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2 GOP Chairmen at Odds Over Hill Abuse Hearings (Rep. Hunter Worried About Absences From Iraq)
The Washington Post ^ | Wednesday, May 19, 2004 | By Bradley Graham and Charles Babington

Posted on 05/19/2004 5:46:50 AM PDT by Terrence DoGood

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee lashed out at his Senate counterpart yesterday for summoning senior U.S. commanders from the field to testify at hearings into the prisoner-abuse scandal, saying the move threatens to disrupt military operations in Iraq.

"I think the Senate has become mesmerized by cameras, and I think that's sad," said Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.).

Hunter's remarks represented a rare public attack by one leading Republican lawmaker on another. They reflected the growing strains in senior GOP circles over how to manage the scandal that has tarnished perceptions of the United States abroad, undercut U.S. efforts in Iraq and thrown the Bush administration on the defensive.

House Republican leaders have argued for doing as little as possible in response to the scandal, complaining that administration critics are exploiting it for political ends. But the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by John W. Warner (R-Va.), has made clear its intention to hold a series of hearings aimed at flushing out responsibility for the scandal.

In contrast to Hunter's panel, which has limited itself to one public and one closed-door hearing on the scandal, Warner's committee has convened two public hearings and has scheduled a third today with three senior commanders as witnesses, including Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top U.S. officer in the Persian Gulf region; Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, head of U.S. forces in Iraq; and Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, the new chief of detention facilities in Iraq.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who has testified before the Senate and House and privately briefed House members yesterday afternoon, was reported by senators who met with him yesterday to be frustrated by the demands that dealing with the scandal has placed on his time.

"He said that essentially all of his time is being taken up in addressing the need to produce testimony and witnesses," said John Cornyn (Tex.), one of about a dozen Republican senators who conferred with Rumsfeld over breakfast at the Pentagon. "He was expressing some frustration at the all-consuming nature of this process. It was clear this was exasperating him."

But Warner vowed to persevere, disclosing plans to call a dozen top military and civilian officials to testify as part of a wide-ranging probe into "all aspects of detainee operations in Iraq."

While telling reporters he would not respond directly to Hunter, Warner released a letter written May 13 to Rumsfeld saying that the committee "fully understands that the availability of some witnesses and material is affected" by military operations in Iraq and several investigations of the scandal still underway.

Warner had offered to hear testimony from Abizaid and other senior officers in the field by videoconference links. But the generals agreed to appear in person and today's hearing was scheduled to coincide with visits to Washington that were planned, Warner said.

Hunter criticized Warner's approach to the prison issue in comments to reporters as well as in an interview with C-SPAN.

"We are at this point disserving our military operation in theater -- that is, all of the troops are in a shooting war right now, who need their leadership -- by bringing leadership out of theater, jerking out these battlefield commanders," he told reporters after a closed-door committee meeting with the author of the Army investigation that alleged the abuse, Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: duncanhunter; hasc; iraq; johnwarner; sasc; turass; waronterror
I met Rep. Hunter while deployed to the Middle East and I found him to be a good man. It's a shame we don't have more men like him in Washington. TD
1 posted on 05/19/2004 5:46:51 AM PDT by Terrence DoGood
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To: Terrence DoGood

Rep. Duncan Hunter: the rarest of the rare, a GOP pol with b@lls!


2 posted on 05/19/2004 6:11:01 AM PDT by Redbob (saving this space for witty comebacks)
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To: Terrence DoGood

Last I checked, Muslims aren’t signatores to the Geneva Convention. They can be treated as the feral animals they are, but we are too civilized for that.


3 posted on 05/19/2004 6:16:40 AM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)

"They can be treated as the feral animals they are, but we are too civilized for that."

Precisely - and, if we're not careful, that could be our downfall.


4 posted on 05/19/2004 6:20:08 AM PDT by NCPAC
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To: Terrence DoGood
"I think the Senate has become mesmerized by cameras, and I think that's sad," said Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.).

Whether Senators prefer cameras, mirrors or the sounds of their own voices is debatable. Their almost universal arrogance and inflated sense of self worth is not. That is why John McCain lost the nomination. That is why Al Gore lost the election. That is why John Kerry will lose. Americans will tolerate almost anything. They will not tolerate the disease of arrogance and the Senate infects most of its members with a particularly malignant strain.

5 posted on 05/19/2004 6:55:57 AM PDT by catpuppy (John Kerry! When hair is all that matters.)
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To: catpuppy

"That is why John Kerry will lose."

I wish I had the faith that you do in the American people. Either there are a lot of senseless idiots in this country or the media has inflated the numbers to lead us to that conclusion.


6 posted on 05/19/2004 7:01:22 AM PDT by rj45mis
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To: rj45mis
Either there are a lot of senseless idiots in this country or the media has inflated the numbers to lead us to that conclusion.

There are a lot of senseless media in this country. They do inflate the numbers by their constant drumbeat for lefty causes. But Kennedy and Johnson notwithstanding, Senators won't win the Presidency, regardless of their media friends. Just ask Humphrey, McGovern, Mondale and Gore (not to mention Dole). Those former Democrat Senators all were trumpeted by the press as superior beings. They all flopped. Even service as Vice-President by three of them was not enough to remove the stigma of having been Senators.

Rerun this year. Senator flops. Be there.

7 posted on 05/19/2004 7:17:57 AM PDT by catpuppy (John Kerry! When hair is all that matters.)
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To: Terrence DoGood

I saw Hunter on CNN with Kucinich talking about this abuse scandal and Hunter's in Inhoffe's camp at being disgusted how the media and partisans are taking this scandal. It is turning into a circus. We could use a lot more Hunters in the Republican party.


8 posted on 05/19/2004 8:12:08 AM PDT by bushfamfan
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