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Thursday, December 14, 2006
The Hawk Does It Again!

One of the things I try to keep on top of is "who's getting buzz" right now. And there is little doubt that Duncan Hunter, a congressman from California, is getting quite a bit of buzz. Two months ago, when I saw his name listed as among the possible presidential contenders in 2008, my response was, "Who?" No longer. Here's a wide-ranging interview of Congressman Hunter by John Hawkins.

We are training the Iraqi military right now. We've got 470 embedded teams right now. Those are training teams within the Iraqi military itself and my recommendation to the President and to the Iraqis is that one thing they could do right now that would accelerate the maturation process for the Iraqi military is to pick the 27 battalions that are in the quiet provinces in Iraq - 9 of the 18 provinces have virtually no action taking place - take those 27 battalions and move them into the fighting in Baghdad and Anbar province in the Sunni Triangle.

Nothing matures a military force quicker than actual military operations. That develops cohesion that re-enforces the chain of command, develops combat effectiveness, and I think most importantly it validates the link between the military and the civilian government - that is, when the Ministry of Defense picks up the phone and calls a battalion commander and tells him to saddle up and move to Baghdad, if he doesn't move, they need to reach into a battalion which is doing well, pull out a field officer and replace the officer who won't move with one that will. So that is my recommendation to the President and one thing I told him is I'm sure that he's not short on recommendations right now.

While we're on the subject of interviews with potential presidential candidates, here's K-Lo with Mitt Romney. I like this:

Lopez: What did you make of the Iraq Study Group report that was released last week?

Gov. Romney: The members of the Iraq Study Group deserve credit for their hard work. But their recommendations read like the product of a flawed process — one more focused on reaching consensus for the sake of reaching consensus. There were a few recommendations that I found especially striking: Suggesting that somehow the Israel-Palestine conflict is a root of sectarian and insurgent violence in Iraq is just wrong. Sunnis are killing Shia and vice versa. Pressuring Israel won’t change that.

Proposing that we negotiate with terrorist regimes like Syria and Iran — without a rigorous analysis of how our incentives could ever be aligned — is just counter-productive. I have no quarrel with talking, especially if it yields valuable intelligence and insight about an adversary. But that’s a far cry from actually negotiating with Iran, which sponsors Hezbollah, has nuclear ambitions, and has been clear in its intention to wipe our ally Israel off the map. And Syria is systematically undermining the sovereignty of Lebanon and funding and arming terrorists. Any suggestion that we might trade something for their help or forbearance is out of the question. When considering a negotiation, one must ask what kind of leverage we have, and recognize that there are situations where we have more to lose than gain by negotiating.
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