June 24th, 2010
07:52 PM ET
4 years ago

Hunter suggests tension between military leadership, White House

California Republican Duncan Hunter, Jr is not shocked by the apparent tension between the military and the White House.
California Republican Duncan Hunter, Jr is not shocked by the apparent tension between the military and the White House.

Washington (CNN) - Rep. Duncan Hunter, Jr., a veteran of the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan, told CNN Thursday he's not surprised there may be some tension between the military and the Obama administration.

"If you look at this administration, if you look at then-Senator Biden, then-Senator Obama, then-Senator Clinton, with the way that they went after Petraeus three years ago and said that that Iraq surge was not going to work, I think that the military commanders right now, the ones that have three and four stars, have a little bit of a - a burr under their saddle when it comes to this administration," Hunter told CNN's John King.

"These are the same senators who - who basically said that General Petraeus was incompetent three years ago. But now they're looking to him to win in Afghanistan."

Obama, Biden and Clinton were opposed to the 2007 "surge" of sending 30,000 additional troops to Iraq, an initiative Petraeus spearheaded.


Duncan, a California Republican, is the son of former Rep. Duncan L. Hunter, a former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. The younger Hunter succeeded his father as the congressman from California's 52nd district in 2008, when the elder Hunter launched an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said it is not the military's role to cast doubt on the civilian leadership.

"We do not have the right, nor should we ever assume the prerogative, to cast doubt upon the ability or mock the motives of our civilian leaders, elected or appointed," Mullen said. "We are and must remain a neutral instrument of the state, accountable to and respectful of those leaders no matter which party holds sway or which person holds a given office."


Filed under: David Petraeus • Duncan Hunter • JKUSA • John King USA
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Netgirl

    There we go again, with the Republican talking points. As a former military person, more than likely this guy had a "GOD" complexion. He thought he could not be replaced and Obama would not take issue. I think there may be more to it for his staff. Lack of disrespect and politicians such as this one making his attitude about the Obama administration and not the General. Also, this Republican just do not get it by saying that Obama needs Petraeus. He apparently do not know that it is an honor to serve the President.

    June 24, 2010 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  2. marxist dogs are out of control

    Brilliant story CNN. And Alexander Mooney is brilliant. In fact, everyone at CNN is brilliant. And thought that reporter whose name most of us never can remember was going to give Oliver Stoned some tongue during that interview. Brilliant.

    June 24, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  3. Pragmatic

    Intelligent people are willing to look at new information and make new choices: only the foolish make one decision and cling to it forever!

    June 24, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  4. dennis parker

    Seems people forget on this troop surge, the US hired more than 100,000 sunnis to help with the fighting .

    June 24, 2010 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  5. Jim Loud

    Let's see, a republical politician long removed from the military thinks there is "tension" between the White House and the military. This is news? This is insight?

    June 24, 2010 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  6. George of the jungle

    apparently he doesnt get it. The president had no choice and Petraeus is a great choice. I guess he just wants to keep things stirred up. The party of No at its best. Being ex military he should understand the way his comments can be interpeted. But then he was no general so maybe he dosent understand. Just another repo makeing comments but no solutions.

    June 24, 2010 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  7. b. o. stinks

    they now have their patsy at the plate so when we withdraw they can blame him for winning the war forgetting about the hands tide rules of engagement

    June 24, 2010 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  8. ghost

    i dont know much about adm mullen but he sounds like he understands the situation quite well. perhaps he should be the national security advisor and work with obama and biden directly.

    June 24, 2010 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  9. Zach K

    Hunter is still riding on daddy's fame from the 2008 Primaries.

    I almost forgot, didn't Hunter fail miserably in those primaries?

    June 24, 2010 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  10. John

    I notice that the headline doesn't mention that congressman Hunter is a republican. The republican party has been playing politics at the expense of American military lives in the republican started wars.

    June 24, 2010 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  11. Albo58

    Duncan Hunter is right! The irony of having to call upon General Petraeus that was previously treated like dirt by the left loons (read: Betray-us!) by the same 3 political worms in the Senate (Obama, Biden, and Hillary Clinton) that didn't have the spine to denounce the attacks is delicious!

    June 24, 2010 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  12. Saxo Grammaticus

    It's all about when you want the story to begin. Rep. Hunter wants it to begin in 2007. The current story, however, began when Obama came to office in 2009. He may have changed his mind about some things–the world is bound to look different from the Oval Office. But Hunter, in typical minority party fashion, seeks to find any reason to discredit the majority. Adm. Mullen seems to understand how this is supposed to work.

    June 24, 2010 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  13. Kelby from Houston, Texas

    "Obama, Biden and Clinton were opposed to the 2007 "surge" of sending 30,000 additional troops to Iraq, an initiative Petraeus spearheaded."

    We should have NEVER gone to Iraq in the first place.

    June 24, 2010 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  14. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    None of the Democrats mentioned ever said Petraeus was incompetent. Typical hate America first Republican spoutinf off propaganda, talking pints and lies!

    However, it's nice to see that the Hunter Dynasty is going strong. Will he keep the seat warm for one of his children to pass it on to?

    What a dolt!

    June 24, 2010 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  15. Kevin Cantu

    Well it's nice to know that Rep. Hunter is all giddy about whats going on with all of this....I can just imagine his anger if this had been a Republican President and before some of you chime in that if it was it would have been different your full of it, because it was a Republican President who dropped the ball to begin with in Afghanistan and his name was G.W. Bush. Yeah Iraq was far more important then Afghanistan and now it shows......

    June 24, 2010 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  16. Ohbytheway

    Okay, and this is something new to anyone. Then senators Obama, Biden and Clinton never did understand the war and what Bush wanted to do, but gee... they were worng, and Bush's approval of that were right. Will they ever have the guts to say they were wrong, hell no! don't yuo know Obama is never wrong, and keeps pointing fingers at others, forgetting in point a finger at someone you are pointing 3 back at yourself.. Oh forgot he has his MBA from University of Chicago... the word Chciago should tell everyone something. He's from the most corrupt city/ state in the union! And the general calling Biden a clown... welll his language when the SNAFU health bill passed should show you who he really is. as for Clinton – Carpetbagger and just a plain loser.

    June 24, 2010 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  17. Four and The Door

    Well said Representative Hunter, Jr! The cry of "Iraq is unwinnable! Pull out! Raise the white flag!" was coming out of every one of them as loud as they could say it. That was obviously where they thought their best political opportunities came from but I found it repulsive for Americans to say those things. Our fine military deserves more respect than that.

    June 24, 2010 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  18. Where is Obama? Where is Biden?

    Where has the dynamic duo or Obama and Biden gone? Deadliest month ever in Afghanistan and Biden hits the campaign trail. Day 65 of the gulf oil spill and Obama has his 7th round of golf since the spill. Iran and North Korea moving towards nuclear armament and Obama fires his best fighting General.

    June 24, 2010 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  19. Kevin from Texas

    If I were to never be able to work with those I had disagreements, I'd be working alone, on an island, without a phone. Surely our military leaders are big enough (or perhaps they're not) to find a way to work with civilian leaders who have disagreed with them in the past. The surge was something that needed honest debate. The three senators Duncan mentions disagreed. I'm glad they did. They lost the argument, and then supported the decision and the troops and were there when the surge worked. Move on. Make new decisions.

    June 24, 2010 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  20. BJ in NC

    Ask Republican and you will get the same stupid answers. Say what tyou will, this a group of men who don't seem to have a rational bone in their body. The only thing they are interested in is saying anything, no matter how stupid they sound, to show that they are against the President. Keep voting for them "small people". Wonder if you will still have an address to receive your voter cards once the unemployment checks stop coming. And to say nothing of the ones whose livlihoods are being destroyed in the Gulf. Since it is not happening to this group of men who are already Rich and Old, they don't feel your pain. Keep voting for them "small people"

    June 24, 2010 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  21. Senator

    this man of all people should know that the military is held to a much different standard and i would have fired anyone that had something stupid to say in that or any other article.

    June 24, 2010 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  22. Marty, FL

    Malarkey...Rep. Duncan. Senator Clinton, Obama, and Biden did not say he was incompetent, not even close. They advocated for a change in policy to create a mission that set goals to eventually bring our troops home (similar to today).

    As a result, hypocritical Duncan is sadly incompetent for not researching actual statements from these senators before shamelessly making up this ridiculous nonsense & lies here.

    June 24, 2010 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  23. curien

    'It's tempting for those of us personally connected to the events [e.g., IRAQ'S ethno-sectarian wars] to exaggerate the effects of the surge.

    Lieutenant General Raymond T. Odierno

    June 24, 2010 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  24. Phillydan

    Even though I honor your service to our Country, I think your comments are politically based and are stupid to boot. Then Senator Obama was against the war in Iraq and so was Senator Biden. Since then, President Obama has conceded that the surge as directed by Gen. Petraeus was successful. If you are trying to make excuses for Gen. McChrystal and his violation of the "code of conduct", then you are out of line.

    He gave his stars away by letting himself and his aides make the disrespectful comments that they did. He showed a serious lack of judgement in sharing those views with an anti-war journalist and not expecting that person to put them in his article.

    You are showing a serious lack of judgement in your comments and I would advise you to keep your mouth shut!

    June 24, 2010 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  25. Jean2

    Why do we always start off picking apart any plan??

    We all live in this country and in many ways we are in a better place because we do.

    Stop being so very mean and negative. You think the oil is destroying the Gulf THIS IS DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY!!!!!

    June 24, 2010 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
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