General Petraeus & Ambassador Crocker Recommend Continuing the Surge in Iraq (MotherJones)

Washington Dispatch: Amid protests and partisan posturing the top military commander and diplomat in Iraq testified before Congress, reporting mild progress in stabilizing the country. Both agree that the war is far from over…

General Petraeus & Ambassador Crocker Recommend Continuing the Surge in Iraq (By Bruce Falconer in MotherJones)

The Petraeus/Crocker Report: Let the Liveblogging Begin! (MotherJones)

The Petraeus/Crocker Report: Let the Liveblogging Continue! (Part Two by Nick Baumann in MotherJones)

The Petraeus/Crocker Report: It’s Crocker Time! (Part Three by Nick Baumann in MotherJones)

The Petraeus/Crocker Report: Only Four More Hours! (Part Four by Nick Baumann in MotherJones)

The general, whose testimony today was the most eagerly awaited appearance in decades by a military leader on Capitol Hill, said he envisioned the United States achieving “success” in Iraq, “although doing so will be neither quick nor easy.” The American ambassador to Iraq, Ryan C. Crocker, offered a similar prognosis, saying that he “cannot guarantee success” in Iraq, but that he thinks it is attainable…

Slow Progress Being Made in Iraq, Petraeus Tells Congress (By DAVID STOUT in New York Times)

In what some called the most anticipated congressional testimony by a general since the Vietnam War, Petraeus presented an upbeat picture of improving security conditions in Iraq and offered a grim forecast of the "devastating consequences" of a more rapid pullout. Petraeus said his forces "have dealt significant blows" to al-Qaeda in Iraq but warned that Iran is now fighting a "proxy war" against Iraqi and U.S. forces there…

Neither official addressed the Iraqis’ performance on the 18 benchmarks outlined by Congress, even though the Government Accountability OfficeGAO Report reported last week that only three of the goals had been met.
h is obligated under legislation he signed last spring to assess the benchmarks in a report by Saturday. With Petraeus and Crocker returning for testimony before the Senate today and then meeting with reporters tomorrow, Bush may deliver his report Thursday along with a national speech…

General Praises Progress, Warns Against ‘Rushing to Failure’ (By Peter Baker and Jonathan Weisman in Washington Post)


4 thoughts on “General Petraeus & Ambassador Crocker Recommend Continuing the Surge in Iraq (MotherJones)

  1. If Gen. David H. Petraeus has his way, tens of thousands of U.S. troops will be in Iraq for years to come.
    Iraq’s armed forces are improving, Petraeus told Congress yesterday. Overall violence is down. Sunnis are turning against al-Qaeda in Iraq, and many Baghdad neighborhoods are more peaceful. Political reconciliation, said Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, who testified alongside the general, is a now-visible light at the end of the tunnel. But the two men offered no clear pathway or timeline to reach the end…
    Judging by the relatively mild congressional reaction in a joint hearing of the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees, Petraeus and Crocker may well succeed this week in deflecting Democratic demands to bring the troops home sooner rather than later. They are likely to face tougher questioning — and stiffer challenges to the emerging trends they described — from two Senate committees today. But by the time President Bush speaks to the nation later this week, September’s much-anticipated battle over Iraq policy may be all but over…
    Petraeus showed members of Congress a slide — the last of 13 he presented — that projected U.S. forces staying in Iraq for an indeterminate time. It did not attach dates indicating any set timetable for withdrawal. Rather, Petraeus’s spokesman said, the envisioned drawdown to 35,000 to 50,000 troops would be "conditions based."
    No one engaged him on this point, trying to get him to flesh out the slide and explain its assumptions. The bottom-line question — how long until the last U.S. troops will return from Iraq — was never asked.
    The legislation that imposed the benchmarks remains in place, and Bush still owes Congress a report at the end of this week on whether they have been met. But Petraeus and Crocker succeeded to a large extent yesterday in making them irrelevant. is geredigeerd

  2. As the day unfolded, Congressional Republicans seemed increasingly pleased by the course of the events, saying that Democrats seemed unable to poke many holes in the testimony of General Petraeus or Ryan C. Crocker, the American ambassador to Iraq. To them it was a welcome respite from weeks of party division over the war, not to mention days of turmoil over the personal conduct of Senator Larry E. Craig, Republican of Idaho.
    And General Petraeus, unruffled in the face of the Congressional grilling, was more than willing to push back. When Representative Gary L. Ackerman, Democrat of New York, suggested the war was not integral to the anti-terror effort since members of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, sometimes called Al Qaeda in Iraq, the homegrown Sunni Arab extremist group that American intelligence agencies have concluded is foreign-led, is not part of the Qaeda network behind the Sept. 11 attacks, the general offered a quick retort.
    “There is no question that Al Qaeda-Iraq is part of the greater Al Qaeda movement,” General Petraeus said.
    “Isn’t it true, General, that Al Qaeda in Iraq formed in 2005, two years after we first got there?” pressed Mr. Ackerman.
    “Congressman, I’m not saying when it started,” the military commander said. “I’m saying merely that Al Qaeda-Iraq clearly is part of the overall greater Al Qaeda network.

  3. We should not be surprised that the Congressional testimony from General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, yesterday painted an encouraging picture of the situation in the country. General Petraeus was reporting on his own efforts to curb the insurgency in Iraq and evaluating a military approach that he had personally championed. He was never likely to conclude that the surge had failed. And nor was the White House likely to schedule a report of failure to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
    But leaving aside for a moment the blatant conflict of interest at the heart of this exercise, what are we to make of the substance of his testimony? General Petraeus pointed to a decrease in violence in Anbar province since February when the surge began. It is true that levels of bloodshed are sharply down in the western province. But this has nothing to do with the surge. Sunni tribes in Anbar have turned against al-Qa’ida militants who have been operating there. These tribes can hardly be considered loyal to the Iraqi government…
    But the General’s efforts might still achieve at least one political goal, although that will be in Washington rather than Baghdad. George Bush and his close advisers want to keep a substantial number of US troops in Iraq until the end of the presidency in January 2009. This is so President Bush can blame the inevitable retreat on the cowardice or incompetence of his successor, giving him at least some basis for defending his presidency in the eyes of history…

  4. At 54, Gen Petraeus is the closest America has to a celebrity general. As commander of the 101st Airborne Division, he was the central character in a popular book about the 2003 invasion, In the Company of Soldiers. In the summer of 2004, Newsweek put the blue-eyed general on its cover, asking: Can this man save Iraq?
    The president, George Bush, regularly peppers his speeches with references to Gen Petraeus, calculating – correctly – that the general’s credibility on a deeply unpopular war is higher than that of the White House. The two men speak directly once or twice a week.
    Though the association with the Bush White House is high-risk, Gen Petraeus has used and understood the value of media and politics throughout his career…The son of a Dutch sea captain who immigrated to the US after the second world war, Gen Petraeus was raised in New York state, not far from the US military academy at West Point. He won all three prizes in his graduating class from the academy in 1974…
    As a cadet, his nickname was "Peaches", but Gen Petraeus’s physical toughness is legendary. Before his present job, he had a penchant for challenging much younger men in athletic competitions…,,2166212,00.htmlThe testimony of America’s top commander in Iraq before Congress was such an anticipated event – not least because George Bush has relied so heavily on it as a way of having to avoid answering questions himself – that its nature has inevitably changed.
    When General David Petraeus accepted the command and unveiled his counter-insurgency strategy to Congress in January this year, the quid pro quo was his promise to report back to the same body in September. At the time, much was made of the fact that it was to Congress, and through them the American people, that this honest soldier would report. If it was not working, he would say so.
    In the event, Gen Petraeus’s famed ability to tell it like it is has been compromised. With limited caveats, he provided a down-the-line defence of the surge, providing a plethora of optimistic statistics supporting the contention, shared by few others outside the Pentagon, that the strategy is working. More significantly, he announced that a marine unit would leave Iraq later this month, followed by the departure of a combat brigade in December and four others early next year. Troop levels would return to pre-surge levels by the middle of next year. It was not Petraeus the professional soldier we were seeing yesterday, but Petraeus the political salesmen, and his pitch – give us more time and the plan for regaining stability will work – is no longer credible..
    The general will get the extra months he wants. But it is equally clear that the high water mark of the deployment of US power in Iraq has passed. Whether by degrees, or more dramatically, US forces will start to withdraw. They will do so not, as they should, in the interests of the Iraqi people, but according to America’s political timetable. They will do so not because a US president has owned up to responsibility for launching a catastrophic war. He has instead abdicated it, by leaving the pullout of US troops as a matter for his successor.,,2166556,00.html

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