The eagerly awaited opening statement and progress report to Congress by Four-Star General David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker on the status of the military and political situation in Iraq is history. The two of them briefed the members of the House of Representatives Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees on Monday, September 10 and on the following day the members of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees. The General submitted a comprehensive report with view graphs and statistical support data as did Ambassador Crocker and then answered questions by members of those four committees in a consistent and realistic way in approximately twenty hours of testimony.
For those of us able to witness the proceedings, it was a solid and sober presentation based on the realities in Iraq as seen by the two witnesses regardless of ones personal opinion on the war. There was no spin, wavering or duality of speech in the answers, the General was in firm command of his facts and remained consistent and professional in his testimony as did the Ambassador. All in all, any objective observer had to call it an impressive performance. It was the performance of the members of Congress that has to be questioned.
Democrat Presidential candidate and former Senator John Edwards has been talking for years about the “two Americas” in this country, referring to the gap between the rich and the poor, the haves and have-nots, the well-offs and the struggling people. In fact, this is one of his main themes of his campaign and he has promised to address and do something about this situation once elected President next year. Edwards is partially correct, there are two Americas but it is not so much the difference between the rich and the poor as it is between the political Left and the Right, Liberals and Conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. That is the real difference in America today and that divides this country in such a polarizing way, it is a disgrace.
Coming back to the hearings in Congress: During the week prior to the actual testimony, several Democrat Senators questioned the independence of the General’s report, that he would just say what the President would want him to say to Congress and similar questions were raised in an obvious effort to undermine the General’s integrity. In fact, it was called the Bush-Petraeus report on the floor of the Senate. Democrat Senator Joseph Biden, who is also a Presidential candidate, stated on ‘Meet the Press’ on Sunday that the General was and we quote: “flat out wrong” about the situation in Iraq. These attacks reached its pinnacle when a full-page ad in the New York Times on September 10, the day when the testimony commenced before Congress, showed a picture of the General with text: General Petraeus or General Betray Us as well as Cooking the books for the White House! This ad was paid for by a very left-wing organization called Move-On.Org. at a significantly reduced advertising rate. Financier George Soros financially funds and supports this group and he is a person who openly hates President Bush and has opposed him on everything and every action the President has taken. Needless to say, the Senate Republicans were outraged about this ad and presented a non-binding resolution to denounce the ad, the Democrats denied them bringing this resolution to a vote and Democrat Senator Richard Durbin from Illinois called the ad and we quote him: “A poor choice of words”.
But now came the actual hearings. Congressman Tom Lantos (D) from California told the General in his opening remarks that he, Lantos, and we quote: “would not buy whatever the General had to say”. Several others on the Democrat side followed suit over the next two days including three Democrat Presidential candidates, Senators Joseph Biden, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Their statements took up pretty much the entire amount of their allotted time with lecturing and grandstanding. The prize has to go to Hillary Clinton when she told General Petraeus and we quote: “The reports that you provide to us really require the willing suspension of disbelief.”
Ok, she is entitled to her opinion but to call this General a liar to his face goes well beyond the norms of free speech. This was outright shameful! This woman wants to be the next President and therewith the ‘Commander-in-Chief’ and she had the gall to talk to a four-star general in a public hearing like this. Where is her sense of decency? Can we speculate what went at that moment through the General’s mind? Was he thinking of retirement when this woman becomes President rather then wait to be fired by her? His demeanor did not change, he just sat there and listened to what she said, a class act! He did this even knowing that Senator Clinton voted to appoint him into his position. Senator Clinton votes to have General Petraeus command the war in Iraq and then won’t believe what he says, even going so far as condemning his unspoken words before they left his mouth. The hypocrisy that is evidenced by these actions is beyond belief, and it is shared by many in the Democrat Party.
We here at ‘Back to Common Sense’ cannot fathom where this is coming from or where it will be going in the future. We fully realize that we truly have Two Americas, we are a divided nation but when it comes to matters of national security, wars, our military personnel, we should not be this divided. Hillary Clinton called the commander of our 168,000 troops in Iraq essentially a liar. Is this acceptable under the First Amendment’s right to free speech? This is so un-American that we challenge anybody to defend this. It appears that the Democrat Party has made a not insignificant move towards the Left; this reminds the older ones among us of the times before the Vietnam war was ended by the Democrats in the mid-seventies. As a matter of fact, the returning soldiers, the majority of them were drafted in those days, were not only critiqued but booed and even spit on. Will we see a rerun of this despicable act in the future? We most certainly hope not for it would mean the end of our military!
When Democrat Congressmen and Senators show this kind of disrespect towards a four-star general and with it the entire military in a public hearing, accusing him of misrepresenting the facts on the ground in Iraq, in other words, lying for the President, this country is in much deeper trouble then we think it is! General Petraeus has more integrity and intelligence than all members of Congress combined because he does NOT play in politics; he deals with facts and acts accordingly. He is one class act and our elected officials in Congress came across like mental midgets! America should consider itself fortunate that we have this caliber of men and women in our military!
Since the issue is ‘troop withdrawal timetables’, maybe we should consider another type of troop withdrawal. Maybe some of these ‘congressional troops’ should be withdrawn by simply not re-electing them next year. While this might come across as very partisan on our part, it is not! We are just attempting to get people to think for themselves and apply Common Sense when it comes to these issues. And we report on extreme behavior from whatever side it comes, especially if it is beyond the pale of decency and reason.
This article and others on Back to Common Sense are designed to provoke further thought and investigation. It is not the intent for the articles to be politically biased. Sources are referenced in each article to encourage readers to delve into the supporting material. We welcome all readers to participate with their point of view either in support or contrary with additional information sources.