Rep. Duncan Hunter, a former Marine Corps officer who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, is pushing the government to develop a unified approach and better options for rescuing Americans held captive by terrorists.
In an article published Thursday and a letter last month to President Obama, the Republican who represents East County challenged the defense establishment to create a high-level position focused on securing the release of Americans and to develop better options.
“The U.S. cannot stop the Islamic State and other organizations from taking Americans captive, unless these groups are decimated altogether. That day may come, but until it does the U.S. should not sit around and wait while there are Americans in enemy hands and the threat exists that more might be taken captive,” Hunter wrote in an article in Defense One, an online site covering the defense establishment.
He said options exists even if a rescue mission is not viable or fails, but the government needs a unified approach to pursing these options.
“The unfortunate reality is that alternate efforts are not systematically developed and rarely exhausted when introduced. The problem is not a shortage of creative thinking — there is plenty of that already. The real problem is the lack of leadership and the fact that no single institution or line of authority exists within the federal government to support captives,” Hunter wrote.
In an Aug. 20 letter to President Obama, Hunter urged immediate action to create a “long-term position within the Pentagon…to guarantee we are maximizing our recovery efforts.”
Hunter’s 50th District includes most of San Diego County east of Interstate 15 and north of Interstate 8 plus Temecula in Riverside County.
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