Gen. David Petraeus testifies to Congress today about the "progress" in Iraq. What progress? Peace, security or any semblance of normal existence for Iraqis is nowhere nearer than since we invaded and toppled Saddam's statue in a show orchestrated by The Pentagon for American television viewers. There is no peace in Baghdad, no political solution, in fact, violence has surged upward again in recent weeks. If the decline in violence right before Petraeus' September testimony was significant then this surge also must be.
The objective of the American escalation was to create an opportunity for the three major factions to find and render a viable political solution which will last. That, the major and primary goal of this strategy, has failed. It has now been over a year since George Bush initiated his surge and we continue to see rising Iranian influence and a peace which can be shattered whenever Moqtada al Sadr desires. We are at the whim of a radical, Iranian controlled cleric. That is NOT an acceptable political solution but is the reality on the ground.
Members of Congress should be asking these questions ad nauseum because they are all that's relevant to this discussion:
Has the surge produced a political settlement?
How will remaining there indefinitely change that outcome?
This is the crux of the matter and if the General cannot answer these questions it's time to come home.
Update: Watching the hearing on television it seems the biggest achievement since September is an Iraqi flag. This keeps getting mentioned as if it's at all significant. So American soldiers are now getting killed under a new Iraqi flag. Big whoops. Petraeus is asking for more time, another open ended commitment with no goals, benchmarks or timetables. This is a continuation of the same failed policies of the past five years.