General David Petraeus testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday and today before the House Armed Services Committee. At the same time, a strategic military analyst at Rolling Stone Magazine, Michael Hastings, and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) agree that the General is guilty of handling the Afghanistan war with a “Charlie Sheen counter-insurgency strategy.” Woolsey accused Petraeus of using “an awful lot of weasel words.” In the meantime, Petraeus said he believes his July drawdown recommendation will include combat forces. Pardon him for not telling Woosley and other enemies his exact plans.
On Tuesday, the CONGRESSIONAL PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS PEACE AND SECURITY TASK FORCE (who knew) called in the Rolling Stone “expert,” who said:
“General Petraeus is giving us the Charlie Sheen counter-insurgency strategy, which is to give exclusive interviews to every major network, and to keep saying ‘we’re winning’ and hope the public actually agrees with you.”
You’ll remember that Democrats tagged the General with General Betray-Us in 2007, with ads in the NYT paid for by George Soros and MoveOn.org. From Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:
The Charlie Sheen reference is just another way of calling Petraeus a liar, and adding in a dig at his mental health as well. Comparing a man who has dedicated his life to America’s security to a drug-addled celebrity in full meltdown is par for the course for “progressives” the last few years, although in this case it reflects far more on Woolsey’s questionable state of mind than on Petraeus. Is Woolsey that desperate for a headline? Maybe her constituents should send her to political rehab in 2012, and let her call that “winning”.
You may also remember that Michael Hastings wrote the piece on General Stanley McChrystal that ended in his retiring in disgrace – for denigrating Barack Obama.
Hastings is well-known for his distaste for accomplished, aggressive war fighters so his comparison between a four-star general on his fourth combat tour of the global war on terror and a TV sit-com actor with unfortunate substance abuse and domestic violence issues comes as no surprise.
What I’ve heard about his Senate testimony this morning doesn’t inspire much more confidence, especially his statement that he hasn’t decided how many troops he’ll recommend moving out of Afghanistan in July.
When he testifies on the House side tomorrow, I hope my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee will demand the clarity on this issue that the American people want and deserve. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows opposition to the war as high as it’s ever been, with 64 percent saying it isn’t worth fighting.
Not worth fighting?
This from General Petraeus today:
The four-star general told both committees over the two days that progress is being made in getting Taliban fighters to walk away from the insurgency. In recent months, 700 former mid- and lower-level Taliban have officially reintegrated with Afghan authorities, and about 2,000 more are in the process of reintegration, according to Petraeus.
A couple thousand more have “informally reconciled,” returning home to their villages and laying down their weapons, he estimated on Tuesday.
At the group’s peak, 25,000 Taliban may be active at a given time, but with the spring fighting season just beginning, it is too early to tell what their numbers are like now, Petraeus told the committee Wednesday.
“There’s also no question that these are resilient organizations, and that they can find others to put into these positions,” Petraeus said. He added there has been “quite a replacement of Taliban leaders in recent months,” both because senior leaders have been upset by battlefield performance in Afghanistan and because in some cases the leaders “literally have enough of it” and take themselves out of the fight voluntarily.
Surely there is a way forward for Woolsey and her Progressives to oppose the action in Afghanistan without using such demeaning rhetoric, and…comparing him to Charlie Sheen. Follow the conversation at Memorandum.