You asked, and he listened!
FOX Fan received an overwhelming amount of questions for Col. David Hunt.
I'm a British military NCO, with three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. I'd like to let you know that your articles are read avidly by us Brits too. It's about time someone spoke out about the ridiculous way these conflicts are being run by our respective governments — and yes, we are also hamstrung by pathetic ROEs that seem to be designed to cover the backsides of our "higher-ups" rather than help us.
I personally am sickened by the number of British generals who "toe the party line" whilst in office, only to admit glaring mistakes AFTER they have retired — why can't they do so while still in charge, when it might do some good? Because, unlike the servicemen/women still serving on the frontline, they are cowards. My thoughts are with the front-line troops, ours and yours — my bile is reserved for what we in the U.K. call "chin-less wonders." — JD (London, U.K.)
Col. Hunt: JD, the best NCOs in the planet are in your Army, we learned from you — thank you. Like us, your officer corps has to change and like ours — yours is not. In my Army, we revamped the NCO Corps after Vietnam, but not the Officer Corps, and we are paying for it now. You guys are being burdened in a similar fashion. If not for you and the U.S., NCO Corps in both Iraq and Afghanistan would be in even worse shape.
Don't you think that in the last 30 years or so, we have been developing managers, rather than combat leaders? — Mike, (Driftwood, TX)
Col. Hunt: Mike, thanks for your service — even if it was in the Air Force. We have been moving away from leadership for many years and our soldiers are paying the price for it now.
Since the untimely death of Col. Hackworth, I have been looking for someone that had the same outlook that he had. I think you are the man. Personally, I think that we need to restart the draft and get new blood in the military. There are so many young men that the military could help. Like you, I think it is going to take another major attack on the U.S. with a major loss of life for people to wake up to the fact that we are in a war for survival against an enemy that is willing to kill BILLIONS in order to enforce its twisted way of life. We no longer have men and women in government that are willing to do what is necessary for the common good, instead of worrying that they might offend someone or that they might not get re-elected. — PD, Former USMC grunt RVN/66-68
Col. Hunt: PD, welcome back brother, and thank you for your service. I think our men and women are very capable of getting it done, but like you, I think we need real leadership at the political and military senior levels. Dave Hackworth and I were very good friends, but we had a falling out the last two years of his life. He was one of the best soldiers we have had in the last 100 years. He had at least two DSCs, 10 Silver Stars and 10 Purple Hearts and was nominated for the MOH. He had over seven years of combat, I have never, and would never, claim the Col. David Hackworth mantle — I have a hard enough time being me.
I just read your recent commentary on "Top Military Officials are a Disgrace to Those They Lead" — I could not agree with you more. Unfortunately, it's not just the generals; it's trickled down to the battalion and company command level. My son, a military police corporal, just completed a 14-month tour in Baghdad. I cannot even begin to count the number of times he vented to me about the restrictive ROE they operated under and the never-ending investigations every time a soldier in his unit fired a weapon.
The final insult to him was when every soldier in his unit was awarded a medal right before they left, no matter what they did or how long they had been there. He felt the ARCOM he got for more than 200 combat missions over his 14 months in Iraq was worthless when his platoon leader, a brand-new 2LT (who only spent about two months with the unit) received the same award — even though she tried to get her subordinates to lie so she could get her CAB (and the stories he told me about what some individuals did to try and get their CAB is shameful). My son felt strongly that the best NCOs and officers, the ones most respected by their men (and women) for doing their job the right way, were the ones most at risk for being punished for taking care of their people. — Bruce MSG (ret.), USA
Col. Hunt: Bruce, thanks for your service, you must be very proud of your son. The manner in which we give out medals in the Army is disgraceful. We always punish the lowest ranks first and reward or look the other way at the senior leadership failures. We have great officers — just not enough of them. It has been my opinion for a long time that we need a complete new look at the way we pick, train and promote our officers. We redid the NCO corps and training we gave our units while I was in, but we never went after the Officer Corps and we are paying for that today in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
We have allowed risk adverse, self promoting, "Power Point Rangers" to be in charge. Couple this with no one being held accountable, except the lowest ranks (look at what happened at Abu Grahib and who went to jail) and you get the results like what your son just went through.
Schooled by Vietnam, our new generals shy away from words like "close with and destroy" and "annihilating the enemy's infrastructure." At the same time, we continue with the Robert McNamara school of warfare … i.e., some pinhead in an office in Washington is better able to select targets than field commanders.
We have lost something. Gen. Pace is dragged before Congress and harangued to apologize for saying that he views BOTH adultery and homosexual conduct as behavior not in keeping with the values of the military ... and we are then subjected to the pontifications of another empty-headed Congressman who thinks that this needs to change. Gen. Petraeus is slandered by a group filled with little more than left-wing academics that would smear an experienced field commander.
Then, there are the Marines of Haditha ... now exonerated. Thank God.
I thought Clintonian ROEs, written in such legalese that two NCOs and a SP4 were taken without firing a shot in Bosnia. To see our best and brightest treated to this PC dog and pony show is just downright insulting.
But, I'm out now. This old sergeant has seen and has had enough. We can no longer kill the enemy or even make uncomfortable the people who want to kill our own soldiers. Slowly, the old traditions that come to us from the Knights Templar, the Teutonic Knights, the Samurai, fade ... as a new generation of PC P3s lead us ... not as warriors, not as a caste of elites, but as savages.
War is an ugly thing. But we know a thing far uglier. — Michael
Col. Hunt: Mike, thanks for our service. I, of course, agree with you. However, not a single general is left who saw combat in Vietnam. Our generals are learning their combat from their soldiers not from personal experience, not a good thing. Couple that sad fact with the absolute lack of backbone and risk avoidance nature of the Officer Corps, add to that the total lack of political will shown by our elected officials, and you get what you are seeing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I concur with your assessment of this sorry situation. LTC Kearney already has three stars. What does he think he has to gain by insisting that these two soldiers deserve to be court-martialed? He is just covering his scared behind at the expense of these two brave soldiers. I wonder how he got to the rank he now holds? By stepping on bodies along the way? He is a poor example of a leader. Killing the Taliban or Al Qaeda leader in question is the best thing that could have happened. Just think of the trouble and expense the U.S. government would have had to go through feeding and keeping this guy at Guantanamo. These jerks have no respect for the rules of war, and as enemy combatants they certainly do not fall under the provisions of the Geneva Convention.
Hopefully, the truth will come out, the two men will be exonerated, and LTG Kearney will be forced to retire as a BG or colonel. — Robert, Colonel, US Army (Retired)
Col. Hunt: Bob, thanks for you service, Kearney dropped the charges. There are some Army Rangers being prosecuted in Iraq for something similar. If these were the only instances like this then we can all dismiss them. However, in Iraq and Afghanistan there are just too many examples of this kind of disgraceful leadership. We are better than this, our soldiers deserve better.
I can not agree with you more. I do not know what has happened to our top brass, other than these men are butt kissers. I enlisted with pride under President Ronald Reagan, I served until 1995, leaving the Army as a Sergeant after eight years of service — four active and four National Guard. What happened to our military makes me sick. I have written our empty suit leadership in Congress and I have donated to the various defense funds for these soldiers. I don't know what else to do to help our comrades. Our military leadership is lost; it has become too political, too spineless and unquestioning. With the weak-kneed cowards we have running the show it is only by God's grace we have not suffered higher casualties in the field. I ask you, sir, what more can we do to demand change? Are you forming a veterans' political action group or an umbrella legal defense? I would surely support these groups. — Former Sgt. Greg
Col. Hunt: Greg, thanks for your service. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps all need a better way of selecting and training its officers. There is a notable exception in the Coast Guard, they get it done, the other services would learn a great deal from them. I have thought about some sort of PAC for veterans, because God knows no one else is doing it, not the military and not the VA. There are some private organizations that are doing great things for our guys like Wounded Warrior and the Legal Defense Fund. We just only seem to care about soldiers in time of war and throw them away during times of peace.
Please don't stop trying to bring the light to bear on the career obsessed military officers whose sole concern in life is protecting their personnel files. We need someone to keep the fires lit and bring some hope to the poor grunts out on the front lines. Thank you for your courage and determination. Many Marines and Army Special Forces people are counting on you to publicize their plight.
Col. Hunt: Thanks, but the guys do a great job by themselves. However, in this war we are seeing the end result of a failed Officer Corps selection and training. The most senior of our officers, good men and women, simply do not have the background and or the experience to handle the complexities of this war. I wish I was wrong about this, but "if it walks, crawls, squats and leads like a duck its a damn duck."
Our soldiers — hell our nation — deserves better than we are getting from these generals. The way our men and women are being treated as patients at VA hospitals is a national disgrace and the way some of our men are being treated on the battlefield by our own services is criminal.
Thanks for taking this public. You could even raise the point a bit ... it's the politicians without the intestinal fortitude to protect their own families that should have to go on a foray with the "rules of engagement" as they are called, and see what they do when some very young kid approaches, then shoots at them. I don't know if Reid was ever in the service but if he was, he has forgotten that war is to win, not placate.
I believe it would be only a matter of weeks, perhaps days, before a surprised Al Qaeda in Iraq or anywhere else, would be devastated IF the politicians would just get out of the way. Then perhaps they, too, are only concerned about their careers.— Jim
Col. Hunt: Jim you are of course correct. We have some of the greatest collection of non- fighting, self-serving, risk-avoiding, incompetent leaders at both the political and military level of our government than we have had since this country was founded. If we do not, and I have said this before, we better all learn to change our way of life.
This is either a naive thought or a brilliant solution. Regarding the funding for our efforts in Iraq, why shouldn't we be charging the Iraq government for the cost of the ongoing protection we are providing for them? Sure, we invaded their country and I guess we should bear the cost of the invasion. But, once they formed a government, aren't we now providing a valuable service for them? As long as we are paying the bill, what incentive is there for them to ever have us leave? If we start charging them for the protection we are providing, two things will certainly happen:
1) They will work much faster to provide their own security, and
2) they will request us to reduce our cost and thereby our presence much sooner than they will if we continue to pay the cost.
Personally, I would charge them back to the day they formed their government, but I guess it would also make sense to "forgive the cost" up until now and start charging them tomorrow. Or, as an incentive program for them to get geared-up, set a reasonable date in the future for when they will have to pay.
I am sure there is some political reason that the Democrats or Republicans in our government would never suggest such an idea, but what about if "we the people" demand that we get paid for the help we are providing? Thanks in advance for giving my suggestion your consideration. — Bob (Estero, FL)
Col. Hunt: Bob, your idea is so brilliant and simple that it has no chance of even getting considered. If you remember the administration talked like it was going to use the Iraq oil to pay for the war ... well that has not worked out at all.
Here's a story, buried in metro section of today's Washington Post, that should be followed up on.
A DC Guard MP unit scheduled for deployment to Iraq was delayed because of "the number of soldiers who were medically unfit for deployment." Give me a break. Add to that, our clown congressman from Northern Virginia, Mr Moran, said this:
"We've stretched the Guard too thin," said
I thought the modern-day Guard and Reserve forces were now totally integrated into our "One Army"?
This story reeks of more anti-war politics by the same usual suspects. When will they figure out how their antics DO hurt our soldiers efforts? Please air this one out for us. — Col. Frank
Col. Hunt: Col. Frank, the National Guard and Reserve soldiers are terrific, but they are more poorly lead than our Regular Army soldiers are and that is saying something. We have not trained the Guard or Reserve enough or equipped them, yet we have used them over and over again in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The Guard and Reserve have been making up over 40 percent of the force in this war, another effect of piss poor planning done by Rumsfeld and his generals.
I want to thank you for your courage and position on the current state of leadership in our military services. I am also a retired colonel — I served in the U.S. Air Force for over 27 years and commanded the Theater Trauma Hospital in Balad, Iraq early last year. I am also the parent of a daughter (Captain, USAF) who served in Afghanistan earlier this year. She recently separated from the Air Force over incompetent leadership that was not held accountable. I am so proud to have completed my career of service with a tour in Iraq. Just something I had to do before I left.
Your observations are absolutely correct, alarmingly insightful and completely ignored by our civilian leadership and the nation as a whole. It is absolutely irresponsible to conduct a war, transform the services, right-size the staff and execute a BRAC all at the same time. Our services are broke, in money, capability and passion ... and nobody cares. I am already seeing severe consequences from rolling the BRAC savings forward before the processes to achieve those efficiencies are even started. BRAC was a dictated solution still seeking the problem.
The young men and women who choose to serve this nation deserve better leadership and they do not need more money or handouts. They need leadership that teaches them honor, integrity, sacrifice and service. They need respect always and help when needed. They must never be abused by self-serving arrogance. I saw too many injured kids who have earned the best leadership we can give them ... not sure we as a nation even understand the term leadership any more ... and it's sad. Thanks for taking point on this and pushing the message to the people. I will continue to express my dissatisfaction with military medical leadership (both military and appointed civilians) that are supposed to serve these warriors and their families. — Donald (San Antonio, TX)
Col. Hunt: Donald, thanks for your service. We do agree. It is the question of how we select our officers and then how we train them. We are not holding our leaders accountable for their failures both politically and militarily.
You are right on the mark with this one. Such episodes as this factored much into my decision to not fight a medical retirement. As an AH64 pilot I did not want to have to consider what legal mess I would put myself in every time I did my job and pulled the trigger. Such hesitation could cost me, my other crew member or the guys being supported on the ground their life. We can't fight a war using procedures designed for a civilian police force.
We could have won this war so many times over it is ridiculous: True there may not have been many Iraqis left in the world but we would not be sitting back here after four years wondering when it will all end. Once again our political leaders and politically-oriented military leaders have let us down in a very big way. — Jim
Col. Hunt: Chief, thanks for you service. Can you imagine every shot you fire or missile you launch going to be examined by a board or investigated? Maybe the only way to get at this is to name more names, I do not know. It has not changed much since we have had a military. We have not had to worry well now we do. This terrorism fight requires a new type of leadership and ours are not changing.
You are right on with this story. It is not a recent problem, even during Operation Desert Storm this was an issue. I believe the reason we pulled out of Desert Storm so early was it was so one- sided that it looked like we were in a turkey shoot. Politicians and I dread to say that Gen. Powell was more worried about how he would be perceived that we ended the war too soon and left another war to fight.
I fought in both Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom and I can say the problem is getting worse. Our company commander actually dressed down a Platoon Leader and (me) a Platoon Sergeant for having their soldiers locked and loaded on a mission. Can you believe that he asked who gave the order to put a magazine in the weapon? He was so afraid someone might screw up and make him look bad, that he endangered all of our lives.
I call this the politician commander syndrome. I hope for our country's sake that this trend ends soon. — SFC "Desert Leader"
Col. Hunt: Sarge, thanks for taking care of the soldiers. Many think I am making this stuff up, can anyone imagine going into combat without being locked and loaded, well you can.
This is Billy, former Strike III, Brigade S3 for your old buddy Rippee. How're you doing I watch you every once in a while on FOX as their analyst. Do have any idea where MG Rippee is these days. — Bill
Col. Hunt: Bill, how the hell are you and thanks for your service. The Ripper is working for a foundation in DC. I hope all is well with you.
Sir, I have just read your article about your dissatisfaction with our current military's leadership. Marines, sailors, airmen and soldiers are being tried and judged by the military branch they serve. I am outraged that a similar incident has not made national news or generated more support.
A Marine, Lcpl. Delano Holmes, has been held in the Brig in Camp Pendleton since Feb. 23, waiting on trial scheduled on Dec. 7. He was on post with an Iraqi soldier in an area plagued by insurgent snipers. The Iraqi repeatedly illuminated the post with his cell phone. Later that evening, the Iraqi lit a cigarette. (We all know how far a cigarette can be seen by the enemy at night, with or without night vision.) The Marine knocked the cigarette away from the Iraqi, who was obviously bothered and a tussle ensued. The Marine thought the Iraqi was reaching for his AK and killed him with his knife.
I am sure that anyone else would have done the same thing had the situation escalated to the level it did. The Iraqi was obviously, slack, and complacent as the majority of his peers and continued to act irrationally with no regard for his own life or the life of the Marine.
I can not imagine what must be running through the Marines mind at this time. He must feel betrayed by his own country to say the least.
I think more should be done to generate support for this Marine. I am also sure that more Marines and Americans would support this Marine if they even knew about his incident. Unfortunately, this story has not made it to the major syndicated media outlets. I read about the story on the Huffington Post online. How sad. — Jesse
Col. Hunt: Jesse, well on this one there are a few questions, like where was the Sergeant of the Guard, did the Marine radio his chain of command? The Iraq soldier was clearly slack, but the circumstances on this one may not be as clear-cut as the others. If he told his chain of command — what did they do about it, who and how was the Iraq soldier trained, and so on and so forth. I hope this brave Marine has a great lawyer and a defense fund to help him.
I read your comments about how our top military leaders are betraying our service men and women and was especially upset with the ghastly legal ramifications and treatment the two special ops servicemen faced after having followed “regular” protocol in shooting that terrorist. Is there a fund set up to help them defray their expenses? If so, would you please e-mail me with it as well as publishing it for other readers who also feel so inclined to help them.
One final question regarding these two brave men: Is there anyone in Congress as well as on television who is championing their cause?
I always make sure to watch whichever of the FOX News programs that highlights the fact you will be on their program. That's how much I enjoy your straight-from-the-hip comments! — Joann
Col. Hunt: Joann, there are a few private funds that are set up to help soldiers like this. By the way, these guys were finally exonerated, finally. Congress could care less. Thanks for watching.
Does the military ever send out e-mails on behalf of soldiers? I received one this week from my son but it wasn't him, I know his spelling, punctuation, grammar. The return address was a military Web site which he has never used. I am very anxious and afraid to ask for fear of jeopardizing his safety. If this is standard procedure for when they can't communicate because they are doing their jobs, I understand. — Anonymous
Col. Hunt: You can contact the Army Public Affairs Office and they can help you, or any Army or Marine installation will have the way to do the e-mails
I am the mother of a Green Beret. He is my only child. I am outraged by this story. Is there anything we as citizens can do? Is there any we can write to or petition as individuals or as a group? — Lisa
Col. Hunt: Lisa, you must be very proud of you son, the best way to get at this is through your congressman or senator; they have staffs to handle this. There is no way of painting this picture any better than I have. Many of the senior officers currently serving are not up to the task. LTG Kearny's actions are unfortunately becoming the norm.
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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.