S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Petraeus-Crocker Show: Critics In the Audience For the Opening

It will be SRO in a couple of Senate committee rooms today. Reporters, protesters, and perhaps even some other members of Congress may want to listen in on the performances. Senator Carl Levin will be the director, and Senators Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain will have starring roles.

Critical candidates -- "With War in Senate Spotlight, Presidential Campaigns Converge in Washington." General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker will be appearing before two Senate committees today, Senate Armed Services at 9:30 AM and Foreign Relations at 2:30 PM. Elizabeth Buhmiller at The New York Times has the story. All three presidential candidates will get a chance to question them both. We can assume that at least two, and perhaps all three, will come across as critical at times. To quote (NYT links):

All three senators running for president — John McCain of Arizona, Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois — will have a chance to question General Petraeus and Ryan C. Crocker, the American ambassador to Baghdad. Each of the three is determined to use the spectacle to advantage, but all face political risks as well as opportunities in the back-to-back hearings before the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees.

“They’re going to be walking a tightrope over the Grand Canyon,” said Alan K. Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming who was a member of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group that in 2006 recommended a change of administration strategy in Iraq. “Everyone is going to be watching this like hawks.”

Over all, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama, both Democrats, are likely to criticize the costs of the war and a lack of political progress. Mr. McCain, an early supporter of the troop escalation who has acknowledged that his political fortunes are directly tied to American success in Iraq, will say that the “surge” is working, and is likely to add that the Democrats are ignoring the gains.

. . . “Petraeus is a master of his craft,” Mr. Simpson said. “He’s not only a brilliant military man but a damned fine politician. So here we go.”

Republican skepticism -- "Congress To Hear Of Gains In Iraq" via Memeorandum, Karen De Young has the story at the 4/8/08 Washington Post. Even some Republicans are skeptical. To quote:

"I think all of us realize we're disappointed at where we are," Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said at a hearing last week. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) asked, "How do we get out of this mess?" While the cost in U.S. lives and money increases, said another senior GOP senator, who spoke on the condition of anonymity: "We cannot . . . just say we're coasting through and waiting for the next president."

. . . Sen. John W. Warner (Va.), the panel's ranking Republican, who projected that Iraqi oil income would reach $56.4 billion this year, asked the Government Accountability Office last month to investigate how much money the Iraqi government has.

. . . Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.), a leading backer of President Bush's strategy and the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, one of four panels for which Petraeus and Crocker will testify over two days, said "I want to see the specifics" of Iraqi military performance."

. . . "The debate over how much progress we have made in the last year may be less illuminating than determining whether the administration is finally defining a clear political-military strategy," said Sen. Richard G. Lugar (Ind.), the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee.

. . . Warner said he wants to ask Petraeus for a better answer to the question the senator posed in September: Is the administration's strategy in Iraq "making America safer"? Petraeus, Warner recalled, replied "I don't know."

This time, Warner said, he wants "a full and complete answer which will justify the sacrifice and courage that our troops have shown since his last appearance."

Also Of Note --

  • George Bush has 286 days left in office, according to my countdown clock in the column to the column to the right. $509,413,000,000+ has been spent on the war in Iraq.
  • New to the "on U.S. civil liberties list" in that same column: "Three Ways the FBI Can Wiretap you."

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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The Future Was Yesterday said...

Betrayus does it again. And with that, I'll shut up!:)

Carol Gee said...

Hi, Future. Verry goood!
Sorry it took me a while to get back here. I was involuntarily off line for more than a day and got behind.
Thanks for stopping by, my friend.