Big questions for General Petraeus & ambassador, most of which went unanswered

Beginning at 9:30 this Tuesday morning, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker were grilled by senators from the Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee until nearly 7:00 PM.

The Foreign Relations Committee hearing really showed just how much of the nation is against this war. Both sides of the aisle seemed united in their criticism of the progress thus far.

Among the myriad of questions raised, the senators continually hammered Petraeus and Crocker about, of course, the outlook of future withdrawal from Iraq. In attempts to demystify the magical scenarios that must play out before withdrawal would be plausible, they were asked for some semblance of an idea of what it will take to begin troop reductions after the 20,000 ‘surge’ withdraws. Shockingly, neither of them could give them an answer, instead choosing the route of obfuscation.

The fact of the matter is, the Bush/McCain regime has no plans for withdrawal from Iraq at all. They continually attempt to make Iraq analogous to occupied Japan and South Korea. Unfortunately, they are completely different situations. Japan and South Korea were not in the midst of civil wars with several factions of religious groups that have been fighting for thousands of years. Iraq will never be a completely stable democracy devoid of terrorist action or corruption. Senator Obama raised the question of the acceptable level of stability in Iraq. He pressed the idea on ambassador Crocker that a perfect nation looks unattainable in anywhere near an acceptable time frame, and that a more moderate goal should be considered. Crocker did not even know how to approach this idea that has obviously never even been brought up previously.

Expense was also brought up many times. Over $600 billion dollars spent and 4,000 American deaths loomed large. While Iraq has a large budget surplus from oil revenues, we continue to foot the bill for their safety, rebuilding infrastructure, and stimulating their economy. Senator Biden in particular put the monetary numbers in perspective, saying that we spend more in three weeks in Iraq than we have spent in the entire six years in Afghanistan. This startling fact brings up Osama bin Laden’s intentions all along, which were to bankrupt America. Currently he doesn’t have to do anything, Bush is doing it for him.

Several times, the frustration at the complete disregard for the well-being of America and its citizens (including those abroad) was brought out to light in front of two people that are actually in the thick of it. The cost in money and human lives, the abandonment of Afghanistan, have created real resentment in the American people. Senator Voinovich brought this fact up when asking Petraeus and Crocker why a diplomatic solution has not been achieved:

“..folks, we’re on our way out. And, I just wonder, uh, do you understand that? That, that, that’s where we’re at? We have somebody sitting across the table here who may be the next president of the United States.” [referring to senator Obama] “And the American people have had it up to here.”

In the end, I really felt sorry for general Petraeus. President Bush, whether because of cowardice or consciousness of his own incompetence, makes this poor soldier just trying to do his job, accountable for policies he has no control over. Bush needs to be the one in a seat for 10 hours in front of the Senate, justifying his own goddamn war.

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~ by miyagisan on April 8, 2008.

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