Lieberman Tells Petraeus: Iraq Has Shown 'More Political Progress' Than America
If President Bush's Iraq Wwar were a fine wine, it would have no more fawning a sommelier than Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman. Lieberman was in typical form this morning, prefacing his questions with high-flown, melodramatic praise for Petraeus. His cheerleading included this groaner: "Hey, let's be honest about this. The Iraqi political leadership has achieved a lot more political reconciliation and progress since September than the American political leadership has."
LIEBERMAN: Thanks, Mr. Chairman. General, Ambassador, thank you for your extraordinary service in the cause of freedom in Iraq. I must say that as I listen to your testimony which is encouraging and yet quite realistic and, in my opinion, not overstated, you've told us that the strategy associated with the surge is working, progress has been made but it's entirely reversible. You've been very frank about some of the problems that we still face. I say -- what I'm about to say with respect to my colleagues who have consistently opposed our presence in Iraq, as I hear the questions and the statements today, it seems to me that there's a kind of "hear no progress in Iraq, see no progress in Iraq" and most of all "speak of no progress in Iraq." The fact is there has been progress in Iraq, thanks to extraordinary effort by the two of you and all those who serve under you on our behalf. I wish we could come to a point where we could have an agreement on the facts that you are presenting to us, the charts you've shown, the military progress, the extraordinary drop in ethnosectarian violence, the drop in civilian deaths, the drop in American deaths, the -- the very impressive political progress in Iraq since last September. Hey, let's be honest about this. The Iraqi political leadership has achieved a lot more political reconciliation and progress since September than the American political leadership has. So we've got to give some credit for that. I repeat, I wish we could have an agreement on the facts which you presented. You work for us. I don't distrust those facts, and I wish we could go from an agreement on those facts to figure out how we can move to more success so we can bring more of our troops home. That's apparently not going to happen in the near future.
Naturally, Lieberman was quick to inject Iran into these proceedings, dutifully asking the leading question, "Let me ask you first, are the Iranians still training and equipping Iraqi extremists who are going back into Iraq and killing American soldiers?" He did stop short of asking pretty please with sugar on top for yet another war.
Lindsay Graham did attempt to outdo Lieberman later in the proceedings: "If I could promote you to five stars...I would."
Read HuffPost's full coverage of the Petraeus hearing.