WASHINGTON — General David Petraeus, who is testifying in front of the Senate today, has read his remarks to the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Ambassador Ryan Crocker is addressing the senators. “Sustaining that progress will require continuing U.S. resolve and commitment,” he said, talking about progress he thinks the surge has provided in Iraq. He talked about the work that he says needs to be done in stabilizing Basra. He honored the troops.
Hillary Clinton, seated to the left of Petraeus and Crocker, has her black-rimmed 3 a.m. phone call glasses on and a hand pressed against her forehead. John McCain, seated in the middle of the crescent of seated senators, is turning pages and leaning back in his chair.
Behind Petraeus, there are eight long tables, around which the members of the media, a dozen to a table, are crowded. Behind the press, is a gallery about ten rows deep, populated with stray press and war protestors. One young girl is holding pictures of a soldier. Several women are dressed as dead Iraqis with black headdress, blood on their palms and the names of killed Iraqis hanging from signs around their neck. The Senate police are watching them closely. As the press reads and the public watches and the senators listen and pose, Crocker says “Iran continues to undermine the efforts of the Iraqi government” and concludes by calling for more commitment from the American government.
“Looking ahead Mr. Chairman, almost everything about Iraq is hard,” he said, adding. “But hard does not mean hopeless.”