In her question and answer session with Clinton charged, “Even General Petraeus as recently as three and a half weeks ago has acknowledged that the Iraqi government has not made sufficient political progress.” Clinton made this statement based on an article published in the Washington Post.
Petraeus corrected Clinton.“What I said [in the article] was that no one was satisfied with the progress that had been made, either Iraqis or Americans, but I then went on and actually ticked off a number of the different areas in which there had been progress and talked about the different laws that Ambassador Crocker has rightly identified in a number of other areas in which, in fact, there's been progress, although not satisfactory progress,” Petraeus said.
“That was the thrust of what I was getting at there” Petraeus said.
The full article is available here.
In his opening statement Ambassador Crocker expressed disappointment Iraqis have not moved faster towards political reconciliation, but listed successful passage of a pension law, accountability and justice law and an amnesty law as signs of encouragement. He also said, “An electoral law is now under discussion that will set the parameter for elections. All major parties have announced their support for elections, which will be a major step forward in Iraq’s political development and will set the stage for national elections in 2009.”
He also noted Iraq’s growing economy and their increased spending on reconstruction efforts.
Petraeus said he anticipated the Iraqis would spend $8 billion towards this in 2008 and $11 billion in 2009.
Armed Services Committee member Sen. Joe Lieberman (I.-Conn.) chastised Democrats for taking “see no progress, hear no progress, speak no progress” approach to the officials’ testimony.
“I wish we could come to a point to have agreement on the facts,” the senator who was essentially disowned by the Democratic Party because of his support of the war fumed.
“Let’s be honest about this,” he said. “The Iraqi political leadership has achieved a lot more political reconciliation and progress since September than the American political leadership has.” In recent weeks Lieberman traveled with McCain and fellow Armed Services committee members Sen. Lindsay Graham (R.-S.C.) on a congressional delegation to Iraq, Europe and Israel.
Obama will have the opportunity to question Petraeus and Crocker in a separate Foreign Relations Committee hearing late Tuesday afternoon.