When In Doubt, Blow It Up

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Duncan Hunter (R-CA) comes from a military/political background. 

His father, Duncan Hunter, Sr., was an Army Ranger who served in Vietnam (1970-1971) for which he was awarded a Bronze Star, then went on to serve in the US House of Representatives from 1981-2009 where he chaired the House Armed Services Committee during the 108th and 109th Congress. 

In 2008, Hunter, Sr decided to run for President on the Republican ticket but his campaign fizzled out after the Nevada Republican Caucuses.

Hunter the Younger served in the Marine Corps for 2 tours in Iraq, and continues to serve in the Marine Reserves.  In 2009 Hunter took over his father’s seat, in the US House of Representatives, where he . . . you guessed it! serves on the House Armed Services Committee.

With that kind of pedigree, it’s reasonable to expect that Young Duncan might avoid some of the sillier pratfalls that befall less well-groomed political rookies.  But . . . sadly, no.

Young Duncan took himself off to CSPAN on Monday to share this bit of foreign policy advice:

I don’t think it’s inevitable but I think if you have to hit Iran, you don’t put boots on the ground, you do it with tactical nuclear devices and you set them back a decade or two or three. I think that’s the way to do it with a massive aerial bombardment campaign.

Perhaps Hunter’s trying to make an impression on Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson who expressed similar sentiments earlier this Fall?  Or, maybe he thought it would inspire his prior top donors—Defense Contractors—to kick into his 2014 mid-term kitty.

Whatever the justification, and I’m sure there is a predictably absurd one, it’s hard to top Young Duncan’s bald statement for reckless abandon, utter stupidity and depraved political opportunism.  I have to hope that Hunter will come to understand how idiotic his words were, but I suspect it will take more than a blogger’s opinion to sway him.

Perhaps some folks with better defense or national security credentials might make more of an impact . . . oh look, there are some now:

Here’s Zachary Keck who writes for The Diplomat:

. . . the use of a TNW, no matter how small the yield, would still break the taboo against the first use of nuclear weapons, which would could be much more detrimental to the world than a nuclear-armed Iran itself, given that the latter is unlikely to use the bomb.

Fortunately, it is patently absurd to think that the U.S. would use a tactical nuclear weapon against Iran, and Rep. Hunter has no decision-making power in this regard. Still, the mere fact that he, as a U.S. congressman, made the comment could harm U.S. and allied interests (to say nothing of the morality of his statement).

For all these reasons then, Rep. Hunter’s comment was irresponsible from both moral and strategic standpoints. The Obama administration and the Republican leadership in Congress should immediately and harshly repudiate the statement.

Or this guy, Kingston Reif of the Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation who told Defense News that:

. . . the preventative, first-use of nuclear weapons against Iran would have a devastating impact on US national security and dismember US power and standing in the world.

That a senior Republican member of the House Armed Services Committee is even suggesting such a possible course of action is the height of reckless irresponsibility and so far out of bounds it is astonishing. The first use of nuclear weapons against Iran would guarantee a mad Iranian dash to acquire nuclear weapons to deter future such US attacks, likely convince other potential US adversaries in the region and around the world to acquire their own nuclear weapons to ward off a potential future US attack.

Oh and here’s Bob Cesca with a good point:

Aside from the obvious fact that Duncan Hunter is a sociopath with little to no regard for human life, this is also a very bad time to float a fantasy like this.

We’re trying to persuade Iran to drop a weapons program while Duncan Hunter shares his dream of dropping nuclear bombs on Iran. Hunter may have just handed a PR victory to hardliners in Iran.

Smooth move.

But wait! there’s more.  As long as he was on a roll, Young Duncan decided that CSPAN might be a good place to unleash some of his combat-hardened racism, agreeing with a caller from Iowa who said the Iranians have a “radical, religious way” of negotiating in which it is “honorable and heroic to successfully lie and deceive the infidels,” in this case Americans.

Hunter enthusiastically agreed “it is part of the Middle Eastern culture” to lie.

Going on to say that:

That’s one reason that these Gulf states like to work with the United States, because we’re honest and transparent and we have laws that we have to live by.

In the Middle Eastern culture it is looked upon with very high regard to get the best deal possible, no matter what it takes, and that includes lying.

When asked if he meant that “all Middle Eastern countries are this way,” Hunter reiterated his point.

Yeah, that’s part of Middle Eastern culture. They like to barter there.

Interesting, indeed.  I suppose that Young Duncan believes that Americans don’t have “a very high regard” for getting “the best deal possible?”

And, I wonder why it is that George W Bush was never held accountable for breaking the laws that Young Duncan is so very proud of, when he lied the American people into invading Iraq over pretend WMDs? 

For that matter, since Young Duncan wants to set a high bar for lying, I’ll refer him to Bob Cesca who points out:

In the Republican culture, it is looked upon with very high regard to get the best deal possible no matter what it takes — and that includes lying. If you’re willing to shut the government down and commit political suicide in order to harm other people, you are not a rational person. And that’s who you’re dealing with when you’re dealing with the Republicans. They have lied over and over and over. They are liars.

What I just said is far more empirical than to say the entire Middle East is full of liars.

Is Hunter comparing himself to Iranian hardliners? He may be on to something.

In closing, I’d like to say that I respect Young Duncan’s service, which is, for anyone, a sacrifice but—and this is a big BUT—the US House of Representatives is not the military.  That was then and this is now. 

Your job there, Young Duncan, is to represent the people, ALL of the people, of your district, not to make them weep with shame when you open your mouth in a public forum or live in fear because of your silly-ass saber-rattling.  Neither is it your job to make our foreign policy efforts appear to be suspect or misguided with your very limited knowledge of said policy.

Two tours on a military base in Iraq does not make you an expert on Iraq, let alone the entire region. You are 37 years old, have very little work (or life) experience outside of the military, and you might think you have the world by the tail, but you don’t.  And for that reason, I recommend prudence and a little more circumspection, or a career change if you can’t manage that.  Our country is in a big enough mess without macho young men, impressed with the sound of their own voices, recklessly making things exponentially worse for the rest of us. 

Posted by Bette Noir on 12/05/13 at 01:34 PM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsElection '14NuttersTeabaggery

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Good lord, what a lunatic. I hope the Iranians who are actually involved in the negotiations realize this dude is just a barking mad back-bencher.

Hunter the younger is definitely following in Hunter the older’s footsteps.  Both are dumber than a rock.

Holy shit.  Just what our diplomatic efforts need is another crazy rethug trolling for contributions. I hope Betty C is right, but you can just bet that there is some hardliner over there who is just as Machiavellian as ours are over here; why give them the ammo, Rep. Idiot?

Having lived in the district while Duncan Hunter pere was the representative, it doesn’t surprise me that the rotten apple didn’t fall far from the diseased tree.  Duncan Hunter fils is just as sociopathic and far-right wingnut as his father, but less able to hide it, and more willing to cater to the nut cases.

The funny thing is that the city of El Cajon, in his district, is home to a very large Middle Easter immigrant population.  To the point that last time I went to visit, I felt like I was back in Doha, Qatar.

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