In his opening statement on Capitol Hill today General Petraeus says:
"A failed state in Iraq would pose serious consequences for the greater fight against al- Qaeda, for regional stability, for the already existing humanitarian crisis in Iraq, and the efforts to counter Iranian influence. I recommended to my chain of command that we continue the drawdown in the surge. We undertake a 45-day period of consolidation and evaluation and the end of that period, we will commence a process of assessment to examine conditions on the ground and overtime recommend further reductions. This process will be continuous, with recommendations for further reductions as permitted. This approach does not allow the establishment of a said withdrawal timetable, however it does provide the flexibility those of us on the ground need to preserve the still fragile security gains our troopers have fought so hard and sacrificed so much to achieve."