Military Questions Answered by Col. David Hunt

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We spoke briefly when you took the last call on Howie Carr’s program on the Fourth of July. I was the ex-sailor with the dad in the First Mounted Horse Cav ... big family military experience. Anyway, bravo to you for exposing these political idiots. With our heroes' blood on Iran's hands, it seems to me a show of firepower is in order. Our flyboys have a lot of idle time — let’s use them to break the sound barrier over Tehran a few times a day and blast those factories making IEDs at the same time. While we're at it, let’s really show some guts and blow their nuke program back about five years. I’m convinced the only thing they respect lies at the end of a bayonet. — Rick S. Bangor, ME

Col. Hunt: Rick, good to hear from you and thanks for your service and your Dad’s. We may be getting to the point where bombing Iran back five years is the only thing we can do.

As you know, we have had two talks with Iran in the last few months ... it's some beginning. I suspect not much will come with talking, unless we are really prepared to hurt Iran, economically or militarily; they have become the real superpower in the Middle East.

Is it true we have photos of Iranian missile launchers now based in Iraq and pointed at U.S. troops? – J.A.

Col. Hunt: J.A., we do have photos showing missiles pointed our way and toward Israel. Now, what are you prepared to do about it? If we go on the ground against Iran, we will have to have a draft, and that is the good news. The bad news is that Iran has the bomb.

In light of the Iranians' intentions to fund and train the Sunni insurgency, why are we not covertly or overtly trying to make them pay for killing American service personnel? Second, it is apparent that American commanders on the ground are calling out the Iranians for meddling. Why will they not act on this clear aggression by the Iranian regime? Could we be close to some type of skirmish with the jackals who have been taking American fighting men and women's lives for 30 years with no reprisals? — Gavin

Col. Hunt: Gavin, as much as Iran, Syria, and yes, Saudi Arabia, and all countries that have jihadists in Iraq killing Americans, all deserve to be eating out of a straw. This administration is in its last 18 months, and I do not see the president going into a third country or having another war. We should have taken action three years ago, and we are paying the price for that lack of political will and courage today.

Let's say we do have a terrorist attack in the coming weeks, and let's assume it takes a lot of lives. The American people are going to expect a response like, "The rest of the world hears you! And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!" If Usama bin Laden and members of Al Qaeda are in Pakistan, do you think that President Bush will attack those areas in Pakistan like we did in Afghanistan after 9/11? Or, do you think that he has lost the will to really go after terrorists wherever they are? Will we go for Iran instead because Pakistan is our "friend?" Won't it become more difficult to retaliate in a big way because many of the countries that produce terrorists are "friendly" to us, such as Saudi Arabia? – Marshall (Trussville, AL)

Col. Hunt: Marshall, what are you some kind of Fulbright scholar? That is very succinct thinking. If we get hit again, like I think we will, then yes, we would hit back hard. Of course I think we should have gone into Pakistan, Botswana, France, Germany, any place that Al Qaeda was/is hiding and kill them all. We have not, and we are facing a stronger enemy today. Here is a simple concept: NO SAFE HAVENS FOR TERRORISTS ... just a thought.

I enjoy your commentary very much. My question is tactical. Would it serve us in Iraq and Afghanistan to deploy a guerilla-style fighting force rather than patrols and armored vehicles? A large special ops force in other words that would maintain constant sweeps through Baghdad and other places day and night? Also, how do you think we should be dealing with Pakistan, especially in light of recent reports that Al Qaeda has regained much of its strength? — Matt (Tuscaloosa, AL)

Col. Hunt: Matt, yes, and turn that fight over to a Special Forces General. Wanna know why we have not? The “other” Army — the tankers, infantry men, etc. — would be pissed beyond measure. We need more qualified special forces for this fight for sure. Pakistan must be dealt with now, we need to go in there quietly and kill bin Laden and Zawairi. There is no excuse for them being alive this long.

It is hard to take your rantings seriously. Do you really expect me to believe that former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld called off an attack that was to capture many of the Al Qaeda leadership? You mean the man who led the war into Afghanistan and Iraq called off a small operation because it was dangerous? I never really thought you made much sense on the air and now you have reminded me why I do not listen to your opinions anymore. — Aaron (Knoxville, TN)

Col. Hunt: Aaron, hey what do you really think of me ... come on, no holding back. How much money have you got? I will bet you every nasty penny in your dirty back pocket that what I said happened and for the supercilious reasons I said: I know the guys who were supposed to be on the operation and I know at least one guy who was in the room when Rumsfeld cancelled the operation. Moreover, that bonehead (Rummy) has done much worse. So I appreciate your doubts … sadly, you are in great need of some facts and are in massive denial about what has been going on in this war.

Okay, so know upfront that I'm an SF guy, and I've read your book. I agree with you on some things, disagree on others. But answer me this: What happens when you push too hard on Musharraf and his fragile regime falls? How, exactly, do we deal with a wahabbi government in Pakistan in the possession of nukes?

Come on, you KNOW you have to consider the most dangerous consequence in your planning and in your decision making. Yeah, I get pissed off all the time by the bureaucratic incompetence that IS the military's leadership these days. In fact, I won't be doing any more long tours until we get our focus back for that very reason, because I don't mind fighting, but I will not have my hands tied and my time wasted by bureaucrats. THAT stresses me out.

Rumsfeld, in my opinion, is one of the few that had his head on straight. I'd be interested to know how you know he called off the mission because "it might be dangerous." Sounds out of character to me, so unless you were in the meeting, I'll take that with a grain of salt and take 10 to one odds that the reason he called off the mission had something to do with civil war and a hostile wahabi government in control of the nukes. My two cents, and I may be wrong. After all I'm just a ground-pounding NCO, so maybe I just don't get it. – Mark

Col. Hunt: Mark, thanks for you service. First stab at an answer, if we push too hard Musharrf probably falls, that does not mean we cannot do clandestine, covert or denial operations in Pakistan.

Rummy was a control freak and not very competent. He was deploying 100-man units from his desk, not making that up and worse. He called off this mission because it was too risky, period, end of story. As I said to the other guy, I know guys who were sitting on the plane and guys in the room with Rumsfeld. I am suggesting that two years after 9/11, killing bin Laden should have been more important than Musarrif. Now to your last point, I had a team so I know what you guys are made of, and can do, so stow the low-esteem bull, most of the NCO’s I know could and should have been running the operations they were in; hell, I still think they were.

I could not agree with you more. Ask a Marine what his job is? "To kill the enemy, Sir." What do we do, as citizens, to get some transformation? We can not wait for an election to get change. We can not give advice to the all knowing. What is the No. 1 thing that can be done to get our men doing the job we know they can do done? – Floyd

Col. Hunt: Floyd, an informed citizenry, is the key. When Americans know the deal they always react always correctly and with great purpose. More of us have to vote for president than vote for American Idol. But if you are impatient, and yea if you are ... then call, e-mail, write your elected representatives and make all of your friends do the same. Demand change.

Thank you for your truthful and on-the-spot article. I know that I and others my age (I'm 22) who actually pay attention to this war are disenfranchised by this war. I personally feel with our current inept leadership that we won't be getting out any time soon. My brother served in Iraq and everyday I was terrified that he wouldn't come home. If more of our government officials paid attention to what you said, instead of concentrating on petty political squabbles and ridiculous coddling of neighboring countries, I believe our troops would be in a better position. – Meganne

Col. Hunt: Meganne, thanks, but those in government need to pay attention to you rather than me. I am just a retired, loud-mouth, old, fat guy, but you “Jane Citizen” and “Joe Citizen” — you guys they will listen to and should ... so girl, what are you prepared to do? You brother is a very brave guy — I hope he is OK.

I was happy to read your article regarding Mr. Rumsfeld, "We Do Not Miss Thee," and I must add I agree with the last paragraph. My question to you: Who do think the proven men and women are? I have listened to many speeches (lip service) over the past several years and still not one person rises to the top for me. HELP ... do you have recommendations? – Barbara (Garrett Park, MD)

Col. Hunt: Barbara, there are terrific men and women still serving, or recently retired: Brendan Cleary, retired FBI-best-cop-on-the planet; recently retired General Jim Jones (damn Marine, but we cannot be picky); Dianne Brandi, a VP at FOX News, that could, and should, run the world; Admiral “Snuffy” Smith, a retired Navy admiral that could make things happen; Kathleen Mahoney, former Boston Police Commissioner, is another ass-kicker who can lead; and Jerry Doyle, one of the few radio jocks who has actually had a life and yells a lot on radio, can make things happen.

They are all over the place, but the current leadership will not even ask for help.

I neither agree nor disagree with your assessment on "Rummy.” What I do agree with you, is danger is not a good reason to have cancelled a mission to take out top Al Qaeda guys. However, the military is beholden to politicians and like it or not, they are sometimes right to over rule the military brass. In this particular case, the mission was getting bigger and bigger to the point of "invading" Pakistan. Apparently, the politicos felt that would not be a good idea as it may have provoked a situation in Pakistan that would not be in our best interest. Look at the Congress today — all seem to think they are smart enough to run an army. They cut the things you want and give you things that you don't want or need.

Fortunately, we have ONE commander in chief. Unfortunately, we have over 400 people who think they are the CIC. The conflict between the politicos and the brass is on going and for good or bad, that is what we are stuck with. Hopefully, individuals such as yourself can get the attention of the politicos to let them know that they need to listen to the military when it comes to military matters, not The New York Times and their ilk. The American public, unfortunately, gets most of its information from the likes of the Times. Why can't the ex-military brass (those with a political agenda accepted (i.e. Wesley Clark) speak with one voice over such matters as what we can and can't do and what we should and shouldn't do from a military perspective? You guys are not hindered with politics (for the most part) and I suspect that the general public would have a lot more respect for such opinions than those that come from politicians. Thank you for your service and being out in public with your military opinions. – Roger, US Army '57 - '60

Col. Hunt: Roger, thanks for you service as well. Those of us retired loud mouths who are on TV or write or talk too much still have loyalties. Most of the generals you see on TV have direct access to the Pentagon, and therefore what you are hearing or seeing from them is simply the current administrations ideas. Some of us do get out information from the field unfiltered and some just make it up. If you listen at all to us, many have been very critical of the way this war has been fought and have offered concrete ways to make it better.

I do not think it is possible for those of us on TV to agree, you see the generals think they are still in charge ... and that dog will not hunt anymore. However, the U.S. government sucks at the information business and that could be drastically improved, and doing so would put most of us out of a job.

Your anger about Rummy is not in the right direction … as usual. I find it very interesting that you only come up with stuff several years old to whine about. I'm sure we could dissect your career and come up with many items that would be "better choices" than what you made at the time. That's called "Monday morning quarterbacking." Either you're a soap opera fanatic and need ratings, or you continually have old intel that took you years to decipher. Please get with the current issues and stop writing about old hat. You'll be much more credible. If you could please tell us the location of bin Laden ... let the U.S./world know so we can kill him. Until then, please pull on the same side of the rope politically that the troops you so admirably give praise are pulling on physically. Walking the walk isn't so easy as talking the talk. – Mark (Clearwater, FL)

Col. Hunt: Mark, it takes a while to declassify stuff, so clowns like me can yell about it. Also, if we do not fix things like I wrote about and we have not, then how the hell can we expect the current stuff to go right ... you cannot. The wrong-headed thinking that went into that 2005 decision is still around, how else can you explain what is going on? I wrote about the one you do not like because it is so obvious and so close to 9/11 that it made the point.

Bin laden is in southern Wazeristan, so is Zawahiri, but we do know and have known, we have not had the guts to go after him. Oh, and my career was a total disaster, barely made colonel, so you are right there again! The troops, Mark, are the ones paying for these idiots' mistakes, the troops Mark are the ones not getting the care their wounds and service demand, caused by the same piss poor leadership I have been writing about. I will continue to write about it until the troops get what they and we deserve ... LEADERSHIP.

I am the father of one of the Army’s newest 2LT’s who graduated from college with a degree in computer science, worked in industry for a year — thought the work was boring as hell and enlisted for OCS. He is in the Field Artillery Basic Course headed for the “Screaming Eagles” of the 101st Airborne 320th FA. God help the poor “bad guys” he sees in the recital pattern of his binoculars, ‘cause hell (not paradise) is only seconds away — I wish I could go with him. Do you foresee the reinstatement of the draft to give some depth to this “hollow Army?" If not, why freakin’ not? – Terry (Atlanta, GA)

Col. Hunt: Terry, what a great guy your son is and he is going to a terrific unit, the 101.

No one running for president will dare reinstate the draft, but they should. A service draft, no exceptions, a draft in which you could have a choice of serving as a cop, teacher, homeless shelter worker, Peace Corp, Americorps or the military. Now, that would be something to see. “May God hold your son and all those serving in the hollow of his hand.”

Your criticism of Rumsfeld is right on the mark! Thanks for your insight and service to this country! – Bill

Col. Hunt: Bill thanks, Rummy is not evil just incompetent, self serving and arrogant, otherwise I like the guy.

Just wanted to say, “Hi!” Have not heard from you since the flight from Atlanta ... hope all is well. – Marty (Hampton, VA)

Col. Hunt: Marty, well hell hi back, how are you?


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.