Monday, April 7, 2008

The Petraeus Testimony

General Petraeus will be testifying before Congress Tuesday and Wednesday.

Some Pentagon officials, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, had hoped to continue the drawdown in order to relieve the strain of repeated combat tours on U.S. troops and their families. But Gates recently sided with Petraeus on the wisdom of a period of "consolidation and assessment" expected to last at least several weeks, and possibly months. Gates and Admiral William Fallon, the outgoing chief of the U.S. Central Command and Petraeus's direct superior, have expressed concern that leaving 140,000 troops in Iraq will continue to erode U.S. military readiness. But President Bush, mindful of the centrality of Iraq to his legacy, has made clear that what Petraeus wants, Petraeus will get.

The problem is that neither Petraeus nor Bush have answered the question of why the surge is continuing when the stated goal of the surge - space for political reconciliation - has not been met. It doesn't matter how safe we make it in Iraq if the Iraqi government does not come together and form a functional body. Bush has done nothing concrete to pressure Maliki to make something happen. If Maliki has no incentive to form a coalition government, then he can screw around forever and our troops could be there for "one-hundred years." Is that in the best interests of America.

No comments: