Unfazed by her empty platitude, Abizaid denied the military (or, by extension, the administration) had ever "misled" about Iraq. "With regard to hope not being a method, Senator, I agree with you, and I would also say that despair is not a method." Touche.
Even more delicious was Abizaid's statement, "When I come to Washington, I feel despair. When I'm in Iraq with my commanders, when I talk to our soldiers, when I talk to the Iraqi leadership, they are not despairing." I hope Americans were listening. It's the mainstream media and naysaying politicians who are responsible for a great deal of the public's "despair" on Iraq.
In response to a question from Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Abizaid also confirmed Bush's position that a premature withdrawal of our troops would increase violence and instability in Iraq. Other witnesses supported the president's longtime contention that it would embolden Al Qaeda and make us less secure. Abizaid also shot down as "not viable" the proposal of some Democrats that Iraq be partitioned into three regions.
While the Iraqi Study Group has yet to complete its report, and we are admittedly experiencing tremendous obstacles in Iraq, these Senate hearings revealed that many of the president's war critics have been shooting from the hip without sufficient hard facts to substantiate their harsh attacks.
Bush and Rumsfeld, just as they've told us, have been letting the generals, not self-anointed armchair experts, run the war. Thus, as discerning minds have contended all along, criticism of the administration's policy has been tantamount to criticism of the military, which has been in charge.
It's been easy for accountability-avoiding politicians to treat the administration as a leper colony on Iraq. How ironic that Bush has been accused of politicizing the war when he has been the one politician who has remained steadfast in attempting to do the right thing regardless of how it would affect his approval ratings in the moment. For this I believe he deserves enormous credit and gratitude, as counterintuitive as that may strike those who demand perfection and immediate results.