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Petraeus; "America Safer? Never Thought About It"

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The turning point in the debate over Iraq will almost certainly turn out to have occurred during General Petraeus’ congressional testimony when he was asked if the war in Iraq has made America safer. His answer was a very bitter pill for Republican Senators to swallow.

During the hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, Senator John Warner, Republican from Virginia, asked General Petraeus if the war in Iraq was making America safer. General Petraeus shocked Republicans when he responded, "Sir, I don't know, actually. I haven't sat down and sorted it out in my own mind."

This clearly unscripted and unwelcome comment disturbed Republican lawmakers, who probably should have floated the question by the General in private, before asking it in public.

It was not just that President Bush and Republicans have been saying, “we have to fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here”, or that the entire stated purpose of the so-called war on terror was to make America safer, but rather the most shocking aspect was that General Petraeus admitted that the question had never even crossed his mind. Being a good soldier and doing what you are told is one thing, but for Petraeus to admit that he hadn't even thought about whether the war he was commanding, the war that our soldiers were dying for, was making our country safer is an astounding admission of detachment.

General Petraeus should not have merely thought about this issue, he should have repeatedly asked the question of his superiors, including the decider in chief - if the purpose of the war in Iraq was to make America safer or not.

The only reason that I can imagine as to why General Petraeus failed to cogitate on this critical issue is that he was told in private the reason for the war in Iraq, and that the real reason had nothing to do with making America safer. Under those circumstances, it is perfectly natural that the question had never crossed his mind.
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John R. Moffett PhD is a research neuroscientist in the Washington, DC area. Dr. Moffett's main area of research focuses on the brain metabolite N-acetylaspartate, and an associated genetic disorder known as Canavan disease.

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