The Petraeus/Crocker Report: Let the Liveblogging Continue! (Part Two)

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This is Part Two of our liveblogging. Part One is here.

1:29: Petraeus finally gets going. Shocker number one: the surge is succeeding militarily.

1:32: Petraeus cites the progress with the Sunni tribes, which we’ve already noted started before the surge began and is unrelated to increased troop numbers.

1:33: It’s the Iraqis fault that their country is in chaos. Apparently competition between ethnic groups is the cause of violence in Iraq. Also Iran and Syria are making it worse.

1:35: General Petraeus, the “Ross Perot of the military,” loves his charts.

1:36: They used non-kinetic means, apparently.

1:37: “We do not rely on gut feel.” What’s he doing working for The Decider?

1:40: OOOOOOOOOHHHHHH pretty pictures! The man really loves his charts.

1:41: They’ve found and cleared over 4,100 caches of weapons and bombs this year. How many of the 180,000 missing guns did they find?

1:42: Anbar again. Again, it has nothing to do with the surge.

1:43: A steady decline in the past three months sounds impressive, but attacks always decline as the weather gets hotter during the summer.

1:44: Iran wants to use insurgents in Iraq as a proxy force to attack coalition forces. Also, more protesters just got kicked out for yelling.

1:45: Anbar again! And Petraeus acknowledges it is “unique.”

1:47: More charts!

1:48: 445,000 people “on the payrolls” of the Iraqi security forces. How many of them actually show up to work? How many of them are real?

1:49: Sounds like he’s wrapping up now… “to summarize…. the United States will be in a position to reduce its forces in Iraq in the months ahead.”

1:52: Petraeus is proposing a draw-down to pre-surge levels by mid-July 2008. And then we can use the extra forces to attack Iran!!!

1:53: Projecting “too far into the future” is difficult and misleading.

1:54: In mid-March, he’ll come back and ask for another Friedman unit.

1:56: Petraeus wants to keep the mission the same — “counterinsurgency and stabilization”

1:57: He believes Iraq’s problems need a “long-term effort,” and warns against a rapid withdrawal. How long-term?

1:59: Hooray for the military-industrial complex! More defense funding now!

2:00: Someone starts screaming: “General Petraeus, the American people don’t believe you anymore!” They’re really loud. Cindy Sheehan was among those arrested earlier, according to Brian Williams.

2:01: Skelton announces that “We will prosecute [protesters] under the law. This is intolerable…. And I hope that everything that’s considering it understands, because they will be prosecuted.”

Go to Part Three.

—Nick Baumann

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