August 20, 2007

About The Petraeus Date

Earlier today on a blogger call, Senator John McCain said he believed that Harry Reid had scheduled General David Petraeus to brief the Senate on September 11th. I reported this on my live-blog at Heading Right, and so did Jim Geraghty at The Campaign Spot. It got picked up by a CQ commenter in the earlier thread, but it's easy to make more of this than it is.

First, the Senate will have limited dates available for Petraeus, on account of tight schedules for both Petraeus and Congress. The fiscal year runs out at the end of the month, and budget appropriations will go down to the wire and beyond. Reid and Nancy Pelosi need to keep as much floor time available as possible for those fights, including the war supplemental debate, which has to have the input from Petraeus first. The previous week will consist mostly of organizing motions as the members return from their summer hiatus. The 11th is probably the first clear legislative date Reid will have.

Second, Petraeus has to file his report with the White House by September 15th. He will only be in town for a short period to do so, which makes it necessary to be flexible for his briefing of Congress. McCain explicitly said that the White House had not requested this date.

Americans are rightfully sensitive to excessive politicization of the anniversaries of this terrorist attack. In this case, though, it's a product of tight time frames and little else.


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Comments (19)

Posted by filistro | August 20, 2007 11:58 AM

Really unfortunate timing, though.

Recent polls say Americans, 53% to 43%, don't trust the General to deliver an honest report. I doubt this particular delivery date is going to ease any of that cynicism.

I do believe the Captain when he says it's a simply a matter of scheduling. Harry and Nancy just aren't smart enough to do this on purpose.

Posted by Dan | August 20, 2007 12:08 PM

As Iraq is the war-to-take-non-existent-weapons-away-from-a-dead-man, and as such isn't related to the Sep-11 attacks, alledgedly perpetrated by Usama bin Laden, who is believed to be in Pakistan or Afghanistan, I'm not sure what the politicization issue would be.

Posted by Carol Herman | August 20, 2007 12:41 PM

Oh, Harry Reid and company are already calling General Patraeus; "betray-us." As if they'll make their name-calling attributes stick to what the Americans want to hear.

As to "time in the senate," I think Bush made this clear; Patraeus will ALSO speak to the American People.

It could end up looking worse for the senators than it already does; and most of them are close to "achieiving" single-digit popularity status from the American People.

The Internet is ALIVE. And, is a much better carrier of news than the crap the Saud's bought (the MSM), through tossing in advertising dollars);

Which is on par with Detroit ordering up "more chrome" as the American cars got shunned by Americvan buyers. It's not even worth discussing, anymore, when you sit on your engineers; and pump your industry through marketeers.

As to McCain, well. Once he thought he'd be president. Then, he thought he had enough name recognition to become the GOP's "front runner."

Ah, then he made a political misstep.

Now, he's claiming that Karl Rove is unfair to Hillary; and he has "no trouble" with Hillary's senate record. (As if senators actually had to accomplish much to "get a record.)

From McCain? He will say anything that gets his name headlined. (And, Drudge did give him one, today. That's why I know McCain's a fan of Hillary's) Does it matter? I don't even think Hillary will saddle up and throw him into her veep's slot.

And, a lot of things can happen between now. And, next year.

I think Patraeus will be heard. Heck, he may even slap a book out there. Regenery Press would be a very friendly publisher. And, then the senators could all see a run-away success? Well, among people who can read.

Again, what's been lost by the MSM is enormous. Once, they really did have the clout. (To the point when Paul Kael once said she couldn't understand how Nixon won; let alone in a landslide. "Because none of her friends voted for him.) That, particular, small world once held the "giant microphone."

That's gone now. About as "reliable" as TNR. Where, again, facts don't matter.

As to Hillary, and her campaign; I do notice that these days the Bonkey Party is strictly Affirmative Action. In a world that's turned away from that crap.

When our schools got really bad, many students learned, for grades, just to regurgitate that stuff.

It's the wrong taste to have in the mouths of many, when they go to the polls on November 2, 2008.

I certainly don't think it helps sells "product."

Posted by Carol Herman | August 20, 2007 12:52 PM

Dan, your argument is weak.

It reminds me how down south, some diehards argue that "the south should have been allowed to pull out, because America pulled away from England."

Losing sight of the fact that the Brits lost the Revolutionary War contest. ANd would later disgorge most of the jewels from her crown.

FDR forced England to give up India.

So, "fighting" according to the MSM's "rules-for-non-engagements," doesn't touch on what the military does.

In Irak? An oil field's worth of fortunes, that put the Saud's into wanting to own this. They were the ones who manuevered 9/11. And, they've been the ones manuevering the madrasses, funding terror through a takeover orf Islam.

You think it can't be stopped?

I think they'll land on their collective asses. And, I think there's gonna be blowback.

Including blowback coming out of Irak.

One of the things our military is learning is that to kill civilians is STUPID. So, we don't. We've left the field looking "weak" because we didn't go in and "trash the place." But over the long haul there will be benefits.

Just as, at home, we've benifitted from better police. Way more trained than ever. And, stronger than ever.

Lincoln didn't cave on compromise.

It seems to be Bush's stronger suit, as well.

That this will take time? Yup.

That "being in the military" means more today than it meant when troops were stationed in germany? You bet.

A learning curve with many lessons.

The terrorists don't have the advantage.

And, the MSM dreck? They've lost fortunes in business. And, now? They can't compete with the Internet. And, the way people, today, who are not left-wing nutters; get their news.

I don't even put on my TV. More than a decade since it's days as "background noise."

The other thing I've noticed is that getting people to change their minds isn't what it used to be. The Internet keeps people free-er than that. And, it keeps them informed, too. So we know the sounds the enemies make.

Posted by NoDonkey | August 20, 2007 1:33 PM

"Recent polls say Americans, 53% to 43%, don't trust the General to deliver an honest report."

So what? How many Americans trust polls? 2%?

I sure don't. They take narrow samples, they only poll people using landlines (who still wastes money on a landline?), they ask misleading questions, allow only limited responses targeted towards the results they want and they oversample Democrats.

I trust the General. Even Democrats are coming around to the realization that the surge is working and that we can't abandon Iraq, no matter how much the lunatic left kicks, screams and holds one of their daily tantrums.

Posted by FedUp | August 20, 2007 1:44 PM

I'd rather trust Petraeus before I'd trust Congress. They don't want to hear from him anyhow - especially if he's bringing good news (= bad news to Democrats). Funny, Harry and Nancy can find time to investigate and hold hearings on things that will make no difference on the planet, but they can't (won't) make enouogh time to receive the report?

Our congress needs to stop fighting among themselves and start working for the good of the American people... or is that too far fetched?

Posted by Rovin | August 20, 2007 2:51 PM

"Our congress needs to stop fighting among themselves and start working for the good of the American people... or is that too far fetched?"

The chances of congress working for the greater good are about as slim as a Carol_Herman one liner. :-)

While the priority of this nation should be for the safety and security that would prevent another 9/11, (and George W. Bush along with many other leaders have not forsaken this priority), there are those among us that are blinded by their greed for power.

There is a growing number of Lieberman's and blue dog democrats that understand this threat and the necessity for a stable and free Iraq. They are willing to put aside their political differences for the greater good of this nation as a whole.

I fear there are others who are already far too invested in failure no matter what the General reports.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | August 20, 2007 3:24 PM

filistro claimed:

"Recent polls say Americans, 53% to 43%, don't trust the General to deliver an honest report"

"Recent POLLS", Gracie? No, just one poll said that, the CNN one. If you are going to use the plural of the P word, please cite the other recent polls that say the same thing CNN claimed. I did Google and searches for similar polls, and the CNN "poll" was the only result.

As for the CNN "poll" you cite, Newsbusters pretty much discredited it here:

Remember, CNN parted ways with their longtime polling partner Gallup earlier this year, and hired long-standing Clinton lackey Vin Gupta to do their polling for them. Thus, the poll questions were also cooked to achieve a predetermined outcome, which is documented in the Newsbusters story.

Posted by swabjockey05 | August 20, 2007 3:37 PM

Who cares what he says anyways...?

You heard it here first...the dingbat trolls say 50% of the people think the General is a liar.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | August 20, 2007 4:06 PM

from Scrappleface:

With a new CNN poll showing that 53 percent of Americans plan to reject the upcoming Iraq progress report by the top U.S. military commander and the U.S. ambassador there, President George Bush today announced he had contracted with several CNN reporters and anchors to write the final version of the report “in order to salvage a shred of credibility.”

“I can understand why the American people don’t believe Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker — men who lay their lives on the line daily to bring peace and justice to Iraq,” said President Bush. “That’s why I’m hiring these journalism boys from Atlanta to write this report.”

The president, explaining the 11th-hour decision, said, “Americans trust the kind of men whose faces wear the stain of heavy cosmetic makeup, whose heads have born the burden of daily conditioning rinses and relentless doses of hairspray. But guys like Petraeus and Crocker — who live in Kevlar vests, floss the sand out of their teeth at night and make daily life-and-death choices — may be prone to stretch the truth. That’s why my fellow Americans put their faith in the men of CNN; men who employ people to choose their neckties, who wear earphones so others can tell them what to say and which way to turn. These are the kind of men who pour their blood, sweat and tears into devising a clever way to transition from a car-bombing story to the latest compelling video of Elvis impersonators. These are men of integrity, men who talk-the-walk and, therefore, men who have earned our trust.”

Meanwhile, the latest CNN poll shows that 92 percent of the people who get their news from CNN believe the results of the latest CNN poll.

Posted by Bennett | August 20, 2007 7:20 PM

If anything, I would think both Congress and the WH would have preferred a different date. Presumably there will be remembrances and other stories relating to the 9/11/01 attacks and only so much air time and news space to cover everything. So unless Congress was hoping that some of the reporting on the Petraeus testimony would get crowded out by the other news of the day, I'm not sure what anyone has to gain by deliberately scheduling it for 9/11. Sounds like the truth is, it was the best available date. And, after all, life does go on and every 9/11 we will remember the past and what happened that day and then cope with the present and hopefully look forward to the future. It's all we can do (and yes, this is my stating the obvious moment of the day).

Posted by Ray | August 20, 2007 7:24 PM


So what you're telling me is that a CNN poll says that 53-43 percent of the population is closed minded and will refuse to believe anything that the General reports is true? That doesn't bode well for the American people, does it?

Personally, I'll wait till the report is issued and everyone and their brother has examined, interpreted, and debated this report ad nauseum before I make my own determination, and that will be based mostly on my nephew's eyewitness accounts on Iraq and the progress we are making there as he just returned from his second tour and has actually been involved in what's going on there for two years now. I trust him a lot more than any number of "experts" on CNN, Fox, etc.

I bet my nephew will be telling me much the same things the report will show as to progress, so the MSM, the democrats in congress, the "netroot", and all the other "experts" can keep spinning this any way they want as it won't matter much to me. I have my own sources and can be my own judge.

Posted by filistro | August 20, 2007 9:12 PM

Well, Ray, I hardly know where to begin.

What if your nephew had come home and reported that things were pretty much a mess where he was stationed, and he was kind of bummed about the whole project? Would you then be ready to give up on the war?

This one young man's opinion seems to me like a pretty thin reed on which to hang the foreign policy of an entire nation... but what can I say? He's your nephew. ...

Personally I would have been a lot more prepared to belive Petraeus if the adminstration hadn't insisted on inserting itself so obtrusively into the report. Because let's face it, the White House hasn't always been completely upfront with us...

Dick Cheney
Speech to VFW National Convention
August 26, 2002
"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."

George W. Bush
Speech to UN General Assembly
September 12, 2002
"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."

Ari Fleischer
Press Briefing
December 2, 2002
"If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world."

Ari Fleischer
Press Briefing
January 9, 2003
"We know for a fact that there are weapons there."

George W. Bush
State of the Union Address
January 28, 2003
"Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent."

Colin Powell
Remarks to UN Security Council
February 5, 2003
"We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more."

George W. Bush
Radio Address
February 8, 2003
"We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have."

Colin Powell
Interview with Radio France International
February 28, 2003
"If Iraq had disarmed itself, gotten rid of its weapons of mass destruction over the past 12 years, or over the last several months since (UN Resolution) 1441 was enacted, we would not be facing the crisis that we now have before us . . . But the suggestion that we are doing this because we want to go to every country in the Middle East and rearrange all of its pieces is not correct."

Colin Powell
Remarks to UN Security Council
March 7, 2003
"So has the strategic decision been made to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction by the leadership in Baghdad? . . . I think our judgment has to be clearly not."

George W. Bush
Address to the Nation
March 17, 2003
"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

Posted by filistro | August 20, 2007 9:17 PM

And of course:

Dick Cheney
Interview with Larry King
Monday June 20, 2005

"I think we may well have some kind of presence there over a period of time. The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

Posted by Ray | August 20, 2007 9:54 PM

"This one young man's opinion seems to me like a pretty thin reed on which to hang the foreign policy of an entire nation... but what can I say?"

You can start out by saying you're not being realistic if you think my nephew has any effect on policy. Since my nephew is NOT the President, nor is he an adviser, I don' know how he could affect Iraq policy in any way whatsoever. I'm talking about my understanding of events in Iraq, not the President's understanding (or yours), and I trust my nephew a lot more than any "evidence' you can produce. After all, he's been there and you haven't. You've already made up your mind that Iraq is a hopeless cause and you don't think the Iraqi people will ever stop killing themselves. I happen to think you're wrong and my nephew agrees with me.

My nephew has not been in any combat in the two years he was stationed in Iraq. He has been stationed in both south and north Iraq and never fire his weapon at any time other than in training. From what I understand, this is what most of the troops are experiencing; No Combat. Most of Iraq is more or less stable, this is why almost all of the reports of attacks occur in and around Baghdad. The people of Iraq like having us there and they don't want us to abandon them. That's what they have told my nephew and that's when he has told me. I believe him.

People here seem to think that Iraq is falling into mass civil war and that the country is experiencing fighting everywhere. This is not true, and you can look at the number of attacks and their locations for proof of just what is actually occurring. Iraq is not in a civil war, that's just a false impression put out by those that don't want us there. We have over 150,00 troops in Iraq yet in four years of war there have been less than 4,000 troops killed. That's an incredibly low number for a country that is supposedly in a civil war and it really shows you just how stable Iraq is becoming. Give up on Iraq now and you will see the entire country devolve into a civil war which will kill hundreds of thousands of civilians. That's not something we should allow or encourage.

Posted by Ray | August 20, 2007 10:05 PM

BTW, since you like Iraq chemical weapons quotes, here's some you may have missed:

"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (Democrat, California)
Statement on US Led Military Strike Against Iraq
December 16, 1998

"Saddam Hussein certainly has chemical and biological weapons. There's no question about that."

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (Democrat, California)
During an interview on "Meet The Press"
November 17, 2002 "

"In the next century, the community of nations may see more and more the very kind of threat Iraq poses now -- a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction ready to use them or provide them to terrorists, drug traffickers or organized criminals who travel the world among us unnoticed.

If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow by the knowledge that they can act with impunity, even in the face of a clear message from the United Nations Security Council and clear evidence of a weapons of mass destruction program."

President Clinton
Address to Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pentagon staff
February 17, 1998

"People can quarrel with whether we should have more troops in Afghanistan or internationalize Iraq or whatever, but it is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons."

Former President Clinton
During an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live"
July 22, 2003

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force - if necessary - to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."

Senator John Kerry (Democrat, Massachusetts)
Addressing the US Senate
October 9, 2002

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.

We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."

Al Gore, Former Clinton Vice-President
Speech to San Francisco Commonwealth Club
September 23, 2002

I could keep going, but I think you understand my point.

Posted by filistro | August 20, 2007 10:12 PM

What do these sets of dueling quotes prove?

The Bush administration is evil and dishonest. The Democrats are dumb and gullible.

But we all knew that, right?

Posted by Ray | August 20, 2007 10:46 PM

"What do these sets of dueling quotes prove?"

That just about everyone thought Saddam was hiding chemical weapons and was trying to make more. The only way we could have been sure that he couldn't ever use chemical weapons on others again (he used them in Iran and on his own people, remember?) was to go in and dispose him and his government. We have done just that and the Iraqi people (and the rest of the world) will be a lot better off in the long run because of us, that is if we give the Iraqi people the time and support they so desperately need.

The tyrant is dead, his reign of terror is over. Let's help the people of Iraq make sure another tyrant doesn't rise up in his place. They lived in hell for several decades and they need all the help they can get to recover from that hell. Let's give them that help or we will truly be evil.

Posted by Carol Herman | August 20, 2007 11:48 PM

Ray. Amen to that!

And, getting Irak to recover from all the years of Saddam's tyranny, is going to take a long, long time.

Did Saddam have chemicals, by the way? Sure. He used some on the Kurds. Did he once bury his air force in the desert. Even though this destroyed the planes usefulness? Yes. He did that, too.

Are there "loose" nukes and materials floating around the Mideast. I'd bet there is. But I'd also bet these people who handle them aren't scientists, and most of this stuff is just dangerous to the people its near. But that's okay. You'll never notice.

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