Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Two Questions from Feingold and Warner from the Petraeus Hearings

I was watching Hardball's coverage of General Petraeus testifying in Congress today and these two statements really stuck out at me.

The first one is by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) who said (emphasis added)...

I strongly supported the decision to go to war in Afghanistan, which served as a sanctuary for Al Qaida. The war in Iraq has been a terrible diversion from Afghanistan and from what should be a global fight against a global enemy. As this summer's declassified NIE confirmed, Al Qaida remains the most serious threat to the United States, and key elements of that threat have been regenerated or even enhanced. While our attention and resources have been focused on Iraq, Al Qaida has protected its safe haven in Pakistan and increased cooperation with regional terrorist groups.

So the question we must answer is not whether we are winning or losing in Iraq, but whether Iraq is helping or hurting our efforts to defeat Al Qaida. That is the lesson of 9/11, and it's a lesson we must remember today, and I would say every single day.

The second statement comes from a question by Sen. John Warner (R-Virginia) where Warner asked if the Iraq War is making America is safer.

Here's the exchange...

"Do you feel that [Iraq war] is making America safer"?

Petraeus paused before responding. He then said:

"I believe this is indeed the best course of action to achieve our objectives in Iraq."

That was, of course, a non-answer. And Warner wasn't going to let the general dodge the bullet. He repeated the question:

"Does the [Iraq war] make America safer?"

Petraeus replied, "I don't know, actually. I have not sat down and sorted in my own mind.

To figure out what to do in Iraq, all we need to do is answer these two questions: Is the Iraq War helping our efforts to defeat Al Qaida and does the Iraq War make America Safer?

Unfortunately, it seems the answer to both is no.

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