Open thread: Brit Hume’s exclusive with Petraeus and Crocker; Update: Video of Petraeus on Iran added

posted at 9:00 pm on September 10, 2007 by Allahpundit

The big A’s got a fee-vah and the only prescription is … well, an iPhone and about 16 hours of sleep. But since neither of those are in the offing, the only prescription is more Petraeus! Sound off here if you’re watching. There’s no shortage of things for Brit Hume to ask him: today’s hearings didn’t tell us jack about the key issue Petraeus was supposed to resolve, namely, whether he expects we’ll be positioned for a broader withdrawal next summer after the surge brigades are rotated out. His answer? Ask me in six months:

p3.jpg

Lefty Fred Kaplan calls the hearings a “disgrace”, which is ironic considering that most lefties (and righties, of course) had their minds made up before Petraeus sat down. While we wait for Hume and co., here are three of the charts from his presentation this afternoon. The good, which is self-explanatory:

pslides_page_05.jpg

The bad, showing virtually no progress in expanding Iraqi security forces except among the greenest recruits:

pslides_page_13.jpg

And the useless. Some of the lefty bloggers are giving him flack for this and I can’t say I blame him. Follow along and you’ll see that he wants five brigades — the surge troops — out by July ’08 and then everything fades into the mist after that. It’s Kaplan’s lament in graphic form:

pslides_page_14.jpg

As for the quotes of the day, the first comes from Petraeus’s testimony. The whole debate reduced to three sentences — and minus, of course, any particulars.

p1.jpg

And the other quote, which comes from Crocker. He flies under the radar but he’s eloquent about the Iraqi predicament on those few occasions that I’ve read him quoted at length:

c4.jpg

As I say, sound off below. We’ll probably have a highlight or two. In the meantime, ponder the mystery of why, with all the complaints about Petraeus cooking the books for Bush, he’d agree to an exclusive interview with Fox News and thereby feed into the Fox-haters’ paranoia. By all means talk to Brit, but talk to Blitzer and CNN, too.

I leave you with this from Newsweek. We heard the rumblings of disagreement between Petraeus and the Pentagon just the other day. If this is true, we don’t know the half of it:

But it’s questionable whether even the smoothest-talking salesman could appease public opinion—or Petraeus’s Pentagon detractors—at this point. NEWSWEEK has learned that a separate internal report being prepared by a Pentagon working group will “differ substantially” from Petraeus’s recommendations, according to an official who is privy to the ongoing discussions but would speak about them only on condition of anonymity. An early version of the report, which is currently being drafted and is expected to be completed by the beginning of next year, will “recommend a very rapid reduction in American forces: as much as two-thirds of the existing force very quickly, while keeping the remainder there.” The strategy will involve unwinding the still large U.S. presence in big forward operation bases and putting smaller teams in outposts. “There is interest at senior levels [of the Pentagon] in getting alternative views” to Petraeus, the official said. Among others, Centcom commander Admiral William Fallon is known to want to draw down faster than Petraeus.

Update: A few highlights. The buzzworthy segment is the middle stretch where Petraeus talks about Iranian influence inside the country and Brit pointedly asks whether we need to bring the war home to Tehran — a nudge we’ll doubtless be hearing about tomorrow from the Fox haters. Petraeus dodges the question. They both have praise for Maliki, which rings false; Lantos did a good job bringing out his duplicity in the opening statement this morning. The segment ends with the two of them giving their assessments of what they hope to achieve by winning the war. Interestingly, they’re not quite on the same page although they’re both thinking big picture. The most important part, though, is probably the very beginning when Crocker talks about our chances at victory. We can win, he says, if we’re ready to buckle down and commit long term. Read the polls and you’ll see that most of the public isn’t. So much for Iraq.


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I’m watching now

Gwillie on September 10, 2007 at 9:04 PM

Is there a live feed?

Limerick on September 10, 2007 at 9:05 PM

shucks.

Limerick on September 10, 2007 at 9:17 PM

I think that the butting-of-heads coming from within the Pentagon and the State Department must do largely with the huge (to my understanding, unprecedented) numbers of holdovers from the previous administration.

The deck was stacked against the relatively small number of loyal party men from day-1 of Bush’s administration, and the total lack of surprise at the reaction to Petraeus’ report is symptomatic of the “new tone” in D.C. — Republicans be nice, and the democrats will eat you alive quickly.

gryphon202 on September 10, 2007 at 9:31 PM

Allah, As we all know,the lib leadership is going to maintain as always in this report,lies-lies-lies.

Ps.Allah try a five minute powernap.HaHa

canopfor on September 10, 2007 at 9:36 PM

By all means talk to Brit, but talk to Blitzer and CNN, too.

I would not be surprised to learn that CNN, MSNBC et al never even requested an interview.

IrishEi on September 10, 2007 at 9:40 PM

and then everything fades into the mist after that

So the man is not an oracle who can predict the future to your satisfaction? So he didn’t tell you what you wanted to hear so you’re ready to crucify him?

You do understand, I trust, that all those Sunni tribal leaders in anbar who ‘flipped’ to our side could, if the Iraqi central government were to implement a policy unacceptable to those Sunni tribal leaders, ‘flip’ back again to enemy combatants overnight?

What were you expecting? “Peace in our time”?

The democrats have shown (more or less) that they will demand troop withdrawals, and Bush will not do that. The war goes on, and it is not over until somebody gives up. Both here in the US, and in Iraq.

Petraeus made the case that we can win this fight, that we are winning this fight, and it is increasingly clear that the democrats are attempting to sabotage, undermine, obstruct, and discredit our efforts.

rockhauler on September 10, 2007 at 9:45 PM

Fred Kagan explained that Battle Of The Generals yesterday.

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NjE4YjlhNmIyMDU4ZjY4OGExYTg3NTg5ZWRlZjAzNjA=

bdfaith on September 10, 2007 at 9:47 PM

Isolating in outposts and only venturing out for patrols was why things were going downhill and making our soldiers targets in a shooting gallery. It seems insane to want to put our troops in that situation again. That was what the British did in Basra and now they’ve fled like dogs with their tails between their legs.

I hoped that at least the Pentagon was not totally over run by liberals but I guess that was false hope.

peacenprosperity on September 10, 2007 at 9:48 PM

Allah, on that last bit about the generals:

Here’s Fred Kagan at NRO explaining the dispute. It’s really about the different responsibilities of the Joint Cheifs and the lead general in Iraq. The Chiefs are responsible for maximizing the efficiency and preparedness of the respective branches. Petraus is responsible for winning the war. The civilians, Sec. Def. and POTUS, take their advice and determine policy. In short, the “dissenting” assessment is built on completely different criteria and meant to accomplish completely different goals.

The Apologist on September 10, 2007 at 9:49 PM

Hey The Senate presentation could go altogether different tommorrow. One key element that the Dems do not take into consideration is by leaving it seems we as a country are admitting to some sort of culpability with regards to invading iraq. This could only damage our credibility much further with the international community. In my eyes it has nothing to do with (god forbid) Bushes legacy. Next thing our military will be totally abandoned in a Wilim DeFoe type exit stratagy and the remaining military will come under control of the Demmocrats. Communists. Then the patriot act could be used against ordinary citizens and Allah Pundit could sell that list of Halliburton detention camp candidates he has, for an iphone.

sonnyspats1 on September 10, 2007 at 9:49 PM

You beat me to the punch bdfaith. Well done.

The Apologist on September 10, 2007 at 9:50 PM

If Republican lawmakers don’t take advantage of this liberal debacle and take the initiative that will prove once again the need to clean the GOP house.

So far Democrats have nearly had their way with dump after dump on our troops, their progress and they’ve gotten away with impugning the integrity of our military leaders.

It’s sickening and they better get called on it or we can expect many years more of the same lying crap.

I remember Jimmi Carterville and we damn sure don’t need that again.

Speakup on September 10, 2007 at 9:50 PM

I thought this was really a good format and a good idea. The Administration hasn’t done the best job in getting their message out and I think this was a different, but hopefully effective tack.

CP on September 10, 2007 at 10:01 PM

I agree that allowing this interview at such a time slot, where most people would be home to watch, was a good idea. The added bonus was choosing Fox News, a place where they could be counted on being treated fairly.

Unfortunately, it is sad that we had to wait to hear from both the Gen Petraeus and Am. Crocker about some facts about Iraq. It’s too bad that after these two fine men have done their media rounds, it will be far and few between when we will hear the Administration speak about Iraq again, except when questioned by the MSM over something.

Weebork on September 10, 2007 at 10:33 PM

are the lack of comments to this thread, indicative of the ratings this segment will get?

jp on September 10, 2007 at 10:48 PM

You mean the Democrats in the Pentagon are putting together the Democrat full on retreat plan? Have to get those troops out before Hillary becomes dictator and all that. Need the money for national Health care didn’t you know. Maybe we can bribe al Qaeda, Hillary takes down the US with national health care, the al Qaeda types get the rest of the world. Who knew, the possibilities are endless.

I think I get from Petreaus that the actual troop levels depends on what is actually going on in Iraq at the time. How else can you gauge? That’s why the plan is vague after a few months. War works like that — Iran may attack Israel and wipe them out, then what? I say that would change the Iraq plan, wouldn’t it.

tarpon on September 10, 2007 at 10:53 PM

are the lack of comments to this thread, indicative of the ratings this segment will get?

jp on September 10, 2007 at 10:48 PM

nope, i think a lot of people got caught on LGF, since Charles opened a thread a smidge sooner.

CrimsonFisted on September 10, 2007 at 10:53 PM

ABC News headlines:

Patraeus Outlines Plans for Troop Withdrawl

Ambassador Frustrated with Iraq

Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Limerick on September 10, 2007 at 11:01 PM

“There is interest at senior levels [of the Pentagon] in getting alternative views” to Petraeus…

That’s a very telling quote since so many dems are harping about Petraeus being in the tank for the Bush administration. I mean, if that’s true, why would the Pentagon be looking for an alternative to Petraeus’ report? That doesn’t make sense. It seems the real issue is that Petraeus’ report was a little too independent for the Pentagon’s strategy of staying in Iraq and needing to show successes (which there are many – don’t get me wrong) on the ground and that the surge is working.

thedecider on September 10, 2007 at 11:07 PM

I thought one of the most telling parts of the interview came about two thirds of the way through when the General talked about the fact that without AQI’s activity – particularly the bombing of the Golden Mosque – the sectarian violence would be nothing like experienced in the last 12 months.

This tells me the issue is less a civil war / sectarian fight than it is AQI and Iran trying to force the US to demonstrate what they think is our traditional lack of will (so amply confirmed by the Left and other Defeatocrats) and leave the nation to them.

Defeat AQI and their attacks trying to provoke the Shia, and exactly why do the Shia people need militia’s if the US and Iraqi military are there? Oh, that must be the other blowback that the left and paulians do not get.

Athos on September 10, 2007 at 11:23 PM

In response to Brit Hume, General Petraeus outlines a long list of “destructive” activities by Iran in Iraq. Petraeus goes on to explain that he has brought his concerns of Iran’s activities up the chain of command and they are “taking a hard look” at what should be done. This is all very interesting talk and I wonder what plans there are to go after the Quds Force, or even a larger strike against Iran IN Iran. We have talked on other threads about the possible plans, etc. I think it’s interesting that the President is careful not to say outright (that I’ve heard) that Iran is killing our troops, but General Petraeus did in his testimony and repeats it here in so many words. Crazy that this isn’t drawing more attention. I also wonder what the trigger is that would start the bombs to fall on the heads of Iranians that are responsible for killing our troops?

Ordinary1 on September 10, 2007 at 11:29 PM

In the meantime, ponder the mystery of why, with all the complaints about Petraeus cooking the books for Bush, he’d agree to an exclusive interview with Fox News and thereby feed into the Fox-haters’ paranoia. By all means talk to Brit, but talk to Blitzer and CNN, too.

AP, would your suggestion change any minds?

Mcguyver on September 10, 2007 at 11:41 PM

It is very telling when on the heels of this report there will be a report from the the in-house DOD detractors. For all that were critical of Rumsfled, he was trying to rid the “house” of the left-overs from the meals-on-wheels and the “lets bunker down like we did in the former Yugoslavia” risk averse crowd. Also, DOD (translate Big Army and conventionally minded USMC) has not embraced, doesn’t want to embrace, COIN. Many of “them” see GEN Petreaus as a passing fad that is a pain in their necks.

lpierson on September 10, 2007 at 11:46 PM

The bad, showing virtually no progress in expanding Iraqi security forces except among the greenest recruits…

Ummm… that would be because we’re now doing more surging than training. Some experienced Iraqi soldiers dying for their country and such. But sure, why not.

Karl on September 10, 2007 at 11:48 PM

Petraeus was supposed to resolve, namely, whether he expects we’ll be positioned for a broader withdrawal next summer after the surge brigades are rotated out. His answer? Ask me in six months:

AP, that really didn’t hit me the way that it did you. One of the things I took away from both the testimony and this interview, was how significant the bombing of the golden dome was, and how that completely changed both reality and perception. Petraeus got caught in being a little too optimistic in his NYT op-ed, which he referenced in the interview with Brit, in regards to the situation in Iraq. His assessment was blown out of the water when the golden dome was attacked. To say that he can determine now how we will be position for withdrawals in ’08, I think is unrealistic. I know that that is what everyone agreed to, but that doesn’t make it any more realistic. Personally, I’m glad that it was a little nebulous in terms of future projections, because it forces congress and the Pres. to make decisions on what accomplishments have been made and what setbacks have been endured. By letting the future fade off into the mist also prevents our enemies from knowing which way we are leaning. It has got to be frustrating to our enemy to have public opinion polls that seem to go their way, only to have the Pres. keep troops there, and Congress fund them. I think this testimony offered the info that could be expected: results that have occurred due to the surge, current impediments , and the current political climate. In regards to Iran, I was surprised at how quickly and how often Iran’s involvement was mentioned. I don’t know if there is any there there, but we’ll see.

Weight of Glory on September 10, 2007 at 11:50 PM

By Bush’s Own Standard, Surge Has Failed
By George Will

” A democracy, wrote the diplomat and scholar George Kennan, “fights for the very reason that it was forced to go to war. It fights to punish the power that was rash enough and hostile enough to provoke it — to teach that power a lesson it will not forget, to prevent the thing from happening again. Such a war must be carried to the bitter end.” Which is why “unconditional surrender” was a natural U.S. goal in World War II, and why Americans were so uncomfortable with three “wars of choice” since then — in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.

What “forced” America to go to war in 2003 — the “gathering danger” of weapons of mass destruction — was fictitious. That is one reason why this war will not be fought, at least not by Americans, to the bitter end. The end of the war will, however, be bitter for Americans, partly because the president’s decision to visit Iraq without visiting its capital confirmed the flimsiness of the fallback rationale for the war — the creation of a unified, pluralist Iraq.

After more than four years of war, two questions persist: Is there an Iraq? Are there Iraqis?”

MB4 on September 11, 2007 at 12:12 AM

Ah yes….George Kennan, the architect of the Truman doctrine, which he then abandonded and became an advocate of appeasement of the Soviet Union and urged negotiation over control of Europe….quoted by the ‘arch’ neo-con George Will.

Limerick on September 11, 2007 at 12:27 AM

George Will a neocon???

MB4 on September 11, 2007 at 12:33 AM

MB4 on September 11, 2007 at 12:33 AM

I’ll take the good General’s opinion over Will’s, or yours for that matter.

Limerick on September 11, 2007 at 12:40 AM

I’ll take the good General’s opinion over Will’s, or yours for that matter.

Limerick on September 11, 2007 at 12:40 AM

Well knock me over with a feather!

And you just can’t trust those sneaky liberals like George Will anyway!

MB4 on September 11, 2007 at 12:44 AM

Scott Ott Double Feature

Petraeus to Call Iraq ‘Safest Democracy on Earth’

AND

Petraeus Caves to Dems, Orders Surge of Accountants

Connie on September 11, 2007 at 12:47 AM

George Will a neocon???

MB4 on September 11, 2007 at 12:33 AM

A joke I’m guessing…..
otherwise supply a link or quote, please.

….tank you

Mcguyver on September 11, 2007 at 12:48 AM

Mcguyver on September 11, 2007 at 12:48 AM

What are you talking about? You want me to supply a link or quote where George Will says, “I am not a neocon!”?

MB4 on September 11, 2007 at 12:53 AM

Patraeus……his opinion….that is the thread MBposer…not George Stephanopoulos Will quoting a disgruntled 1950s diplomat…..

The good general made the members of congress sit back and listen, even though they didn’t want to. Better yet he made the American people listen, and that scares the hell out of congress, and you I suspect.

Limerick on September 11, 2007 at 12:58 AM

MB4 on September 11, 2007 at 12:53 AM

Links, quotes that you perceive to be betraying him as such.

Mcguyver on September 11, 2007 at 1:00 AM

I’ll check back tomorrow….

Mcguyver on September 11, 2007 at 1:02 AM

Links, quotes that you perceive to be betraying him as such.

Mcguyver on September 11, 2007 at 1:00 AM

Betraying George Will as a neocon? I didn’t know or think that he was one. I still don’t know what you are talking about.

MB4 on September 11, 2007 at 1:05 AM

betraying portraying…. implying or whatever….
I’m tired….it’s late, time for bed

Mcguyver on September 11, 2007 at 1:08 AM

George Stephanopoulos Will

What!

There has got to be something in the water!

MB4 on September 11, 2007 at 1:09 AM

betraying portraying…. implying or whatever….
I’m tired….it’s late, time for bed

Mcguyver on September 11, 2007 at 1:08 AM

Did you completely miss the comment at 12:27 AM that I was responding to?

That is the only explanation that I can figure for you asking me these strange questions.

MB4 on September 11, 2007 at 1:12 AM

I have been thinking about the fact that 9-11-2007 is a Tuesday, just like 9-11-2001. Our world has changed a lot since then.

Doug on September 11, 2007 at 1:15 AM

We can win, he says, if we’re ready to buckle down and commit long term. Read the polls and you’ll see that most of the public isn’t. So much for Iraq.

AP, always the consistent pessimist and defeatist. The American people want the troops home because they are tired of the constant causalities and death displayed on their TVs, if causalities go down and violence continues to drop Americans won’t care how many troops we have in Iraq. We have a good amount of troops in other countries for years and American people haven’t called for withdrawal because troops aren’t dieing every day. As time goes on and Iraq moves off the front page, becoming like any other of our bases in the region, such as Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, we can have a long term commitment to Iraq. Healthy pessimism is good, but your is becoming ridiculous.

Complete7 on September 11, 2007 at 2:00 AM

LOL….just caught BBC World News……Patraeus’ statistics were chalked up to ‘seasonal norms’ and not a trend.

Limerick on September 11, 2007 at 2:11 AM

I don’t think it’s realistic to assume we will fail in Iraq, especially after seeing that report.

The security situation is improving, the political situation is stable enough to allow progress. Critically, the Iraqi people have clearly rejected both Shia extremists and Al-Qaeda and want to work toward a peaceful country. We always thought it would take 5-10 years and it looks like it may happen sooner rather than later.

The Middle East will see the results of a stable democracy, creating a real solution to the cause of the 9/11 attacks, Islamic dictatorships.

Jason on September 11, 2007 at 2:14 AM

Fox and Hume did a great job going over his testimony without the boneheads in congress. Also most of the dems were walking on pins and needles because they didn’t want to been seen as agreeing with the add in the Times even though even amy of them do. It was great to see the congresswoman from Florida calling them on it.

KBird on September 11, 2007 at 8:08 AM

Brett Hume should do more of these type interviews. Sort of reminds me of Charlie Rose on PBS.

Good job, Gen Petraeus. It is too bad we didn’t follow the mongol example of how to handle the middle-east. They did it right the first time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Baghdad_%281258%29

Wuptdo on September 11, 2007 at 9:34 AM