General David Petraeus on Capitol Hill

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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?




Warren Olney