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A New Contract, Rand Paul, Syria’s Ruin, And The Next “Hunger Games.”

Monday, September 29, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Back from a 96 hour Boston-Atlanta-CA triangle with a few pointers:

My Washington Examiner column on the 20th anniversary of the Contract with America and Reince Priebus’ move to generate the same sort of closing kick in 2014 that the Contract gave the GOP in 1994.

The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza profiles Senator Rand Paul.

A must-read book on Syria, before and now, and how the disaster of the civil war came to be: Among The Ruins: Syria Past and Present by Christian C. Sahner:


Joni Ernst up 44 to 38 over Bruce Braley in Iowa’s Senate race.

And only a few days after A.O. Scott condemns America’s refusal to produce adults, blaming television and “Youth Literature” along the way (“Y.A. fiction is the least of it….”), along comes J.B. Simmons and I spend half of my long travel day yesterday reading the first installment “Unbound” from his new Omega Series, and confirm that good books for young people is in fact a very good thing not a mark of the collapse of all things adult.


Well-written books for young adults that get their eyes off of screens for extended periods of reading are great things.  Buy your teenager Unbound –it may well turn out to be the next Hunger Games– and keep their noses in books at least some of the time.  There is no end of civilization in sight if you enjoy it as well.

The end of civilization is in Iraq and Syria, and that’s where I leave you, with this: Iraq’s effort to rebuild the army our army built and which broke when President Obama obliged us to leave over the objections of his senior military advisor –Leon Panetta– and his generals.

There are many excellent reasons to vote against every Democrats this November, but rebuking the president for his epic mistake of 2011 –driven solely by his domestic political needs– is the best.


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Congressman Jim Jordan on The Benghazi Committee

Wednesday, September 24, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, a member of the Select Committee on Benghazi in the House, joined me Wednesday to talk about the hearing which began the Committee’s public proceedings and the schedule ahead:




HH: Joined now by Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan. He represents Ohio’s 4th Congressional District. Of course, he is a member of the select committee investigating Benghazi chaired by Trey Gowdy, whose first hearing was so interesting last week. He joins me now. Congressman, welcome back, it’s good to speak with you.

JJ: Good to be with you today, Hugh.

HH: What is, before we go to the Benghazi hearings, what’s your reaction to the move on Monday night by the President to open the new front in the war by massive bombing and cruise attacks on Syria?

JJ: Well, I think most members of Congress were always for ramping up the air attacks on ISIS. And frankly, that’s regardless of whether they’re in Iraq or in Syria. So I think that’s welcome news. The real debate was this idea that we are somehow going to train the “moderate” rebels, and many of those individuals are terrorists themselves, and give them weapons, and where that may lead. But ramping up the air strikes was, I think, something that everyone thought we needed to do when you’re trying to stop something as evil as this terrorist organization. Continue Reading

Dexter Filkins on the Kurds and ISIS

Wednesday, September 24, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins joins me to open Wednesday’s show, talking about his long piece on the Kurds and ISIS from the current New Yorker.

My own Townhall.com column charts how this election has turned into a national security election, causing great panic aong Democrats.

The audio of the Filkins interview:


The transcript:

HH: I’m joined by Dexter Filkins, who’s got a must-read article at the New Yorker called The Fight Of Their Lives, which actually brings you as much detail on ISIS and the battle on the Kurdish border as well as throughout the region. Dexter, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show, it’s great to have you.

DF: Thank you so much.

HH: How much time did you spend in Kurdistan prior to filing this, Dexter?

DF: Several weeks. I made two trips. You know, the situation kept changing, so I went there in late June. I stayed through most of July and then I had to go back just because you know, ISIS captured a bunch of territory, and then you know, the U.S. started bombing, and so I just, I had to keep going back to update the thing, because it was all very fluid, you know?

HH: Now two days ago, I had on Ambassador Ryan Crocker, and I asked him about Kurdistan and their ability to wage war against ISIS. Here is what he had to say, Dexter Filkins.

RC: Hugh, it’s a difficult situation. The Peshmerga is, as anyone who served out there knows, are a very light infantry, and organizationally, they fight at the small unit level, you know, basically platoon. So we should not think that you can take a force like this and give them heavy weapons and ask them to organize into brigade-sized formations and it’s going to work. You know, they’re formidable when they fight on their own territory, when they’re up in their own mountains. But we’re asking them to do something different, not asking, I mean, they’re doing it on their own, which is fight ISIS in the flatlands. That’s not how they’re structured.

HH: Now Dexter Filkins, as I read your piece, I had considerably more optimism about the Peshmerga’s ability to push ISIS back, maybe even out of Mosul. Do you agree with Ambassador Crocker? Or is he underestimating the Peshmerga’s abilities?

DF: No, he’s right on the money, I think. You know, the Kurds, I think he was, the main point is the Kurds want Kurdistan, and that means holding on to territory where, that are predominate by Kurdish people. And that means probably not going into Arab villages where ISIS predominates. And so if you look at the map of Iraq where ISIS has moved into, they’ve basically focused on areas where they could count on local support, and that means Arabs. They did push in, you know, they took the Mosul Dam, and they pushed into some Kurdish areas, Sinjar. I went to some of those villages, Makhmour, and they were Kurdish. And they’ve been kicked out of most of those villages, because, you know, like, there’s no local supporters, and frankly, when they moved into the Kurdish villages, the Kurdish people just left. So they literally, ISIS moved into these utterly empty villages. But I think, I don’t think the Kurds have the ability to move beyond, much beyond Kurdistan. But frankly, also, I don’t think they have the desire. They just, they want Kurdistan for the Kurds, and I think that’s their main focus. So you can drive now, you know, when I was there, you can, it’s a really weird thing to see. You can drive along the borders of Kurdistan in Iraq, look across that border, and in some cases, it’s a canal. Some cases, it’s just an open field. And there’s ISIS, you know, with their black flag flying. And it’s weird. It feels like the border of another country. But my sense is that border, you know, until the Iraqi Army, and you know, don’t hold your breath for the Iraqi Army, but until they are ready to move into some of those places, I just don’t see the Peshmerga doing it, at least not very far. Continue Reading

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