War hero General David Petraeus told a senate committee yesterday that he disagreed with Barack Obama’s plan to cut troops in Afghanistan.
Petraeus told the senate committee, “I’m no quitter.”
Toby Harnden at The Telegraph reported:
There was a fascinating exchange in General David Petraeus’s Senate confirmation hearing yesterday when Senator Carl Levin, a Democrat and chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sought to outwit him after he had diplomatically expressed his disagreement (see the video above) with President Barack Obama’s pullout plan.
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At the start of his slot, Levin twice tried to put words into Petraeus’s mouth. When he summarised the Afghanistan commander’s view about President Barack Obama’s drawdown plan as feeling “comfortable implementing it and supporting it”, Petraeus politely demurred: “I would be a bit more qualified, Mr. Chairman.”
Moments later, Levin had another go, trying to get Petraeus to agree with his boss Admiral Mike Mullen’s earlier testimony about the risks of keeping troops in Afghanistan longer:
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Levin: Would you also agree with Admiral Mullen, as he put it to the committee, that the truth is, that we would have run other kinds of risks by keeping more forces in Afghanistan longer. That’s his exact words.
And we would have made it easier for the Karzai administration to increase their dependency on us. Those were his words today as well. We would have denied the Afghan security forces who’ve grown in capability opportunities to further exercise that capability and to lead.
And that, in terms of risks, we would have signaled to the enemy and to our regional partners that the Taliban still possessed strength enough to warrant the full measure of our presence. They do not.
Would you agree with Admiral Mullen on that?
Levin had quoted Mullen accurately (as an aside, the second and third of those three propositions seem to me to be extremely dubious) but Petraeus wasn’t having other people telling him what he thought: “I’m not sure I buy every bit of that characterisation, Chairman,” he responded dryly.