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April 08, 2008

Watching the Petraeus Hearings

I am watching parts of the Petraeus testimony while I work...

First of all, let me take this opportunity to say that on any continuum of egregiously unrepentant asshollery that runs from 1 to 10, Joe Biden still unequivocally scores a triumphant 11. He's trying to pin Petraeus down on a "1 to 10 rating" of how bad/how good things are. Of course the poor guy has no choice but to answer.

Got oversimplification, Senator? It's the American Bandstand approach to war: "Well Senator: people are dying... but on the other hand there's a really groovy backbeat, so I give it a 6 or a 7."

"Next?"

Biden may well win today's sweepstakes for dumbest question. But Chris Dodd is currently giving him a run for his money: "Gen. Petraeus: does combat stress turn all our soldiers into psychotic killers with no ability to tell right from wrong, or is it reading the NY Times that drives them freaking batsh*t?"

Oh. Dear. God. Barbara Boxer is annoying. Someone call the Guilt Police:

"Fragile and perishable. Important words."

help.jpg

"After all we have done..."

And then there's the kiss:

"I give up. It is what it is: They kissed him on the cheek. They gave him the red carpet treatment" -- while Americans die...

Babs. I understand the frustration. Trust me. Unlike you, I just spend an entire year apart from my husband. He was (think about this for a moment) in a war zone.

But unlike you, I can back off from my emotions and look at this objectively. It's a different culture. They are not Americans. Everything is not what it seems over there. Get. A. Freaking. Grip.

Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss. Do us all a favor and rent the Godfather, will you?

How many times can she say this? I'm up to about 12 now. Even my mother never made me feel this guilty, and I actually deserved it.

Chuck Hagel: "I hate to agree with Senator Feingold". Priceless. The two of you have been on the same ideological sheet of music for months and suddenly you're worried?

"We haven't sacrificed one darn bit [in this war]"

Well why not, Senator? What were you waiting for, an engraved invitation? You're supposed to be a leader.

*sigh*

This is making me cranky.

Posted by Cassandra at April 8, 2008 04:00 PM

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Comments

Even my mother never made me feel this guilty, and I actually deserved it.

one suspects that therein lies a tale (full of sound and fury?) ...

Posted by: Mea Maxima Culpa at April 8, 2008 06:06 PM

Cass, do you find Senator Barbie annoying? Just imagine having this asshat for a Senator. California has given our country DiFi, Barbie, and Pelousi. We are probably going to be smacked with reparations. Can one sue for political malpractice?

Posted by: Mark at April 8, 2008 06:19 PM

He's trying to pin Petraeus down on a "1 to 10 rating" of how bad/how good things are.

actually, Biden asked Petraeus on a scale of 1 to 10 how much progress we've made in Iraq. not an unreasonable question when “We have spent less in six years in Afghanistan than we spend in three weeks in Iraq.” eh?

Posted by: Syd at April 8, 2008 06:24 PM

Yeah, you're right. I was a bit distracted Syd.

I will make the correction. However, I am not sure putting someone on the spot for a '1-10 rating' that has to be answered right away makes for thoughtful analysis, are you?

There are any number of factors that would go into such an assessment, and in the final analysis Petraeus is not the man who will make the call on what the criteria are for our withdrawal. So... how does he determine where the "10" is, especially in the 60 seconds he has to formulate an answer?

Dumb question.

Posted by: Cass at April 8, 2008 06:30 PM

Mark, I was in and out during her few minutes but my hands were itching to strangle her.

Why is it that women always go out of their way to justify the WORST stereotypes about our sex? I know there are intelligent women out there who are capable of doing a job without resorting to flights of hysterics. She was emotional and silly. I was embarrassed for her.

Posted by: Cass at April 8, 2008 07:28 PM

I cannot help but believe that a generation or so from now, the video of hearings like this will make it incredibly easy to identify with excruciating clarity just who the jackasses were at a time of significant national peril. How would you like to be a younger relative of these ding-dongs when that time comes? "....so it was your grandmother who acted like a sniffling fool?"

For me, I have developed an aversion to just about anything that comes out of the mouth of a politician, particularly those in the majority party. I am sure there must be some who remember they are Americans (and don't have to apologize for it), but it seemed like only the a$$holes were sounding off today.

I can only hope that those who are serving the nation in harm's way were too busy today (and will be that way tomorrow) to take in this nauseating spectacle. They deserve better......

Posted by: Bob at April 8, 2008 11:09 PM

Some things are best avoided...

Posted by: camojack at April 9, 2008 01:37 AM

I can only hope that those who are serving the nation in harm's way were too busy today (and will be that way tomorrow) to take in this nauseating spectacle.

AFN has long-since morphed into CNN-Lite and ran the hearings pretty much uncut (except for the mandatory "Report Sexual Misconduct" and "Don't Let Your Kids Play On Construction Sites" breakaways). AFN plays non-stop in the DFAC (sorry -- "chow hall"), sorta redolent of 1984, but it diverts your attention from what the food tastes like.

Bottom line: Most of the folks around me viewed the hearings as comic relief -- "Congress' Most Embarassing Videos" was one of the few printable comments...

Posted by: BillT at April 9, 2008 04:30 AM

I think I let my temper get the best of me yesterday.

I should have deleted this post last night, but I suppose it is too late now. Oh well, it is what it is.

What is wurst in life (besides two week old liverwurst)? A crabby Blog Princess. Be glad you didn't have to listen to me on the phone yesterday the FCC would have had a field day. Poor Carrie :p

Posted by: Cass, Disemp*wered C*llectivity Member at April 9, 2008 06:42 AM

I have decided that watching Senators Biden and Lugar brings out my bad side.

What was up with Lugar yesterday? Was he drunk?

He just rambled on and on about nothing. It was like he was auditioning for a bad episode of Seinfeld.

Posted by: Cass, Disemp*wered C*llectivity Member at April 9, 2008 06:44 AM

What was up with Lugar yesterday?...He just rambled on and on about nothing.
These days, that's called "Being A Statesman."

A crabby Blog Princess.
I was gonna say we already *have* a Princess Crabby at the Castle, but I think I'd better offer you a Pomegranate Martini drip, instead...

*tapping the air bubbles out of the IV line*

Posted by: BillT at April 9, 2008 06:56 AM

Biden got real serious at the very end when he told both Petraeus and Crocker that they needed $150 million for the new government in Pakistan and they didn't have it. Sounded like the Senate version of nickels and dimes.

Posted by: Benny at April 9, 2008 07:13 AM

Ay *chihuahua*, Benny.

Always these Senators, weeth peenching the dineros. They are making me crazy. Hwhere ees el Senor Pile Juan?

He hwould make them leesten. All thee ladies love Senor Pile Juan.

Posted by: Chinese Jewish-Mexican-American Lawn Princess at April 9, 2008 07:22 AM

Dumb question

I don't think it's a dumb question at all. Biden was simply asking what the level of progress Petraeus believes has been acheived, particularly relevant in light of the General's testimony last September when he testified that, if in March 08 he saw very little progress, he would "be hard pressed to recommend that [continuation of 130,000 to 160,000 troop levels] at that point in time."

I may not expect my doctor to know for certain when my cancer will be in remission but I sure as hell want to know if we're making progress in the battle.

Posted by: Syd at April 9, 2008 08:07 AM

Petraeus had said over and over again that there WAS/IS progress being made in Iraq.

Biden was either trying to score some political points or he's an idiot.
Or maybe both.

Yesterday was an embarassment of riches if you like to mock elected officials.
Like me.

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at April 9, 2008 08:13 AM

I wasn't able to see the whole thing ... but Levin annoyed me He asked if the Iraq government planned and resourced the Basrah operation, Petraeus told him it could have been better (in 25 + years in the military I can think of very few operations that you couldn't say the same for) and Levin barked back give me a straight answer ... uhh, he did ... Petraeus just refused to say the entire thing was a disaster or in effect wouldn't say what Levin wanted to hear.

Posted by: Frodo at April 9, 2008 08:33 AM

Congress were shown 12 slides detailing the progress made -

- how many battalions have been stood up and how many more we expect to stand up

- how many Iraqi civilians have been recruited to help turn in insurgents

- how many provinces have been turned over to Iraqi control

- EXACTLY how much the violence has been reduced over time

- DETAILED breakdown in attacks BY TYPE

It doesn't get much better than this on progress, Syd.

To ask for a "1 to 10" rating after that is kind of dumb. He is asking for something he knows damned well is beyond Petraeus' pay grade.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 9, 2008 08:46 AM

Biden is trying to oversimplify a complex situation so that later he wave it about and say (dismissing all the detailed information he was given) "No one ever told me it was going to turn out this way!).

They did this with his brief back in January too. He gave them extremely detailed and cautious assessment and they demagogued it after the fact and tried to pretend he hadn't warned them of the difficulties. This is what Congress does all the time, and it is beneath them.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 9, 2008 08:50 AM

Biden was simply asking what the level of progress Petraeus believes has been acheived...

Biden was asking Petraeus to quantify a quality.

I see my pilot-cadets progress each day in both language skills and airplane stick-wiggling, but I can only base my judgement on what I know of each individual. I know where each one's *1* started, but I can only guess where each one's *10* will be.

Using Biden's rather vague numerical metric, certain parts of Iraq are already at 9.5 -- others appeared to be 8 until local conditions slipped them to 6 or 7. A few areas appeared to be solid 3s on the scale until the "Awakening" -- and jumped to 8 or more virtually overnight.

But who defines what *10* is? For some, a 10 would be a unified Iraq with fully-operational infrastructure, mutual inter-(and intra-)sectarian tolerance -- in the best sense of the word -- boasting a highly-literate, terrorist-free populace. For others, a 10 would be a partitioned Iraq functioning as a commonwealth or as an association of separate republics, uniting as common interest or external threat arose. For still others, a 10 would be an immediate US pullout with GWB being ridden out of Washington on a rail as part of the exodus.

And for Those Who Know, *Numbah Ten* means The Absolute Pits...

Posted by: BillT at April 9, 2008 08:52 AM

And by the way, I don't think anyone, even the harshest critics of the Surge, could say there has been "very little" progress.

A 60-70% reduction in violence and 2/3 of the benchmarks completed is not "very little" by any measure you care to name. Unless, of course, you are hell bent on shifting the goalposts.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 9, 2008 08:53 AM

This is what Congress does all the time, and it is beneath them.

Ain't *nuthin'* beneath some of 'em...

Posted by: BillT at April 9, 2008 08:56 AM

Round two has begun...I expect the histrionics (hystrionics?) and street theater to be ramped up today...
pass the popcorn...

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at April 9, 2008 09:16 AM

Cassandra wrote: And by the way, I don't think anyone, even the harshest critics of the Surge, could say there has been "very little" progress.

You underestimate their desperation.

Posted by: Patrick Chester at April 9, 2008 09:23 AM

To ask for a "1 to 10" rating after that is kind of dumb.

Yes, but I think you have to concede that a more granular scale would require the esteemed Senator to remove his shoes in order to follow the math. Even then he'd be anatomically limited to a scale from 1 to 20.

Posted by: Daveg at April 9, 2008 09:27 AM

This is what Congress does all the time, and it is beneath them.

Not much is beneath slime, Cass, except stuff living below sea level in the darkest pits of the oceans.

For some, a 10 would be a unified Iraq with fully-operational infrastructure

For others a 10 would be Iraq functioning like a Democrat welfare state. For some others, a 10 would be making Iraq into what happened with Vietnam.

Petraeus would have been fully justified in answering that Iraq is a 1 on the road to where the Democrat leadership wants it and a 7 in terms of progress that good men and women want Iraq to become.

Unless, of course, you are hell bent on shifting the goalposts.

Cheating involves more stuff than just shifting the goal posts. Knee capping the enemy team’s kicker. Blinding the enemy’s coach. All things are grist for the war, Cass, where Democrats follow no rules except the rules that they benefit from following.

If it works, do it. If it feels good, do it. If it ends up killing some strangers you never cared about, well do that as well except make sure nobody sees you doing it.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 9, 2008 11:45 AM

If it ends up killing some strangers...do that as well except make sure nobody sees you doing it.

Even if they see you, deny everything and then make counter-accusations.

Unless there's film. T

hen just keep claiming, loudly and continuously, that you misspoke. Pretty soon, only bloggers will remember there was a killing involved...

Posted by: BillT at April 10, 2008 07:55 AM

> Get. A. Freaking. Grip

C'mon, Cass. First she's got to get a freakin' clue. And since her clueholder is clearly broken, she's going to lose it again within 24 hours of finding one.

After all, she's an ultralefty Dem. She can't play to clueless idiots unless she is one.

Posted by: obloodyhell at April 10, 2008 02:14 PM

I wish I had more of a sense of humor about this.

It will come back. Just not now.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 10, 2008 02:24 PM

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