BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

Be werry werry kwiet ...

This is another of those “dollar store finds”, and had been sitting around for quite a while waiting for me to be in the right mood for a book on fighting terrorism. As I'd plowed through so many “social media” and similar things of late, I figured that this would be something to throw into the mix to shake stuff loose a bit. Like many of the books I've picked up for a buck, this one soon showed why it was kicking around in that channel!

On the Hunt: How to Wake Up Washington and Win the War on Terror is by frequent Fox News contributor Col. David Hunt, who (if I recall correctly) was one of the go-to guys in coverage on the second Gulf War. He has “has over 29 years of military experience including extensive operational experience in special operations, counter terrorism and intelligence operations” and is rather impassioned on the subject of military virtues.

“Passion” probably doesn't go far enough when describing the tone of this book, Hunt is hopping mad, and obviously deeply frustrated with how the “war on terror” is going … and it's quite a revelation when one realizes that this was written in 2007, so the railing he's doing here was at the Bush administration ... I can just imagine how close to “busting a blood vessel” he's been since the ascension of Kommissar Zero to the Presidency!

The book is about 2/3 text and 1/3 assorted supporting materials. I wish that there was more organization to that appendix section, as some of it is quite fascinating (Al Qaeda training materials for their snipers, instructions for making quick-change license plates, information on the Iran-supplied roadside bombs, etc.) but it's pretty much just dumped in there with no specific explanatory copy, along with assorted reports, white papers, and what appear to be PowerPoint slides.

Frankly, I think they should have used one of the chapter headings for the title of this book, as it would have conveyed the “feel” of it better: Bravest of the Brave, Led by Idiots … as this is pretty much the thrust here. Hunt keeps outlining how the politicians and career “desk” military men constantly screw things up. One of the more “titillating” things here is that Hunt “names names” and is happy to tell you just what jerks, idiots, and brown-nosers certain well-known names from the news are. I found it especially fascinating how much he hates Donald Rumsfeld (whom I always had found appealing for the way he treated the White House press corps like a troop of feces-flinging monkeys) ... and he doesn't have much more love for most of that administration.

Now, lest one think that Hunt's some sort of Wesley Clark leftist (although, I have to admit, some of Hunt's ranting came close to what you'd expect from that side of the barricades!), he's obviously not, but was bordering on being unhinged by how ineffectual the Bush administration was in fighting terror and securing our borders. Let me give you a sample of a typical part of this:
     Actually, there are bigger questions: If we know all this about the terrorists, their capabilities, and their intentions, why don't we respond appropriately? Why have we allowed the war to become politicized, when real leaders would be focused on the task at hand – killing the bad guys?
     Unfortunately, our leadership in this war has not stepped up to the challenge. In Iraq, a Navy SEAL element, a Special Forces company, or a Delta Force squadron could open up the airport road in less than a month; they could clear an entire town the size of Basra and maintain the peace with their Iraqi counterparts there in six months; they could stop infiltrators along a section of border immediately. They could do magic if only they were allowed to do their jobs. So, how in hell was an entire Navy SEAL element allowed to sit on their powerful, perfectly trained asses for an entire year? They did next to nothing – even though they begged for a mission and are the best in the world at what they do. They sat on their asses because their leaders and their leaders' leaders are risk-averse, PowerPoint-briefing, politically correct, do-nothing assholes. The SEAL element actually gained weight on a deployment when they usually lose ten pounds per man.
     This is wrong; this is how we lose. This is how an insurgency grows and a civil war materializes.
Just in case Col. Hunt isn't making himself clear, he later goes over, name by name, most of the desk-sitters responsible for running the Iraq campaign and wraps up with:
These are not officers; these are not leaders; these are cowards, faux officers, play soldiers, and poor excuses for leaders. Never has this nation, this military, been witness to such low-life, scum-sucking, bottom-feeders as this crew.
Needless to say, there's a certain “make the popcorn” aspect to reading this stuff and seeing who's next in Hunt's cross-hairs … if only the nature of the problems weren't so damn serious! I do, however, hope that the V.A. is supplying the Colonel with some good drugs to keep his blood pressure down and his mood stabilized these days, because, again, all the above sturm und drang is focused on the Bush administration, which was lightyears ahead of the current mob at the White House in terms of addressing Iraq/Afghanistan, the Border, and containment of the terror threat in general.

As noted, I found On the Hunt at the dollar store, but I see that Amazon, at least, is still selling it at retail, so I guess it's not “out of print” per se. If this sounds like a fun read to you, you'll probably want to go check out the new/used vendors who have copies of the hardcover in “very good” condition for a penny and “new” for under fifty cents!

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Tags: book review
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