General Petraeus, Take Off the Rose-Colored Glasses

Earlier this week, General David Petraeus and Iraq Ambassador Ryan Crocker appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to deliver their report on the war in Iraq. It was a very somber hearing, and I did my best to convey our strong opposition to the President's war in Iraq.

To hear General Petraeus tell it, you'd think things were on the right track. But let's face facts: This has been the bloodiest summer for U.S. forces in Iraq since the war began -- and despite the hard work and sacrifices of our brave men and women in uniform, the Iraqi government has met only 3 of the 18 benchmarks that they agreed to over a year ago.

This war is the biggest foreign policy mistake ever. President Bush took our nation's eye off defeating the terrorists, led by Osama bin Laden, who killed thousands of Americans six years ago. We have lost thousands of American lives, thousands more have been wounded, and our military and our national guard and their families are being strained to the breaking point.

It's time for President Bush and General Petraeus to take off their rose-colored glasses. Once again, they tell us that everything is going well, but a recent BBC/ABC News poll showed that 79% of Iraqis oppose the presence of American troops in Iraq, and 70% of Iraqis think that President Bush's "surge" has made them less secure.

As General Petraeus told the Boston Globe in November 2003, "We want to be seen as an army of liberation and not an army of occupation...There is a half-life on our role here, you wear out your welcome at some point. It doesn't matter how helpful you are. We aren't here to stay."

It's time for President Bush, Congress, and General Petraeus to heed those wise words.

We are sending our troops into a country where they're not wanted, into the middle of a civil war, into the middle of the mother of all foreign policy mistakes, with no end in sight.

Next week, the Senate will have another chance to begin bringing our troops home. I'm going to continue fighting as hard as I can to end the war -- and I'll be asking for your help to do just that. Stay tuned.

No more rose-colored glasses. We must end this war.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is the Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Read more at

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