Mary Katharine Ham


Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who will soon replace Gen. Casey in Iraq, spoke with the Senate Armed Services Committee's members today. I'm annoyed because I can't find a full transcript of the hearing, which I think would be much more instructive than the MSM reports and excerpts.

Even DoD hasn't put it on the web yet. A plain old transcript should be much easier to find than this, but the MSM doesn't like transcripts because they pretty much take the reporter out of the picture. That is, of course, exactly why I like them. They're not always terribly practical, and not everyone wants to read them, but I wish they were more readily available on hearings, speeches, and the like. Just the facts, ma'am, and all that.

Petraeus seems to have spoken out against pending Senate resolutions opposing the troop surge. Hillary no likey (emphasis mine):

Asked whether those resolutions would give encouragement to the enemy by exposing divisions among the American people, he replied: "That's correct."

His statement drew a sharp rebuke from Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), who said, "I very sincerely but wholeheartedly disagree," saying the point was to send a message to Iraqis.

Later in the hearing, Petraeus says he didn't mean to imply support or opposition to the resolutions, which would seem to make sense, since generals don't tend to get too political in these hearings. Wonder what it looked like in context. That's why I'd like a transcript. If anyone spots one, send it along.

The Washington Post staff story is headlined "Petraeus Confident in new Iraq Strategy," which is pretty positive. The gist of the story is the surge plan can work, but it won't work fast:

"The way ahead will be neither quick nor easy, and undoubtedly there will be tough days. We face a determined, adaptable, barbaric enemy. He will try to wait us out," Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services committee at a nomination hearing.

First off, can all the Lefties please remember this moment a couple months from now when they're accusing Petraeus of saying Iraq will be simple as a pie slice?

WaPo also has excerpts:

On the role of Iraqis:

Levin: "And how are we going to do that? What's the leverage on them?"

Petraeus: "Well, sir, there's a number of different ways of leverage. Among them are providing assistance or withholding assistance in various forms of the lines of operation that are pursued in Iraq."

Levin: "Do you agree that the success of the strategy is dependent upon the Iraqis carrying out their commitments?"

Petraeus: "I do, sir."

What would happen if we announced we were pulling out?

"I think that sectarian groups would, obviously, begin to stake out their turf, try to expand their turf. They would do that by greatly increased ethnic cleansing. There is the very real possibility of involvement of countries from elsewhere in the region around Iraq entering Iraq to take sides with one or the other groups. There is the possibility certainly of a, an international terrorist organization truly getting a grip on some substantial piece of Iraq. There is the possibility of problems in the global economy, should, in fact, this cause a disruption to the flow of oil." _ Petraeus, asked by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., what would happen if the U.S. said it would withdraw in four to six months.

Lieberman warns his colleagues:

"I understand that the trains are on the legislative track and they are heading toward a collision. But I want to urge my colleagues to consider your testimony this morning and to put the brakes on. ... I fear that a resolution of disapproval will send you over there with us saying you're a good and great general but we don't agree with what you believe we need to do in Iraq." _ Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn.

Sen. Warner gets prickly:

"We're not a division here today of patriots who support the troops and those who are making statements and working on resolutions that could be translated as aiding and abetting the enemy. We're trying to exercise the fundamental responsibilities of our democracy." _ Sen. John Warner, R-Va., who sponsored a resolution disapproving the president's plan.

Chances for success:

"I believe this plan can succeed if in fact all of those enablers and all the rest of the assistance is provided," Petraeus said. Without mentioning any specific U.S. government agency, Petraeus said that interagency help for the war effort "needs to be substantially more robust than it is."

Blackfive is concerned that Petraeus won't get the reins in Iraq soon enough:

Look, Osama, Sadr, Iran, Syria and everyone else on Haifa street knows that if a Democrat is elected President, that we'll be out of there - leaving all of the peace loving Iraqis to die or be subjugated to severe Islamic law. We need to succeed before the eighteen month time table, and the only way we'll have the time and energy to succeed will be to get Petraeus on the ground and working on the solution YESTERDAY.

 

 


Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham is editor-at-large of HotAir.com, a contributor to Townhall Magazine.

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