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 Moveon.org was absolutely the worst move in the history of bad moves. Petraeus simply has more credibility than Moveon.org. 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.