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Hunter slams Dem Iraq funding plan

WASHINGTON, March 9 (UPI) -- A prominent Republican has slammed the Democrats' plan to condition Iraq war funding on troop readiness.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, was critical of the new funding proposal for the conflict in Iraq that was unveiled Thursday by congressional Democrats.

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"We should reject any Democratic proposal that puts U.S. forces in a straitjacket, which is a recipe for disaster. Our founding fathers wisely established a single commander-in-chief to oversee the military and its movements on the battlefield. They never intended members of Congress to micro-manage military operations," Hunter said.

"The Democratic proposal doesn't allow for any of the thousands of exigencies that may occur on the battlefield at a time of war," the congressman said.

"As Iran continues to bolster its nuclear program and as our adversaries in the region wait for signs of American weakness, the idea that we would telegraph that we will be out of the region at a date certain is unwise," he said.

The Democrats' "readiness proposal amounts to a slow bleed strategy," Hunter said. "Readiness ratings can be very misleading because much of the equipment that raises readiness levels is provided after American units get to Kuwait -- but before they deploy into Iraq."

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Hunter is one of the two conservative candidates currently in the running for the GOP's 2008 presidential nomination.

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