Thanks to McQ at QandO for rescuing this from the memory hole. As predicted, the left as well as certain “conservatives of doubt” are feasting on Petraeus’s response to Warner that he doesn’t know if pressing on with the war will make America safer. Graham tried to flesh that out in his own questions but it was Evan Bayh, inexplicably, who invited Petraeus to revisit the subject directly and elaborate. Which he did. Stand back and give those goalposts a wide berth as they now move towards “Well, he should have said that the first time.”

Actually, if you only have a few minutes to watch a clip, skip this one and watch Petraeus on Monday talking about trying to reconcile with the Mahdi Army. It’s exceptionally timely. He and Crocker have been saying all week that the recent fiasco at Karbala, where Mahdi Army troops went haywire and ended up in a gun battle with Iraqi forces that killed 52 people, has been a blow to Sadr’s standing among the Shiites. That explains his newfound interest in purging and reorganizing the JAM — and perhaps also explains this: “The secret dialogue has been going on since at least early 2006, but appeared to yield a tangible result only in the last week — with relative calm in an area of west Baghdad that has been among the capital’s most dangerous sections.”