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Iraq

The Washington Post: "Army Gen. David H. Petraeus told Congress yesterday that the deployment of 30,000 more troops to Iraq has made enough progress that the additional combat forces can be pulled out by next summer, but he cautioned against 'rushing to failure' with a larger and speedier withdrawal… [T]he general's report and troop proposal opened a new phase in the fractious Washington debate over the future of the U.S. venture in Iraq nearly 4 1/2 years after Bush ordered an invasion to topple Saddam Hussein. From this point on, the argument will no longer be about whether to withdraw U.S. troops but about how many to pull out and how quickly."

EJ Dionne writes, that before Petraeus "began his account of the 'substantial' progress brought about by the troop increase in Iraq, congressional critics of President Bush's policy had come to the depressing conclusion that the surge has done what the administration needed it to do. It has not won the war. It has not achieved reconciliation at the national level in Iraq. But it has bought more political time in Washington, bringing Bush closer than ever to reaching one of his main objectives: keeping large numbers of troops in Iraq beyond Election Day 2008."

The New York Times adds that Petraeus' testimony "drove home the continuing inability of the Democrats to force a change in strategy in Iraq… The hearings had been expected to provoke an epic confrontation between opponents of the war and its front-line leaders. But that conflict did not fully materialize Monday, in part because only a few Democrats on two House committees seemed inclined to dispute with much vigor the assessments provided by a commander with medals on his chest and four stars on his shoulders."

The Boston Globe's front-page story: "Petraeus told a deeply divided joint House committee that achieving the goal of a self-sustaining Iraq would be 'neither quick nor easy.'"
 
In his analysis, the Boston Globe's Canellos writes that Petraeus and Crocker delivered "a straight, sober, and nuanced presentation," but "the general's suggestion that US troops will be needed well into the future represents a clear challenge to antiwar forces and sets the terms for what is sure to be a contentious congressional debate throughout the fall."

The New York Daily News' headline: "Petraeus puts anti-war Democrats in tight spot."

Regarding MoveOn's "Betray Us" ad, the Boston Globe writes, "Republicans, including several running for president, condemned the full-page ad, which ran in yesterday's New York Times. Democratic presidential hopefuls distanced themselves, but did not directly rebuke the group."

RNC chairman Mike Duncan sent out this fundraising solicitation yesterday: "MoveOn.org is openly attacking our generals and troops. This week they ran full-page newspaper ads attacking the integrity of our top military commander in Iraq, General Petraeus, as he was testifying before Congress. And, the Democrat leaders have said nothing. Nothing!  Are they complicit in these attacks by their silence? This kind of malicious and despicable attack cannot stand -- and we must fight back."