You are herecontent / Rep. Lynn Woolsey Grills Petraeus; Will She Push Leadership Not To Give Him $102 Billion?

Rep. Lynn Woolsey Grills Petraeus; Will She Push Leadership Not To Give Him $102 Billion?

Woolsey: Gentlemen, polls show that up to 80 percent of the American public supports redeployment of our troops out of Iraq. When that statistic was presented with those staggering numbers, the vice president’s response was “so.” Well, I want to tell you that “so” came from the same administration that got us into Iraq with misleading information in the first place. And I don’t feel that that is where you are coming from. I want to believe that you have more respect for the American people than our vice president.

So, what we need to know and I’m absolutely certain that you have eventualities, you have contingencies, that you aren’t truly waiting for conditions on the ground to tell us when we’re going to come and go because you have to be planning. So, how do you plan? How do we, how do you base the rates that troops could safely be redeployed? By the month, by the quarter, what funding stream would be necessary to accomplish this? We have no idea. We cannot get that information here in the Congress. What will it cost to bring our troops home? Because we’re going to have to pay for that as well. And how long would it take for a complete troop redeployment?

Petraeus: Well, congresswoman, as I explained earlier, the process of determining how rapidly we can bring forces home is really the process that we exercised when we determined the pace and also the location really of where we could reduce forces to bring down the force by, the surge forces — the five brigade combat teams, two Marine battalions and the Marine expeditionary unit — what we have done in those cases is we look at the security and the local governance conditions in an area to determine where we can thin out our forces and thereby redeploy addition elements.

Woolsey: But

Petraeus: Obviously, we look at the enemy situation in the area. We look at the ability of Iraqi forces to deal with the threats that are present. That’s what we’ve been doing. That’s how we reworked the battlefield geometry to

Woolsey: But then

Petraeus: To draw down the surge forces.

Woolsey:: I mean you’ve told us this so I’ve heard it and we’ve all heard this. You must be basing it on some numbers of what it would take to be safe in bringing our troops home. What it’s going to cost to bring our troops home, what it will cost to be involved in reconciliation and capacity building within Iraq? Where do we get those numbers? Is it available to the public?

Petraeus: It’s not arithmetic, congresswoman. As I mentioned yesterday, this is more akin to calculus than it is to arithmetic. It’s more akin to the political military calculus that the ambassador described earlier I think in this hearing today, and it is the battlefield geometry. What we are trying to do is determine how quickly we can bring our forces. Look, again, we very much hear the frustration. Those of us who have been at this for a long time obviously want the war to end as much as anybody else, perhaps maybe more. It’s sometimes said that the biggest peace activists are those who, of course, are down range risking it all. But what we want to do is come home the right way without jeopardizing the gains we fought to achieve, in achieving the important national interests that we have.



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