Military objectives are being met: General Petraeus
After months of anticipation and speculation, the two top U.S. officials in Iraq have testified on Capitol Hill delivering their assessment of the situation in Iraq since the 'troop surge' was implemented. The U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petreaus, concludes the security situation in Iraq is improving and nearly 30,000 U.S. troops could be withdrawn by next summer.
“The military objectives of the surge are in large measure being met. In recent months in the face of tough enemies in the brutal summer heat of Iraq, the Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces have achieved progress in the security arena,” General David Petreaus stated.
But a number of democrats weren't sold on the upbeat assessment, accusing General Petreaus of cooking the books and questioning the Bush Administration strategy of staying the course in Iraq.
“The situation in Iraq cries out for a dramatic change of course. We need to get out of Iraq for that country’s sake and for our own. It is time to go and to go now,” Tom Lantos from the House Foreign Affairs Committee said.
Testifying alongside General Petreaus, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, focused on the political and economic gains, attempting to convince lawmakers that war is worth winning.
“I cannot guarantee success in Iraq. I do believe that it is attainable. I am certain that abandoning or drastically curtailing our efforts will bring failure,” Ryan Crocker said.
During the heated congressional hearing a number of anti-war protestors were escorted out by police.
While lawmakers grilled the two top U.S. officials in Iraq over the current strategy, no one has been feeling the heat from the four-year-old war more so than President Bush. According to a recent ABC News poll, 65% of Americans disapprove of the President's handling of the situation in Iraq, and 58% of respondents say the number of U.S. troops should be reduced.
General David Petreaus will be back on Capitol Hill on Tuesday addressing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on U.S. progress in Iraq. President Bush will soon send a progress report on the Iraq war strategy to Congress, but whether any of this will lead to a change in the current policy of staying the course is uncertain.
Meanwhile, RT's military analyst Evgeny Khrushchev reports that a recent report from the CIA says the war on terror will be won through intelligence and not by increasing troop numbers.
“Another important report, which was overshadowed by the expectations of Petraeus-Crocker report, was delivered by the CIA director last Friday.For the first time, he specifically emphasized that the major threat is emanating from Al-Qaeda, which is based in Pakistan. As a matter of fact, the global war on terror is an intelligence war. So, whatever the modifications to Iraq, to really change the situation in Iraq, the U.S. policy makers have to pay attention to what the CIA director said, that Americans need more brainpower, more brains – not boots on the Iraq ground - to reassess the situation and come up with a realistic strategy to head off the global threat coming from Al-Qaeda from Pakistan,” observed Evgeny Khrushchev.