Republican Sen. John Warner of Virgina -- the former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee -- offered a polite but devastating appraisal of strategy in Iraq.
"Are you able to say at this time if we continue what you've laid before the Congress here as a strategy do you feel that is making America safer?" Warner asked.
"Sir, I believe that this is indeed the best course of action to achieve our objectives in Iraq," Petraeus said.
"Does that make America safer?" Warner asked again.
"Sir," Petraeus said, "I don't know actually."
Oops wrong answer. But a truthful one. Finally.
Especially after Monday's White House Whitewash by Petraeus and Crocker, where they said they just provide the facts the White House writes the report.
Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador in Iraq, did not offer a disclaimer about who wrote his testimony, but its thrust closely tracked the many speeches on the subject by President Bush
Are Iraqi's in Baghdad safe after the surge?
The first chinks in Gen Petraeus's optimism appeared with a seemingly innocent question: can a Sunni Arab travel safely to a Shia neighbourhood in Baghdad without getting kidnapped or killed? He could not hazard a clear answer. He said: "It depends on the neighbourhood, frankly. Travel of Sunni Arabs to a number of Shia neighbourhoods in Baghdad is still hazardous." But he did not actually dare to offer an assurance it would ever be possible for a Sunni to venture outside his enclave.
And how about that Iraqi puppet government the Americans setup how's it doing asks Republican Senator Chuck Hagel.
AMB. CROCKER: Thank you, Senator. I'll just touch very briefly on the key and critical points you raise here.And being a former ambassador to Pakistan he all but admitted that the War in Iraq was not the real front in the war on terror.
There is an enormous amount of dysfunctionality in Iraq; that is beyond question. The government, in many respects, is dysfunctional, and members of the government know it.
"I could say a few things based on my two and half years in Pakistan, and that is the presence of al-Qaeda in the Pakistan and Afghanistan border area is a major challenge to us," former American Ambassador to Pakistan Ryan Crocker said.
And then he returned to using White House Weasel logic.
Crocker was asked for his views on whether the United States is providing sufficient resources to address the threat posed by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb.
Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin asked Crocker "How concerned are you about al-Qaeda's safe haven in Pakistan?" to which the administration's top diplomat in Iraq replied "... we're all quite concerned."
"Which is more important to defeating al-Qaeda, the situation in Afghanistan or that situation in Iraq, Ambassador?" asked a persistent Senator Feingold.
"The challenges in confronting al-Qaeda in the Pak-Afghan border area are immense, and they're complicated. I did not feel, from my perspective as ambassador to Pakistan, that the focus, the resources, the people needed to deal with that situation, weren't available or weren't there because of Iraq," Crocker responded.
"...in my view, fighting al-Qaeda is what's important; whatever front they're on. Fighting al-Qaeda in Pakistan is critically important to us, fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq is critically important to us," Ambassador Crocker added.
AGE-BIRTH DATE — 58; June 19, 1949
EXPERIENCE — U.S. ambassador to Iraq March 2007-present; U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, 2004-07; international affairs adviser, National War College, 2003-04; director of governance, Coalition Provisional Authority, 2003; deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, 2001-03; interim envoy to Afghanistan, 2002; U.S. ambassador to Syria, 1998-01; U.S. ambassador to Kuwait, 1994-97; U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, 1990-93; political counselor, American Embassy in Cairo, 1987-90; deputy director State Department Office Israel and Arab-Israeli Affairs 1985-87; chief of political section, American Embassy in Beirut, 1981-84; chief economic/commercial officer, U.S. interests section, American Embassy in Baghdad, 1978-1981; economic/commercial officer, American Embassy in Doha, Qatar, 1974-1976; foreign service officer, US Consulate, Khorramshahr, Iran, 1972-1974.
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