Advisor says Congress is ignoring progress in Iraq

Washington Times:

A top U.S. military adviser yesterday rebuked the Democrat-led Congress for ignoring recent success of the troop surge in Iraq and trying to hamstring the war effort with legislation.

"Your actions here in the Congress appear to be in direct conflict with the realities on the ground where the trends are up and progress is being made," retired Army Gen. John M. Keane, adviser to U.S. commanders in Iraq, told a House panel that is considering time limits on troop deployments.

"Your resolution, like so many others proposed, ties the hands of our military commanders and deprives them of the opportunity to use the appropriate level of force for the time that is required to use that force," he said.

But Gen. Keane's assessment and other reports of U.S. military gains in Iraq did not impress Democrats.

Democratic leaders are "not willing to concede there are positive things to point to" in Iraq, said a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.

Republicans said the speaker was not following her own advice to "listen to the generals," a common refrain from Mrs. Pelosi before the troop surge when several military leaders criticized the previous war strategy.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner seized upon Gen. Keane's comments.

"Compare the reports from our commanders on the ground in Iraq to the rhetoric and retreat proposals of Democrats in Washington, and you'll see exactly what prompted General Keane's testimony," the Ohio Republican said.

"General Petraeus' massive offensive against al Qaeda is working, but you'd never know it listening to the defeatist rhetoric of congressional Democrats," Mr. Boehner said. "It's shocking, especially when you consider what is at stake in the war on terror."

Gen. Keane, an adviser to Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, told the House Armed Services Committee that the troop surge President Bush ordered six months ago and which reached its full strength last month has turned the tide against al Qaeda and insurgents.

I watch some of this testimony and the discussion from the Democrats showed an appalling ignorance of warfare and a willful ignorance of the facts on the ground in Iraq. They suggested that the General was mistaken in 2005 when he had shown optimism but they act like war does not involve a thinking enemy who can react. If they would recognize that fact they could at least raise skeptical questions that make sense. Instead they just wallow in pessimism.


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