Duncan Hunter is a Republican California congressman. He's a congressman because his daddy was a congressman. Raymond Odierno is the highest-ranking general in the Army. He is an Army general because he's proven good at killing people. Sometimes those people are the enemy. Last Thursday, on CSPAN, Duncan Hunter became the enemy.
[There was a video here]
The two were thrown together at a House Armed Services Committee Hearing last week, in which the congressman was assailing a big-ticket Army information-sharing system, and the general was defending it. Hunter styles himself as a tea party conservative who hates pork spending. But Hunter's district is mostly in San Diego county, which relies on the Navy's and Marine Corps' massive economic footprint. Hunter likes Navy pork. Which means he has to cut from somewhere else, like the Army.
It was a pretty empty hearing, performed mostly for the cameras, and after Hunter had done his part—pontificating for three minutes—he got up to leave without waiting for a response from Odierno or Army Secretary John McHugh. "May we respond? I think I heard a question," McHugh asked. "Well, I don't want to respond if the gentleman's going to leave. Would you care to hear a brief response?"
Hunter grudgingly sat back down, and somehow that led to Odierno playing Disappointed Deep-Voiced Father With a Leafblower to Shove Up Your Ass, tearing Hunter (who is a reserve Army captain) a very large one—fireworks at
ODIERNO: First off, I object to this. I'm tired of somebody telling me I don't care about our soldiers, that we don't respond... We've been going back and forth on this for months. And I'm tired of the anecdotal evidence—
HUNTER: You have—
ODIERNO: —No, hold on a sec. Let me answer—
HUNTER: You have a very powerful personality, but that doesn't refute the facts that you have gaps in the capability—
ODIERNO:—We have more capability today in intelligence than we've ever had...
HUNTER: If you don't let me say anything then we can't have a conversation.
ODIERNO: Well, you weren't gonna let us say anything.
HUNTER: Well... you're right. But I have that prerogative when I'm sitting up here—
ODIERNO: —Well I have a prerogative too, and that's to answer a question or an accusation when it's made.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this altercation is that Rep. Buck McKeon, the House Armed Services chairman and Hunter's fellow California Republican, didn't stop it. He didn't bang a gavel or call for decorum; he let his fellow caucus member take it in the kisser. One might even get the impression that the veteran McKeon doesn't care much for his young colleague. "I'm aware of this... problem that we've had," McKeon said on-camera to Hunter after the tussle, with a huge smile. "And I wanted to let the general respond." [Military Times]