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September 11, 2007

Testimony Live Thread
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

10:39  Thank god.  The senators are so much.  Biden just asked Petraeus if a Sunni in Baghdad could safely travel into a Shi'a neighberhood.  Petraues hemmed and hawed, but couldn't name one neighberhood where this could happen.

10:52  Good job by Dodd calling out Petraeus on the fact that violence came down between December and Febraurary when the surge started.  Petraeus argued that the announcement of the surge itself caused an initial drop in violence.

10:59  Petraeus says that they aren't arming tribes.  But there have been plenty reports of funding.  Money is fungible and according to many reports much of it gets used to buy weapons.

11:06 Hagel points out that Petraeus and Crocker haven't said anything about the South.  Nothing!  Not like it matters.  It's oh say the largest portion of the country...

11:12 Crocker argues that when security improves politics begins in Anbar.  But actually it was exactly the reverse.  In September there was a political agreement in Anbar.  The security improvements came later

11:39 Norm Coleman just applauded the fact that we would be at pre surge levels next year.  Good reelection strategy.  Oh and he also said we should have at least a 5 year commitment

11:52  Feingold is grilling Petraeus and Crocker on whether or not we should be going after Al Qaeda in Pakistan, the Maghreb and the larger fight on global terrorism.   Petraeus and Crocker say it's outside their purview.  But if Iraq is the central front of the war on terror shouldn't Petraeus be able to comment  on this.  Now Petraeus is saying that Admiral Fallon is better equipped to answer that question.  But Fallon has already expressed his opinion that we should significantly reduce forces to fight terrorism and other threats.

Adm. William J. Fallon, his superior, argued instead for accepting more risks in Iraq, officials said, in order to have enough forces available to confront other potential threats in the region.

12:10  Feinstein rightly criticizes Petraeus for his overly optimistic assessment for the Iraqi security forces in 2004 and the fact that when she met him in 2005 he was very positive.

12:24 If I had five minutes with Petraeus and Crocker, I wouldn't spend half of it on questions of the budget like Sununu just did.  Seriously?  There are some bigger issues out there.

12:53  Obama observes that Petraeeu and Crocker are both "punting" on whether or not we should be keeping 168,000 troops in light of the other threats facing this country.  It is sort of the $64 million question that they refuse to answer.  Obama also asks, what would possibly cause you to not recommend another Friedman Unit? 

1:13 Johnny Isakson says that 60% of American trust General Petraeus to make decisions on Iraq.  Maybe he should have mentioned that only 39% believe that Petraeus's report will be objective and not overly optimistic

1:31  Vitter just asked why we need to bring any troops home in December and shouldn't we just leave them in longer to be safe.... 


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Obama's questioning did not impress me in the least.

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