Friday, Mar. 19, 2010

April 2008
Judging the Verdict

"There has been significant but uneven security progress in Iraq. The progress made since last spring is fragile and reversible."

Gen. David Petraeus, testifying before Congress

Political machinations over the Iraq War reach a high, as the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, delivers much-anticipated testimony to Congress on April 8 and 9. Petraeus, appearing alongside Iraq ambassador Ryan Crocker, cites significant progress in quelling tensions in Iraq but warns of the danger of reducing troop levels beyond pre-surge levels — which he says would threaten the recent security gains and be viewed in the region as a sign of U.S. weakness. His message is practically overshadowed by the presence on the committees of the three remaining U.S. presidential candidates, senators Barack Obama, John McCain and Hillary Clinton, each eager to make their own opinion on withdrawal heard. McCain is supportive of keeping troop levels near 140,000, and claims "we can now look ahead to the genuine prospect of success"; both Obama, who calls the war a "massive strategic blunder," and Clinton urge drafting plans for a full withdrawal.