FAQs on General Petraeus' Testimony

Q. How did General Petraeus' testimony in front of Congress go?

A. Pretty good. He emphasized that progress was being made in Iraq. The same way he talked about the progress being made in Iraq when he testified in the same room back in 2004. He might be using the same script.

Q. What's the difference between then and now?

A. Back then, Baghdad still had electricity and water and the wheel.

Q. Did General Petraeus speak about what the future holds for our Iraqi involvement?

A. He acknowledged the road ahead would be difficult. He also allowed that fire engines are often red.

Q. The General said we have raised the number of trained Iraqi security forces fighting alongside American troops. Is it a significant rise?

A. 60 percent. From five to eight.

Q. Five to eight brigades? Divisions?

A. No. Troops. Used to be five guys we could trust. Now it's eight.

Q. What happened to the Democrats holding the General's feet to the fire?

A. Everyone except MoveOn.org scampered away like 12-year-old girls running from a big hairy spider.

Q. What did MoveOn.org do?

A. They ran a full page ad in the New York Times spotlighting General Betray Us.

Q. Why?

A. How often do you get a rhyme like that? Once in a lifetime shot; they took it.

Q. Doesn't the latest National Intelligence Estimate report Iraq's government is paralyzed by internal squabbling and petty personal differences?

A. Yes, so if you think about it, we have made strides in installing an American-style democracy.

Q. Did the General really respond to whether our intervention in Iraq was making America safer, by saying, "Unh, I don't know, actually"?

A. Yeah. So?

Q. Nothing. Just curious.

A. Well, move on. I mean, keep going.

Q. What does the General mean when he says security gains since the surge have been "uneven."

A. "Uneven" is traditional Pentagon speak for "getting our butts handed to us on a paper plate."

Q. What about those benchmarks that were oh-so-important in January?

A. Turns out they weren't really all that important. What is important is other stuff. Stuff that looks good right now.

Q. The President called the insurgents in Iraq, Al Qaeda 12 times in his speech. What's up with that?

A. A small group calls itself Al Qaeda of Iraq, but its not the same Al Qaeda responsible for 9/11. Surfing off the credibility of the name. Kind of like a terrorism franchise.

Q. Does fighting one hurt the other?

A. There used to be two teams in the Canadian Football League called the Red Ryders. But if you beat one it didn't mean you got credit for two victories in the standings.

Q. What ever happened to "we'll step down when the Iraqis step up?"

A. Someone stole the steps.

Q. Was a timetable provided for reducing troops in Iraq?

A. Nothing clear cut. Something to do with snow and hell.

Q. And the upshot of the whole thing?

A. General Petraeus asked for more time. He's hoping to come back in March with a new report.

Q. So, they're just going to keep kicking the dead cat down the road. Until when, do you think?

A. Does November 4th, 2008 have any meaning here?

Q. Is that a question?

A. Sorry, no.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.