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Petraeus Shrugs.

The commanding general will not say that the war in Iraq -- even a successful war -- will make 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.
If we are not fighting to make America safer, for what are we fighting?

The above exchange will be heard in every barracks in Iraq. It will be heard in base housing all over this country. It will be heard by every gold star mother.

I await the spin on the right. That ought to be interesting. But that's an aside.

I don't usually engage in mawkish emotionalism, but the thought of a father, mother, wife or child of a fallen or badly-injured G.I. hearing the above admission makes me very sad. If Petraeus cannot bring himself to say that our guys are dying to make the United States safer, then we're done.

“Petraeus Shrugs.”

  1. Blogger P_J Says:


    I don't know much about Petraeus, but I'd think it's at least possible he's trying to avoid being trapped into making promises and projections he can't guarantee. Maybe the strength and stability of the Iraqi forces is in the back of his mind. Maybe he thinks that answer depends on the future direction of Iraq. Or maybe he felt that Americans would only be indirectly safer because of our efforts in Iraq.

    Could MacArthur have answered that question differently about Korea?

  2. Blogger Tom Strong Says:

    I appreciate that he was honest. Because frankly, it's not his job to figure out if the war is making us safer or not. That job belongs to his Commander in Chief.

  3. Blogger Tom Strong Says:

    (I recognize, BTW, that that's not the point you're making)

  4. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    I considered and dismissed the possibility that we was just carefully staying within his pay grade.

    He's a very smart man. He knows he was being listened to all up and down the chain of command. He knew all he had to do was say, "Yes." He couldn't do it.

  5. Blogger Randy Says:

    He's a very smart man. He knows he was being listened to all up and down the chain of command. He knew all he had to do was say, "Yes." He couldn't do it.

    Nope. As you, a smart man.

  6. Blogger Randy Says:

    Pastor Jeff: asked Could MacArthur have answered that question differently about Korea?

    Jeff, I think the historical record is pretty clear that MacArthur thought he knew the answer to that question. 500,000 Chinese soldiers had a different opinion, however, and they crossed the Yalu River in order to drive their point home.

  7. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    Not to mention Ike in WW2 or Grant in the Civil War.

  8. Blogger Unknown Says:

    Iraq is a great challenge for American soldiers.
    In fat, the Meaddle East is a challenge for the Western world, as rhere are many contradictory forces acting there agains each other and against the Western world which has been perceived as the "enemy" of the Arab countries and their culture, based on religious doctrines.
    Jose Damaso Ramon

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