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Hunter Spreads His Word: ‘Victory in Iraq’

Former Congressman speaks to locals at his book signing about Operation Iraqi Freedom and honoring the troops who served.

A small crowd gathered in an intimate, window-side corner inside Bay Books Thursday when Former East County Congressman and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Duncan L. Hunter arrived before his scheduled book signing to meet with readers.

Hunter, author of Victory in Iraq: How America Won, shook hands with everyone and was eager to hear about their backgrounds before he began his story.

One attendee, Mike Graham, a major in the Marines who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, said that while his political views aligned with Hunter’s, the book’s message is intriguing and stands out.

“I’ve been there for every phase of the campaign in Iraq. I was deployed and redeployed, helping with the initial invasion on the ground. Then worked in the rebuilding phase and security operations. I can say yes, we still have a long ways to go in Iraq, but our interest was met and we were successful,” Graham said.

Hunter’s interest is not only in highlighting that the U.S. won the war, but he also stressed the importance of representing the 1.3 million Americans who served during the conflict.

The text contains interviews with more than 100 recipients of the U.S. Silver Star, the third highest honor for combat valor.

In writing the book, Hunter, an Army veteran, drew from his military connections from being in Congress for nearly 30 years, four of which he served as the chair of the House Armed Services Committee (2003-2007).   

“Why did I write this? Because we did win the war,” Hunter said.

“The worst thing our country can do is not announce that we won. The Obama administration was against the war, so when we won, the administration went silent.”

Hunter, 63, believes most Americans focused on tragedies of the war because of the media. He pointed to the coverage of abuse and torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the Blackwater USA contractors who were hung on a bridge over the Euphrates River and the capture of Jessica Lynch, the first female POW.  

He said while the Iraq War had daily heroes and victories, these events went mostly unnoticed by mainstream media. For example, he described the Second Battle of Fallujah in 2004 and the Battle of Basra in 2008.

“The U.S. is a nation-builder … It’s interesting to see that now Iraq is one of the more stable countries in the Middle East. Look at what’s happening in Egypt and other countries,” Hunter said.   

Even though Hunter’s book was published in November – following President Barack Obama’s announcement of the end of combat operations in Iraq – the content still resonates for many.

“You need more positive stories and people need to know about the individual sacrifices of the men and women who served our country,” said Mike Ellis, an Army veteran from Ohio.

Bryceson Cabading August 19, 2011 at 07:43 PM
“The worst thing our country can do is not announce that we won. The Obama administration was against the war, so when we won, the administration went silent.” I stopped reading after this quote came up. Hunter acts as if the Obama administration is somehow ungrateful to the veterans who served, as if they could care less about the situation in Iraq and are ashamed of the work our soldiers did. This is just completely false. Hunter needs to realize that having a victory celebration at this point is unreasonable. The United States is still struggling to pay for the cost of the war at a time when the economy is in shambles, and there are still 46,000 troops in Iraq risking their lives, not mention the ongoing war in Afghanistan. There are no winners in war.
Janet Mercer-Grey August 21, 2011 at 02:41 PM
Freedom has a price that is always high. Fortunately there have been brave souls willing to sacrifice their lives for those of future day who may never understand the sorrow and the price that someone had to pay so we have the liberty to openly debate the issues and make statements such as "there are no winners in war."
Craig Maxwell August 21, 2011 at 04:06 PM
Maxwell's House of Books was also privileged to host Congressman Hunter for a reading/signing of Victory in Iraq. Please don't miss this important book.
Bryceson Cabading August 21, 2011 at 05:35 PM
I don't think our freedom was really threatened by Iraq. We should have spent that time and effort hunting bin Laden in Afghanistan instead of taking out a dictator who had nothing to do with 9/11.
Things I Learned August 21, 2011 at 06:20 PM
We should postpone acknowledging our metaphysically impossible victory in Iraq until the economy improves or never. We should have confined our hunt for bin Laden to Afghanistan instead of turning him into one of war's losers by invading Pakistan.
Doug Curlee August 21, 2011 at 06:51 PM
couple thoughts.. although i disagree with him politically, duncan the senior and i are pretty good friends.. that said, i can't agree that we can claim victory yet, if ever..what we DID achieve was the removal from ppower of a murderous dictator, and that's good, i suppose.. but, he was a murderous dictator who posed NO threat to america at all..there was no military reason for us to invade iraq at all..was there a politcal reason?..yes, probably.. but it had to do with protecting america's interests abroud..like access tro the gulf's oil.. i have no problem with that, but let's be honest about it..let's NOT go the jingosim route- let's NOT call it fighting to keep america free..let's call it what it was.. in the meantime, the war that we SHOULD have fought.. to get osama bin laden..was allowed to languish unfought.. strangled to death because the funds and military assets that should have been deployed there were instead sent to the basically useless war in iraq.. that, is guess is water over the dam now..except for one thing.. or maybe two.. now that osama is fish food on the bottom of the ocean, WHY are we still in afghanistan?..why are we still wasting young american lives trying to prop up the corrupt administration of hamid karzai? the karzai family is one of the worlds's biggest drug dealing oirganizations..afghanistan is't really a country.. it's a collection of warring tribes that hate each other.. it's time to bring our kids home. doug.
Miriam Raftery August 21, 2011 at 08:37 PM
There's a review of the book posted here last fall for those seeking more details on Rep. Hunter's book: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/4999
Ted August 22, 2011 at 02:55 AM
Congressman Hunter is delusional. No victory was won in Iraq (by us, anyway) nor was one possible. Iraq is now controlled by a Shiite Muslim regime friendly with Iran and the USA is negotiating a permanent force presence at vast expense when we are broke. If that's victory, make mine defeat!

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