Petraeus/Odierno to the Hill; Ackerman to the Laptop « The Washington Independent
Today David Petraeus and Ray Odierno face the Senate Armed Services Committee on their way to commanding Central Command and Multinational Force-Iraq, respectively. What to watch for? Oh, a couple things — Odierno’s plans for post-surge Iraq; anything Petraeus says about Iran, given his hostility to it while in Iraq; Petraeus’ assessment of al-Qaeda’s strength in Pakistan; what Petraeus makes of the rising tide of violence in Afghanistan (and Pakistan’s role there); anything Odierno says about decommissioning the Sons of Iraq. You know, that kind of stuff.
Actually, for some early answers, Karen DeYoung of The Washington Post got an advance copy of Petraeus’ prepared testimony:
In written answers to questions posed by the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he will testify today, Petraeus said the possibility of military action against Iran should be retained as a “last resort.” But he said the United States “should make every effort to engage by use of the whole of government, developing further leverage rather than simply targeting discrete threats.” …
Petraeus’s answers on Iraq reiterated much of his testimony last month. Asked what he thought were the “most significant mistakes the U.S. has made” in Iraq, his lengthy list included: erroneous prewar assumptions; a misplaced emphasis on early elections that resulted in “hardened sectarian positions”; slow adjustment of U.S. strategy to security challenges; failure to recognize the negative impact of the Iraqi government’s slow political reconciliation; and U.S. misconduct at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere that “inflamed the insurgency and damaged the credibility of Coalition Forces in Iraq, in the region, and around the world.”
Naturally, I’ll be liveblogging the hearing. Stick around.