General Petraeus today made a stunning admission, conceding "I don't know" if the course of action recommended in Iraq makes America safer:
WARNER: I hope in the recesses of your heart that you know that strategy will continue the casualties, stress on our forces, stress on military families, stress on all Americans. Are you able to say at this time, if we continue what you have laid before the Congress, this strategy, that if you continue, you are making America safer?
PETRAEUS: Sir, I believe that this is indeed the best course of action to achieve our objections in Iraq.
WARNER: Does that make America safer?
PETRAEUS: Sir, I don't know actually. I have not sat down and sorted out in my own mind. What I have focused on and been riveted on is how to accomplish the mission of the Multinational Force in Iraq.
This exchange verifies the argument VoteVets.org has been making, that General Petraeus' job is not to take those things into account, and therefore the President is hiding behind General Petraeus.
Let me explain.
General Petraeus was given an order -- find a military solution for Iraq where there is none, and without concern for troop overextension or the larger war on terror. General Petraeus followed his orders, giving the president what he wanted to hear, and now the president will hide behind that to justify his failure as a commander in chief.
General Petraeus has a very limited area of concern -- the US military in Iraq -- and his testimony today reflected that.
When one looks at the grander scale, past just the military in Iraq, the picture is dismal, and becoming a critical danger. From the Government Accountability Office report to Congressional Research Service report to the report by General Jones, it is clear that there has been no political reconciliation overall in Iraq or increased security, despite our military's strongest efforts.
From Admiral Fallon to Admiral Mullen, those above General Petraeus in the chain of command are telling the president that this war is hurting our military and our global security. The president has chosen to ignore all of this, in favor of a report based on a false premise with faulty findings, signed by a General with a very limited scope of concern. Call it denial, or call it stubbornness, or whatever you want; it all boils down to the same thing -- this president still refuses to listen to those he needs to listen to, in favor of those who tell him what he wants to hear.
Unwittingly, General Petraeus just confirmed all of that in the exchange above, today.
Update: Today VoteVets.org launches this new internet ad capturing that moment and making the argument above.