[ "The surge will run its course. There are limits to what our military can provide, so, my recommendations have to be informed by — not driven by — but they have to be informed by the strain we have put on our military services," Gen. David Petraeus said in the interview at Camp Victory in Baghdad. "That has to be a key factor in what I will recommend." While he would not get specific about the recommendations that he gave to President Bush during a surprise visit to Iraq yesterday, when Raddatz asked if March would be the time for a drawdown to avoid further strain on the military and even longer deployments, he answered by saying, "Your calculations are about right."
Live Video Feed Here] Hearing recessed until tomorrow. Video, transcript, charts and more below the fold.
Trends in violence:Update: here's a better transcript of General Petraeus's report and a better view of the charts (pdf).
Update: Video Highlights of the hearing:
Code Pink removed:
Decline in security "incidents" charts:
Democratic Rep. Tom Lantos wonders why not cut and run.
Update: There will be more of the hearing tomorrow, and so far, nothing really unexpected, even the disruptive Democrats' Code Pink minions. But I've got to go, for more coverage see Hot Air, NYT's the Lede, Outside the Beltway, the Tank, and more.
UPDATE 3:04 ET: HotAir also liveblogging, has the pdf's of the testimonies: Petraeus's report, Crocker's, and charts.
(Note: following quotes from hearing are paraphrased)
Petraeus says improved police forces as in Fallujah is allowing for better mobility of Iraqi Army.
"Syria has allowed foreign fighters to enter Iraq... many have become suicide bombers."
UPDATE 2:55 ET: Petraeus is asked if we should talk to Iran and Syria? Petraeus says "Iran showed no readiness to engage in serious issues... Iranians interested in only appearance of negotiating... As a first step Iranians must help improve security in Iraq, which they say is their own interest. Haven't seen any earnestness from Iran."
Talks about Iranian attacks in Iraq... More or less tells the distinguished gentlemen he's crazy for thinking we should or even could talk to the Iranians for a better Iraq.
UPDATE: Moonbats disrupt, show no respect, and have just been forcefully removed 2:00pm ET.
Ambassador Crocker: "Iraq is like America during civil rights movement..." "Is Iraq ready to prioritize the national interest over sectarian interests..." "The commitment of its leaders is encouraging..." "a continued need for multinational forces..."
He says there has been political improvement at the local level across the country.
UPDATE: From The Lede NYT blog:
The general begins by saying that the following statement was his own, and had not been cleared by the White House. Some bullet points: Update: Petraeus says troop levels can be cut next summer back to a level of 130,000. As we expected to hear, I hope he's sincere about that.
Not quite a rule, but when bad news happens, it is usually kept under a tight seal until such news can be better spun or countered with good news. Which is why good news is leaked quickly. But in this case, I think the White House has good reason to keep leaks of the report from coming out. For one, it would keep the nay-saying Democrats flat-footed until the blow was delivered, which explains their preempted defense. How do you win an argument you haven't yet heard? Attack the source.
Secondly, it would give the White House complete control of that crucial first impression on the public.
Most importantly, and related to the first reason, is that any shift in public opinion toward favoring continuation of pursuing a victorious end to the war, backed up with facts from a popular general who was unanimously approved by the Senate, will put the anti-war politicians on the defensive. This would give the White House what is most likely its last chance to give the military the time and resources it needs to win, and if the administration is lucky, a chance to redeem themselves.
We've been hearing what may be in the report, but it's mostly opinion. Some more credible than others, much of it the same; take it as you will what the LA Times was told:
Officials have said they expect Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker to make three major points:Here's what Gen. Petraeus told ABC News:
— The surge is beginning to succeed, but it is too soon to withdraw significant numbers of troops.
— The central government in Baghdad has failed to meet the administration's political goals, but there are signs of progress at the local level.
— The consequences of a too-hasty withdrawal would be catastrophic.
Those negative sources happen to be the NYT, the LAT, and the Government Accountability Office, not something one can shrug off.
Yet they don't see it as the boots on the ground. Bill Ardolino reporting from Iraq sees astounding improvements in Fallujah. A Milblogger currently employed says it's working in his slice of Baghdad. Even in Petraeus's letter to the troops, he says while some things hadn't turned out as expected, the situation has definitely changed for the better.
And the other night McCain assured us and Mitt Romney directly in the Republican debate that the surge IS working.
I guess my point is, is that the White House is going to use the report for all it's worth and more, and that there is reason to believe it has more good news than what we've been hearing. We'll see very soon.
"The surge will run its course. There are limits to what our military can provide, so, my recommendations have to be informed by — not driven by — but they have to be informed by the strain we have put on our military services," Gen. David Petraeus said in the interview at Camp Victory in Baghdad. "That has to be a key factor in what I will recommend."
While he would not get specific about the recommendations that he gave to President Bush during a surprise visit to Iraq yesterday, when Raddatz asked if March would be the time for a drawdown to avoid further strain on the military and even longer deployments, he answered by saying, "Your calculations are about right."