Petraeus Puckers Up for the Senate
As we watch General David Petraeus's Senate confirmation hearing this morning to become Quagmire Commander, check out this background info:
1. Why Petraeus Won't Salvage This War
2. Gen. Petraeus and the 'Surge' Myth
3. Petraeus: Withdrawal timeline does not mean "switching off the lights"
4. Petraeus for President 2012
9:32 Petraeus is late. Senators searching for smelling salts? Premature Syncopation?
9:35 Here he comes.
9:37 Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee, opens by honoring the late Senator Robert Byrd. Levin thanks Petraeus for doing the job he's here to apply for. Levin blathers about training Afghan forces. He conflates that demand with the popular demand for the US to get the hell out. Levin wants more than 7,250 Afghan troops to do the killing and dying in Kandahar. But how big a percentage of Afghans does he believe will attack Afghans? There are only so many teabaggers in any given part of the world. Levin wants to make sure the occupation is reduced but continued in July 2011. He notes Iraq withdrawal dates just as if the US is going to really leave completely by the end of 2011. Levin just called the president "General Obama". Levin says he wants to confirm Petraeus today. Does he want to hear anything at all first? Apparently not.
9:50 McCain trying to out-Levin Levin in kissing up to Petraeus. Looking like he'll succeed. McCain denies we are failing in Afghanistan. He defines true success as an Afghanistan that is increasingly capable of governing itself, etc., and never again serving as a base from which to attack the US. Afghans do not want the Taliban back, he says. But see the US Army funded survey of Kandaharis: 94% want peace, not assault; 85% see Taliban as "our Afghan brothers." As long as success is possible we will stay in Afghanistan to achieve it. (100 years? 10,000 years?) Who knows, but McCain strongly opposes going anywhere in July 2011. "Marja is largely cleared of the Taliban but the holding and building is not going as well as expected." Is that an acknowledgment that the Taliban was back the next night or not? Marja is a success except for the total failure?
9:56 Petraeus praises Byrd and McChrystal - the latter for the fictional success of a surge in Iraq and for his criminal assassination squads at JSOC, not to mention his glowing disaster in Afghanistan. Petraeus claims Afghanistan could be a safe haven for al Qaeda, the facts be damned. He claims there's a coalition of 46 countries. He pretends NATO "troopers" are fully on board. The new QC (Quagmire Commander) calls troops "troopers" - Now do we have to say Supporters the Troopers? Petraeus describes the underway escalation, although House has yet to fund it. Petraeus promises to obey the president when he agrees with him. Petraeus says that he and the President agree with McCain that any partial withdrawal must be based purely on "conditions on the ground." In practice this will clearly mean that if everything is going well troops must stay, and if everything is (as it is) going horribly, the troops must stay. Petraeus claims he'll reduce the loss of civilian life to an absolute minimum. I've got an idea how to do that. Petraeus agrees with Levin re training Afghan troops but describes it as nearly impossible, says nonetheless that goals (whatever they may be) are being met. Is there anyone left for Petraeus to agree with? He did disagree with Levin on withdrawing in July 2011, but Levin's a Democrat, so that doesn't count. Petraeus says their losses are several times ours, as McCain grins and CodePink holds up signs. Police stand around the dangerous sign holders. Shouldn't the cops stop watching the CodePink sign holders and get in position to catch Petraeus if he faints?
10:15 Petraeus still going on. Daphne Eviatar just tweeted: Petraeus: "We know we cannot kill or capture our way out of an industrial strength insurgency like that in Afghanistan"
10:16 Petraeus praises the civilian work the House just defunded. Then asks House to fund the escalation.
Why isn't it insubordination for Petraeus to tell the 1st branch of govt to fund his escalation? Does he have to call Levin names?
10:17 Troopers. Troopers. Troopers.
10:19 Teddy Roosevelt not just a reckless warmonger but "one of our best presidents."
10:25 Levin goes ahead and tells Petraeus he will be confirmed, before anyone other than himself has asked a question.
10:27 Petraeus tells Levin 7,500 to 8,000 Afghan troops will help kill and die in Kandahar. Levin says there are 11,000 in Kandahar but 40,000 in Helmand. Wants to know why but it's no biggie, will go ahead and confirm Petraeus first.
10:29 Petraeus' plan is to persuade Taliban that they are going to get hammered in the field. Not sure he's referring to the use of heroin while reclining on US corpses.
10:32 McCain asks if Marja is going well. Petraeus admits it is not. McCain says hey, that's cool. Don't sweat it. Just scratch the withdrawal date.
10:40 Senator Reed asking questions about the escalation, without mentioning the fact that the House has not funded it. Reed says Taliban's offensive is evidence of its belief that US is winning. Uh huh. Petraeus says Taliban wants to break our will.
10:49 Inhofe asking dumb questions.
Spencer Ackerman agrees that Levin loses re July 2011, tweets this: "Petraeus: neither I nor any other military officer I know recommended setting the July 2011 date #P4ISR @SenJohnMcCain gets a win"
Byrd would have asked good questions if he were still alive. There's no one else on the SASC who might.
Tweets from Daphne Eviatar:
"Petraeus hoping venture capitalists will invest in Afghan's natural resources" (of course this is open theft)
"Biden told Petraeus he is '100% supportive of this policy' on Afghanistan; they'll discuss further over dinner tonight"