American strategy against ISIS resembles “a three ring circus,” says Pete Hegseth, CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, who chatted with me right before going to the main stage of CPAC on Saturday, as does the Obama administration’s foreign policy in general. Pete, a friend and fellow Minnesotan as well as a Fox News contributor, spoke about how the US needs to confront “the age of jihad … especially with an administration that won’t even name the enemy.” Pete tosses a few rhetorical bombs in our talk, and hands me a grenade … sort of literally:
It’s an understatement to say that Pete was less than impressed with the “rudderless” media leaks on Mosul coming out of the Obama administration. The liberation of Mosul will be “a fundamentally and critically dangerous mission,” predicting it will be “the Battle of Fallujah on crack.” Pete’s sources in Iraq tell him that the Iraqi army “is not ready to take on [ISIS] on a house to house level.” This, Pete tells me, is the fault of the White House. “I don’t blame the Pentagon for this,” he says. “This is a White House and a National Security Council directed by civilians who think they know how to play general.” That, Pete says, “is how you bungle things, and how you get people killed.”
On another point of failure within the Obama administration, CV4A has a new plan out to reform health care for veterans, and Pete was happy to share the outline of it with us. CV4A had presented it two days earlier at their policy summit, with speakers such as Sens. Marco Rubio and John McCain, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, and House VA chair Rep. Jeff Miller all endorsing its approach. Gingrich called it “the single most important reform document the VA has ever seen.” The basis of this reform is choice — allowing veterans to get outside the 1940s single-payer original design of VHA and giving them access to the best care available anywhere. The competition will force the VA to reform itself in a “customer-centric” manner, rather than remaining self-focused in its own protected monopoly. This will allow the VA to create “center[s] of excellence,” and as I point out, that would free up the VA resources to handle truly service-related illnesses and injuries, where the VA already excels.
Pete also joined a Fox News panel that analyzed Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC this afternoon:
Netanyahu is taking the “high view,” but understands what the Obama administration either doesn’t or won’t acknowledge: that the war is against jihadists, and that Iran is the primary threat to Israel and the West, even more than ISIS.