FROM Pete Hegseth
Bush Speech Caps Week of Iraq Testimony President Bush today accepted the recommendations of General David Petraeus. The draw-down of troops from Iraq will stop when the "surge" ends in July. Democratic leaders of Congress said, "He's just dragging this out, leaving a failed war and a failed economy on the doorstep of the next president." Because of strains on the troops, Mr. Bush also reduced tours of duty from 15 months to 12, but that won't start until August. We talk with soldiers about the state of morale after six years of war. What do multiple tours on the front lines mean for their families? What about recruitment, retention and readiness to meet future contingencies?
General David Petraeus on Capitol Hill Before General David Patraeus or Ambassador Ryan Crocker said a word to a joint committee of Congress , Democrats and Republicans were exchanging partisan charges. Democrat Tom Lantos said he respected the witnesses personally, but felt they were sent to convince Americans that victory is at hand. Republican Duncan Hunter —a presidential candidate—said he was outraged that some of his colleagues had attacked the witnesses' credibility. When Petraeus finally got underway , he emphasized that he had neither been scripted nor told what to say by the White House or Pentagon. He said that improved security means US forces can be reduced sometime in the future. But the essence of the message has been telegraphed, and polls show public skepticism that either man is independent of the Bush White House. As the debate on Iraq continues, will the Bush Administration define its objectives?