Preparing for Petraeus (UPDATED)
The New Republic has posted a useful primer on the myriad Iraq reports that have already been issued. It’s worth reading before General Petraeus delivers his tomorrow.
Also worth reading: today’s New York Times editorial on the general’s report.
As Congress waited anxiously for General Petraeus’s testimony, a
flurry of well-timed news reports said that he told the White House he
could go along with the withdrawal of about 4,000 American troops
beginning in January but wanted to maintain increased force levels well
into next year — just like Mr. Bush. Democrats who once demanded a firm
date for the start of a troop pullout immediately started backpedaling.
4,000 troops and dangling the prospect of additional withdrawals is a
token political gesture, not a new strategy. If it proves enough to cow
Congress into halting its push for a more robust and concrete exit
strategy, that would be political cowardice at its worst.
that General Petraeus can resist the political pressure and provide an
unvarnished assessment of the military situation in Iraq. He is an
important source of information, of course, but he is only one source —
and he is not the man who sets American policy. If Mr. Bush insists on
listening only to those who agree with him, Congress and the public
must weigh General Petraeus’s report against all data, including two
new independent evaluations sharply at odds with the Pentagon’s claim
that things in Iraq are substantially better.
Still more to read: the Washington Post‘s important front-page story on the surge and its discontents (registration req’d). It’s too long to excerpt usefully here, but give it a look.
Update: Watch the live video of the hearings and follow the NY Times blogger’s reports right here.