Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The result of the Petreaus hearings

Gen. Petreaus still can't tell us what benefit we get from the occupation of Iraq. That's the key result I have taken from yesterday's Senate hearings. What does the tremendous set of costs of our occupation of Iraq do to benefit America?

Note that McCain, when asked why we remain there, recycles an old Douglas MacArthur quote: "There is no substitute for Victory!" Apparently when the Marine Barracks in Lebanon was blown up killing about 245 Marines, Reagan should have occupied Lebanon or something, but instead he pulled the troops out of Lebanon. And the bad result was .... (crickets can be heard in the silence.)

Democracy Arsenal has a good summary of the results of the hearings. Here are some samples:
1. Petraeus and Crocker refuse to tell us what our long term strategy is in Iraq, holding to the weak excuse that they can't make predictions into the future. But they have no problem making scary predictions into the future about what will happen if we withdraw. Contradiction? We think so.

2. Senator Biden made Crocker admit that the threat from Al Qaeda central along the Afghan-Pakistan border is a higher priority than Al Qaeada in Iraq.

3. John McCain still seems to be confusing his Shi’a and his Sunnis. He seems to have this recurring problem and if he becomes President and does this in some international forum it will be REALLY REALLY bad.

4. Iran is the new Al Qaeda. A large portion of the questioning from Martinez, Lieberman, Graham was based on trying blame Iran from what happened in Basra. But as Senator Jack Reed pointed out the Iranians are actually supporting all of the various Shi’a groups in Iraq, including those in league with the central government.

Go read the summary.

Kevin Drum adds
Obama was able to hit Petraeus and Crocker very hard....He got Petraeus to agree with him that the total elimination of Al Qaeda is an impossible standard for withdrawal. Next he goes after Crocker's points about Iranian influence, pointing out that both Iran and Al Qaeda are in Iraq because we invaded and that we can not expect to eliminate Iranian involvement.

Then came the hammer. Obama pointed out that if the definition of success is put so high - no Al Qaeda, no Iranian influence, a prosperous diverse democracy we will be there forever. He then points out that we still, after 8 hours of testimony, have no definition of success....Crocker's weak response its "hard and complicated."
Essentially the White House and the American Republican Party are living in a fantasy world, and Gen. Petreaus and Crocker, as their designated men on the ground who are aware of the real facts (and who don't appear to be confusing conservative ideology for facts the way Jerry Bremer did when he headed the Coalition Provisional Government) refuse to contradict the fantastists and liars they work for.

The lesson of the hearings was that there is no possibility that the Bush administration will take any actions to get America out of the quagmire and military morass they have created in Iraq.

Addendum 1:24 PM
dday at Hullabaloo points out that Sen. Biden forced Amb. Crocker to admit that Al Qaeda on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border is a more important problem for America than Iraq is. Joe Biden also made the point that Congressional permission was required before America makes any long-term commitment to Iraq.

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