Thursday, July 19, 2007

Durbin snubs General, embraces Markos

Our Senator Dick Durbin did not attend a video briefing today by our commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus. After the briefing, Durbin's staff blamed the White House for inadequate notification, even though many of Durbin's Democratic colleagues knew about it and attended.

The above facts are a perfect microcosm of Durbin's behavior as a senator. He has his spin, and he won't allow inconvenient facts to get in their way. And when in doubt, blame President Bush.

Radio host/blogger Hugh Hewitt interviewed Petraeus for nearly an hour yesterday and elicited some fascinating information from the man whose been in Iraq most of the war. I encourage anyone who wants unbiased information about what's going on now to read the entire interview. Petraeus, as even liberals know, is not prone to sugarcoating anything.

Here's one exchange:

HH: Welcome, General. You took over command of the multinational forces in February of this year, February 10. In the past five months, how have conditions in Iraq changed?

DP: Well, obviously, we have been surging our forces during that time. We have added five Army brigade combat teams, two Marine battalions, and a Marine expeditionary unit, and some enablers, as they're called. And over the last month, that surge of forces has turned into a surge of offensive operations. And we have achieved what we believe is a reasonable degree of tactical momentum on the ground, gains against the principal near-term threat, al Qaeda-Iraq, and also gains against what is another near-term threat, and also potentially the long term threat, Shia militia extremists as well. As you may have heard, that today, we announced the capture of the senior Iraqi leader of al Qaeda-Iraq, and that follows in recent weeks the detention of some four different emirs, as they're called, the different area leaders of al Qaeda, six different foreign fighter facilitators, and a couple dozen other leaders, in addition to killing or capturing hundreds of other al Qaeda-Iraq operatives.

HH: Do you think al Qaeda in Iraq is buckling, General Petraeus?

DP: Well, it's probably too soon to say that, but we think that we have them off plan. Now having said that, they clearly retain and have demonstrated, tragically in recent, the past week or so, the ability to continue to carry out sensational attacks. They continue to demonstrate the ability to counterattack against our forces, and those of our coalition partners. But the detention, or the capture or killing of the number of leaders that we have taken out in recent months, and weeks, actually, and the progress in terms of just clearing areas of them…as you know, Anbar Province has really become quite relatively clear of al Qaeda. Eastern Anbar still has some, and we are working in that area. We have recently cleared Western Baquba, which was almost al Qaeda central, the capitol of the new caliphate that they have tried to establish here in Iraq. So there has been considerable progress against them, but they do continue to receive foreign fighters through Syria, who become suicide bombers in many cases, and they do certainly have an ability to regenerate, to regroup, and to come back at us.
Durbin doesn't want to be bothered by information like this. One event he won't miss, however, is the YearlyKos hate speech fest in Chicago next month, where he already is booked as a speaker. The event is put on by DailyKos blogger Markos Moulitsas Zúniga who uttered one of the most despicable sentiments of the entire war.

Senator Dick has his priorities.

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