I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, April 10, 2008

No More General Betray Us?

This week the Congress held committee briefings with General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. The briefings were the first since last September, when the General and Ambassador first reported of the successes of the troop surge. This briefing contained more good news from Iraq. The two men reported that the violence in Iraq has subsided substantially over the past several months, but that the successes of our brave men and women are tenuous and reversible. The report was updated with relevant facts from the ground in Iraq, but it was essentially the same report as in September. The overlying meaning in this report as well as the one from September is that we should continue to allow our troops to secure the country while the Iraqi’s forces are trained and take over the security of their own country.

Here are the links to General Petraeus September report, and to his April report.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi still warned in the days leading up to the briefings, that the General had better be truthful. Does Ms. Pelosi believe that the commander of our military in Iraq would lie under oath? Several other Democrats on the committees did nothing more than play to the cameras and make speeches about how they didn’t believe that we could win. Senator Carl Levin, after finally realizing the correct titles of the men he was addressing, launched into his diatribe about how the surge had failed because of recent attacks in Basra and Baghdad. He discounts all of the General’s experience and knowledge to say that we should set a timetable for withdrawal and promptly turn over control to the Iraqi security forces. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid equates the recommendation of Petraeus and Crocker to halt troop withdrawals for a 45 day cooling off period to taking one step forward and two steps back. I am unaware of Mr. Reid’s extensive qualifications on military operations and strategy, but he surely must be hiding a Congressional Medal of Honor in his desk to claim to know more that the two distinguished gentleman who appeared before Congress.

All three candidates for the presidency had the opportunity to question Petraeus and Crocker on Capitol Hill this week. In my opinion, McCain showed his experience and knowledge with his questioning. Clinton appeared to still be searching to find the right angle to spin this into a much-needed political gain for herself. Obama showed his vulnerabilities on foreign policy and military affairs.

The change in the Democratic response to Petraeus and the war strategy is markedly noticeable in Senator Obama’s call for a gradual troop withdrawal that will take 16 months. Not more than a few months, if not weeks, ago he was calling for an immediate withdrawal of troops. Save for a “small” strike force. Also missing from the briefings was the full-page ads of “General Betray Us”. Could it be that the Democrats are finally realizing the foolishness of their cut, run, and surrender military strategies? I believe that they are desperately trying to find some way out of the box they have closed on themselves. They can see the success that are troops are winning, and they simply cannot afford to be seen as calling for the defeat of American soldiers.

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