The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing is underway. Sen. Joe Biden is lecturing the counterinsurgency experts about what needs to be done in Iraq.
Stand by. We’ll see if the infiltrators get away with their disruptive antics again.
Meanwhile, read this column by George Will, who will be the Left’s new hero by the end of the day.
Paul Mirengoff at Power Line does what George Will and Joe Biden fail to do: Put Iraq and Iran in context.
AllahPundit gets the headline of the morning on his post covering the hearing: “Petraeus versus the Democratic presidential field.”
9:51am Eastern. Ambassador Crocker testifies first on progress in Iraq: “The trajectory is upwards, although the slope of that line is not steep…a sober assessment, but not a disheartening one.”
10:10am Eastern. I said stand by for disruption. And there you have it. As commenter PBoilermaker notes: “Well, that didn’t take long…another Pinko getting air time.”
10:23am Eastern. Once again, a protester gets his 15 minutes of fame as Gen. Petraeus reviews cooperative efforts by Iraqi security forces.
10:30am Eastern. C-SPAN has cut away from the hearing.
10:41am Eastern. Weird. C-SPAN has resumed coverage. Grandstanding Joe Biden is haranguing Crocker and Petraeus.
10:51am Eastern. Dem presidential candidate Chris Dodd gets his turn to campaign at the mic. Funny how the microphones are always in great working order for the blowhard politicians…
11:06am Eastern. Chuck Hagel is lambasting the Bush administration for not looking at the larger geopolitical context of the Iraq war. Hagel cites the New York Times NCOs. Biden and Dodd are bobbing their heads vigorously.
11:18am Eastern. Oh, crikey. The Winter Soldier is lecturing Gen. Petraeus. The Winter Soldier is championing the same troops he thinks are stoopid.
11:54am Eastern. Sen. Russ Feingold complains that the hearing is focused only on Iraq. Guess he missed the discussion of Iran. Also: Congress wants an assessment of Iraq. Now, Feingold whines that Petraeus/Crocker are giving them assessments of Iraq. As opposed to what? Darfur?
Can’t win with these people.
12:30pm Eastern. The blowhards take a recess.
BTW. I agree with readers who are e-mailing me abou Biden’s annoying tactic: Allowing the blowhards to rant endlessly, then limiting Petraeus and Crocker’s responses because there’s not enough time. There was, however, enough time to single out a congressional staffer for applause before the break.
12:53pm Eastern. Wire coverage focuses in on GOP questioning of the witnesses:
Senate Republicans sharply challenged President Bush’s top military general and ambassador in Iraq on Tuesday in a sign that some within the GOP retain serious misgivings about the protracted war.
“Are we going to continue to invest blood and treasure at the same rate we’re doing now? For what?” asked Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., who supports legislation setting a deadline to bring troops home.
The deep-seated doubt expressed at the hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reflected just how far Congress had come since the war began over four years ago. And Republican senators raised tough questions that rivaled those asked by Democratic presidential hopefuls on the panel.
The exchanges came just a day after the top U.S. war commander, Gen. David Petraeus, recommended keeping the bulk of U.S. forces in Iraq—some 130,000 troops—deployed there through next summer.
Whereas Republicans were once deferential to the thinking of officials running the war, particularly uniformed officers, Hagel and other GOP senators on the panel said they doubted that simply giving war commanders more time would necessarily yield results.
“In my judgment, some type of success in Iraq is possible, but as policymakers, we should acknowledge that we are facing extraordinarily narrow margins for achieving our goals,” said Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the top Republican on the committee.
Sen. Norm Coleman said he appreciates plans to return troop levels to 130,000—down from the 168,000 currently in Iraq—but that he wants a longer-term vision other than suggestions that Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker will return to Capitol Hill in mid-March to give another assessment.
“Americans want to see light at the end of the tunnel,” said Coleman, R-Minn.