Hunter addresses defense act, other topics at Republican luncheon
By Karen Brainard
Those attending the Intermountain Republican Women Federated (IRWF) luncheon on Monday were interested in hearing guest speaker Congressman Duncan Hunter’s stance on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), especially since a group of conservatives and liberals were scheduled to protest his support of the law at his El Cajon office on Feb. 3.
The National Defense Authorization Act was signed into law by President Obama in December 2011. Hunter, a Republican, represents the 52nd District, which includes Ramona.
Critics say the law allows indefinite detention of U.S. citizens, and gives U.S. military the authority to arrest American citizens without charge or trial. Both are false, said Hunter.
“I researched this a lot before voting on it,” he assured members of the IRWF.
Referring to NDAA’s Section 1022, Hunter said it provides for authorization of the military to detain combatants, but even if a U.S. citizen is detained outside the country, that citizen is guaranteed due process. No matter what legislators do, he said, they can’t trump the Constitution and a citizen cannot be held indefinitely.
On matters of military authorization, Hunter said if a foreigner is caught with a nuclear weapon, he would be arrested by the FBI or another arm of law enforcement. The military would only intervene if asked by an agency such as the FBI. Hunter also said military custody for foreign combatants and Al Qaeda members does not extend to citizens of the U.S. “except to the extent permitted by the Constitution,” adding that, if an American citizen joins Al Qaeda, he is “targetable.”
Hunter said the law stays within the limits of the Constitution.
Defense cuts were also a topic at the luncheon.
“We can have a great military, we can pay for it…and we need it,” he said, adding that the U.S. probably does not need to have big bases everywhere on the globe.
“We need to bring military back down to pre-Iraq and pre-Afghanistan,” he said.
To maintain the strength the country has today, Hunter said the U.S. must control the oceans, but to do so has to control space. He then noted the current administration dumped the space program.
Hunter said the U.S. is in a technology war with Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.
“They’re stealing our ideas, they’re stealing our products,” he said.
When asked about Iran developing a nuclear weapon, Hunter replied, “The reality is Iran’s going to get a nuclear weapon. Period.”
The only way to stop it is tougher sanctions or miliary action and then the question is who would do it and when, he said.
On election matters, Hunter said he has not endorsed any candidate in the Republican primary but said the challenge to Republicans is to win.
“Nothing can be as destructive to this country as this president,” he told his audience.
With Barbara Decker from Volunteers in Politics scheduled to talk later at the meeting about her opposition to Agenda 21, the United Nation’s plan for global sustainable development and smart growth, Hunter was asked his position on the topic.
Hunter said that he believes local community boards, county supervisors and municipal governments “are more insidious than the UN Agenda 21 could ever be.”
He brought up transporation impact fees (TIF) in San Diego County and how they have stalled development and new businesses, and how the county’s General Plan Update has prevented some property owners from being able to subdivide their land.
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