According to Politico, the race in New Hampshire is one of the seven seats that will decide the election. In the last poll in April, incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan was leading Brigadier General Don Bolduc by 1 point (47% to 46%).
General Bolduc served 10 tours in Afghanistan. I started the interview by asking him about what went wrong in Afghanistan.
General Bolduc told me about a 2013 meeting with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. McDonough announced that we were getting out of the villages.
Bolduc said, “This isn’t going to work.” After the meeting, Bolduc was transferred to U.S. Africa Command for his candor.
The Village Stability Operations (VSO) and supporting Afghan Local Police (ALP) were extremely successful. Bolduc said:
“In 2013, the Afghans controlled over 80% of the rural areas, and casualties were at an all-time low. The bottom-up Counter-Insurgency (COIN) strategy was working. Assessments from experts at RAND and advisers in the Special Operations Joint Task Force, SOJTF-A, strongly recommended not changing the strategy. The Taliban were degraded, disrupted, and neutralized.”
Within a year and half, the Taliban and al-Qaeda resurged and controlled 90% of the rural areas. In 2018, General Bolduc wrote about what went wrong with Afghanistan:
“My observation over my 66 months of service in Afghanistan and 81 months of combat experience in my career is that General McCrystal, General Petraeus and General Allen were on their way, but those that followed slowly changed the direction. All the security gains that were achieved during 2010 through the end of 2013 have been lost. The Taliban influence and alliance with other threat organizations has expanded, ISIS has joined the fight, and unfortunately the current strategy has no answer for this development and neither does the Afghan government. ... Our tactical level units have performed admirably, but our policy makers and senior General Officers have failed them. Good tactics never fixes bad strategy.”
General Bolduc wrote about his experiences for the American people to hold accountable the civilian and military leaders for the failures in Afghanistan. Beyond his direct experiences in Afghanistan, General Bolduc is proficient in Arabic.
This could be very useful in learning the right lessons from Iraq as well. If our military is going to win the next war, we need leaders who can challenge the funding priorities of our military budget.
General Bolduc wrote, “Our senior civilians, policy makers and senior military leaders at the 4, 3, and 2-star level over three administrations are responsible for the failures in strategy and operational approach.”
We need a military budget that will focus on national priorities and not service priorities. For too long, our politicians have been unable to stand against the military-industrial complex.
Reform can start from the top. General Bolduc told me that there are currently too many three-star and four-star generals. He believes the only two four-star generals that we need are the chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
When I asked him about our southern border, General Bolduc said that some areas require a wall. There are areas where natural barriers make a wall unnecessary.
“Illegal immigration is illegal immigration.” Bolduc believes we need to tighten our asylum laws and put more resources in Customs and Border Protection.
We also talked about domestic policy.
On inflation, General Bolduc believes that a Republican majority in both houses can override the executive orders that have reduced our domestic energy production.
General Bolduc does not believe renewable energy infrastructure can completely replace oil and natural gas. “You can work towards it, but we need to work towards fossil fuels so people can live properly.”
He also believes the Congress is spending too much money. He thinks the Congress should pass a budget. “They can’t even do their basic job.”
General Bolduc told me a story about a retired elderly couple in New Hampshire. Before inflation got out of control, they could go to their favorite diner once a week and then buy groceries.
Today, they can only go to the diner once a month.
On crime, General Bolduc said, “Stop national narrative to defund the police. It is causing problems.”
On the Supreme Court’s case regarding abortion, General Bolduc said, “I would fully support it returning to the states. I’m pro-life.”
Before 1992, New Hampshire was a reliably Republican state. From 1856 to 1988, the Republican won New Hampshire in 27 out of 33 presidential elections. From 1992 to 2020, the Republicans have carried New Hampshire in only 1 out of the last 8 presidential elections.
In 2016, Maggie Hassan only beat incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte by 1,017 votes. In 2022, it is looking like another close election.
Robert Zapesochny is a researcher and writer whose work focuses on foreign affairs, national security and presidential history. He has been published in numerous outlets, including The American Spectator, the Washington Times, and The American Conservative. When he's not writing, Robert works for a medical research company in New York. Read Robert Zapesochny's Reports — More Here.
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