Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker — America’s top two people in Iraq — appeared again at congressional hearings April 8 and 9. They made a powerful case that progress in Iraq was very substantial but also reversible and fragile. Human Events combed the hearing transcripts and came up with the Top Ten quotes from the hearings.
1. “We have our teeth into the jugular, and we need to keep it there.”
— Gen. Petraeus
2. “Hey, let’s be honest about this: The Iraqi political leadership has achieved a lot more political reconciliation and progress since September than the American political leadership has. So we’ve got to give credit for that.” — Sen. Joe Lieberman (D.-Conn.)
3. “We haven’t seen any lights at the end of the tunnel. The champagne bottle has been pushed to the back of the refrigerator. And the progress, while real, is fragile and is reversible.” — Gen . Petraeus.
4. “We are not self-employed,” — Gen. Petraeus in response to a question of how he would advise the next President on Iraq.
5. “To be perfectly frank, congressman, thus far, I’ve seen no concrete results as a result of these discussions.” — Ambassador Ryan Crocker’s response to Rep. Mike Pence’s question if our talks with Iran have “produced any results relative to Iran’s direct
involvement in violence against U.S. troops within Iraq, or enmity toward Israel or their nuclear weapons program.”
6. “And morale, frankly, is an individual thing. And it often comes down to the kind of day that you’re having. I am not immune from those same swings. On days when we have had tough casualties, those are not good days. Morale is not high on those days. And I think the same is true of all of our forces.” — Gen. Petraeus.
7. “Extensive displacement and widespread sectarian killings by al-Qaeda and other extremist groups have gnawed away at the already-frayed fabric of Iraqi society and politics. It is no exaggeration to say that Iraq is, and will remain for some time to come, a traumatized society. It is against this backdrop that development in Iraqi national politics must be seen.” — Ambassador Ryan Crocker
8. “Senator, they are fighting and, as I mentioned, dying for their country in substantial numbers. Their losses, again, are some three times our losses of late. And I might add that the sons of Iraq losses are between two and a half and three times our losses in addition to that. So they’re very much fighting and they are very much dying for their country.”
— Gen. Petraeus to Sen. Kennedy, who suggested that Iraqi forces are deserting their units and not willing to fight on their own.
9. “We must continue to base our Iraq policy not upon short-term domestic political considerations, but upon our enduring national security interests in Iraq and indeed throughout the Middle East. We must consider the consequences of our policy decisions and recognize that immediate disengagement would only embolden the forces of radical Islam and leave an enormous power vacuum in Iraq.” — Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R.-Fla.)
10. “It was 15 months ago when the President announced the surge. And even before — even a few days after it had been announced, some members of Congress were declaring failure of this increase in American forces going into country. And yet, I think by all metrics, it’s been a success.” — Rep. Duncan Hunter ( R.-Calif.)
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter