Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Democrats take aim at Petraeus

The Star

Clinton and Obama denounce `failed policy' in Iraq during tense Senate hearings on anniversary of 9/11

Sep 12, 2007 04:30 AM
Tim Harper

WASHINGTON–Two Democrats who could inherit the Iraq war from U.S. President George W. Bush used a day of often tense testimony from Gen. David Petraeus to take dead aim at the troop surge strategy and the military commander's declaration of progress.

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama were among four contenders for their party's 2008 presidential nomination, who confronted Petraeus during a pair of Senate hearings yesterday that were far more contentious and emotional than Monday's House of Representatives hearings, when legislators often seemed deferential to the highly decorated military leader.

Clinton, the frontrunner for the nomination, bluntly told Petraeus he had become the "de facto spokesman for ... a failed policy.

"The reports that you provide to us require the willing suspension of disbelief,'' she said.

The Democratic leadership said Petraeus was painting a picture of large numbers of Americans in Iraq for another 10 years – and he offered nothing during day-long testimony to counter that perception.

Obama, who plans a major speech on Iraq today, has tried to build support from his opposition to the war from the outset, while Clinton has steadfastly refused to apologize to Democrats for backing the 2002 resolution authorizing the invasion.

"We have now set the bar so low, that modest improvement in what was a completely chaotic situation, to the point where now we just have the levels of intolerable violence that existed in June of 2006, is considered success,'' Obama said.

"And it's not.''

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