Military Questions Answered

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I know you don't like to talk politics, but I feel like it's important now, considering it's the election season. I really feel like it's imperative to know who you think will be the best president — who can get us out of this mess?

— Bob (Michigan)

Col. Hunt: Bob, who really knows but here is my bet. I liked Biden but for all the wrong reasons. The Democrats are all saying get out of Iraq; for me, it is a matter of how.

The Republicans, with the exception of Ron Paul, say the war is working. They are all only talking about Iraq and have forgotten about Afghanistan. McCain seems to be the moderate choice while Obama and Clinton are in a cage fight for the Democrats. I am worried about them all and what type of a team they will pick. Considering how bad Rumsfeld turned out it’s a real concern.

If I had to pick today it would probably be McCain, but I am a registered Independent, so what the hell do I know.

Thank you for always being so well groomed. Love the matching hankie in your pocket. But, you need to smile more!

— Barbara (Escondido, CA)

Col. Hunt: Barbara, thank you. It is hard to smile when talking about war and terrorism but I will try – oh, and picture me laughing on the inside! Bill O’Reilly hates the hankie. I tell him one must be a confident heterosexual to wear it.

You seem to be more aware of our threats than most. What do I need to do to protect my family, in the near future? Do I really need to have supplies to survive?

— Pamela (Crestwood, KY)

Col. Hunt: Pamela, stocking supplies for emergencies is always a great idea. Emergency radio, candles, water, and, of course, duck tape. Keeping copies of your most important papers is also a good idea. I think besides the usual suspects, you are safe in Crestwood.

I have read most of your books. You're truly the only person I have seen on TV "who truly gets it." It fascinates me how no one will address the real problem and simply dance around the issues just for ratings but that is the society we are living in today. Where are the "Eisenhowers, MacArthurs, Churchills, and Pattons" today? Your demeanor has flashes of all their personalities. Your continued input is so desperately needed in this world today. Please keep it up.

— Bob (New Jersey)

Col. Hunt: Bob, thank you, but I am not in the same league as the great ones you mentioned. I think many get it, but few will admit it publicly and fewer more willing to do anything about it.

The Democrats are doing everything they can to bring about a defeat in the Middle East. Usama himself is disappointed that we haven't left already, as was promised by the Democrats. Is it possible that we can bring about enough progress in the Middle East, Iraq included, to get the real American people more behind the military effort?

— Harold

Col. Hunt: Harold, for me, it is not the Democrats or Republicans who are causing the decline of which you speak, it is the current administration who has failed to understand the nature of this war. The Bush administration has abandoned the information war and publicity aspects of the war we are fighting. Notice how we are now talking about Radical Islamic Elements rather than the terrorists. The audience we have lost is not just those in the Muslim world who hate us, we have also lost the American people. In this war we need both, one to stop the growth of terrorism the other to sustain the fight.

I'm a soldier in the TN Army National Guard. I've been home for three weeks now from my tour of duty in Iraq. Our mission there was convoy security. We logged 3,630,00 miles and some change escorting convoys on the worst roads in the world. We were engaged countless times and though we have our share of Purple Hearts, none of the people we escorted were injured. I'm ashamed of the entire Democratic Party. How do they call themselves Americans by insulting us? Their public outcries about us killing civilians ... calling us murderers? Where is their outcry when Iraqi civilians are killed by the insurgents?

This happens every single day over there. Where is their rage when it applies to the ENEMY?? They won't show it because it would mean that they would have to actually back THEIR troops and admit that there is an honest and clear need for our presence in Iraq. I would give anything to be able to face Hillary and Obama and hear them tell ME that I'm a murderer. They clearly know nothing of our rules of engagement in that theatre of operations. We are under strict guidelines to not fire unless fired upon at all times. I myself had to endure an investigation because I defended a convoy against "civilian" charging a convoy of escorted fuel trucks. They need to realize that they are part of the government that asked us to go there and sent US to do a job. How dare they run for the position of COMMANDER IN CHIEF and dare to insult the men and women that they lead. I hope to God you will air this letter.

THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT PART OF THE JOB OF BEING PRESIDENT. I pray to God that no American that holds any regard for anyone (less than 2 percent of our country) who wears a uniform to not vote for someone who would call us murderers and accuse us at failing while THEY put every single road block in our path possible. I have more respect for the AIF (anti Iraqi forces) than I do them. At least the AIF chose a commitment. I wish I could say the same for the presidential hopefuls of the Democrats. Scouts OUT!!!

— SPC Kenney

Col. Hunt: First, thank you Specialist Kenney for your service. All who do or have served should be as outraged as you on what you are hearing and seeing. However, as justified as your rage is against any and all who defame you, the rules of engagement you have been fighting under are childish and dangerous and no Democrat came up with those.

My family has a military tradition dating back to the Spanish-American War. I have presently enrolled my 14-year-old grandson in Eagle Military Academy (he aspires to be a combat engineer in the Army someday) but you have articulated what I knew in my heart — today's leadership has lost any idea of how to wage war.

During my time in service in the Vietnam War I saw the beginnings of this warped mindset. I don't know the cause or the cure but look forward to hearing you opine on this. At present I feel I should advise any of my four grandsons from serving in the military, but would do otherwise if men such as you could influence those in leadership positions who engage in this bizarre behavior.

— Thomas

Col. Hunt: Thomas, thank you for your service, and welcome home brother. The things we both saw in that war are directly linked to an officer corps that was not trained and in many cases did not lead. We had policies like officers spending six months in the field and then come out, while the soldiers stayed -- that was just stupid. We were promoting officers to major with four years of service, I hear people say “I had a 32-year-old Battalion Commander,” and so on and so forth.

The Army never learned its lessons from that war, it worked on the NCO Corp and the Army Training System and the Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield business but never ever did we address or way we select or train officers. What you have been seeing in Iraq and Afghanistan is a weak political policy translated into a dangerous military strategy, executed by incompetent and uncaring military leadership.

The fix Thomas is as always simple but no easy. We have to gut the senior leadership of the military as did Marshall at the beginning of World War II. We can vote new political leaders in and out but the military has to be held accountable in a much more direct manner. In the Abu Grahib fiasco, 11 enlisted soldiers were given prison sentences but not a single officer went to jail. Our soldiers and this great country deserve a hell of a lot better than that.

Were you on Kwajalein Marshall Islands in the early 1970s? Just wondering.

— Gary

Col. Hunt: Gary, I do not think I ever even flown over the Kwajalein Islands, let alone visited them.

It appears that retired Lt. General Sanchez has thrown a royal “tantrum” over Iraq - at the expense of our military forces (and families). Can someone tell him to sit down and shut up!

— Larry Bullock LtCol, USAF, Retired

Col. Hunt: Larry, thanks for your service in the Blue. Sanchez was a terrible officer. He was a bit of a screamer and not very competent. He should have been tried for piss poor leadership on the Abu Grahib Prison scandal. The Army would not give him his fourth star because they felt he could not get confirmed. So his ranting with a political party is expected, kind of reminds me or Wesley Clarke.

Did you serve in Iraq?

— Pamela

Col. Hunt: Pamela, I was out of the military by then. I have been to Iraq a bunch of times, had a contract there and have a lot of friends there. Truth is, they do not need an old man there, these guys are much better than I ever was.

It's interesting that the topic of this last column of yours was born out by a news item I just heard. FOX reported that the Pentagon is waxing eloquent about their concern over the number of special ops guys that are leaving after training and taking civilian security contracts or other jobs in related fields. Their concern translates into high re-enlistment bonuses and perks. Is there something that is being put in the water at the Pentagon?

All they have to do is read your column and others like it and the light should come on. Is this yet another manifestation of the "Perfumed Princes" syndrome? Another comment regarding ROE. I was one of those who employed the tactics you mentioned (exploding weapons and other amusing things) to antagonize the VC and associates. I felt nothing but great pleasure when we found indications of success. As far as baiting the bad guys? Whatever works in that regard is always a plus. What do you suppose the final cost will be to get rid of these political prostitutes? How can it be done?

— FE (Texas)

Col. Hunt: FE, welcome back brother. The Army actually stopped publishing the counter insurgency in the late 70s. They military was trying to forget Vietnam since the day the last helicopter left the place. As we tried to forget the lessons learned there we threw almost everything away that had to do with fighting. We lost accountability and responsibility have been going as well.

Colonel, You are exactly right! I also think some of the blame can be placed on the by civilians in the DOD and the bureaucrats in the State Department who are more concerned about job security then they are about the security of this great country. They are well versed in obfuscation and developing obstacles to sound military action. They are also the ones who look eagerly for the ready and willing ears of the Congress and the press.

— Gerald Ropa Lt Col USAF (Ret)

Col. Hunt: Gerald, thank you for your service. You are, of course, correct about the DOD and bureaucrats. I hope you are including the senior military leadership. This war did not have to be fought the way we have been, we had choices and we made very bad decisions and our soldiers as they always do, paid for them.

You are so right. I am a veteran and I have two sons who have and are serving this great country. One was in the Marine Corps and the other one has 22 years in the Navy (P-3) pilot, etc. I am so disgusted with the leadership of this country including the military, it makes me sick. Some one once said that the higher you go the smaller your balls, if that's true, today's Generals must have pea size balls. What has happened to cause this change? Most young people today would rather follow what going on in the news with Paris Hilton instead of the war in Iraq. We have forces deployed all over the world protecting our interest, but you never see the first word in print or TV showing their good works. The media would rather run a re-run of Britney Spears showing her drunk out of her mind. I wish to God that you or someone like you were in charge of our military forces.

— Bill (Atlanta, GA)

Col. Hunt: Bill, thank you for you service and that of you brave sons. Real change, the kind of change that we must have in our way of conducting wars only starts with admitting or being forced to admit that we screwed up and then we fix it. So far our government says we made a few mistakes! We have plenty of great people serving this country, what we are lacking is meaningful leadership in both our political as well as our military leaders. It will take a kind of revolution to fix it, I am afraid we are not there yet.

Reading your recent column on generals, bring to mind support for our troops. My son-in-law is returning home to Alaska in the very near future and the married wives are trying to ensure that the single troops coming back have some kind of recognition and a warm returning reception.

They went to the barracks where the soldiers will return, to find out which room assignments they will have to ensure they get welcome home baskets (which the ladies must pay for with bake sales because they aren't allowed to solicit businesses for donations). They found out that the rooms, while adequate, do not have sheets, towels, pillow cases or soap.

Apparently the Army gives their soldiers money to buy those items rather than stock their barracks with a ready to move-in/lay down environment like the Navy does at our bachelor quarters. So the ladies are trying to raise enough money to buy sheets, towels, etc for each of the 145+ soldiers barracks rooms, so when they get off the aircraft after 30+ hours of flying they won't have to find a taxi to go to the nearest Wal-Mart to outfit their "home" upon return.

This wouldn't be as bad, but the limitations put on the various wives clubs to only hold bake sales on base with predetermined intervals makes it hard to make enough money. There are only so many soldiers left on the base that are going to buy cookies and cupcakes once a month. So, the baskets are out and they are focusing on basics you would expect in a room upon arrival of long deployed troops who will simply want to pop a beer and crash on clean sheets after a long, warm shower (and a towel) and relax.

Now I doubt seriously that the commanding general is even aware of the BS that the ladies have to put up with dealing with the lower level 0-3s & 0-4s who haven't gone to war and to try and support their husband's brothers-in-arms, but when I have to mail off toiletries items from motel visits to help support the ladies support their fellow troopers we really have to wonder if the Army's own infrastructure understands the slogan ..."support our troops."

Wondering if you know the general from a "past life" and could let him know what's happening below him ... the ladies will never 'rock the boat' for fear of hurting their husband's careers ... I'm pretty sure the general could fix what he doesn't know is happening.

— Pat Capt USN (Ret)

Col. Hunt: Pat, thanks for you service, you “sea dog.” I hope your son-in-law stays safe. I am embarrassed and I will call him. Steve Layfield worked for me once, he should know better. I do not doubt a single word you are writing and it's just flat wrong. If the CG is not aware of this he damn well should be, the Layfield I used to know would have and if Steve Layfield has fallen into the honey pot of self-serving pretty boys … well then we are truly lost. Damn it.

Why has our country tied our hands in dealing with the rest of the world? We should resign from the United Nations as we pay all the bills and they do nothing to support our agendas. We should make illegal immigration a capital crime. In capital cases we should limit the appeals to once then execute. No more endless death cases!

Stop all federal aid to sanctuary cities and deport all illegals. Appoint Joe Alpio as homeland security chief and consult him on prison reform. He seems to know what he's doing with running a jail system. A large pay raise for our military paid for by fines on illegal immigrants and arrested smugglers (confiscate their assets and bank accounts) and make English our official language by law.

— Bernard

Col. Hunt: Bernard, I like your anger, we need more of it and turn it into conviction. What do you want to do with the upwards of 20 million illegals that are already here? Sanctuary cities are a joke.

I agree with you assessment 100 percent! The ROE have turned into the Rules of Entrapment! Disgusting and depressing! My oldest is an Officer in the Navy, Nuclear Subs, and while he is far from the action, I am concerned for him because of the lack of support for our brave military by its senior officers! A cancer has invaded the military, it's name is "PC!"

Your continued support for those that are doing the "Heavy Lifting," is noted and greatly appreciated!

— Mike (Overland Park, KS)

Col. Hunt: Mike, you must be very proud of your son. The senior leadership in our military is about bankrupt. We have a PC list of generals who are risk adverse and responsibility avoiding. The end result is that the war last longer than it should and more soldiers die or get blown apart.

I am currently watching FOX News and see that there was a leak involving a recent Usama bin Laden video. If we genuinely have "tapped" into a cyber-network of Bin Laden, then why does the public know about it? If the Pentagon is not responsible for leaks such as this, then who is? I come from an intelligence background and do not see how these leaks occur so easily. This "find" should have been maintained at a classified level and not disseminated to the media. The government should maintain the discipline to prevent leaks such as these; but as patriots, what does the media do when they encounter questionable information? Does one not think to themselves, "Hmm, could this damage the integrity of my country? Is this really information that the common public should be aware of? Should I consult someone about the security risks of this information?"

— Matt (Maine)

Col. Hunt: Matt, thanks for your service. Man, are you on the money. The only way we stop the leaks is to prosecute those who leak. I will tell you leaking classified information is a way of life in our government. Some leak to argue with a policy for or against, some for vengeance, some leak just for spite. In the last five years the number of Special Access Programs that had to be scrapped because of leaks. There is seldom an excuse to leak information and never if its classified. Again to stop it we need to put some people in jail who are caught doing it.

I have not heard any news concerning the two SF soldiers who may face a court martial for blowing away a terrorist. First, where is the outrage? You are the only person who has written in defense of the two soldiers. Second, what are the chances of the court martial actually taking place and if so will they be acquitted?

— Jon, SGT (Taji Iraq)

Col. Hunt: Jon, thanks for your service. There was not much outrage, I did a piece on O’Reilly about it. The charges were finally dropped. The charges should never been brought, The general and his entire chain of command are risk adverse asses for doing this.

I think it's time to put this to rest. I believe you need to do a poll using the military personnal. You need to ask us if we support Rush or not. I can tell you who will win (Rush). He has supported us in the military for a long time. I can say I feel most in the military are supporters of RUSH.

You can put my vote for Rush to Stay on AFRTS. I know one thing the military is tiered of being used as a pond by the liberals, it's so obvious to us that they don't like us but they are scared to say so.

— SGT. K. Tarbell (Knoxville, TN)

Col. Hunt: Sgt. Tarbell thanks for your service. AFRTS should not be pulling anyone of the air. You guys can make up your own minds without filters.

This is in response to your article 05 October 2007, " Our generals are betraying our soldiers ... again "

I am a ex-British Marine who has worked extensively with U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, circa. 2006-7. I am truly under the impression that the political regimes in the U.S. and in the U.K. are fighting hard to lose these wars with the help of the western media ... why? I don't know, but the forces are bound hand and foot by the rule of engagements, that the job is made twice as difficult.

Our generals in the field are now politicians and I am certain that the "fighting generals" are back home doing routine desk work! It is imperative that we get "fighting" officers in the field! I, and my team, were so frustrated to be told you cannot do this or that, even when known targets were within sight. ( I am sorry not to be able to elaborate..) so the targets were allowed to slip away!

This happens day in and day out! It seems as though the enemy can do that it likes, use human shields, attack from occupied houses or compounds, while we have to ascertain if there are any civilians within a one mile radius — before we can make any move! And, if we manage to take our objective, the enemy only have to "claim" that civilians were killed! Then, we get suspended, pending a investigation! Damn silly way to win a war!

— John

Col. Hunt: John, your country is lucky to have had you serve. If you are going to deploy soldiers let them do their damn jobs, if not bring them home. Nice job there by the way.

I'm a vet of 27 yrs. W2 ret. and must say I enjoy and support what you have to say very much. You are my hero because of your no nonsense approach to procedure and war in general. Keep it up even of it seems to be a cry in the wilderness.

— Bob (Moyie Springs, ID)

Col. Hunt: Bob, thank you for what you did for this country. Thanks for listening.

When I was in basic training in 1991(for the second time) at Fort Benning (I was previously in the USCG and its recruit training didn't count for the Infantry) We were handed a questionnaire about disarming American citizens, i.e. would we do it if ordered. Well, to cut to the chase, the W.P. cadets that were training with us thought it was a great idea almost to the man. I think these are these guys now running the battle.

— Alan,3/172 Inf Mt./ USCG (Hope, Maine)

Col. Hunt: Alan, thanks for serving. West Point produces generals and presidents not very good junior officers, they take a lot of de-programming. The institution has not learned and is full of hubris and arrogance.

I like your style. I do enjoy reading your articles. I know you won't, but you really should consider running for the White House. After the Democrat's win this election. (I am pretty sure they will.)

Our country should be just about out of gas and we will need a true patriot to get the engine running again. I think the country will accept the fact that we need someone in the "OFFICE" who is for America first, everyone else is second place and going down. Who realizes the fact that we can no longer be the policeman of the planet, righting every wrong.

That our young people can not be used up in wasteful U.N. actions, fighting for freedoms, and democracy for people who don't care who rules them, as long as they are getting something close to three squares a day and a dry place to sleep.

Someone who will not make deals with a nation that supplies the world with dope (heroin). Someone who says, Kill each other all you want, but leave the United States alone.

Ole Uncle Sam has some mean toys and we will use them, too! A person who isn't afraid to tell 'school yard' bullies, hey, if the U.S. wanted you dead, you would be dead already. A protectionist of our economy, example, if our Fords cost $75,000 over there, then your KIA's cost $75,000 over here. Simple, huh? You ,colonel, are just such a man.


Col. Hunt: Larry, no one, least of all me, is ready for me to be in any office other than the one I am in … thank you but “that dog won’t hunt.”

I think you are a great officer. What are the retired military associations doing to bring the rules of engagement into focus as you are?

Nord (St. Louis, MI)

Col. Hunt: Nord, thank you. I do not know of any association or movement to change the ROE, there should be.

I know what you are talking about. My son is a platoon sergeant with the USMC and only after two weeks in country faced a similar situation. I don't know the details but from what I gathered an insurgent met his end at the hands of my son's platoon and the chain of command didn't like the way it went down. He was under intense scrutiny even though he was not with the Marines when the incident occurred and some in the chain wanted him relieved from duty.

After approximately one week and numerous interviews the powers at be decided it was a good shooting. What the hell is going on over there! There are some officers and high-ranking enlisted men (1st Sgts. and Gunnies) that need to have their heads examined and their butts kicked for presuming guilt when their fellow Marines took out a bad guy. How can these kids do their job when they have to go through such ridiculous rules of engagement?

Needless to say, I'm still pissed off about this. Many of our sons and daughters face the possibility of death every day and our politicians and news media are making it more dangerous for them by playing politics with the war in Iraq and the war on terror. Thank you for your article.

— David

Col. Hunt: David, may God bless your brave son. Since Vietnam and maybe because of that war, we have created a military that is lead by risk adverse, self serving officers and senior NCOs. The end result is the second guessing and hand tying ROE that your son is experiencing. In reality, these actions are killing and maiming Marines and soldiers.


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.