Almost Farcical If It Were Not So Deadly Serious
And just to clear up all those that were confused as to why testimony was occurring on Sept. 11 (attention Sen. Obama, Sen. Byrd, et al.): Congress said by Sept. 15... and since Congress does not usually work on Mondays (Sept. 10) and Congress is on a break for the observance of the religious holiday of Rosh Hashanah for three days (Sept. 12 - 14) ... that left 1/2 day on Sept. 10 and more than 11 hours of testimony yesterday -- Sept. 11.
After watching the hearings yesterday, I was especially shocked by the angry and/or condescending tones used by Kennedy, Clinton, Hagel and Byrd (to name just a few) -- regardless of all the self-serving (it looks good in print) "Thank you both for your many years of service" and "all due respects" flung about.
Here's some of what I blogged yesterday while live blogging the hearings on Milblogs:
... and I used to be impressed with the soldiers' constraint boots on the ground... just not sure how Gen. P doesn't let loose with an occasional "oh, STFU... do want to make speeches or get answers from someone that knows?"
And I was almost apoplectic this morning watching the "hearings" in Sen. For. Rel. [Senate Committee on Foreign Relations] when -- after every Democrat pontificating for their entire allotted time -- and BBoxer WITH full blown up pictures -- and then asking a loaded question and telling the General to please submit his response in writing -- Biden told General Petraeus (and Amb. Crocker) that "it would be in your best interest if you could shorten your answers a bit"... WWWHHHHHHAAAAAATTTTT????!!! aaggghhhhhhh
Update: onto the Armed Services Committee... and Levin is quoting Ralph Peters for a guide on foreign and military policy???!!!! I repeat: AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH [Auth. note: I actually agreed with much of the OpEd Peters wrote... it was its use to open the hearings that set me off...]
Update2: and now Levin (after any number of speeches and not one single question 30 minutes in... ) is quoting a NYT article????? aaaaaaaaaaaggggggggggggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhh basing his questions on "the NYT reported...???!!! (weep... weep... this is the best he can do??? ) time for a drink... thank God... it's McCain's turn... and BE STILL MY HEART -- he just asked a question of Gen. P!!! and now Crocker... REAL questions... on Iran.. on the contribution of the Surge to the turn in the tide in al Anbar... on soft partitioning... Iraqi police as failure... replication of Anbar success throughout Iraq...
If you missed it, here's "Hilary Questions the General" at Tank at NRO
It was really quite clear that most of those doing the
The General has a mission and it is his job to accomplish that mission in the least amount of time possible using the resources he has available and with the least loss of life -- American and Iraqi -- as is possible. Period.
Gen. Petraeus can not testify to what the President considered when he gave the order although the CIC may have shared his considerations with the General... but Petraeus does not make the decisions on dwell time... he does not make the decisions on which units will rotate in... He may have opinions or thoughts on some or all of those things given his more than three decades of military service, but it is not his place to testify to Congress on his thoughts and opinions.
The General was required to assess the mission given by the President (and Congress when they UNANIMOUSLY confirmed him)... assess what he needed and will need to complete the mission... to assess what is working and what is not... He has assessed whether the mission can be accomplished and what is required (e.g., men, equipment, timing) to do so; it is his job when asked by his CIC to truthfully tell him those things. Then the President decides policy. In this case, the Congress legislated that the General (and the Ambassador) also report his assessments and recommendations to them by September 15. That is what Petraeus and Crocker did. And did well.
The General can tell you that the Iranians are supplying arms and fighters and that these actions are costing American lives in Iraq; he cannot tell you whether we should attack Iran for these acts. And if he could predict with complete accuracy when all the fighting will end, I'd tell the General to work on Wall Street and make far more than they pay him to take the abuse he suffered at the hands of insufferable people these last two days. As an American citizen, I want to apologize to General Petraeus and to Ambassador Crocker for the misbehavior of our elected officials. There is certainly little honor or decency among those thieves.
So where does that leave us? Petraeus and Crocker said there has been progress... measurable progress... and that it was likely that it would continue. They each testified that there is a real chance to stabilize Iraq and allow the Iraqis to continue making steps toward reconciliation and the establishment of a true democratic state that would not fail.
They each warned in no uncertain terms that failure would allow Iran to assume control of Iraq and to use the revenues and resources to fight against America's interests... including a base for al Q'eda and other terrorist organizations to train, plan and execute attacks against America and her Allies. There was no waffling on that. In fact, there was no waffling by either the General or the Ambassador throughout their marathon sessions before Congressional committees. They did not waiver in their testimony or their conclusions. It is the recommendation of a distinguished career military officer -- who serves the American people regardless of who is President -- and an equally distinguished career diplomat -- who also serves the American people no matter who sits in the White House -- that we continue in Iraq.
Finish the Mission.