Here’s a pretty good article from the Canadian “Globe and Mail” on the implications of the testimony yesterday.

What amazed me about the whole thing was the fact that it was…what…8 hours in before Petraeus or Crocker even got a chance to say a word. The net of it is, though, as this article points out, that it’s overall a good day for the White House, and for Republicans in General. The Democrats have three choices:

The first is to accept the Petraeus/Crocker scenario, extend funding for the war, and vow to stay the course. This would enrage the anti-war faction within the party and remove Iraq as a presidential election issue. Politically, this is simply intolerable.

The second is to dismiss yesterday’s report and push for a more rapid troop withdrawal through Congressional funding cuts. This would consolidate anti-war support, but if the broader public finds the general and the ambassador convincing, then the party risks looking pacifist, defeatist and untrustworthy.

The third choice is to push for accelerated troop withdrawals without abandoning core commitments to combat terrorist elements in Iraq, which offers the best chance of gaining popular support. But like all middle-of-the-road positions, it can be the hardest to navigate.

Two other reasons why I think yesterday was a good day for Republicans:

1) The ad put out by was absolutely the worst move in the history of bad moves. Petraeus simply has more credibility than I’m all for activism, and Moveon has a right to speak it’s mind, but all it did was force almost every Democrat who was set to demagogue a four-star general to distance itself from the “anti-war” movement.

2) The press today is too focused on 9/11 memorials to be bashing Petraeus and talking about how much of a lost cause Iraq is. If anyone thinks THAT timing is an accident, raise your hand.

Anyway, I haven’t read the entire transcript, yet, just the “Summary for Policy Makers” provided by various MSM outlets. Undoubtedly more comments will follow once I’ve had the chance to read it.

In the meantime: Never Forget.

Update: Here’s an exceedingly upbeat article from the Boston Globe, cleverly titled “Team Bush’s false optimism.” Read for yourself, but it’s pretty easy to see the logical flaws and convenient dismissing of key facts. It’s worth saying I think that instinctive pessimism is as pervasive and as dangerous as false optimism.

Globe and Mail

Petraeus and Crocker testimony
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4 thoughts on “Petraeus and Crocker testimony

  • Let me disagree with one of your major points of this posting. While you assert that’s ad was the worst move in the history of bad moves, I would assert that Bush dragging America into war with Iraq trumps it unquestionably.

    The article Team Bush’s False Optimism was an excellent read. You are very consistent in making general critical remarks–“it’s pretty easy to see the logical flaws and convenient dismissing of key facts”—without backing them up with any facts or at least a line of argument.

    But your last comment is what is most telling: “instinctive pessimism is as pervasive and as dangerous as false optimism.” What you call “instinctive pessimism” many would call realistic, rational, and wise. What is so pessimistic about backing out of a fight you don’t know you can win? It is this we-can-do-anything-because-we’re-America attitude that has led once again to an unpopular war, the destablization of an entire region, and an escalating number of human deaths.

    By far the most interesting moment of this whole charade was when Senator John Warner asked Petraeus: “do you think [the Iraq war] is making America safer?”

    Patraeus’ response: “I don’t know, actually. I have not sat down and sorted in my mind.”

  • More bad moves (enough to start a book with, Broussard, or at least a coffee table piece)…

    “The terrorists and the Baathists loyal to the old regime will fail because America and our allies have a strategy, and our strategy is working.”
President Bush
November 1, 2003

    “Our strategy is working.”
Vice President Cheney
September 28, 2004

    “That’s our strategy. And it is working and it is going to work, for the good of the country.”
President Bush
June 24, 2005

    “Our strategy is working.”
White House’s “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq”
November 30, 2005

    “This approach is working.”
President Bush
December 7, 2005

    “It is a concrete example of how our strategy is working.”
Frm. White House spokesman Scott McClellan
March 20, 2006
    “It took time to understand and adjust to the brutality of the enemy in Iraq. Yet the strategy is working.”
President Bush
March 20, 2006

  • “What is so pessimistic about backing out of a fight you don’t know you can win?”

    UM…you’re kidding right?

    Look, I know there’s been some spin over the last few years…granted. Many mistakes have been made…granted. No, America cannot do “anything it wants” just because it’s America…granted.

    But it is decidedly bad logic to assume that simply because mistakes have been made over the last 4 years, that therefore it is a lost cause.

    It’s really simple…you don’t believe we should have gone in. Fine. But we’re in. Now that we’re in, you think we should pull out. Fine. We’re not.

    My comments about are political commentary, not policy commentary. I PROMISE, whether is dead on or dead wrong, the ad was really bad political strategy because it gives Republicans across the board ammunition to paint Democrats across the board (whose side Moveon is undoubtedly on) as left-wing nutjob wacko crazies. Period.

    I disagree with them on principle as well, (obviously) but my comment was that it was a bad political move.

    “Bush dragging American into war” was probably a bad political move as well, but it completely dodges the point:

    PooPooing a four-star general REGARDLESS of what he has to say just because you want to paint the President in a bad light…is a REALLY bad idea.

    I’m not going to argue with you about whether we should be there or not. The question of the day is: are we making progress?

    Whether you think we are, or whether you think we aren’t, if you combine:

    1) Good news from Anbar, once a bastion of EXTREME violence.

    2) Overall historical credibility of General Petraeus.

    3) Tasteless and groundless ad.

    4) Countless grandstanding of Reps and Senators telling the General he’s full of shit before he even says a WORD.

    5) September 11 anniversary coming the day after the press conference with Petraeus.

    You get a political win for the Bush administration, and a political loss for uber-negative Democrats.

    The net of it is that number 3 and 4 become huge contributors to making it that much harder for Democrats to “bring them home now.”

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