They both were stooges as Crocker hemmed and hawed and repeated the same mantra to each query. The opinion piece "The Ambassador's Message" at
puts it thusly "RYAN C. CROCKER, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, deserves credit for frankly and soberly delivering a message this week that neither his audience in Congress nor his superiors in the Bush administration wanted to hear: that a political solution in Iraq will take considerably more time than Washington has counted on. Again and again, the Bush administration has drawn up wildly unrealistic timetables for restoring stability to Iraq, from the sketchy plans for a transitional government in 2003 to this year's "surge," which envisioned Iraqi political leaders striking a series of fundamental accords in a matter of months. Democrats in Congress have been equally delusional, arguing that a fixed timetable for U.S. withdrawal will somehow cause Iraqis to settle....
The ambassador, an Arabic-speaking veteran of the Middle East, said he sees "seeds of reconciliation" among the political leaders he meets with -- something he conceded was not readily apparent from Washington.
But he repeated variations of the following words again and again in two days of testimony: "This process will not be quick. It will be uneven and punctuated by setbacks, as well as achievements, and it will require substantial U.S. resolve and commitment. There will be no single moment at which we can claim victory.
Any turning point will likely only be recognized in retrospect." Nor is the "secure, stable, democratic Iraq" that he thinks is still possible assured. "How long that is going to take and, frankly, even ultimately whether it will succeed, I can't predict."
How does this correspond to "Mission Accomplished", "last throes of the insurgency" and "hailed as liberators"? We were told this would be a war that lasted a few months, and now, with no transition, no explanatory preparation, we are to accept a decade long "slog"! How is this Orwellian double-speak allowed to happen in the "land of the free"? Why is this let to stand by the US citizens
and the 4th estate?
Did you notice the routine with Petraeus at the hearings. When the questions were being asked you could see him doing Buddhist breathing tactics. I could see his lips move silently counting each breath in and out-relieving the stress. Petraeus would also scribble down notes as he was being questioned, cough, repeat the question--spun and altered to meet his specification, and evade answering anything, particularly the first day with the House of Representatives. The second day the Senators landed some good shots, but for the most part Petraeus rope-a-doped the questions. Some of the Senators were so enraged--Hagel and Warner come to mind, that it was hard to see them get any honesty.
Face it-Petraeus and Crocker were schooled at how to do this. Members of the Congress haven't been interviewers for years and although many of them were lawyers in their earlier careers, their ability didn't match that of these two hardened operatives.
Someone blew these exchanges though. Petraeus blithely remarked that he was considering extending our troops tours of duty--that he had done so previously, and that consequentially he didn't give a damn about how the US military was against his plans to essentially torture our boys and girls.
In the first day none of the members of the House of Representatives or the 4th estat called him on this. That wasn't going to happen on day two as Senator Joe Biden, the CHAIRMAN of the ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE butted into a questioning of another Senator with "General, point of clarification-excuse me. Was that force, they were scheduled to come out anyway, right?"
Petraeus replied "Sir, they were scheduled to come out but I could have easily requested an extension of them....
In fact, we were-I considered that. We did request an extension earlier. And that was granted. And, in fact, so we are now..."
Biden didn't want this to be glossed over and said "Excuse me again. You extended them to 15 months?"
Petraeus replied "No, sir. This is a MEU-a float MEU, came ashore a couple months ago. Was extended on the ground just to continue the work. They're working north of Fallujah cleaning up a pocket of al Qaeda. Allow the Iraqi
army to go in there and to replace them in that area. And they will now go home without replacement. The key is without replacement, actually. The MEU is scheduled to rotate out. And that was going to happen. But we're not asking for the Central Command Strategic Reserve again.
That's the point."
Petraeus was clearly unplugged for that exchange. As back far as February 15, 2007 "Republican National Committee :: Letter from RNC Chairman Mike Duncan On The Pelosi-Murtha "Slow-Bleed" Strategy" at
in a memo which the site says is "Paid for by the Republican National Committee"RNC Chairman Mike Duncan writes "
The Democrat strategy on Iraq is finally clear.
We've known all along that they want to cut and run before the job is done. But they've been afraid to confront President Bush directly. Today, Democrat Rep. John Murtha let slip what he and Nancy Pelosi really intend to do, and it is genuinely frightening.
They call it their 'slow-bleed' plan. Instead of supporting the troops in Iraq, or simply bringing them home, the Democrats intend to gradually make it harder and harder for them to do their jobs. They will introduce riders onto bills to prevent certain units from deploying. They will try to limit the President's constitutional power to determine the length and number of deployments. They will attempt to keep the Pentagon from replacing
troops who rotate out of Iraq. They may even try to limit how our troops operate by, for example, prohibiting our armed forces from creating and operating bases in Iraq."
The GOP has had plans for nine months now to attack the Democrats for making sure that the US troops get proper training, equipment and rest between deployments! It makes you proud to be an American doesn't it!
In the article "The Senate grills Petraeus and Crocker." at
you get to wonder why were we all told to wait until September when Petraeus admitted he can't predict past March of 2008?
"The Democratic chairman, Sen. Joseph Biden, asked Petraeus whether he would recommend a continuation of the strategy-with 130,000 to 160,000 U.S. troops shooting and dying in Iraq-if the situation next March were the same as it is now.
Petraeus replied, "That's a really big hypothetical." Biden said, "I don't think it's a hypothetical." So Petraeus stepped up and answered the question. He said,
"I'd be very hard-pressed to recommend that, at that point."
"At this morning's hearing, before the Senate foreign relations committee, Petraeus said that he couldn't foresee the future beyond next summer and that he would return with an updated report next March.