April 8th, 2008
08:21 AM ET
14 years ago

Hearings thrust Iraq back into White House campaigns

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/POLITICS/04/07/iraq.candidates/art.petraeus.ap.jpg caption=" Army Gen. David Petraeus was expected to face several tough questions about Iraq on Tuesday."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - The emotional debate over the war will once again dominate presidential politics when all three candidates have opportunities to question the top U.S. general in Iraq during congressional hearings Tuesday.

Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, and Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the two rivals for the Democratic nomination, will share the spotlight when Army Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, the top U.S. diplomat in Iraq, testify.

McCain and Clinton will question Petraeus and Crocker - and possibly advocate their positions on whether U.S. troops should be withdrawn - when they appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday morning. McCain is the committee's top Republican.

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Filed under: Iraq
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Hicks, Fort Myers

    The one lesson learned in Vietnam–was not trying to politicize the war for personal gain by our elected officials in Washington which stirred dissident public sentiment–causing the executive branch, defense department to adapt failing strategies and resulted in our eventual pull-out and loss of all the ground gained and sacrifices made to the communist forces of North Vietnam.

    It appears our esteemed Democratic socalists in congress are once again trying to use the misery of Iraq and the sacrifices of our military for their own political purposes.

    I'm personally sickened by the littany of defeat coming from the entire line up: Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Clinton, etc.

    April 8, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. Craig in Texas Democrat and supporter for Obama

    i See the republicans or on here today warmonger supporters

    April 8, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  3. DM Arlington, TX

    We are forgetting how this War got started. It is not America problem to fiinance IRAQ economy. America is Broke and we can afford to pay our own bills. IRAQ must stand up now. Let them take out a loan from China. We can't carry this on America's pocket.. Last time I check our pocket is empty.

    Congress can not continue to write checks that we can not payback. Our grand children can not be force to pay this bill.

    Gen. Patraeus. need to stop asking for money unless we are talking about what America is going to get out of it.

    Cam America get Oil fpr Cash and security.. The Answer is No, Because that would work against the Dick Chaney Plan. This is Dick Chaney and George Bush Plan to Cause America to Pay More fo Oil. Hell!!! They Care less about America footing the Bill or Troops lives lost.. Listen to Dick Chaney.. He Careless about lives lost of the cost of the war they only care about Winfall profits..

    America, needs to wake up.

    April 8, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. Really?

    Don't we already have another Vietnam . . . tremendous losses of blood and treasure in a war with absolutely no exit strategy, only demands that we stay until some undefined "victory?"

    Fourteen months ago, the President announced the escalation, I mean "surge," and said its success would be measured by specific benchmarks. We have achieved few of those benchmarks, and indeed hear nothing about them anymore.

    Instead, after five years with no exit strategy and no measurable success, all we get is yet another plea for "patience." If the President had said the point of the "surge" was to bring down violence to 2005 or 2006 levels, who would have supported it? That's all we have to show for it. Enough already.

    April 8, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  5. Jan

    I am eager to see if Obama will say, I happen to agree with everything
    Hillary is saying, that's what he always does when he dosen't know
    the answer. Did you ever watch the debates? That's his one liner.

    April 8, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  6. Alex H

    Talimee – Please, enlighten us! What would NATO be able to do right now that's so important for Obama to hold an oversight committee for? I suppose that doesn't matter when you don't understand the purpose of NATO.

    For anyone who ACTUALLY cares to know, NATO is a DEFENSIVE military pact. Guess what? We haven't been attacked since Obama has been chair of the European Affairs committee. That was 2001... he began chair in 2007.

    You guys can keep up these arguments all you want, but they are unintelligent and hasty to cast criticism that doesn't make any sense.

    Desperate times?

    April 8, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  7. Richard

    Its rediculous.. Gen Petraeus says were "paying off" the terrorists not to attack us. What a good use of taxpayer dollars.

    This is looneyville

    April 8, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. John

    I wanna know why the Iraq Army has M16's..?? Isnt that our weapon.?

    What If we have to fight thse guys and now they have body armor and M16's which is far more accurate than AK47's..

    When will the stupidity end?

    April 8, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. clarence virginia beach va

    bring on the draft at lets see how fastt this war comes to a end. all the people you are beating the war drums, believe me the army will take you and even get a little money, and you'll be able to serve 2 12 months tour or maybe 15.

    April 8, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. cnn rocks

    cnn endorse clinton and get it over with,ac 360 and jack cafferty and wolf are the only people that makes sense,if u dont change this kinda of reporting i will rather watch the hate that spills out of fox news,the 3 candidates r going to be questioning the gen,not just hill and mccain,even fox news reported the truth,i cant believe i have being saying u re better than fox,live up to that name CNN,

    April 8, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. Alonzo Demetrius


    April 8, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. rod

    Patreaus, Crocker and their Commander In Chief Bush will howl like all the devils of hell and startle the echoes of the dead in the holy war. Give ' em Hell! Patreaus, Crocker, and Bush. All it is, is like a Sunday drive, hippety-hop and a stroll through Iraq its not like jaywalking.

    April 8, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. Tom in S.A.

    For those of you who won't listen to a four star general but the biased main stream media, you make me sick.

    April 8, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  14. Sue, Greensboro, NC

    People, wake the hell up! Since when are the hundreds of thousands of middle eastern lives lost and the four thousand and counting American lives lost and untold thousands maimed permanently worth this political grandstanding? We should never have invaded Iraq and the only thing to do now is get out. We have virtually ruined the infrastructure of this country. These people couldn't return to a normal life there if they wanted to. We rebuilt Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I guess middle easterners don't deserve our help after we've torn their country all to crap.

    Now, all of you war divas need to get a grip and face some generally known facts. Hell, at least read the 911 commission report. THERE WAS NOT THEN,AND NEVER HAS BEEN A REASON FOR THE US TO INVADE IRAQ!

    April 8, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. Kansas Veteran

    Let us look at this in a rational sense.

    The war was not needed, Iraq DID NOT pose a threat. However , that being said is history. The fact is that we are there.

    The invasion of Iraq was a complete success. The US military completed very mission that they were given and deafeated Iraq soundly. However, the occupation of Iraq was a failure, that the political machine, managed in spectacular fashion.

    Now, if we would do an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, what would the ramifications be, would the terrorist follow our forces home as some administration officials have claimed? No, that would not happen and why is that, because they know where we live, and if they could attack us here they would rather do that than attack forces that can respond back. What it would do however is leave a vacucum in the middle east, one that use to be filled by Saddam, a stabilizing force, one that you might not have liked but one that had a role in middle eastern stability. Bottom line, we can not leave at this time.

    Now with regards to those of you that do not think much of Gen Petraeus, the advances that have been made in Iraq are a direct result of Petraeus's efforts, not those of the political machine. Petraeus actually engages the Iraqi people, gets them involved, helps them stand on their own two feet and take back their communities. His commanders work with the Iraqi people not against them.

    It is General Petraeus's job to advise and recommend to the President through the chain of command actions to be taken in Iraq. It is the President's job to take that information and decide on what he wants done. Once the decision has been made by the President, it is Petraeus's job to carry out that decision, with out dissent. Wheather or not the President wishes to listen to his Generals is another issue all together.

    Let Petraeus give his update. What to listen for, is it straight forward, factual or is it muddyed with administration double talk. I am hoping that Petraeous gives it to Congress straight from the hip no holds barred as to progress and what he needs. If we start hearing double talk or administration double talk, then we have problems.

    April 8, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. William from TX

    Does anyone really believe that General Betray-us will tell us the truth about this unwinnable war? It's sickening.

    April 8, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. Kevin Finneran

    Like many, I'm against this war. However, what I'm also against is that putz Senator Levin pathetic line of questioning! "Could it be 3 months, 4 months, 3 months? General Petraeus deserves better.

    April 8, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  18. dEMABRAT

    VH- you hot-aired filled peice of garbage!!!Sen. Clinton is on the Arms Commitee.

    Running for president in a highly publicized campaign is a bit more lighthearted than this issue.

    Go blow your hot air somewhere else.

    April 8, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. Carl

    we would have lost world war 2 with today's media coverage...

    we would have quit or surrendered right before midway and the German invasion into Western Russia with this attitude....

    4,000 people dying is truly awful, but that is what WAR is... people die.

    416,000 died in WW2... oh man I can see the coverage now... one bomb kills one person yet again.. pull us out it's not safe...

    truth is, those delivering the information have no freaking idea what it's about, and it's really sad...

    April 8, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. maya

    cnn rocks- McCain and Clinton will get in first rounds of questioning because they are on a foreign relations committee (= EXPERIENCE) while JUNIIOR SENATOR Obama will have to wait his turn....It will be interesting to see what he asks- since he is such an expert on foreign relations due to his many vacations like he says!!!

    April 8, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  21. B.M.

    It appears that McCain and Petreaus have rehearsed their answers and questions. BRING THE TROOPS HOME!

    April 8, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. Ken in Dallas

    I'm ashamed that my people make this a debate about personalities while the meat grinder continues to squander lives.

    We don't need Petraeus' testimony to understand that this escalation is a tactical success in support of a strategy that leads only to more of the same. There is not, and never has been, a coherent strategy behind the Iraq adventure, and the truth is that we have squandered the strength of our finest for no achievable purpose.

    What US national interest is really at stake in Iraq, and how do possibly stand to benefit from the ongoing conflict and chaos there? If we can't answer this simply-stated question, we had no business ever violating Iraq's sovereignty in the first place.

    The trillion dollars and nearly 20,000 lives (counting the maimed and permanently disabled) we've already squandered are gone forever. The Bush administration keeps low-balling the costs of this adventure (it's not really a war, the US nor any close allies were never under any threat from Iraq) to maintain political cover so they can keep it going. They even go as far as to deny their responsibility to care for maimed and disabled veterans, to reject the educational burden of re-integrating the survivors into peacetime society, and to invoke stop-loss intended for emergencies to support a military adventure that was never any kind of emergency but the kind this administration manufactured. The blood and treasure we've already squandered are gone forever.

    For the sake of our men in harm's way, for the sake of our national integrity, at least demand a strategy by which the US has something to gain before you support more of the same, and stop calling it a war; war has not been declared by Congress, and this adventure has been instigated solely by the Bush administration. It's like Korea in that regard, except that the Korean intervention at least won us respect, while Iraq has earned us derision.

    Lastly, please, please refrain from getting back on "the troops can't have died in vain" hobby horse. That's the kind of thinking you sell to adolescents in cartoons. If we've destroyed the lives of 20,000 of our young people and millions of Iraqis without creating any lasting benefit in the process, then that blood and treasure have been spent in vain, and spending still more to support a catastrophic status quo won't change that harsh truth.

    We made this mess, we're in it now, and we're going to have to do what's best from here without further whining about our past losses.

    April 8, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  23. Dan in CO

    ""General Washington must be spinning in his grave watching today's political showmenship..""

    General Washington would be turning over in his grave just over the fact that we have political parties.

    April 8, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  24. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    They can continue the war because of a lot of reasons, one to
    protect our troops and our good people of American. But the
    war was wrong in the first place. Have we bred more terrors?
    Are they going to follow us home? Have we made a mess of
    that country? Have we "awakened cells of a sleeping giant.?

    April 8, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |


    April 8, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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