Skip to comments.[Duncan] Hunter supports president's plan for more troops in Iraq
Posted on 01/10/2007 4:15:08 AM PST by radar101
NORTH COUNTY -- President Bush's plan to raise the number of U.S. troops in Iraq by 20,000 will be linked to moving more Iraqi troops into the areas where most of the violence is occurring, U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter said Tuesday.
The 2008 GOP presidential candidate emerged from an afternoon meeting at the White House with Bush and other lawmakers and said he will support the president's plan to put about 16,000 more U.S. troops in the Iraqi capital and raise the number of U.S. forces in Anbar province by 4,000.
Bush will outline his plan in a televised speech to the nation scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. today.
Anbar, in the western region of Iraq, is where most of the insurgent attacks are occurring and where the Marine Corps has the lead role in providing security.
"This will be a joint operation with the Iraqis and the plan has all the markings of having been put together with a lot of deliberation and study," said Hunter, R-El Cajon, during a telephone interview.
The increase will boost the overall number of U.S. troops in Iraq from 140,000 to 160,000, forces that include several thousand Marines and sailors from Camp Pendleton, Twentynine Palms and Miramar Marine Corps Air Station.
The Pentagon will speed up deployments and keep some troops in Iraq longer than their scheduled assignments in order to meet the escalation. It was not immediately clear how many of the 20,000 additional troops will come from the Marine Corps.
In Baghdad, where the sectarian violence has pitted Sunnis and Shiite militias against each other, the city will be divided into areas of operation where U.S. and Iraqi troops will work jointly to quell the violence, Hunter said.
In Anbar, where a majority of the more than 316 Marines from local bases have lost their lives since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the Marine Corps will soon implement new tactics, Hunter said. He added that he could not be more specific because of the classified nature of the briefing he had received from Bush and Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"We'll see a changing Marine strategy in Anbar," Hunter said.
For the last several months, Hunter has been urging Bush to place more Iraqi troops into Iraq's hot spots.
"They will be moving three (Iraqi) brigades from the quieter areas and they will now be at the tip of the spear," said Hunter, whose 52nd Congressional District includes portions of Poway, Rancho Bernardo and Ramona.
Hunter's calls have been echoed by U.S. commanders, including Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of Camp Pendleton's I Marine Expeditionary Force and the man with overall responsibility for Marine forces in Iraq.
Mattis and other generals also have said that placing more U.S. troops into Iraq without a clearly defined mission would be a mistake. Hunter said he believes the plan that the president will outline tonight satisfies the position of the generals.
A Government Accountability Report on Iraq released Tuesday seemed to support the call from U.S. generals for more Iraqi troop participation in that country's security. The report put the number of trained and equipped Iraqi security forces at 323,000 at the end of 2006, up from 174,000 in July 2005.
The U.S. has spent $15.4 billion since 2003 to train the Iraqi army and security forces and provide 480,000 weapons, 30,000 vehicles and 1.65 million pieces of gear such as helmets and body armor, according to the "Securing, Stabilizing and Rebuilding Iraq" report.
Hunter said the appointment of Adm. William Fallon as head of U.S. Central Command in place of Gen. John Abizaid and Lt. Gen. David Patraeus in place of Gen. George Casey as the top American commander in Iraq should bode well for his plans to put more military pressure on the insurgents and sectarian militias. Both officers have been in the camp calling for more U.S. troops.
"Both of them represent the best the military has to offer," said Hunter, who was chairman of the House Armed Services Committee for the last six years. He remains the ranking Republican on the panel, but lost the chairmanship when his party lost control of the House.
Despite the Democrats' control of the new Congress that convened last week, Hunter said there is little the new congressional majority can do to stop the president's plan.
"The best thing the Democrats can do is to let the plan be put in place and see if it can accomplish the goals the president will lay out," he said.
As the pace of U.S. troop involvement picks up in the coming weeks, the 58-year-old Hunter will soon formalize his bid for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. His campaign committee next week will file the paperwork to establish a presidential exploratory campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission.
Roy Tyler, communications director for the Alpine resident's run for chief executive, said Hunter's official announcement of his long-shot run for president will take place in about two weeks in San Diego.
Hunter, who first won election to Congress in 1980 and is the longest-serving representative in San Diego County's five-member congressional delegation, spent the weekend in New Hampshire.
That visit followed trips to South Carolina and Iowa, places he will return to in the next couple of weeks. The three states have the earliest presidential primaries.
Contact staff writer Mark Walker at (760) 740-3529 or email@example.com.
This man is the best candidate available for next POTUS.
He has my vote.
Hunter needs to get his face on tv more.
My guess is neither the left nor the GOP elite want Hunter on TV.
Of the people who have announced, he's my top choice right now.
No one knows who he is, so he's got a big job ahead
You can let him know you appreciate his support....US Capitol.....toll free........1-800-862-5530
You are very likely correct in your estimation of reaction to Hunter.
I hear on the news that Gilmore (?) is going to run in 2008 because he does not think there are enough conservatives in the race. There has been one other "conservative", besides Hunter, who is considering running.
I was happy when I learned Hunter was in the race with the three RINOs. These other politicians (I do mean that disparagingly) jumping in, could muddy the waters considerably.
Yeah for a while...to stabilize the region...but I would have not had the grunts on the ground this long....we won...we are not here to make these savages a democracy...we should have laid waste to the region at the start, carpet bombing like we did during WWII. This should have been a PUNITIVE strike....The aftermath of 9/11 should have been like the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, ALL OUT WAR WITH ISLAMOFASCISTS PERIOD!!!
this kinder gentler compassion crap does not float in my view
So far, he is the best guy in the ring. Let's hope he can rise to the challenge.
"My guess is neither the left nor the GOP elite want Hunter on TV."
Right! The *Skull and Bones" Ivy League Elitists don't want an outsider ruining their Global domination party. This is the main reason I'm supporting Cong. Hunter.
As I clicked around last night, I caught him on Hardbowel. Matthews pretty much had his way with him. While I think he's the best conservative in the pack... his on-camera personna is somewhat reminiscent of a deer-in-the-headlights.
My guess is neither the left nor the GOP elite
Please ease up on the redundant statements.
Good for Duncan Hunter! The president needs people like him! He's got too many against him as it is!
No kidding! Who the heck IS he? I've just started seeing his name on Free Republic and have no idea who he is! I take it he's from North Carolina? (I admit, I haven't read the article yet!) :-)
Nope - California.
...new I liked this guy.
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