congressional hearing live-blog

according to the CSPAN website, the hearing will air on cspan3, online at this link, and on cspan radio which is available online in multiple formats.  time listed is 12:30 pm edt. 

this is the cspan website description of today’s hearing:

Joint Committee
Status of War in Iraq
Armed Services
Foreign Affairs
Washington, District of Columbia (United States)
ID: 200890 – 09/10/2007 – 6:00 – No Sale

  Skelton, Ike U.S. Representative, D-MO
  Lantos, Tom U.S. Representative, D-CA
  Petraeus, David H. Commander, Multinational Force-Iraq
  Crocker, Ryan C. Ambassador, United States, Iraq

A Joint Committee hearing on the status of the war in Iraq and political developments there was held to hear a report by the commanding general and the U.S. ambassador on conditions in Iraq.

really catches the scope and feeling of the whole thing, doesnt it?  (that line is blatantly paraphrased from ‘harry potter and the deathly hallows’)

my humble requests…

    ~im going to try to summarize what’s being said, for anyone who isnt able to watch or listen from where they are.  by no means do i profess to be an expert at, or even good at, or even capable of doing such a thing.  PLEASE add your own observations or analysis…

    ~please dont recommend this essay unless you are using this as a source of information.  that way, nobody is trying to type 462 wpm…to nobody…  i’m more than happy to attempt this if someone’s reading…but if nobody is, ill turn off the ‘puter and knit for a while.  i committed to this when we were still planning to ‘go live’ today…and will honor that commitment if anyone cares to read.  and, thank you in advance, that one shithead out there who will rec even if s/he isnt reading, just to watch me suffer.  really…thanks… 

    ~go easy on me?  i dont really have the attention span to do something like this, and im waaaaay outside my comfort zone…  and please add whatever observations, opinions, analysis, quotes, background, or color commentary you wish.  i need all the help i can get.

and, just in case you get bored, i provided some entertainment:  (sorry, it isnt britney at the vma’s…;)

i usually hesitate to post this particular video, as 1. i dont agree with all of the assertions in it, 2. im not a fan of rap music, and 3. there is gratuitous and repetitive use of the ‘n’ word, of which im not fond.  however, if there were ever a day to say ‘tell the truth, n***a’, today is that day.  so, again…not necessarily reflective of my opinions…usual disclaimers…yadda, yadda…here’s mos def, immortal technique, and eminem…

and, because its me…some Live…’white discussion’.  the sound/video arent synched in this clip, but its still the best version available at youtube

“all this discussion
though politically correct
is dead beyond destruction
though it leaves me quite erect
and as the final sunset rolls behind the earth
and the clock is finally dead
i’ll look at you, you’ll look at me
and we’ll cry alot
but this will be what we said…
look where all this talking got us baby.” ~from ‘white discussion’, by Live

Is the Pony/Pie/Hide rating system too cutsie?

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  1. right now everyone’s just filing in.

  2. I’m here.

    Don’t know how chatty I’m feeling yet.

  3. strangely, right after mentioning needing to find more seats….hmmmm….  😉

  4. 4 Speakers to tune up, then 20 or 30 minutes of Patraeus, unknown amount of Crocker and ONE HUNDRED Reps at 5 mins each.

    That can’t be right.

    They do expect it to run longer than six hours.

  5. speechifying…

    iraqi polls.. they think violence is worse, and that the u.s. is making it worse

    petraeus is the right man for the job, 2 years too late and 3500 (??? exact number) too short…

    there have been local political gains/tactical gains….progress requires reconciliation at the national level..

    does anyone think a central govt will support sunnis?  how long will sunnis wait for assurances?

    crikey, its hard to try to type what he says…

  6. speechifying…

    we and the amer people already know the sitch in iraq is grim…growing number of amer peeps want out troops out

    the admins myopic policies have created a fiasco…more and more americans have little confidence…no amount of charts or stats will improve its credibility

    admin has sent you to convince congress that victory is at hand….with all due respect, i dont buy it.

  7. What a wanker.

    Boo Hoo.  Bad evil Democrats have attacked your credibility.

    Your lies have nothing to do with it.

  8. speechy…

    talking about gen p’s testimony being undermined….’written by political operatives’…says lantos said so…

    people have been prepping the battlefield by attacking gen p’s cred.  nyt ad=gen. petraeus is general betray-us.  moveon.  ha.

    gen p is a shiny, shiny hero (paraphrased)

    troops are watching to see if we give cred to what uniformed officers say…

  9. troops are good.  i married one.

    my step-son and dil are marine captains…iraq and afghanistan…

    protect ‘broader regional interest’

    cannot yield to ‘radical islamists’

    her s-son and dil took kids to witness iraqi elections…they believe the iraqis are worth it.  (???)

    eve of grim anniversary….’new greatest generation”  (wtf??)….

    distressed by accusations of cherry picking.  (duh, stop doing it!!)…some accuse gen. petr. of w/h propaganda…i trust your reporting…

  10. speechifying…

    not close enough to mike!!  mike not on!!! 

  11. War by Powerpoint (which sucks just like all things Microsoft).

  12. It’s the only solution.

  13. gotta love representative governmnent


    Dirty evil leftist hippies.

    Tweety and Williams are total Beltway buttkissers.

    Ooh that ad was too personal.

    Whiny Ass Titty Babies!

  15. speechifying…

    thank you for the opportunity to provide my assesment and recommendations

    this is MY testimony…i wrote it myself…not been cleared or shared

    military objectives of surge are being met

    progress in security arena…uneven across iraq…overall # of incidents declined over past weeks…

    blows to al-q/iraq…they remain dangerous, we have taken away sanctuaries…

  16. We have this playing in the background and all I can hear is laughter.

    No one should take this guy, or his pony promising, seriously.

  17. Dave, I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

  18. But we’re only counting the ones with a bullet in the back of thier heads.

  19. Uncle Sam wants you, 10st fighting keyboardists.

    Find me some Selectric Fonts to fight al-Queda.

  20. How about that.

  21. nice!  he talks slooooow!!  i now love him.

    i intend to demonstrate that we can achieve our goals…iraqis will tackle their problems.

    secure stable iraq at peace w/neighbors is attainable…not quickly…not evenly…will require substantial us involvement….progress will be apparent in retrospect…

    oh, and he’s captain obvious. 

    basically, whatever we gave them is better than sadaam.  hmmm…he used violence and intimidation, did he.  wow.  i wonder if that would work for us??? 

    new iraq built from scratch…leaders ethnic/sectarian…

    progress has been made…institutional framework…sectarian violence further strained iraq.  but that was saddaam’s fault.

    and al-q and other extremist groups. 

    iraq is a traumatized society. 

  22. Why should we expect it to get any better?

  23. Is a substantial withdraw.

    And besides, we have to do it anyway.


  24. skelton:  americans sweating, fighting, true professionals….key legislation not passed…leaders have been sitting on thumbs while americans bring security….surge: jan/feb…now sept…leaders no progress toward nat’l reconciliation.

    why should next 6 mos be any diff, mr crocker?

    crocker:  everyone’s frustrated.  even iraqis.  these are complex endeavors, fundamental issues re: nature of state still unresolved.  its going to be difficult/take time.  iraq’s key leaders committed to continue engaging. 

    they are capable of thrashing out issues in a serious manner… not expect rapid progress on benchmarks…they arent the end, theyre the means to reconciliation…we should be flexible…

    share disappointment, but d/n mean there’s been no progress..there has been…

    remember that the surge hit stride in june.  violence diminished, not stopped.  more time.  more time.

    LANTOS:  gen p, youve juxtaposed proposal for token withdrawal with a hypothetical rapid withdrawal….military members who favor a rapid but responsible withdr.  would you comment on the intermediate course?  your juxtaposition d/n do justice to this issue.

    general petr:  i recommm. substantial w/d.  posing that (draw-down) is substantial….and that’s my best advice…taking into account the strain on our ground forces…

    this approach sustains/builds on gains…transition to iraqi sec…w/out rushing to failure…continue effort against al-q/iraq…and militia extremists…iran…

    Lantos:  media suggests that adm fallon favors rapid/substantial w/d over what gen p recommends.  responsible mil. leaders favor more rapid w/d than you….in view of our global security requirements, which you do not take into consideration…

    GEN p:  adm fallon supports my rec’s…as do joint chiefs/staff….discussions about pace of mission transition, but not the troop transition. 

    took into account the strain on ground forces. 

  25. Gah.  How do people liveblog this stuff?  I’m boared to tears.

  26. ‘consequences of failure’…to gen P

    to crocker: what can we do to get other countries to follow through with $$ commitments?  our current course is hard…etc…please elaborate re: our premature withdrawal.

    to gen p: we know iran will continue to provide support…now damascus to increase syrian influence….commment on radical iranians and what will happen when we leave…

    Petraeus:  we want to avoid iraq becoming al-q sanctuary…its less likely now than a year ago…sunni arabs rejecting al-q…our forces clear cities so that others can stand up and contribute, local forces have to be involved…

    we want to avoid an excuse for iran to fill the void…avoid further humanitarian disasters…ensure contiued economic (including exporting oil) gains.

    foreign fighters (n. africa/syria)…some signs it may be reduced in the past couple of months…iran-harmful activities…funding, training, directing…sadr militia…al sadr militia seems to be honoring his order to stand down, though some continue.  georgian brigade is positioned to help control flow of weapons/money from iran.

    Crocker:  2 ways…neighbors, and international…

    ministerial meeting focuses on what countries will bring to table….debt forgiveness from many countries.  another meeting in ny in a couple of weeks to concentrate the world community on what they can do…

    interesting and positive signs…end of august, 2 euro foreign ministers (france and sweden)…first non-coalition visits of this stature…these gov’ts ready to get involved…

    neighbors, p5, and g8 ministerial in oct in istanbul…we’ll be working intensively on that.

    ‘i have very little to add’ re: abrupt changes in policy…assumption that we can decide to discontinue our involvement….all ‘actors’ will act without us…important that we consider/understand that the process will move forward w/or w/out us…current conditions, without us, wouldnt be in our interest.

    5 minute break…

  27. spratt…d-sc:

    has his own chart.  bam!  the chart-ers become the chart-ees!  sweet!

    charts on war costs…question about reconciliation….tho what that means isnt clearly defined….factional violence fed by slow pace of reconciliation…all progress flows from..

    if the purpose of the surge is to buy space and time for the govt, why are we not seeing it happen?  things crocker mentioned were ‘token’ compared to our commitment…

    why are we not seeing significant movement int that direction?

    Crocker:  issues are critical as they are complex…

    violence goes back to ’68 with bathist…there is significant psychic damage to overcome.

    spratt:  will we see a move toward reconcil?

    Crocker:  yes, we have seen….sunni responses in anbar (always with the anbar)…linking with fed. gov’t, joining army, etc….encouraging to see the gov’t reaching back to sunni prov. with resources, $$…that isnt reconcil., but holds the promise.  reconciliation seeds.  joy!

    happened within weeks of security improving.

    we will see it because we are seeing it.  when? i dont know. 

    tied to fundamental visions for iraq’s future (which he always stops just short of saying he cant get consensus on, and is the basis of all reconciliation)…

    Rep Berman, d-ca: gen p, at the heart of your recomm’s is your belief that this isnt the time for a mission change…

    GenP:  correct…continue security with iraqi forces where possible…while transitioning…

    Berman:  about al-q…killing and capture 100 leaders, 2500 rank/file killed/capt…rummy once wondered are we creating more than we kill….can they be routed?  how many more do we need to kill?

    to both…refugee issue:  millions fled or internally displaced…are you finding any reverse flows to secure areas?  and does the u.s. have obligation to the refugees, esp those who worked for us…

    Gen P:  trying to take more bad guys off the street than are created…believe we are having success by looking at what WERE sanctuaries (shouldnt the guy who wrote the book on counter insurgency have a better understanding than this??)…locals standing up to al-q…intel analysis: varies by agencies…several thousand more plus other groups…some are fighting alongside us (comforting!!)…we havent armed tribes, but have applauded when they use their own weapons against al-q, not us…

    refugee issue he feels strongly about..that’s one of the reasons he went back….even when youre not there its on your mind and in your heart…feels we have an obligation..

  28. to gen P…reminiscing on the first time they met (shiny, shiny hero)…oooh…second time they met…’head’ general??? hmmm….they talked to trainees.  eveyone’s proud.  petraeus makes people feel safe.  the THIRD time they met…everyone still loves you dave!!  ad in the nyt made saxton sad 🙁 

    more ‘disturbance’.  ‘take them into custody’.

    q to both:  the way we leave will tell the story of how the world perceives and treats us…especially terrorist radicals…

    will we leave iraqis celebrating freedom, or leave the terrorists to operate in iraq?  whats the result if we leave too early?

    Crocker:  i was trying to get at that…good q…alternative courses of action have consequences we should consider.  he does NOT have a crystal ball.  what might happen, as informed by beruit ’82…there was a massacre after we left…fear, fear, hezbollah…i cant say what will happen, but the possibilities you allude to…iran ascendant over much of iraq, their proxies w/support and power, arab sunni reaction to re-envigorate al-q…no forces to fight…

  29. Just a fucking spin room.

    1. our presence is critical to progress on political front…long-term security goals…iraq has a long way to go…

      perceptions that the coalition is withdrawing will encourage factions to seek local security solutions…play into islamacist agenda…

      i still cant tell what she’s trying to say.  yikes!!

  30. talking about history of ethnic violence, massive human suffering….genocide if we leave?

    general batiste-‘gov’t of iraq incapable of stepping up’…

    on benchmarks:  tactical flexibility…gao was responding to set of benchmarks he had to respond to…would have come up with better ones if he could have…

    amnesty/militias?  i dont understand where he was going…

    Petraeus:  further humanitarian disaster, iran, al-q…all potential outcomes…re-hijack by sectarian influences…

    but…military is replacing ‘national police’..

    and, on the amnesty issue…forces w/ embassy have strategic engagement cel to oppose extremists…to recognize factions and assimilate security forces into the national system.  this initiative…de facto conditional immunity…iraqi gov’t is addressing…we see it as a half-way house to general amnesty…

    Crocker:  there is nothing inherently wrong w/benchmarks, theyre important, conditions arent in place to achieve the complex benchmarks…we have to encourage them..

    disbanding militias and gov’t giving immunity are ‘progress’

    1. Great live blogging 73rdV. You are really good at this! 


  31. over at the Admin blog-

    promoted LithiumCola’s Myth of Anbar Awakening in my “watch’ slot, as we are on the topic today, thanks to Petraeus…

    If it wasn’t for live-bloggin btw, I’d have little idea of what’s happening while at work…thanks, folks.

    1. must…massage…fingers….


  32. everyone talking about diplomacy and reconciliation…gen P, you recomm regional and global diplomacy..the countries that surround iraq-do we have a comprehensive diplomatic plan (pakistan and indonesia as well)…can you enlighten us on the diplomacy?

    Gen P:  told our chains of command that you cannot win in iraq solely in iraq…need diplomacy

    foreign fighters: saudi, n. africa, around iraq, through syria by and large…steps in some countries to make this more difficult (wont let men fly to syria???).  other related, which ‘we’ have encouraged…not mentioned.

    cyber space again….recruiting on the internet (careful with the docudharma rollout!!)

    ortiz: are we pursuing diplomacy?

    Gen P: yes, i just gave you the one example, but it was a good one.  talked about the same effort again….syria, syria, syria

    Crocker:  complex problems (dont you all have that down yet??)…how can the region make things better?  neighbors (see: us/mexico border fence…ed note)….oct/nov ministerial meetings, etc etc.

    constant effort not to undo good in iraq.

    Ackerman  d-ny….astonished that after all the testimony…nobody has said ‘internat’l war on terrorism’.  if it is, nobody made the nexus.  if it is, dont suggest we draw down..if that’s why we’re there.  that s/b your argument…its not.  becuause that’s not what youre doing.

    2 parts…the sizzle and the steak.  military sizzle…trying to give time for the diplomacy. 

    it seems to me that were in the middle of a dysfunctional, violent family.  can we put a cop in every bad marriage, when the parties arent even showing up for counseling?  troops do a great job, violence starts again as soon as we leave.

    when will they throw flowers at each other and sing kumbaya….and while we wait, how much more blood do we invest..?

    if it takes 4 more years/4,000 more american lives, another $600 billion, 20,000 more maimed…will it be worth it?

    Gen P:  no question that al-q/iraq is involved (congressman asks didnt al-q/iraq form when we got there?)  petraeus wants to focus on the fact that theyre there…says he doesnt know when they got there.  (congressman: are they a threat to us) i dont know what the threat would be if we left them in iraq (how can you suggest that we leave after the violence stops)  petraeus doesnt understand the question.  (if we end the violence, how can we leave without killing everyone involved?)  al-q/iraq is the fuel on the fire of the sect. violence (how do we leave?)  anbar province again!!  stabilize area, build cement t-walls to secure neighborhoods…

    moving on…but i gotta go….sorry!!!

  33. after i get ‘r’ off her bus and dump a can of food down her feeding tube, ill stop back before i have to get ready to go.

    ive been coaching for 9 years…this is my last year…but the diocese says i now need coaches training.  i love bureaucracy.  especially catholic bureaucracy!! 

    sorry i cant do more…my little fingers are raw!!!

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