Thursday, December 06, 2007

What does Col. David Hunt MEAN by: "Low-life, scum-sucking bottom-feeders"?

I just finished Colonel David Hunt, On the Hunt: How to Wake Up Washington and Win the War on Terror. I'm still laughing over the last book I read, Colonel David Hunt,They Just Don't Get It: How Washington Is Still Compromising Your Safety--and What You Can Do About It, in which he writes, "If bureaucracy is so good, then why doesn't the enemy have one?" I want this guy on my football team. He is a 'no bullshit' winner. Sophisticated? Not a chance. When he writes of some of America's top and most famous contemporary military leaders and Donald Rumsfeld he calls them "scum-sucking bottom-feeders." What's not to like? What's not to get? Well....

From Publishers Weekly
"Hang onto your ball caps and hairpieces, this is going to be monkey-butt ugly." Indeed. Delivering an account of the U.S.'s failures in combatting terror, Hunt, a Fox TV News military analyst and retired army colonel, depicts a world of gutless politicians, bungling bureaucrats, deceitful allies and bleeding-heart liberals. His solution is to expand the armed forces and vastly contract bureaucracy, especially the many intelligence agencies, which he proposes be combined into one central bureau with a single, long-term director who is exempt from testifying before congressional committees. Hunt hates congressional committees and admires elite military teams like the SEALs and Delta Force; he wants them turned loose. Merged into the "TKA" (Terrorist Killing Agency), they would receive intelligence from the now competent intelligence bureau, proceed to wherever terrorists operate and (with or without the host country's permission) kill them. The author considers Israel an ideal model; its forces, he says, respond viciously to every attack. Legal niceties and public relations take a back seat. Assassination teams travel the world to murder Israel's enemies. (Thoughtful readers may wonder why, after decades of slugging it out, Israel remains wracked with terrorism.) No group escapes the author's venom—or his praise.

Yes, P.W., thoughtful readers do wonder why Israel is still playing softball with killers. But I quibble.

Hunt is often funny, always honest, and a conversationalist writer. His theses are straightforward: Bad guys are attacking America? Kill them. I'm with you, Colonel. Anything more is along the same lines if not as terminal. And, to top it all, he's a dedicated supporter of American law and the Constitution, unlike so many of our judges and lawyers.

A citizen reviewer from writes this:

L. A. Kane
This book is an outstanding, albeit terrifying look into the war on terror and our will/ability to win it. Col. Hunt argues that three major inhibiters--apathy, bureaucracy, and a lack of political will stand in our way. A quick synopsis:

Apathy amongst the media, politicians, and the electorate is very dangerous because the bad guys are still out there and still trying their level best to do us in. Regardless, in the four years since 9/11 apathy has taken hold nearly everywhere. Fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan just don't seem real; terrorist actions in foreign countries (e.g., Bali nightclub bombing, Spanish train bombing) don't feel like a clear and present danger here.

Bureaucracy and status quo mentality have combined with this lack of urgency to stall essential change. For example, the Director of National Intelligence has neither the budgetary control nor the hire/fire authority to really control the various agencies that report to him. Intelligence officials spend too much time in congressional committees and not enough finding and fighting our enemies. The White House staff numbers in the thousands today while back in the Kennedy Administration it was less than a hundred...

Political will not only addresses the ability to make needed change but also the willingness to take action at all. For example, even though the pre-Iraq war WMD intelligence was totally inaccurate, no one was fired and essential organizational/cultural change has still not been made. The FBI's $100M computing sinkhole not only led to no working system but also no firings for those whose job it was to implement the project. And, we are, in Hunt's words, "still sleeping with the enemy." We have friendly relations with the Russians while they sell weapons to terrorists and unfriendly countries. We support Saudi Arabia even though their terrorist crackdowns are mostly just for show and they continue to fund extremist religious schools and institutions.

The first part of the book is designed to scare us into action. Not only does he point out the many problems, however, but he also offers a solution. This would include markedly expanding the military, untying the hands of our special forces, massively reducing the power of congressional committees, gutting the entrenched bureaucracy, and making select changes to the law, among other things. I somehow doubt any of these changes can take place unless, god forbid, there is another large scale terrorist attack on US soil, but I found the book illuminating nevertheless. You can certainly see Col. Hunt's military background and perspective shine through.

The book is hard-hitting and very frank. Treated as an academic study it is comprehensive, well researched, interesting, and pretty well written. And, it forms the basis of a plan of action should our elected officials wish to step up the war on terror to the next level. If you want the inside scoop on the war on terror, you gotta read this book. Permalink

I follow informally the careers of two men in Army and Naval Intelligence, one a sergeant completing his doctorate, the other already finished and moving on. Both are exceptionally intelligent and considerate writers of high style and depth of insight. One might not expect to find a sgt. completing a Ph.D. Why not? Because sgt.s are enlisted men, those Leftists refer to as too stupid to work in the "real world", losers who can't make a living on their own, and the usual crap.... Hunt is no intellectual. He's a high-ranking officer, a straight talking guy, and on the face of it one might think him a stereotypical Leftist-cliche sergeant rather than top brass. One never knows till one knows. Hunt is a talker. His books are transcriptions of a monologue. If you like what he's on about, then you'll find him well-informed and decent. Those biased against the military, against rational action, in favor of all things Left, they won't get through a page of this. I doubt a Leftist would even pick up a book like this to browse the blurb. Oh well.

Hunt is a commentator at Fox Television. That's about as much as I know of him outside the few personal details in his books. I don't know if, for example, he's a major shareholder in Blackwater security company. I raise the issue because every writer has in his mind an ideal reader, the one reader who understands it all, gets every joke, nods in appreciation of each insight, who really and truly gets it. My feeling is that Hunt is writing for the ideal reader who is a combat veteran spoiling for the good fight again in real circumstances, not the artificial nonsense of a bureaucratic military machine run by lawyers and politicians trying to win the next election. My feeling while reading these two works is that Hunt is calling upon such men reading with me to join up with private security firms to fight to win a just and real battle. He's not an intellectual. He's a fighter. His books are for such people.

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