A rare moment of truth on Capitol Hill

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.

Said Petraeus:

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.

Comments

  1. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    The Democrats are making their predictable ‘brave’ noises of outrage right now hurling a few ‘tough’ questions at Petraeus which as Kieth has so insightfully stated is a futile gesture because it is the ‘Commander in thief’ Georgie Bush and Congress who these questions should be ‘hurled’ at.

    Very insightfull comments Kieth, that really gives some food for thought. Your always firing on all eight cylinders.

    I called up several senators and congresspeople and expressed my contempt at its enabling of the Chimp’s
    occupation for all the good it will do.

    Many Democrats state they want withdrawl from Iraq but want to leave enough security forces to protect
    ‘American assets’ in Iraq.

    Which means that Dems will always make its brave little noises of “Oh, we don’t have enough votes to overide a Presidential veto” but its underlying statement of protecting ‘American assets’ means
    they’re along for the ride in Iraq ‘as long were there’.

  2. Carl Nemo

    The problem with the President being the Commander in Chief is that the founders made the assumption that he would basically be an honorable man or in our times possibly a woman. But what if, the President is less than honorable or is an outright crook with an agenda and the checks and balances fail; ie., either Congress or Justice failing to challenge this same less than honorable Executive as they’ve done so to this point…?!

    The founders evidently couldn’t envision where all three branches of government would be compromised in time, but that’s what has happened in addition to our two-party system having gone belly-up with the repubs and the dems merging into “republicrats” with this newly emerged single entity marching to the jody calls of their corporate masters. They simply pitch scraps of pork back to Mayberry courtesy of the U.S. Treasury ‘deli’ maintaining their incumbency while they all work hand-in-hand to compromise both the national and economic security of this once great nation.

    “We the People” have no one in DC who genuinely represents our interests at this point in history. All the candidates on the campaign trail except for possibly Kucinich and Paul are simply patronizing the “booboisie” electorate with the same old simplistic non issues while the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, habeas corpus, posse commitatus and many other protections that we might not even be aware of have been compromised by their traitorous duplicit, non-representation while in the halls of Congress. They screw “we the people” over 24/7/365, that seemingly is what they do best…!

    America and it’s citizens have never been in such extreme harms way since the founding of the Republic!

    Carl Nemo **==

  3. keith

    Carl, you’ve nailed it!

    The one fatal flaw in our Constitution is that our founding fathers never dreamed that all three branches of our government would become so completely corrupt…and all at the same time.

    As I and others have noted in numerous other posts, most (if not all) of the checks and balances that were carefully crafted into our system of government have now been so thoroughly corrupted to the point that they are no longer effective.

    We have a President who calls the Constitution just another “goddamned piece of paper”, a Congress full of bums, wimps, perverts, and thieves who are beholden only to themselves, and a judiciary that has been hand-picked by the other two branches of government so as to insure that the corruption continues.

    Our Constitutional system also relies on an informed and engaged electorate to keep everyone in the system accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, right now, the electorate seems FAR more interested in who the next “American Idol” will be rather than the next President.

    “We the (now largely ignorant) People” are LETTING all of this happen. And “We the People” could stop all this corruption in its tracks with our ballots at the next election if we really wanted to.

    But we probably won’t.

    That’s because our founding fathers ALSO never envisioned that the so-called “free” press they carefully enshrined into our Constitution would, itself, become so thoroughly corrupt.

    And, they certainly never imagined that the electorate would actually CHOOSE to remain ignorant (and therefore indifferent) enough to allow their government to effectively operate “open loop”.

    Maybe the reason our government is now so corrupt is because we, too, have now become a nation full of lazy bums, thieves, perverts and liars who are too busy looking out for “number one” to care about what happens to our nation as a whole.

    So, in that sense, we are now simply reaping what we, ourselves, have sown.

  4. willie

    Mr. Thompson represents the typical political writer of today; he sits and waits for any minor slip to pronounce the greatness of his investigative reporting prowess — what an absolute and total joke.

    I am sick of the division that exists amongst our people and I am fed up with the group of folks who represent themselves as reporters, but who spend the majority of their ink tearing down our leaders and our country.

    Thank God for General Petraeus and for the men and women of our military who are willing to place their lives in jeopardy to protect all Americans, even those as worthless as Doug Thompson.

    May God bless America and may God protect and direct the leaders of our great nation.

    Willie T

  5. ekaton

    Willie T, please enlighten us. How did attacking Iraq protect all Americans? Bush himself said Iraq had nothing to do with 911. Don’t argue “al qaida in Iraq” as that group did not exist until Bush attacked Iraq. Fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here? How are they going to get here? Frankly I’d rather fight them here as the supply lines would be non existent and it would be a lot cheaper and far fewer American lives would be lost. Tell us how, also, attacking Afghanistan has protected all Americans. Bin Laden was allowed to escape at Tora Bora, and Bush said “Frankly I don’t think about him all that much.” Tell us exactly how attacking those two countries has helped us.

    Kent Shaw

  6. willie

    Hey Kent, how about taking a few very deep breaths before you have a coronary.

    No, I won’t address your questions because your questions have nothing to do with the subject matter which is General Petraeus, his testimony, and whether or not he is trustworthy.

    Why don’t you tell me why you are so upset that General Petraeus and Ambassador Crockett offer us hope and an opportunity to turn a disastrous situation into an honorable way out? Why Kent, tell me WHY!!!

    All you liberals are the same — any good news for America is terrible news for you. Be honest Kent, REALLY, BE HONEST — You and your cruddy liberal friends Hope With All Your Hearts That We Lose Our Tails In Iraq, Don’t YOU!?! DON’T YOU!!!

    Willie T

  7. ekaton

    Although I am registered as “no party affiliation” I am most likely one of the very FEW liberals who choose to comment on these articles. So, “all you liberals” wouldn’t really apply as far as these comments go. Just for the sake of discussion, here is the best definition of “liberal” I have found. I post this definition here from time to time and I always ask for anyone to post a definition of “conservative” and they never do so.

    lib•er•al

    Adjective

    1. Favoring political and social reforms tending towards democracy and personal freedoms for the individual; advocating reform or progress in education, religion, etc.

    2. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; not bigoted.

    3. Open to new ideas for progress; tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

    4. Describing Democratic forms of government, as distinguished from monarchies, aristocracies, oligarchies, fascism, etc.

    5. Forward looking, welcoming of new ideas without rigid reaction, advocate for the well being of the people – their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, their civil liberties.

    con•serv•a•tive

    adjective

    ??????????????

    Come on folks, let’s see a good definition. Feel free to jump in here Willie T. Just try to keep the invective to a minimum, as we reserve that for conservative media darling Ann Coulter.

    — Kent Shaw

  8. willie

    Sorry Kent for mislabeling so many of the people in America as liberals, and I must admit, by your fine definition you nailed me. What I should’ve labeled you as is a bonifide Socialist or maybe a Communist sympathizer or maybe even a trader.

    Please forgive me,

    Willie T

  9. Carl Nemo

    Yo Willie T…

    Ref: Willie’s reply to Kent
    *****

    “What I should have labeled you as is a bonifide Socialist or maybe a Communist sympathizer or maybe even a trader.”

    *****
    What’s wrong with being a socialist? The U.S. is already a socialist state with womb-to-tomb care for it’s citizens that we cannot afford as a nation.

    How about communism? We deal with Red China and most households in America are loaded with Red Chinese made products from washcloths to leaded toys for their kids. Even dad’s weedeater is made in China. Our reps in DC, your heroes think Red China is AOK when it comes to deal-making that destroys America economically.

    What’s wrong with “traders”? They all have viable jobs on Wall Street, Chicago’s commodity pits, the New York Mercantile Exchange and many folks trade goods, services and even securities via their computer terminals many losing their butts, but some making out.

    Oh, I’m sorry you meant traitors. Gee, the only traitors I can think of are in Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court and even a few high level general grade officers too. I personally don’t know any rank and file traitors. In fact in my 62 years I’ve never run across a genuine ordinary citizen/traitor…!

    Thanks for your comments Willy T. A human mind is a terrible thing to waste. I suggest you get your GED and educate yourself to the ways of the world before you walk out on the expressway of public discourse.

    Carl Nemo **==

  10. ekaton

    Communist? Socialist? Oh, please. That is so adolescent. Medicare, certainly a socialist program, operates with an overhead around 4%. Our private health care system operates at around 35% overhead. Would I like to see Medicare expanded to cover everyone, yes I would. Does that make me a socialist? Because I am the first to condemn our open borders letting anyone and everyone into the United States, some of them undoubtedly carrying weapons of mass destruction, some of them contagious diseases. But wait! That would seem to plant me firmly within the conservative camp. Now what? Oh my gosh? NOT open minds!! Oh Please!! Not That!!

    Kent Shaw

    PS – Yes I AM a trader. Currently available for barter is one Fender Telecaster, one Gibson Les Paul, a Mesa Boogie amp, four or five hundred vinyl albums in great shape, four or five hundred CD’s in great shape, a set of golf clubs, and a few other items. So yes, all of the above is available to anyone in exchange for items of equal value. YES! I AM A TRADER!

  11. keith

    Willie,

    While I, too, sometimes grow weary of the “divisions” that exist among our people, I have also come to realize that such “divisions” are one of the few remaining positive indicators that our Constitutional form of government is still alive…if not altogether well.

    Democracy is, by design, a messy business. If you want strict conformity with no “divisions”, then I suggest you may want to seek out one of the many dictatorships still thriving on our planet. There, being a “non-conformist” (or speaking out against the government) will often earn you a trip to the nearest jail…or worse.

    And our forefathers also made the provision for a free press in our Constitution PRECISELY so as to encourage the kind of dissent you are now accusing Mr. Thompson of fomenting. That is, they envisioned that a free (and thereby critical) press corps would help insure that those elected to high office in our land would continue to be accountable to the people who elected them.

    So, here again, I view the fact that such published dissent… in all its many forms…is still being allowed in our nation as yet another indicator that our Constitutional form of government still lives.

    And, like you, I, too, am immensely proud of our men and women in uniform who are, this night, standing guard in many faraway places. But it is critically important for us to remember that the absolute WORST thing our leaders can do to our brave soldiers, sailors airmen and marines is to place them into combat situations where their lives are being wasted for no clear military purpose.

    Or, to put it another way, when the quite noble goal of “protecting all Americans” becomes merely a convenient catch phrase for the continued government-sanctioned mass murder of our own (or another nation’s) citizens for no clear military purpose, then the cause for which they are fighting can no longer be morally justified before anyone’s God.

  12. Doug Thompson

    Willie T:

    Our posters are welcome to express opinions and disagree with what I write but we do not allow anyone here to call other posters on this web site names. I suggest you stick to FreeRepublic. They like that sort of stuff over there. We do not.

    –Doug

  13. ekaton

    I love to watch Ann Coulter on television and scream my fool head off at the TV screen. Big Brother has me well trained to vent in that harmless fashion. Anyhow, I vent that way. And try to keep it civil here. And fail. But its the thought that counts. I’ve been around the block too many times by this ripe old age to accord any respect to anyone calling me or anyone else names. I try to remember to not do so myself. I was put on this earth to learn patience. Negotiating modern day traffic in this nation of 400 million is one way to do so. Commenting in public requires patience and courtesy in an ideal world. It ain’t ever gonna be an ideal world.

    The ever and always redundant,

    — Kent Shaw

  14. CheckerboardStrangler

    “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.”

    —I am relieved to hear from Petraeus.
    I dont believe that he removed our hope with callous disregard because from those with callous hearts we either hear nothing or we hear baldface lies, so with that in mind I would daresay that he said what he said as an act of mercy, perhaps his only one.

    And so, like a terminal patient, flatlining on the ER table, Petraeus pronounced “time of death” on the US purpose in Iraq.

  15. CheckerboardStrangler

    What I want to know is how Bush can dare to start planning for “beyond his presidency”.
    I think it’s time someone sat him down and let him know that once he leaves office, he no longer has any right to decide what will take place “beyond his presidency”.
    If anything it might be wise for any who take his place to erase completely his legacy of lies, death and destruction.

  16. bryan mcclellan

    It will be impossible to erase the Hash mark that smirk has left while wearing Uncle Sams underwear.He’s made it clear that his successor will have to turn the tidy whiteys inside in true frat boy fashion to avoid a wash.He cares not that all the shit he leaves behind will be exposed when he’s Paraguay bound…All Patraeus is to him is another dingleberry to add to his already enormous collection.

  17. ekaton

    Don’t expect the Democrats to be in any particular hurry to repeal the “PATRIOT” Act, the military commissions act, the authorization to use military force act, or to restore habeas corpus anytime soon. Don’t expect them to rescind the series of executive orders which give the president dictatorial power in the event of an emergency anywhere in the world as defined by and when declared by the president. Too much unconstitutional power has been claimed by the current president and I can’t imagine Hillary or Barack wanting to give up even a tiny fraction of that illegal authority. The two parties are the same party. The Clintons and Bushes are the greatest of friends. So are the Bushes and the Saudis. So are the Bushes and the bin Ladens. The Bushes allowed the Saudis and the bin Ladens to fly out of the U.S. before the rest of the air travel system was allowed to come back online after 911. Wake up Americans. Wake up.

    Kent Shaw

  18. ekaton

    “All Patraeus is to him is another dingleberry to add to his already enormous collection.”

    Correct, and so obvious to everyone but Petraeus, apparently, who has decided to suck up to Bush, and continue to follow clearly illegal orders. A real general would tell Bush he was out of his #^<+!]? mind, read him the riot act, and then resign. Because the invasion of Iraq was illegal, every following order is illegal. The generally redundant, -- Kent Shaw