Lieberman to Petraeus: Your critics should be cheering

Just don't hold him to his drawdown plan.

By Tim Grieve
Published September 11, 2007 11:50PM (UTC)
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Any surprises in Gen. David Petraeus' testimony to Congress? Sen. Joseph Lieberman has found one. Noting that Petraeus has said that he's recommending that the U.S. military presence in Iraq be reduced to pre-surge levels by July 2008, Lieberman just declared: "One of the things that has most surprised me over the last few days is that every member of Congress hasn't cheered when you said that."

The senator from Connecticut said that critics of the war in Iraq should now "take yes for an answer," stand back while Petraeus pulls out troops and then look forward to whatever good news he'll surely bring come next spring.


But Lieberman knows that darker plans are lurking. Some members of Congress, he warned Petraeus, may try to "mandate" his drawdown plan into law "without regard to conditions on the ground." "What would you say to that?" he asked.

"I would be uncomfortable with that," Petraeus said. "We have to have our eyes wide open as we go forward with this."

Lieberman's eyes are wide open, and they're looking hard at Iran. Is it time, he asked, to give Petraeus the authority to sneak over the border into Iran if necessary to go after anyone who might be meddling in Iraq? Petraeus demurred. Any operations outside the borders of Iraq, he said, would be "rightly" overseen by regional commanders, not him.

Tim Grieve

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

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