Questions for General Petraeus

Wired‘s Danger Room blog has compiled a list of seven questions that they’d like to ask General Petraeus in his Senate testimony today, all of which I think are worth asking. Particularly these:

3. Recent Senate testimony by General William Odom and journalist Nir Rosen presented a portrait of Iraq that is at odds with the more rosy picture painted by the Bush Administration. General Odom has said “the decline in violence reflects a dispersion of power to dozens of local strong men who distrust the government and occasionally fight among themselves. Thus the basic military situation is far worse because of the proliferation of armed groups under local military chiefs who follow a proliferating number of political bosses. This can hardly be called greater military stability, much less progress toward political consolidation, and to call it fragility that needs more time to become success is to ignore its implications.” How do you respond to this?


7. Finally, Charlie asks, How do we know if we’re losing? How do we know if our strategy is not working? Is it falsifiable?

Much as it would be important to hear the answers for both of these questions, I doubt any semblance of either one will be asked.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Military Affairs, National Security, US Politics, , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. legion says:

    I can’t watch the feed from here. Has any GOP member actually asked Petreus any questions at all? Or have they all just waved pom-poms and patted him on the back?

  2. Beldar says:

    Almost no one, from either party, has asked any concise, open-ended, non-leading questions.

    In general, it’s fair to say that GOP senators have spent less time speaking themselves than their Democratic counterparts. Most seem confident that the General and the Ambassador will not embarrass themselves or the Administration, so they’re likely to share more time. The Dems are like a basketball team playing four-corners — keep the ball away from the opponents, so the opponents can’t score. Once or twice, John Kerry messed up and actually asked an argumentative question just before giving the witness a chance to respond. Gen. P. slam-dunked him.

  3. Number 3 looks more like a statement than a question.

    Saying something is better is not the same thing as saying it is good. Are you saying Iraq isn’t better? Or is the problem that nothing short of damn near perfect and strictly according to a predefined script is going to pass muster? “No war plan survives contact with the enemy,” wasn’t generated just for the Bush administration.