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April 08, 2008

Crocker and Petraeus hearing - Thread 1
Posted by The Editors

This is Max and Ilan blogging together.

10:28 (Ilan) -     I gotta say.  Crocker is much more of a spin man then Petraeus

National Level politics– Crocker has a very rosy picture of Iraq’s politics.  He cites some pieces of legislation such as the De’Baathification law and provincial elections.  But what about the implementation? The de’Batthification law may have actually put more people out then brought people into the government.  He also argues that the Parliament has become a civil place, but still have trouble even getting a quorum and large segments are still boycotting the Cabinet. 

Basra -  Crocker is really spinning this hard saying that Basra was progress for the Iraqis.  We’ve already been through this.

10:23 (Max) - Crocker pushes for status of forces agreement in attempt to keep U.S. forces in Iraq indefinitely. Says the agreement will not tie the hands of next President or dictate troop levels. But by committing the United States to Iraq you are tying the hands of the next administration. If you are not, what then is the point of such an agreement and why bring it up if it is so meaningless?

10:17 (Max) - It is as if all of this testimony was written last month when everything was rosy. Crocker is putting even more of an optimistic spin then Petraeus - saying that the Iraqi flag is flying everywhere around the country and that political leaders are ready to work together, and every Iraq politician is happy in the green zone.


10:12 (Max) - Petraeus decides to promote himself to CENTCOM  commander now that Fallon is gone. He starts talking about the general strategic implications of leaving Iraq. I'm sorry General that is not your job. Someone should ask him Ilan's question "In your conversations with President Bush has he ever asked for your advice regarding the broader strategic questions surrounding Iraq (The strain on our military, attention away from Afghanistan, empowering Iran, etc...)? If so, what advice did you give him?"


10:09 (Ilan) -The blame Iran game begins.  Petraeus puts the emphasis on the violence in the last two weeks on the “Special Groups” that are being trained by Iran.  But it’s not clear which groups that fought in Basra were “special groups” and which were part of the Mahdi Army.  If the Sadr ceasfire ends the “special groups” will be the least of our problems.  As Max points out, the problem with Petraeus’s testimony thus far has been the emphasis; Blame Iran for the worst things that are happening;  Talk about the advances against Al Qaeda in Iraq; but spend little time on the most important question -  sectarian violence and tensions in the country.

10:01 (Max) - Petraeus started out talking about how the big challenge remains sectarian division and lays out pretty clearly the challenges. But then the meat of testimony is all about AQI and what our military is doing to combat them. This is no doubt important, but is peripheral to the challenges of the Shia v. Sunni sectarian divide. The key point is that there are no American military solutions to that problem, the key problem.

9:53 (Max) - McCain talks about "achieving our goals in Iraq" but he never tells us what those goals are. Talks about success but never defines it. Someone needs to ask McCain to define "success" and "victory."

9:52 (Ilan)  - So more important then anything going on in Washington today is the fact that Sadr now looks to be threatening to call off the ceasefire.

9:47 (Max) - McCain fear-mongering about what may come... Iraq could descend into civil war, Iran could have influence, Iraq could become a failed state...Senator all of these things have already happened. Take off the rose colored glasses.

9:44 (Max) - McCain keeps pushing the view that civil war did not happen in Iraq... umm why are there mass graves all around Iraq then? Iraq was and is in civil war - levels of violence fluctuate in civil war.

9:41 (Ilan) - Levin is going towards the Iraqi Dependency argument.  I agree Iraqis have to step up and take responsibility, but as I said earlier I would have liked it if he started by framing Iraq in the broader strategic challenges we faced.  Opponents of the war have to consistently emphasize this frame. 

9:35 (Max) - Levin hits on the problems of Iraqi dependency on the U.S. right off the bat

9:30 (Ilan) - And away we go


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Does anybody really expect Petraeus and Crocker to report the real situation in Iraq and risk losing their jobs?

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