First, I did love how the Rethugs kept mentioning that simply horrible atrocious ad MoveOn.org ran in the NYT. MoveOn can’t BUY that kind of publicity you nimrods! So, to Representatives Duncan Hunter, Saxon and Ros-Lehtinen a hearty THANK YOU to all of you for continually harping on the MoveOn full page ad!
The show in the House committee started out, General David Petraeus had to state he wrote his own opening remarks..Isn’t that just lovely? He also went on to say that the spin, er…the words were his own and he had not shared them with anyone in the Pentagon, White House or Congress. Boy, that was a huge load off my mind, lemme tell you!
I watched the hearing on MSNBC, which was kind enough to show most the protestors that were being hauled out constantly. It made my heart sing to know that many of our brothers and sisters didn’t give two shakes that the committee chair kept threatening them with the ‘full force’ of the DC law if they didn’t shut the hell up.
As expected Petraeus, in his opening statement, spun the decline in insurgent attacks on American soldiers on the fact that the US military forces are knocking the snot out of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He also had the nads to state there is a decline in Iraqi on Iraqi violence…to the tune of 55%! During questioning later, he was asked about his methodology and evaded that question by stating two different Intel groups support his numbers and how he arrived at them. The wonderful folks at DemocracyArsenal.org spent the day blowing Petraeus’ logic and spin out of the water. Their fact checking on Petraeus’ spin can be found here. I will briefly summarize their work by saying the military and Intel folks use some very strange ways to determine sectarian violence..among them, whether the bullet that killed an Iraqi entered the front or the back of the head. Interestingly enough Petraeus’ numbers don’t even come close to the Iraqi Governments numbers which show a 20% rise in sectarian violence since July of this year. Also the GAO report is way off when compared to Petraeus’ numbers..so I guess it just must be that everyone else in the world is wrong..and General Dave is right..right?
Petraeus had some very colorful charts and graphs made up for his show, most of which were useless if you don’t buy into his bs on how he arrived at his numbers.
Another highlight of the show was when Petraeus stated the US military is NOT arming the Sunni’s. He explained this by saying the US military isn’t directly providing weapons to the Sunni’s. This of course doesn’t match up with various reports which state the US is in fact paying the Sunni tribal leaders $10 per day per man..the money to be used however they see fit..as in buying weapons, vehicles or anything their little hearts desire to spend the money on.
Many of you might be asking, as I did whilst watching the Petraeus show..when will the surge end? Well, General Petraeus did address that...by asking that we put off answering that question for another six months..yes..you read that right..put it off another six months. He did offer an olive branch of sorts by stating he would advise that roughly 5000 troops be brought home by December of this year. See, his NEXT report is due in March of 2008..hence the six month window. Smooth no? By the end of next summer General Dave hopes to have our US troop levels down to ‘pre-surge’ strength of 130,000. Um..yeah…whatever.
Petraeus spent a good amount of his time reliving the history of the Iraq war with the House representatives. I don’t feel I should waste your time my dear reader with this lesson..we are all quite aware of the history of the Iraq occupation..sans the BushCo/Petraeus spin.
Lets move on to the co-star of the show, Ambassador Crocker. His spin…er..testimony was that the benchmarks are not the only way to measure success. Why, your not surprised are you? He then blabbered on about planting seeds.. and did drop in the BushCo spin about leaving too early will cause the deaths of thousands and the suffering of millions of Iraqi’s..guess they aren’t suffering at all now?
Crocker was actually trying to paint a rosy picture of the political climate in Iraq. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows the Iraq Government is so fragmented its sickening. Crocker kept saying there is positive change going on within the Iraq Government, and he said it as vaguely as possible.
He didn’t tell the House Rep’s how or what the positive changes were..when pressed for such information. He would speak in general terms and sometimes it seemed like he was giving a speech he had rehearsed in my humble opinion. Check out this quote from Monday’s House hearing:
"In my judgment, the cumulative trajectory of political, economic and diplomatic developments in Iraq is upwards, although the slope of that line is not steep."
Can anyone tell me exactly wtf that means??? Anyone?? What was the point of that statement other than to befuddle the House Reps..or to put it another way..Baffle them with bullshit.
When actually pressed for proof that things are working in Iraq..both men pointed with glee to Anbar Province. Anbar has been changing for almost a year now..its nothing new that has taken place since the ‘Surge’ began. Bear in mind that Crocker speaks Arabic fluently. Crocker kept trying to change the rules, by stating the ‘benchmarks’ weren’t the only way to measure progress in Iraq. When a House Rep would demand clarification of how to accurately measure Crocker’s brand of ‘success’ in Iraq, Crocker would than start backpedaling his behind off.
He finally admitted that Iraq will most likely never meet the majority of the 18 benchmarks.
The benchmarks were developed by Congress, not BushCo. This goes to the heart of the problem..Congress attempted to outline important steps that needed to be made by the Iraq Government..simple but vital steps that would build a competent government that could endure. Congress set the bar for success, not BushCo. So when Crocker admitted that most of the benchmarks might never be met, he admitted success as we know it will most likely never come to fruition.
This tells me we might be ‘there’ forever…a scary and horrifying prospect indeed. But a realistic one my dear reader that we as Americans must face and deal with by electing representatives that won’t tolerate this crap. Its up to us, as voters, to change the status quo and vote in representatives that will give us what the majority of Americans have wanted for years now..a timeline for withdrawing from Iraq sooner than later.
Crossposted at The Peace Train