many have never served a day in the military, yet they constantly demean our military men and women. It appears to me that we have far too many in leadership roles that have a "Jane Fonda" mentality. — Art

Col. Hunt: Art, evoking “Hanoi” Jane, always appropriate in cases like this. It is not just the politicians who are interfering many senior Pentagon officials are just as guilty. Far too many in D.C. are trying to manage this war from seven time zones away. Insurgency’s and terrorism fights are largely sergeants fights. The rest need to support them with, the right gear, the right missions and leadership that know and lives the following … lead, fight or get the hell out of the way.

I am a 43-year-old that regrets never joining the military. However, my love, honor and respect for those you have worn the uniform is as strong as any. First, thank you for your service and for all who have adorned a uniform to protect this great nation. I feel this war on terrorism can only be won if the administration takes a hard line of black and white, right and wrong! This politically correct crap is putting us in the hole. What are your thoughts on this strategy? And do you think we should basically converge on Iraq and constitute Marshal Law in dealing with the government? I wish we would get a backbone and stop appeasing the world! You’re a great American. — Eric

Col. Hunt: Eric, from your words to God’s and the president’s ears.


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.