Skip to comments.Duncan Hunter Interview - Dec. 18, 2009: On Christmas Blessings, the Gay Agenda, and Don Rumsfeld
Posted on 12/21/2009 3:05:10 PM PST by pissant
This interview is the eighth installment of an on going series of conversations with the former Congressman, 2008 presidential candidate and current conservative activist. Today Mr. Hunter was in his hometown of San Diego, getting ready to head out for Arizona for the weekend, and also getting ready to celebrate Christmas. Mr. Hunter fully understands the dire straights that America finds herself in with Obama, Pelosi, and Harry Reid in charge. He is doing everything in his power to promote conservative candidates for 2010, conservative values and a conservative re-awakening in America. This series of interviews is part of his agenda to keep that conservative voice front and center as we attempt to save our Constitutional Republic from the ravages of weakness and socialism.
AJM: Hello Congressman. How are you today?
DH: Very good Jim. Was today the day were supposed to do this thing?
AJM: Yes, at noon. I tried calling a few times but apparently you were gabbing away on the phone.
DH: Yes, I was on the phone. So do you have some folks on, waiting for me?
AJM: No, they were all either working or traveling, so I guess itll be just me, if you have the time now. But I dont ever want you to feel that if you forget about one of these sessions, or if we get pre-empted, that you need to worry about or feel bad ..
DH: Dont worry, I wont. (laughs)
AJM: (laughing) Yeah, I know. Anyway, since we always seem top start off with the negative news of the day, I thought since this is the last time well talk this year, that you might want to give us a Christmas message, to your supporters, to your many Free Republic fans and to Americans in general.
DH: Sure. I think this Christmas season our prayers and gratitude must go out to the men and women serving in uniform who are overseas right now, in Iraq and Afghanistan, protecting this country. My son Sam is in Iraq now, and we are very grateful. Were so thankful for him and his fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who volunteer to leave the comforts and blessings of their American homes and families and serve this nation, at great sacrifice to themselves and to their families. They are willingly and ably confronting and killing a radical Islamic enemy that is resilient and hardened, but still not a match for our guys. So while those of us fortunate enough to live America, and to have religious freedom are able to partake in another great Christmas season to celebrate the birth of the Lord with our families, we must, as a nation, remember the patriots that are currently deployed and ask that God keep them safe, as well as thanking Him for the fact that we historically have had, and continue to have, such great young folks among us.
Right now we think that is the greatest present that could possibly be given to the American people; that is to have enough young people out there who believe strongly enough in this country who volunteer their services in these very difficult and dangerous times. Those are my thoughts.
AJM: I think that is a fantastic message. I think the same thing passes from age to age, the same concerns. The local politics might sway one way or another, but I think that is a pretty universal sentiment you just outlined.
DH: You know it is interesting, Jim. The wars have been going on now really since 2001. Obviously, since right after 9-11. Thats a long time. Youve got a lot of military folks that have spent literally a decade either in one of the theatres or preparing to go into theatre.
AJM: Yeah, a lot of guys not seeing their kids very often in that decade
DH: Thats a long commitment.
AJM: It is. The beauty of it though is, at least the guys I know, despite everything, still have quite high morale. Its something really to see.
DH: Yeah, its interesting. The people who spend the most time protecting our freedom seem to have a special sense of that freedom, of the value of it.
AJM: I think you are right. Well thank you for that. Now its time to get to the ugly stuff.
DH: Go to whatever you want.
AJM: OK. I dont how much youve been following this particular story, but one of Obamas czars, Kevin Jennings, is the safe schools czar. This Kevin Jennings happens to be the founder of GLSEN the gay-lesbian-straight alliance of some sort. And some of the Republicans and some of the conservative media have been digging this guys past up. One of the things hes done is push for explicit sexual material for 5th, 6th, and 7th graders, explicit acts based on homosexual stuff. Anyway, hes Obamas safe school czar, and there are quite a few folks in the Republican Party now trying get him booted. Have you paid any attention to this story?
DH: I havent had a chance to really pay any attention to it. Ive been looking at the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, so I havent paid any attention to this one, except that I know there seems to be no shortage of czars in this administration, and no shortage of radical, leftwing views from those czars. But I think it is quite a contradiction for the people in the homosexual community, who claim that it is their goal to be left alone, yet seem to have the most trouble leaving the rest of us alone.
AJM: (laughs). Yeah, we all know some homosexuals. On my in-laws side, we have some, and we get together during the holidays, and everything is fine. But there tends to be a radical strain amongst the activists in that community that arent satisfied with just tolerance. They want to be in our face. What explains the.
DH: They want our children to be like them. And thats simply not acceptable.
AJM: I agree. But what explains the Republicans, at least the last few years maybe its changing now- how they stepped away from fighting their agenda, which has really polluted some of the schools?
DH: Im not sure I understand your question.
AJM: Well it seems to me that it used to be understood that the Republicans would fight their agenda, the gay agenda - the Pink Mafia is what I call them- but it seems that the cats had their tongues, at least until recently. Do you have an explanation for that?
DH: Well, I dont know if I agree with your statement. Because when you do things with the school boards school board discussions arent typically held, and school board elections arent typically held as partisan, as Democrat and Republican, contests. Although in many cases you have conservatives and you have liberals. But Ive seen in the past when you had attempts, including in places like New York, when they tried to impress pro-homosexual texts and books on the students, you had quite a resistance from, I think, both Democrats and Republicans, from families, from people who demand to raise their own children; and we had a push back against that agenda.
AJM: Certainly in places we have had some pushback. In other places Massachusetts is notorious not so much. I guess its more a local issue. I guess in closing on this Id just like to say that Id like to see the Republicans be a little more vocal against the agenda that I see. Because it is not just limited to the grade schools. Its in the colleges. Obama vows to get rid of Dont Ask Dont Tell. So its in a lot of different areas, where this agenda is moving.
DH: Yeah. Obviously, on the national scene you see the agenda of trying to shoehorn homosexuals into the military. We understand that. And Ive been vocal over the years in countering that message. But what youve been talking about is really the curriculum for schools, which is and should be a local fight, because the school boards control the material.
AJM: Yeah, its a local fight but this organization thats pushing it, from Kevin Jennings, Obamas current safe schools czar, I mean thats a national organization, and they are going around to the different school boards and putting political pressure on them to accept their junk.
DH: You said that the Obama people are nationalizing that issue, and I think we should certainly every parent democrat or republican, conservative or liberal should resist that. We need to fight that.
AJM: Absolutely. And one of the reasons I harped on the Republicans not putting up big enough of a stink goes back to the Peter Pace controversy we talked about this before you were one of maybe three guys that vocally supported Peter Pace. The rest of the Republicans just sat on their hands.
DH: Well, Pete Pace is a great Marine and was a great chairman of the Joint Chiefs. I think it was a big mistake for the President (Bush) to not renew Paces tenure as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
AJM: Do you think it had to do with that controversy?
DH: I dont know for sure. But Im sure that it did not gain him any friends among the liberal democrats who were then controlling Congress, and controlling the Senate, when Paces nomination was coming up. I think perhaps the administration having to fight the battle for the surge at that point and fighting the war activists in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party didnt want to strap on one more battle. But I think Pete Pace is a great guy and a fine American and a man of high morals.
And I share his moral views.
You know, part of being a military guy and fighting for the freedom to have views, is that you get to have them yourself!! And Petes views are totally consistent with 99% of the troops that he led.
AJM: I think youre right. He was wonderful.
And speaking of past military leaders, just briefly in the news today I read that Mr. Rumsfeld is buying a 900 acre ranch up in Montana. That just caught my eye. Ive always enjoyed listening to Don Rumsfeld. And I just wanted your take on Mr. Rumsfeld. You obviously worked with him for awhile.
DH: I like Don Rumsfeld. And you know, its interesting, Rumsfeld was criticized as his forces drove North to take Baghdad in 03, on the basis that he was going to get bogged down, according to some of the armchair generals. And I was literally on television talk shows, where the shows would be interrupted with news flashes that Tommy Franks forces had taken yet another one of Saddam Husseins strongholds, as they were discussing how we were going to get bogged down. (laughs)
We took less than 100 fatal American casualties going up against 17 Iraqi Army divisions that had over 2000 tanks, and over 4000 artillery pieces. Replacing a regime in that short of time, with so few casualties, was unprecedented in the history of the world. And Rumsfeld was absolutely right in moving quickly and substituting speed for mass, and retaining the element of confusion and surprise among the Iraqi Army leadership.
Its interesting; I looked at Tom Ricks, who is the lead military writer and reporter, and opinion leader for the Washington Post.
AJM: Yeah, Ive read him.
DH: Ive seen two titles from Tom Ricks. One is the article: Rumsfeld Stands Tall After Iraqi Victory, and the other one was his book, entitled Fiasco which cover largely the same operation. It was an interesting journey, I think, for some of the more liberal reporters, to acknowledge the swift victory and success we had in taking down Baghdad, and then to come home to momma - that is to the spin of the liberal publications that paid their wages after we entered into the occupation phase, which is always more difficult in a place like Iraq than the initial takedown.
So I like Rumsfeld. He did a lot of great things for the military. Also, in areas that folks arent familiar with. He was a strong advocate for missile defense. He was one of the voices that resulted in us moving ahead with missile defense programs. And I wish him well on his Montana ranch. I may come up to see him and see if I can shoot a few deer on his ranch.
AJM: (laughing) Thats what I was going to do, write him a letter
DH: If theres too many deer out there, Ill come help him (laughs)
AJM: Thats good. I do remember you locking horns with him a couple of times, on a couple of issues. Do you have any recollection of that?
DH: Sure. Weve had differences of opinion. Women in combat was one in which he had a more, I think, permissive position on it than I did. But generally, I think we got along well and I thought Rumsfeld did an excellent job of directing the Pentagon, which is always a cast of independent contractors and egos. And also, in sorting through a very difficult conflict in Iraq. And while Rumsfeld was not an advocate for the surge, he relied primarily on the recommendations of his two main battlefield commanders. That was George Casey, who was head of all US and coalition forces in Iraq and also General Abazaid, who was the Centcom commander. Both of whom told the Iraq Study Group, and presumably advised Mr. Rumsfeld on a number of occasions, that we did not need more forces in Iraq.
And their theory was that we wanted to have a light footprint, and that having a lot of heavy forward presence among the population would end up pushing off the moment of truth when the Shiite majority would have to reconcile with the Sunnis. Also, it was their attempt at maintaining or managing a situation in which the Iraqis often preferred to have Uncle Sam do the tough stuff, the hard fighting. Their idea was that as we pulled back to our forward operating bases, the Iraqis would stand up.
The problem in the fall of 06 was the violence, and this conflict within a conflict within a conflict that developed in Iraq that is the fight between the Sunnis and the Shiites, then the fight between the Shiites and the Iranian weighted Shiites; thats Muqtada al-Sadr and his JAM forces that became a sub-conflict. And Al-Qaeda, following the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samara, successfully incited strong conflict between the Sunni community and the Shia Community. And in this conflict, because it was such a ferocious conflict, the extremist elements in both communities managed to strengthen. That is, Al Qaeda presented themselves as the defenders of the Sunni community, JAM presented themselves that is the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr as the protector of the Shia community. So you had th extreme elements, the wolfpacks if you will, on both sides controlling the streets.
So the idea of the surge was that we needed, before we could do anything the nation building in Iraq was essentially paralyzed by the violence we needed to get enough forces in to be able to subdue that violence, to allow normal life and the normal rebuild of the country to take place.
And the Surge worked. While Mr. Rumsfeld was not an advocate of the Surge,
AJM: Its strongest advocate was you, not McCain, by the way .
DH: but he relied very strongly on General Casey and General Abazaid. In fact it was their testimony to the Iraq Study Group that resulted in the Study Group coming back and with their recommendation essentially to leave.
Long winded answer to your question.
AJM: Thats OK. It is also my recollection that before he left, Mr. Rumsfeld did assign General Petraeus to go ahead and draft up his counter-insurgency plan.
DH: Thats true. And in my estimation, Rumsfeld would have carried out the counter-insurgency operation very effectively.
Another interesting thing about the counter-insurgency plan is this: The idea for the surge did not come from a government source. It did not come from the National Security Council, nor did it come from the Joint Chiefs. Its good proof that there is no chain of command for good ideas. It largely came from this brilliant professor, Fred Kagan
AJM: Im familiar with Fred.
DH: along with a great soldier-statesman named General John Keane, Jack Keane, former vice Chief of Staff for the US Army. And together in fact Keane is probably the primary figure for the success of the Surge. Next to the President, probably the most important figure. He hooked up with professor Kagan and his think tank, and they put together this plan called Choosing Victory. And they presented that to the President and the Vice President. At the same time, with his military background, he worked closely with General Petraeus and General Odierno, who were the two incoming commanders of the American and coalition forces in Iraq. And when he had to, Keane came to Capital Hill and appeared in some crucial hearings in which he dominated the field. We put him up against Bill Perry, President Clintons Secretary of Defense and John Batiste, who was in fact a division commander in Iraq. He (Batiste) was a big gun for the Democrats who at some point came to the conclusion that the war was not winnable. So Jack Keane, by himself, and sometimes with Fred Kagan, took these guys on in the hearings of 2007.
And if you look at Keanes statement, his speech to the assembled House Armed Services Committee, the joint hearings between the HASC and the International Relations Committee on September 6th, the day before the testimony by General Petraeus, it was a superb description of why we needed the Surge and how well it would work. It was superb. In fact it was much better than Petraeus, who did a professional job, but he was about half as good as Keane.
AJM: Yeah, I saw some of that.
DH: So in a way, this was a very healthy American exercise. It was private people who were motivated by patriotism coming together. Thats this group of people that Kagan had at the American Enterprise Institute, and this retired American General who just wanted America to WIN! Thats all he wanted, he just wanted us to win. They came together and they sold this Surge to the President. We did it, and it worked!
AJM: Yes it did.
DH: Listen, Ive got to go, my wife is waiting for me inside this restaurant and I have to go remind her that Im her husband yet, and will be for an extended period of time (laughs).
AJM: OK, Ill let you go then. Just have a great Christmas, and thanks for taking a few minutes here today.
DH: Hey, Jim, many thanks.
AJM: Well talk to you in the New Year then.
DH: OK. But listen, you have a great Christmas.
AJM: I sure will, I love this time of year.
DH: It is a great time.
AJM: A good time to reflect and to appreciate your family. Tell Duncan and Sam hello and thank you for me and my fellow freepers.
DH: Ill do it, thank you so much.
The Kennedy Wing for the Republican Party
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B U M P
Interesting take on Rummy. I am a Rummy fan, and love to hear true insiders with vast knowledge like Hunter describe what went on when things were down in Iraq.
Duncan Hunter is a man I respect as much as any man living today. God Bless you Duncan and may God grant you and yours the riches of His Heavenly blessings this Miracle Season.
BUMP and Merry Christmas
I thought the way Rummy handled the media was exactly the way conservatives should.
Thanks for the *ping* Pissant, what is your gut feeling about the possibility of Duncan Hunter heading back out on the campaign trail for the Presidential race in 2012?
It was always my perception that there was a concerted effort to shut Congressman Hunter down during the 2008 campaign, he didn’t get much media mention, little ink in the newspapers, although he coined the phrase ‘The Kennedy Wing of the Republican Party’, he didn’t get much credit for it.
Everyone who loved Ronald Reagan keeps saying it would be wonderful for a ‘new Reagan’ to come forward, but I’ve maintained that Duncan Hunter, who originally came to Washington WITH Ronald Reagan in the Landslide of 1980, is the closest thing to another Ronald Reagan as the Gipper himself. Why can’t people see that?
If DH isn't running, who would he like to support, so far?
C'mon Pissant, everyone here knows that's what you're thinking!
Did a quick perusal and like a lot of what Hunter had to say with regard to Rummy and Iraq. Will be back shortly.
Merry Christmas to all Duncan Hunter fans!
I’m as up in the air on the possibility as anyone, including him.
The GOP, as a whole, are a bunch of dumbsh*ts. That is why you get a Reagan every 100 years or so, but get gaggles of Doles, GHWB’s, Fords, Nixons, Quayles, McCains, Rockefellers, Bakers, Romneys, etc.
Tancredo and Hunter should have been the only two in contention if th eparty had a conservative spine. Maybe the tea parties can wake ‘em up.
If he’s going to run, he obviously ain’t going to be telling us who he likes other than himself. If he doesn’t run, he’s going to wait to see who does.
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