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Good show, General Petraeus, not that anyone will pay attention to what you said ...
Posted by: McQ on Monday, September 10, 2007

Yes friends, I've now made it through almost 5 hours of House testimony from General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker before the combined members of the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees.

I have been struck by two things. Both Petraeus and Crocker seemed exceedingly well prepared to face these committee members. Either that or the committee members were woefully unprepared to question them.

What most members were prepared to do is make statements which essentially staked out their position on the war in Iraq. And many of them spent their 5 minutes doing exactly that. That left me thinking that for all of the information that Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker related, it really didn't matter. A good number of them really weren't there to listen.

When questions were asked they were, in many cases, so uninformed that I'd have been embarrassed if I'd have asked them.

The one that comes immediately to mind was asked by a Congressman from Mississippi. He said that when he was in Gen. Petraeus' headquarters in Iraq, he didn't see any Iraqis in there and if the purpose of the Surge was to prepare the Iraqis to take over, where were they?

Heh ... Petraeus patiently explained that their headquarters of the same level (HQ for Iraqi Ground Forces) was right across the street from his and that both headquarters (as would always be the case) have liason officers in each other's headquarters.

That's not to say that there weren't any good questions asked, but if anyone thinks this was a grilling by well prepared politicians bent on getting at the "truth" about the situation, you need to disabuse yourself of that notion.

Now this may get more intense, better focused and better informed when the Senate takes its crack at them in two separate hearings. But I've got to tell you, I was totally unimpressed with the questioning today. I found myself answering questions outloud for Petraeus while I listened. My answers were nowhere as diplomatic as his.

As a final point, I would guess Petraeus did approximately 70-80% of the talking when questions were asked while Crocker did about 20-30% of the talking. Yet it is Crocker's area where we will supposedly achieve success. Seems to me if you're interested in success in Iraq, you'd be hammering Crocker and trying to get answers.
 
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I’m rarely surprised by such. Let’s face it. Congresscritters are all good at one thing for sure: getting elected and re-elected. You don’t have to be especially smart or perceptive to do this. I never, ever expect any particular Congresscritter to ask a question or make a statement that doesn’t relate pretty closely to their next election. Thus, they don’t really come to pay attention to any testimony at any committee meeting. Term limits are not the answer, but they are a start. At least we would rotate the idiot crop occasionally.
 
Written By: JorgXMcKie
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I and my fellow members of the Gathering of Eagles were sitting about 15 feet from the General: I agree whole heartedly with your description of what occurred. I had to really control myself to refrain from standing up and screaming at the politicians as I normally do when I watch their presentations on TV. Our young 10th Mountain Division companion, who will leave for Baghdad this coming Friday, along with us, wanted to meet with the General and it was being arranged, but because of the hearing delays and his tight time schedule, it was not possible.

I have to acknowledge the friendly and helpful attention given to us by the congressional staff in the congressional offices and at the hearing room and also that of the General’s staff. We received much better treatment by them and the Capitol Police than by our elected officials; our group didn’t get to speak with any of our representatives and I don’t think that other Gathering of Eagles members managed to talk to any of their representatives. The Speaker certainly didn’t have any time for our chairman and coordinator when they approached her staff. It looked like yesterday was a day off for politicians in the House who were not involved in the hearing. The congressional member’s visitor’s chairs in front of us were empty of congressmen and women while we were there from 6 PM to the end of the hearing.
 
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