Gen. Petraeus takes it all back

He says a question about Iraq and America's safety took him by surprise.

By Tim Grieve
Published September 12, 2007 2:00AM (UTC)
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In a classic case of not leaving well enough alone, Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh just asked Gen. David Petreaus about his statement that he didn't know whether his plan for the war in Iraq will actually make America safer. Bayh's question gave Petraeus the opportunity to backpedal, and he did it furiously.

"Well, I thank you, actually, for an opportunity to address that," Petraeus said. "Candidly, I have been so focused on Iraq that drawing all the way out [to the larger strategic question] for a moment there was a bit of a surprise. But I think that we have very, very clear national interests in Iraq, and trying to achieve those interests has very, very serious implications for our safety and our national security. So to come back to it, the answer is yes."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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Evan Bayh D-ind. Iraq War