Representative Pitts' Reaction to Petraeus/Crocker Report
Today, Representative Joe Pitts (PA-16) attended the much anticipated joint committee hearing featuring testimony from General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. General Petraeus delivered a report on military progress in Iraq and Ambassador Crocker reported on the political progress of Iraqi leaders in reaching political reconciliation.
Congressman Pitts' statement follows:
"I believe General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker gave frank and independent assessments of the conditions in Iraq. This is important considering many of the war's detractors in the past called for listening to commanders on the ground. Now these detractors are attempting to discredit General Petraeus personally, and the veracity of his report, in an effort to undermine his message.
"The assessment by General Petraeus, accompanied by statistical evidence, showed that militarily, the surge is helping to increase security in Iraq.
"The assessment by Ambassador Crocker acknowledged some level of success in political reconciliation on the local level. However, I share Ambassador Crocker's frustration with the level of political progress toward reconciliation on the national level.
"There are some grim realities concerning both the security and political situation. However, what I heard from General Petraeus leads me to believe the military strategy currently under way has seen improved security results and deserves a chance to continue making gains.
"The continued effort toward security on the ground is especially important in light of Ambassador Crocker's prediction of massive human suffering, well beyond what is seen now' that would likely occur with a precipitous U.S. withdrawal. The long-term ramifications of failure in Iraq are monumental and would most likely include genocide, regional conflicts, rising Iranian influence, and the emboldening of terrorist groups. This war will not stop simply because we leave.
"However, I was encouraged by General Petraeus' estimation that a substantial,' in his words, withdrawal of U.S. forces could begin to take place by next summer if the security gains on the ground continue."