Leon T. (Tim) Hunt: Now the piper is being
Leon T. (Tim) Hunt
Published July 26, 2003
Frank Gaffney Jr. in the July 20 Op Ex is so partisanly political and so wrong
I feel weak inside.
I was an Army officer who served eight presidents, four Democratic and four
Republican. I have no partisan ax to grind. I was also the original desk officer
for Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan when we created U.S. Central
Command from the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force.
I know Iraq through that long experience (with access to all-source
intelligence). On promotion to colonel just before the first Gulf War I was
assigned to the U.S. Embassy in India, where we identified and shut off
(thanks to the government of India) Iraq's source of precursor materials for
Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons of mass destruction program.
Regarding Gaffney's article, "Bush's critics are making Saddam's day": This
president made his own bed and has to stand to history for his own actions.
He and his administration failed to do their homework before they jumped to
If Saddam is alive and gloating, it is because the political ramifications and
consequences not only were not well considered in advance; all who urged
more appropriate measures to convincingly and completely defang and box
Saddam Hussein were chided and denigrated.
Included were great and wonderful soldier/statesmen like former Air Force
Chief of Staff Gen. Merrill McPeak, Gen. Wesley Clark, and any and all
others who suggested otherwise. He even fired his own outstanding Army
Chief of Staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki, and his top deputy for daring to point out
the cost of postwar operations.
Now the piper is being paid.
Rightfully in American democracy questions are being raised that should have
been asked and answered before his premature commitment to war exposed
a bumbling, lying administration.
These questions must be asked; otherwise, we will never know the lessons
we need to learn from this conflict. There is no spin that partisan politicians
can put on this Iraqi debacle that we are in.
Saddam Hussein survives not in spite of but because of this administration's
foolhardy rush to war in a situation where the same results could have been
achieved at much less loss of treasure, goodwill and faith in the integrity and
capabilities of our president and his administration.
Leon T. (Tim) Hunt, Fergus Falls, Minn., is a retired U.S. Army