By and large, it was pretty damn frustrating to watch General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker on C-Span today as they spread their exquisitely fashioned B.S. over a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Iraq.
When I first heard about the Move On "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" ad, I thought it was over the top. But after seeing Petraeus testify before Congress I give the ad a thumbs up.
He's got a reputation for being an independent straight-shooter, above politics. Well, I didn't hear him say anything that wasn't straight out of the Bush administration party line. That isn't the sort of "straight" the country needs right now.
What's needed in Iraq is a change of direction, pronto. Thankfully, a number of Senators recognized this and gave Petraeus a well-deserved hard time.
Republican Chuck Hagel was one of my favorites. He got right to the point and laid it on Petraeus. By contrast, Democrat Joe Biden was his usual irritating self – telling too many stories and flashing his incongruous toothy grin when he should have been snarling.
Here's a video that I put up on YouTube of Barack Obama's opening statement to Petraeus (low resolution for the broadband impaired, so it's a bit jerky).
More and more, my wife and I are becoming Obama fans. I wish he wouldn't have sounded so much like an attorney at the hearing – even one "stipulate" is too many – but he looks like a president I could happily live with. (Another bit of advice to Obama: you don't have to spell out "ass" on national TV; it's not obscene).
It really frosts me to see the supposedly liberal media, like CNN, buying the Bush administration horseshit on troop reductions. Give me a break, headline writer: "Officials: Bush to adopt Petraeus advice on troop withdrawals."
Yeah, right. As if Petraeus isn't Bush's trained trick pony. Whoopee. By next summer troop levels in Iraq will be back to what they were in early 2007, before the surge. And even that reduction is based on undisclosed conditions.
Conditions "on the ground," I bet. (I'll send $20 to the first reporter who asks Bush about conditions "in the sky" and "under the ground" in Iraq, as contrasted to "on the ground.")
Senators at the hearing pointed out that if we'll still be at 130,000 troops by next summer, and it supposedly will be at least a year longer before Iraqi troops are ready to take over security, two years from now this country will still be in pretty much the same quagmire as we are now.
But, hey, CNN says that the Iraq war testimony is favorable to Republicans. How that is, I don't know. Unfortunately, CNN may be right. Too many Americans are still willing to swallow Petraeus' Pollyannish assessment of how well the surge is working.
I've got to hand it to the Bush administration in one regard. They can't do anything important competently. When it comes to public relations, though, they've got a knack for twisting the truth in marvelously creative ways.
Iraq's government is dysfunctional, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq told a Senate hearing Tuesday, but he said the fact that Iraqi leaders recognized it as such was a sign of progress.
Good try, Ambassador Crocker.
However, if you're the parent of a soldier who died in Iraq, I don't think you'd consider the death was an appropriate price to pay for a recognition of dysfunctionality among Iraqi leaders.