Sep 112007
Authors: Nick Hemenway

This week has been quite a show in Washington, as General Petraeus delivered his update to the President and Congress of the progress we have made, as well as the state of Iraq.

But did this report even matter?

General Petraeus could have walked into the capitol this week and quoted Beastie Boys lyrics and probably would have received the same negative response from Democrats.

But why is this report so meaningless? I believe many politicians debating the war in Iraq have parted ways with reason.

Earlier this year, Congress debated President Bush’s planned “surge” of over 20,000 additional troops to Iraq to help bring peace and stability to the region. The only thing produced by these debates was a mountain of rhetoric.

All five Colorado Democratic representatives positioned themselves against the surge, a position held by nearly every other Democrat in Congress.

In April, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that “this war is lost.” Will he stick with that statement now that Petraeus says things are improving?

Two weeks ago, General Petraeus told The Australian there has been a 75 percent decrease in religious and ethnic killings in Iraq since December, as well as a rise in Al-Qaeda kills and captures, while coalition deaths from road-side bombings have decreased.

“We say we have achieved progress, and we are obviously going to do everything we can to build on that progress and we believe Al-Qaeda is off balance at the very least,” said Petraeus.

When Petraeus echoed those findings to Congress this week, the Democratic response was very typical.

Just as predicted, Democrats spun the Petraeus report better than an MLB pitcher’s curveball. If you don’t believe me, just look at the way they treated him in Congress yesterday.

I saw this coming beforehand, not because I’m psychic, but rather because of they way they had already started criticizing the report before it had even been delivered.

One week ago on the floor of the Senate, New York Senator Chuck Schumer tried to distort the report by saying “The violence in Anbar has gone down despite the surge, not because of the surge. The inability of American soldiers to protect these tribes from Al-Qaeda said to these tribes, ‘We have to fight Al-Qaeda ourselves.’ It wasn’t that the surge brought peace here.”

How can someone get away with making a statement like that? For one reason or another, Schumer actually believes these small tribes are more capable than the most powerful military the world has ever seen.

My point is nothing that General Petraeus can say will persuade the Democrats from their mission to undermine the President. As I have said in previous columns, the Democrats are politically committed to defeat in Iraq.

Let’s not get our hopes up that they will admit they were wrong, because giving our troops and commanders the credit they deserve is something Democrats will never do.

Nick Hemenway is a senior engineering major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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