Live Blogging Petraeus

By David Swanson,

Petreaus and Crocker are back for four hearings over two days. This is the first one.

9:35 This ain't gonna be good: Chairman Carl Levin just opened the hearing by claiming the surge was a success!

9:35 Well, at least he did note that there had been no political success, which was how success was supposed to be measured.

9:37 He's listing the forgotten "bench marks" that have not been met, including the oil-theft law (which he doesn't call that, of course).

9:38 In 1/07 Bush said Iraqi government would handle all security by 11/07, Levin reminds us. Levin objects to stopping reductions of US troops in July on the grounds that that would take pressure off Maliki.

9:41 Levin paints a picture of the US rebuilding Iraq (huh?) and blames the Iraqis for not footing the bill for the reconstruction of their own $^%&%&(*! country. (Um, who blew the place up?)

Levin's opening statement full text.

9:45 It gets worse: Now John McCain is claiming glorious success. We did not "abandon Iraq to civil war, genocide, and terror." Violence is down, he claims. "Reconciliation has moved forward." (sic!) McCain claims that a stable, peaceful, democratic Iraq is within reach, and will be reached under a US occupation, after which troops will come home.

9:48 McCain's fear remains genocide, which is bizarre given the ongoing genocide brought on by the occupation.

9:49 Someone just shouted out in protest and was warned by Levin that protesters would need to be quiet or be removed by the Capitol Police.

9:51: McCain: Must keep supporting ($$$) Awakening councils. Must stay in Iraq to secure our interests (OIL???). McCain agrees with Levin in blaming the Iraqis: they need to start paying for their own occupation, destruction, and humiliation, and stop relying on American taxpayers to foot the bill for the slaughter.

9:55 Petraeus claims success and claims Iraqis are part of the success. The advocate for further occupation, slaughter, and resource theft becomes the defender of the good will and high performance of the Iraqis in the form of the puppet government's complicity.

9:58 Petraeus drags "al Qaeda Iraq" into it and blames that evil force.

10:00 Petraeus claims reduction in "ethno-sectarian violence" and gives only part of the credit to the success of segregation and ethnic cleansing. He does not mention Mahdi Army cease fire. He does not mention bribing of Awakening councils. And he does not explain why his claims of success should not mean it is time to bring troops home. Would admission of failure ALSO mean we need to leave troops in Iraq, or would we then get to bring them home?

10:03 Bizarrely, Petraeus is blaming everything on "al Qaeda Iraq." One encouraging note on that theme: only John McCain will take it as an argument for attacking Iran.

10:04 Now Petraeus is dragging Iran into it too and blaming the Quds Force for recent attacks and claiming it is a "threat to Iraq." We should watch this in "coming weeks" he said, ominously.

10:05 Now 540,000 Iraqis serve in the complicit puppet Army and can even do things on their own "albeit with some coalition assistance."

10:07 Iraqi puppet govt is spending tons of money on its forces. They're really really good and almost ready to kill people on their own, BUT they're not ready enough for any US troops to leave. In fact, they're just at that perfect level of development to require US assistance more than ever.

10:10 Here it is. He's begging for $ now. It's cheaper to bribe people not to kill us than to replace the absurdly costly vehicles they blow up.

10:13 He's telling the senators what will happen, not asking them. "A failed state in Iraq would..." "Would"??!! What do you call this? He says that beginning in July they will stop withdrawing "Surge troops" for 45 days, to allow the US election season to dissolve any nascent spinal molecules in Democrats.

10:15 Ambassador Crocker claims success or at least substantial (but reversable!) progress. He's bragging about the passage of various laws, although of course NOT the "benchmarks" that were promised/threatened a year and a half ago.

Here's a PDF of Crocker's prepared statement.

10:22 The attacks on Basra were good because the Iraqi puppet government's complicit forces led the way. (Nevermind that they failed.)

10:25 Crocker claims unconstitional rogue non-treaty treaty being negotiated with Iraq will not establish permanent bases and not tie the hands of the next US administration.

10:28 Iraq bying 40 commercial aircraft for $5 billion from the US (woo hoo!) and is putting tons of money into its own reconstruction. Hmm, think any Iraqis are going to get on those planes and EVER COME BACK to a hell hole full of war, power outages, water shortages, disease, joblessness, and Blackwater mercenaries? Crocker is talking about "cleaning the streets." I almost HOPE that's some sort of sick metaphor, which would at least indicate a grip on reality.

10:35 Iran is training "criminal elements" and "militia elements" clashing with "Iraqi forces" in Basra and Baghdad. "Iran has a choice to make."

10:36 "Gains" are substantial and important but fragile and reversible. So everything is working, and therefore we should proceed as if it is not, and KEEP TROOPS IN IRAQ. The enemy is al Qaeda. We are continuing our occupation of Iraq for the benefit of the Iraqis out of the goodness of our hearts. (Never mind that they want us to get the ^$&%^&!! out.)

10:40 Levin gets first question. Levin is complaining about the post-July 45-day evaluation, followed by assessment. He calls it an open-ended occupation. He's quibbling over Gates' wording ("brief pause"). Unwilling to cut of the funding for this madness, what else can he say?

10:44 Someone just shouted "Bring them home!" repeatedly, and Levin asked the police to remove him. His voice sounded a bit like our friend Zool's.

10:46 Petraeus tells Levin he saw the plans for attacks on Basra, but admits it didn't go well, claims Maliki did not heed his (Petraeus's) advice. Levin complains of misuse of American troops. Not one word about the Iraqi people.

10:48 McCain questioning. Petraeus claims Maliki gave little notice of his plans.

10:56 Kennedy says Gates said the non-treaty treaty would not include a commitment to defend Iraq. Agree?

10:56 Crocker: yes. No binding commitments that would trigger the advise and consent process with the Senate.

10:58 Kennedy wants Iraqis to pay for their own reconstruction :-(

10:59 When violence was up you said we had to stay. If violence is down, you say we have to stay. (Yes, this is one of the bigger pieces of nonsense.) But Kennedy asks no QUESTION about it, which could have been POWERFUL. Instead, he asks why the Iraqis don't do more. (Those damn Iraqis!)

11:01 Kennedy buys the al Qaeda nonsense but objects to attack on Basra because al Qaeda is not there.

11:02 Kennedy asks about Vice President Cheney's involvement but gets nowhere.

11:02 Warner kisses up to Petreaus and Crocker.

11:06 Warner wants to know if, contrary to the belief of 80 percent of Americans, this occupation is "worth it" and making Americans safer. Petreaus says yes. Crocker claims al Qaeda's capacities have been lessened in Iraq (!!!). (Never mind that al Qaeda barely existed until the United States occupied Iraq.)

11:09 Now Warner is back on message, blaming the Iraqis. Over a year ago Clinton was booed at the Take Back America conference for blaming the Iraqis for how they're handling our occupation. What do you want to bet she nonetheless blames them in the course of this hearing?

11:10 Again it gets worse. Lieberman is up. And he's kissing up. The Dems must love Lieberman because he claims they oppose the occupation of Iraq. The media buys that, and they don't have to actually DO anything, such as CEASING TO FUND THIS CRIME.

11:12 Lieberman is upset that his colleagues don't kiss up to Petraeus and Crocker ENOUGH. But he really wants to talk about the threat from Iran.

11:14 Petraeus is helping to hype the VERY SCARY THREAT FROM MURDEROUS IRANIAN QUDS FORCE.

11:14 Lieberman wants to know if Iranians are responsible for the murder of hundreds of Americans and thousands of Iraqis. Petreaus shocks the room by saying Yes.

Where is Senator Byrd???

11:18 Sen. Inhofe says the far left will tell people that "our troops" are brutal and torture detainees. And, of course, that's "not true." He knows because he interviewed some happy detainees! Petraeus agrees and claims that detainees request to stay on rather than being released, in order to complete job training or religious training. (What religion, I wonder, are we training them in?)

Why don't these senators carry pom-poms to help the cheering?

11:26 Sen. Jack Reed wants to know if Petraeus thinks the Mahdi Army will shut down at the request of Maliki. Petraeus says it depends on providing jobs. Reed says he doubts that would be enough.

But I think I've had enough. Every Senator in the room intends to support or allow the passage of a bill this month or next to throw another $102 billion dollars of our grandchildren's money into this bloody pit. Not one is willing to announce a filibuster. This is all just so much talk.



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