Friday, July 11, 2008

Petraeus on Capitol Hill

Originally Written for 15 April

Last week’s testimony on Capitol Hill by General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker did reveal a liberal bent toward highlighting what they felt was a negative, Basra. They also wanted to know when the end of the war in Iraq was going to be, and highlighted their ignorance of warfare.

A war, this war, or any other war, is not a football game with a set amount of time. You fight until you win, and you keep fighting when you are winning.

There were those who wanted to know what victory looks like, usually asking for partisan reasons. That has been answered a thousand times. It’s safe to say if they don’t know by now, they simply don’t care to know.

We did get to hear the use of the published Democratic talking points on a “responsible withdrawal” from Iraq. This, of course, is one of the two current tactics from the left to force our surrender without appearing to lack the will to fight.

Here’s the reality. It is not responsible to allow Al Qaeda a victory in Iraq. It is not responsible to allow Iran to gain more influence in the region. It is not responsible to show America as weak and undependable. It is not responsible to let Iraq fall into chaos.

About the only thing responsible that came from the left side of the aisle was from Senator Nelson who called for Iraq to pay more of the bill. It is interesting to note that Iraq is doing so well it now has a $60 billion budget surplus – must be that failing surge…

The other tactic is to blame our current economic situation on the war in Iraq. It doesn’t take an economist to figure out that oil prices, transportation costs, the housing market, and about a hundred other factors have the economy where it is, not the war.

What’s worse is the hypocrisy of such a notion coming from the party with two Presidential candidates who are each proposing additional yearly spending far in excess of the whole cost of the war in Iraq: over $800 billion in new spending EACH YEAR compared to $450 billion in 5 years. If $450 billion over 5 years has caused economic trouble, we’d surely plunge into a severe depression with the kind of spending Hillary and Obama are proposing, and Democrats are endorsing.

There were several good quotes from the week. Joe Lieberman admonished those members of Congress who “hear no progress in Iraq, see no progress in Iraq, and speak of no progress in Iraq.” After months and months of relentless operations specifically targeting Al Qaeda, General Petraeus noted, “We have our teeth into their jugular, and we need to keep it there.” The best came from Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, “You want to know who wants you to come home more than anybody?” he asked a group of war veterans, “Al Qaeda because you’re kicking their a**.”

Speaking of veterans, there were hundreds of pro-victory veterans on The Hill during the week sharing their experiences with our elected officials, letting them know why victory was important, and encouraging them to fight through to victory.

Among them were several from Nebraska. They spoke highly of their visits with Congressman Fortenberry and Smith, and with Lee Terry’s chief of staff.

Congressman Smith provided some additional insight.

“Some believe the consequences of an immediate withdrawal would be an acceptable alternative to continuing our efforts to fight against terrorists. I disagree.”

“As the situation changes on the ground in Iraq and their government is able to handle their security concerns, I fully expect our military leaders to continue troop draw-downs. Iraq has made tremendous strides since I visited last year – in large part thanks to General Petraeus and our troops.”

“We need to take care of our men and women in uniform, both on the field of battle and when they return. We must fight to ensure our soldiers receive every resource they need.”

“Because of the dedication and sacrifices of our soldiers and their families, a greater level of security has been brought to a country which has been racked by violence and brutality for decades.”

“Terrorist groups, like Al Qaeda, are on the defense thanks to joint action between allied soldiers and Iraqi security forces. There is still much to be done, but I have full confidence in our military leaders.”

The veterans agree.

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