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The Petraeus Hearings -- Perspectives from the Right, Left and Neville


The Petraeus Hearings -- Neville's Perspective

The Petraeus Hearings -- Pat Buchanan's Perspective

The Petraeus Hearings -- Michael Goodwin's Perspective


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The Petraeus Hearings -- Neville's Perspective
Petraeus 1 -- Democrats 0


By The Neville Awards
Sept. 12, 2007


For the Democrats, in the words of Rep. Clyburn, good news from Gen. Petraeus is bad news for the anti-war forces. In the run-up to the Petraeus hearings we heard, endlessly, how this is the "Bush Report", the books will be cooked, the numbers will be cooked, the General will be "blue-skying" the situation on the ground, etc. If anything, the Democrat pre-emptive reaction to Petraeus' report was pre-cooked, pre-scripted...they just didn't want to here anything that would get them off their relentlessly negative anti-war message. Most outrageous were the remarks from Sen Chuck Schumer. Here is a sampling of liberal gems both pre-hearing and during the hearings.

Excerpted from the NY Times "economics analyst", the despicable Paul Krugman, on 9/7/2007

Here's what will definitely happen when Gen. David Petraeus testifies before Congress next week: he'll assert that the surge has reduced violence in Iraq - as long as you don't count Sunnis killed by Sunnis, Shiites killed by Shiites, Iraqis killed by car bombs and people shot in the front of the head.

Here's what I'm afraid will happen: Democrats will look at Gen. Petraeus's uniform and medals and fall into their usual cringe. They won't ask hard questions out of fear that someone might accuse them of attacking the military. After the testimony, they'll desperately try to get Republicans to agree to a resolution that politely asks President Bush to maybe, possibly, withdraw some troops, if he feels like it.

There are five things I hope Democrats in Congress will remember.

First, no independent assessment has concluded that violence in Iraq is down [guess he forgot about the NY Times article by Michael E. O'Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack stating the surge was making progress]... So how can the military be claiming otherwise?

Apparently, the Pentagon has a double super secret formula that it uses to distinguish sectarian killings (bad) from other deaths (not important); according to press reports, all deaths from car bombs are excluded, and ... "if a bullet went through the back of the head, it's sectarian. If it went through the front, it's criminal." So the number of dead is down, as long as you only count certain kinds of dead people.


Democrats try to outflank Petraeus' Iraq report --
They say the general will be offering Bush's view, not straight analysis. And they question data purporting progress in the 'surge.'
By Noam N. Levey
Excerpted from the LA Times -- September 8th 2007


Launching a new assault on the president's war strategy, congressional Democrats have begun to dismiss the Bush administration claims of military progress as unreliable spin ahead of Monday's testimony from the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

In a shift from recent comments that the military buildup appeared to be making some gains, Democrats are now questioning the statistics being used to back up the reports of progress.

They are also increasingly casting Army Gen. David H. Petraeus' upcoming report as a product of the White House rather than an independent analysis by a top military commander.

"By carefully manipulating the statistics, the Bush-Petraeus report will try to persuade us that violence in Iraq is decreasing and thus the surge is working," said Illinois Sen. Richard J. Durbin, his chamber's No. 2 Democrat, in a speech Friday in Washington. "Even if the figures were right, the conclusion is wrong."

The attacks are not without political risk for Democrats, who are sensitive to accusations of not supporting the troops and who have sought to avoid criticizing the military as they have declared the Iraq war a lost cause. Their new criticisms imply doubt about the credibility of a general who less than eight months ago won Senate confirmation as the top U.S. military commander in Iraq without a single dissenting vote.

Durbin said he did not want to question Petraeus' integrity: "I respect him very much. And I believe he is an extremely competent military leader who has been given an almost impossible military assignment."

"I no longer can believe almost anything I am told," said House Armed Services Committee member Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Alamo), a close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco).Tauscher, who discussed the war at a forum Friday, recently returned from Iraq, where, she said, the lack of security reinforced her unease about the picture of progress being advanced by the Bush administration.

"Instead of a new strategy for Iraq, the Bush administration is cherry-picking the data to support their political objectives and preparing a report that will offer another defense of the president's strategy," Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, said in a floor speech Friday.

"We don't need a report that wins the Nobel Prize for creative statistics or the Pulitzer for fiction."


Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) took the most aggressively partisan line with Petraeus of any Democrats today.

Wexler began by saying that "Tragically, it is my understanding that seven more [U.S.] troops have died today while we are talking."

Wexler, after calling mockingly Petraeus a "patriot," compared Petraeus to the late Gen. William Westmoreland, who commanded U.S. forces in Vietnam. Wexler said that Petraeus' testimony that the surge was working was "eerily similar" to testimony given by Westmoreland in April 1967, when that general also told lawmakers that "progress was being made" during that bloody war.

Wexler also strongly rejected the argument that the United States must remain engaged in Iraq in order to uphold American credibility.

"How many more men and women killed in this fiasco in order to protect our so called credibility?" asked Wexler.


Sen. Harry Reid described Petraeus' Testimony Is White House Spin

"He has made a number of statements over the years that have not proven to be factual," Reid said. "I have every belief that this good man will give us what he feels is the right thing to do in his report, but it's not his report anymore. It's Bush's report."

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., joined his Senate colleagues in claiming the Petraeus report would be little more than a work of fiction.

"Instead of a new strategy for Iraq, the Bush administration is cherry-picking the data to support their political objectives and preparing a report that will offer another defense of the president's strategy," said Emanuel, the House Democratic Caucus Chair. "We don't need a report that wins the Nobel Prize for creative statistics or the Pulitzer for fiction."


Excerpted from the NY Post -- September 13th 2007

Sen. Hillary Clinton yesterday found herself positioned firmly to the left of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi regarding that disgusting New York Times/MoveOn "General Betray Us" attack on Gen. David Petraeus' integrity.

That's not an enviable position for a woman who's trying to convince the American people that she's fit to be president of the United States.

Further complicating her life was the position former Mayor Rudy Giuliani took yesterday on the general, the importance of victory in Iraq and . . . the truth. You couldn't ask for a more stark contrast at this stage in a possible Giuliani-Clinton presidential face-off.

At issue was the MoveOn ad, published in Monday's Times, attacking Petraeus' honor as a man and as a soldier.

How disgusting was it?

Even Pelosi, one of the most left-wing speakers ever, said she'd have "preferred that they won't do such an ad."

But Clinton not only couldn't bring herself to criticize it, she also attacked Petraeus' honesty: "The reports that you provide to us really require the willing suspension of disbelief," she huffed to the general Tuesday.

And she slammed him (and Ambassador Ryan Crocker) as "de facto spokesmen for a failed policy," pointedly refusing to criticize the ad - which called him an outright liar who'd "betray" his nation.


Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez implied General Petraeus was lying.

Not to be outdone on the outrage scale by her South Florida colleague, Bob Wexler, California Rep. Loretta Sanchez, concluded the Joint House hearing with General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker.

Of all the things she could focus on, she asked a question about the facts on the ground versus an ABC News/BBC poll that better supports the Democrats' view that there is nothing good to be found in Iraq as long as George Bush has anything to do with it.




After she finally gets around to her question, she directs the poll question to Ambassador Crocker, who cites the statistics he knows. Sanchez interrupts and insinuates that General Petraeus is manipulating the numbers in Iraq, implying the General is a liar. Sanchez "cleverly" refers to generals who can't count "and General Petraeus will know what I mean by that."

Later in her presentation, dripping with condescension, she insults the entire Iraqi population by saying that we are the only good thing happening in their economy.

In short, Sanchez is a useful idiot. And it is pretty well known even in the House of Representatives that she is a useful idiot. And useful idiots, being able to prosper and rise to the level of being able to ask questions of four-star generals in time of war, is one of the things that is truly remarkable about this country.


On September 20, 2007 MoveOn.org's "General Betray Us" advertisement was condemned by the U.S. Senate.

Voting 72-25, senators passed a resolution sponsored by conservative Republican John Cornyn of Texas.

The Democrat Party is now a wholly-owned subsidiary on MoveOn.org and George Soros. The 25 cowards who voted against condemnation were all Democrats of course and we have listed their names

NAYs ---25
Akaka (D-HI)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Clinton (D-NY)
Dodd (D-CT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Levin (D-MI)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Murray (D-WA)
Not Voting - 3
Biden (D-DE)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Obama (D-IL)


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The Petraeus Hearings -- Pat Buchanan's Perspective
Why the Antiwar Democrats Will Retreat


By Pat Buchanan
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/09/retreat_of_the_antiwar_democra.html
September 12, 2007


In November 2006, Republicans were voted out of power in the Congress and Democrats installed to bring an end to U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq.

The war had been going on as long as America's war on Nazi Germany. No end was in sight. U.S. casualties and costs were rising. Bush's approval rating had sunk to record lows.

The day after the GOP rout, Bush cashiered his war minister, Donald Rumsfeld. In December, the Iraq Study Group, chaired by Bush I Secretary of State James Baker, released its report.

"The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating. ... A slide toward chaos could trigger the collapse of Iraq's government and a humanitarian disaster. ... The situation in Baghdad and several provinces is dire. ... Pessimism is pervasive. ... Violence is increasing in scope, complexity and lethality."

His policy collapsing, Bush made a last throw of the dice. Gen. David Petraeus was named to command U.S. forces, and his request for a "surge" of 21,500 additional U.S. troops accepted. Petraeus also demanded and got 10,000 more support troops.

Still, by April, as the "surge" brigades began to arrive, Harry Reid, Senate majority leader, was declaring, "This war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything." Democrats, the party base goading them on, tried to impose upon Bush, as a condition of further funding for the war, deadlines for the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Bush vetoed the bill. He was sustained. Then, he rubbed the Democrats' noses in their defeat by demanding and getting $100 billion more to finance the surge and the war. There are today 30,000 more troops in Iraq than when the Democratic Congress was elected.

As Petraeus testifies, the antiwar movement appears broken. Reid has said his party will not try to de-fund the war or impose new deadlines. It will follow GOP Sen. John Warner, who has suggested it might be helpful if the president withdrew a brigade by Christmas, to signal the Iraqi government to get its house in order. Petraeus has agreed to that.

Next April is the date when the Iraq Study Group said all U.S. combat brigades should be out of Iraq. By then, Bush and Petraeus will have tens of thousands more troops in Iraq than when the Democrats were elected and the ISG reported. The lame duck is not all that lame.

What happened to the party of Speaker Pelosi and Reid, which was going to end U.S. involvement in the war and not permit Bush to pursue victory the way Richard Nixon pursued it in Vietnam for four years?

Answer: Terrified of the possible consequences of the policies they recommend, Democrats lack the courage to impose those policies.

When it comes to issues of war, Democrats are an intimidated lot. Sens. Clinton, Edwards, Biden, Dodd and Reid were all stampeded by Bush into voting him a blank check for war in October 2002. Why? Because they feared Bush would declare them weak or unpatriotic if they denied him the authority to go to war, at a time of his choosing, until he had made a more compelling case for war.

Now they regret what they did. But, in a showdown, they will do it again. For Democrats have been psychologically damaged by 60 years of GOP attacks on them as the party of retreat and surrender.

Their hero, FDR, was posthumously ripped apart for Yalta, the appeasement of "Uncle Joe," and the abandonment to communism of Poland and Eastern Europe. Truman fired Gen. MacArthur, fought a no-win war in Korea and was savaged, along with Gen. Marshall and Dean Acheson, by Joe McCarthy. By 1952, Truman was at 23 percent and finished. In January 1954, the Tailgunner was riding high at 50 percent.

Came then Vietnam and the credible charge that the Liberal Establishment, The Best and the Brightest, had marched us in, then cut and run, abandoning our Vietnamese and Cambodian allies to a holocaust, and bringing on the worst strategic defeat in U.S. history.

When Ronald Reagan, in the closing days of the 1980 campaign, declared Vietnam a "noble cause," the liberal media leapt on it as a gaffe. It wasn't. Reagan was wired in to Middle America.

John Kerry understood this. Thus, he ran in 2004 as a decorated Vietnam vet, not the onetime icon of the antiwar movement.

Bush is winning today because he has jettisoned the jabber about global democracy and argues that a U.S. withdrawal risks a strategic disaster, national humiliation, massacre of our friends and triumph for al-Qaida. Democrats, fearing he may be right, are in paralysis.

Scourged for 20 years over "Who Lost China?" they don't want to spend the next 20 years answering "Who Lost the Middle East?"

Thus the rout of the peace Democrats. But the movement will be back. For, Petraeus' good news notwithstanding, there is no light yet visible at the end of this tunnel.


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The Petraeus Hearings -- Michael Goodwin's Perspective
The battlefield shifts -- Petraeus brings the facts, but some Dems can't handle the truth


By Michael Goodwin
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2007/09/12/2007-09-12_the_battlefield_shifts.html
September 12th 2007


The politics of Iraq, tilting strongly against the war for two years, will likely move back toward the center now, thanks to the impressive testimony of our top commander and to the outrageous attacks on him by some Democrats and their party's wackadoo wing.

The performance of Gen. David Petraeus over two days of congressional grilling was pitch perfect in its cautious tones and politically adroit in substance. By saying he planned to bring thousands home by Christmas and 30,000 by next July, he outflanked the demands for wholesale withdrawal of all 170,000 troops. He also made a by-the-numbers case that we are winning real progress across a broad front, a one-two punch that will shake up the Iraq debate.

It probably didn't hurt that the hearings covered the sixth anniversary of 9/11, thus adding an emotional element even though there is no evidence Iraq had any role in the attacks.

The upshot of the long-awaited testimony was that the Bush White House claimed more time to see if it can finally succeed in a war it has botched for more than four years, and almost certainly will add to its slight uptick in support that started when earlier reports showed the troop surge was succeeding.

For Democrats, the hearings were a disaster. They don't have the votes to force a withdrawal and many were left sputtering mad over their inability to get a usable quote out of Petraeus or Ambassador Ryan Crocker that would allow them to declare defeat for Bush's strategy. Never before has it been so clear that some - Ted Kennedy, for example - are putting partisanship ahead of country.

Indeed, their performance was so shockingly awful that I am inclined to believe charges that some Democrats actually hope we lose. Up to now, I've always viewed such charges as rancid partisanship that demonized legitimate differences. Now I'm not so sure.

My distress began with a smear on Petraeus from Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), who declared his testimony not credible - before Petraeus had even spoken! Far worse was the scandalous newspaper ad by MoveOn.org that shouted "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" There is a special place in hell for such vile people.

And there is a special place for a political party that obeys them - minority status. Democrats are flirting with an electoral disaster next year with their strident anti-military tone. It's almost as though our success in Iraq has driven them to desperation - calling our military leaders liars, shills and traitors. It's one thing to be the loyal opposition and give voice to public frustration; it's quite another to trash the nation's honored and courageous soldiers. While some Republicans were skeptical, none was disrespectful or hostile.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), the party's presidential front-runner, struck a pose that was somber and critical but not outright hostile. Neither was she very effective, giving the impression she didn't have much fire in the belly for the issue. She used seven of her 10 minutes late yesterday to express "disbelief" about the extent of progress and said the situation was "unlikely to improve." The two questions she asked were not very probing and were easily parried by Petraeus and Crocker.

Most Americans are too smart to side with the far left against the military. Recent polls have shown that, while a sizable majority still oppose the war, they are also willing to trust our military leaders to solve the problems far more than either party.

Of course, that same public remains impatient and the politics could shift again if conditions don't noticeably improve. The greatest concern is the inability of the Iraqi Army and police to defend their country and of the government to be more than a front for sectarian militias. Clear and fairly dramatic progress on both is necessary to hold and build on public support.

With President Bush planning a major speech this week, the political implications for 2008 are dramatic. He's already bet his own legacy on the war. Now the ante has been raised to include the next President, as well.

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