A rare, defining moment that cut through the fog of political rhetoric emerged on Capitol Hill Tuesday as Gen. David Petraeus wound up his second day of testimony on President George W. Bush’s failed Iraq war.
Sen. John Warner, the moderate Virginia Republican who now questions Bush’s handling of the war, asked Gen. Petraeus if America is a safer place as a result of the war that has cost more American lives than the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
After first trying to weasel out of answering the question, Petraeus said he really hadn’t given America’s safety any thought. Incredibly, he admitted the safety of this nation was not the issue in Iraq.
Sir, I don’t know, actually. I have not sat down and sorted out in my own mind. …
I have not stepped back to look at …I’ve certainly taken into account the impact on the military. The strain on our ground forces, in particular, has very much been a factor in my recommendations. But I have tried to focus on doing what I think a commander is supposed to do, which is to determine the best recommendations to achieve the objectives of the policy from which his mission is derived. And that is what I have sought to do, sir.
In other words, the General on the ground, the man Bush has said all along we should listen to, admits in testimony before Congress that the safety of America is not a consideration of the war in Iraq.
Petraeus’s admission contradicts Bush’s many claims that the whole idea of his trumped up war in Iraq was to make America, and the world, a safer place. Anyone with an IQ above that of the average plant knows that Bush’s ill-conceived, lies-based, politically-motivated Iraq war – along with his so-called “war on terrorism” – has made the world, and America, more dangerous.
Petraeus wiped out the last illusion of Bush’s debacle in Iraq. He callously removed any hope that thousands of American men and women in uniform died for any legitimate purpose. If America’s safety was not the primary reason for sending all those soldiers to their death when what the hell was?
On Thursday night, Bush will tell the nation he hopes to reduce troop strength in Iraq by 30,000 next year, putting the number of people in harm’s way at the same number it was before he launched his “surge” late last year.
But Democrats on the Hill say when you look beyond the vague, conditional promises Petraeus made during his testimony you can only conclude that the administration’s real plan is U.S. involvement in Iraq for at least another 10 years.
The Iraq war has already lasted longer than America’s involvement in World War I, World II or Korea.
Ten years from now if we are, as predicted, still in Iraq, the conflict there will surpass Vietnam as America’s longest-running war.
And America in 2017 will be no safer than it was on the morning of September 11, 2001.