REMOTE CEMETERY SHOOTOUT! - 2005
REMOTE CEMETERY SHOOTOUT - A WOMAN REPORTED MISSING BY HER FAMILY IN SEPTEMBER WAS FOUND UNINJURED INSIDE THE CAR OF A MAN KILLED AFTER A HIGH-SPEED CHASE WITH GEORGIA LAW ENFORCEMENT. AUTAUGA COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPT. WAS INVESTIGATING KEVIN TODD SCREWS FOR IMPERSONATING AN OFFICER. CHASE ENDED WITH GUNFIRE INVOLVING SEVERAL OFFICERS AT WOODLAWN CEMETERY. DEPUTIES THOUGHT SUSPECT HAD A GUN, WHEN IN FACT IT WAS A CELL PHONE.
Georgia Suspect 3 - Bush grenade suspect detained, adds new STILLS
NAME: GEO SUSPECT 3 210705N TAPE: EF05/0647 IN_TIME: 10:37:26:10 DURATION: 00:03:11:00 SOURCES: Various DATELINE: Various, 20 July 2005 RESTRICTIONS: See Script SHOTLIST Vashlidzhvari - July 20, 2005 1. Armed guards at the scene of the shootout 2. Mid shot of ambulance 3. Elderly woman being escorted through crowds away from the scene 4. Close up of dead police officer lying in the back of an ambulance 5. Ambulance leaving 6. Local neighbours standing watching 7. SOUNDBITE: (Russian) Tsitsino Lakoboshvili, local resident: "We were at home when somebody knocked on the door. My daughter opened the door; she is 17-years-old. There was a young man with a handgun, he wanted to force his way in and I pushed him out. I said I would call the police but he was asking for help and he wanted to come in and asked if he could make a call. After that I called the police." 8. Guards asking people to move away 9. Lady being escorted from the scene 10. Wide of the scene of the shootout AP PHOTOS - no access Canada/Internet File - July 18 11. Four photos released by the Georgian Interior Ministry showing Vladimir Arutyunyan, who is suspected of throwing a grenade in Tbilisi on May 10, 2005, during the speech of the U.S. President George Bush Vashlidzhvari - July 20, 2005 12. Briefing by Georgia's Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili File Tbilisi - May 10, 2005 13. US President George W. Bush walking out to address crowds 14. Security officers alerted to security threat Vashlidzhvari - July 20, 2005 15. Scene of the shootout 16. Scene cordoned off 17. Floodlit scene with stretcher in the background on the ground 18. Crowds at the scene STORYLINE A man arrested after a fatal shootout with police has admitted throwing a grenade at a rally in May where U.S. President George W. Bush was making a speech, the Georgian government said on Thursday. The government said the suspect made the admission in the hospital, where he is being treated for wounds suffered in the shootout that erupted in a village on the outskirts of the capital Tbilisi when police tried to arrest him late Wednesday. One policeman was killed in the shootout and the suspect, Vladimir Arutyunian, fled into a nearby woods. He was captured about an hour later and taken to a hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds. Bush and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili were on the podium in front of a massive crowd in dowtown Tbilisi when the live grenade was thrown. The grenade landed less than 100 feet (30 meters) from the podium but did not explode. A preliminary investigation indicated the activation device deployed too slowly to hit the blasting cap hard enough, the FBI said. Georgia's Interior Minister, Vano Merabishvili , gave a briefing shortly after Wednesday's arrest, in which he expressed his condolences to the family of Zurab Kvlivishvili, the police officer killed during the shootout. He said Arutyunyan had also been wounded in the course of his arrest and said an investigation was underway as to what his motives for the crime might have been. Merabishvili had previously offered a reward of about 80,000 US dollars for information leading to the capture of the man responsible for the failed attack.
Georgia Grenade - Trial date to be set for man accused of trying to kill Bush
NAME: GEO TRIAL 20051202I TAPE: EF05/1067 IN_TIME: 10:00:09:00 DURATION: 00:01:59:05 SOURCES: AP Television/Georgian POOL/Police Video DATELINE: Tbilisi - 2 Dec 2005/ File RESTRICTIONS: SHOTLIST AP Television Tbilisi, Georgia - 2 December 2005 1. Wide shot of court building 2. Suspect Vladimir Arutyunian being led out of van 3. Mid shot Arutyunian walking into court 4. Security personnel and journalists in courtroom 5. Mid shot Arutyunian behind bars in courtroom cell 6. Mid shot judge's bench 7. UPSOUND (Georgian) Vladimir Arutyunian, Suspect: "If you (addressing the judge) really want me to have defence, then I need international organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to be present here. I will talk only to them and explain everything." 8. Mid shot court officials 9. Close up security personnel 10. Mid shot Arutyunian, zoom out as he sits down 11. Wide pan of courtroom Georgian POOL FILE: Georgia - May 2005 12. Various of US President George W. Bush meeting Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili Police Video FILE: Georgia - 22 July 2005 13. Various STILL shots of the suspect in the crowd and the grenade - NB a large red arrow (inserted by police) points at the suspect 14. Various of FBI and Georgian law enforcement officials where suspect Arutyunian was captured STORYLINE A Georgian court said on Friday that the trial of a man accused of trying to assassinate US President George W. Bush would open next week. Vladimir Arutyunian faces terrorism and murder charges stemming from the May 10 incident in Tbilisi and the killing of a policeman in a shootout before his arrest in July. The charges carry a punishment of life imprisonment - the same punishment that he would face in the United States. Bush and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili were addressing a rally of thousands in Tbilisi from behind a bullet-proof barrier when the grenade, wrapped in a cloth, landed about 100 feet (30 metres) away. It did not explode; investigators said it apparently malfunctioned. No one was harmed. The Tbilisi City Court set the opening for Monday. Arutyunian's lawyer Lizi Dzhaparidze - the fifth to be appointed to represent the defendant, who has said he does not need legal representation - refused to speak to reporters on Friday. But Arutyunian himself said that "the court's decision has been determined in advance." He said his only hope for an impartial trial was if international organisations took up his defence. He has admitted throwing the grenade.
COP SHOOTOUT ON TAPE 2005
OFFICER TRIES TO STOP A DRIVER WHO WAS REPORTEDLY BRANDISHING A WEAPON WHILE DRIVING. THE DRIVER REFUSED TO STOP AND CONTINUED DRIVING A FEW MILES BEFORE PULLING OVER. HE THEN ADVANCED ON THE OFFICER WITH A LOADED WEAPON. THE DRIVER WAS GUNNED DOWN BY THE OFFICER AND LATER PRONOUNCED DEAD.
Georgia Charges - Suspect in Bush grenade throwing incident in Georgia charged in cop murder
NAME: GEO CHARGES 220705N TAPE: EF05/0651 IN_TIME: 11:27:24:04 DURATION: 00:01:07:08 SOURCES: See Script DATELINE: Tbilisi, 22 July 2005 RESTRICTIONS: SHOTLIST: Georgian Police VNR 1. Vladimir Arutuynian, charged with killing policeman, lying in hospital bed 2. Close-up of Arutuynian's face 3. Arutuynian signing document that says he refuses to give testimony APTN 4. SOUNDBITE (Georgian) Georgii Gviniashvili, Tbilisi Prosecutor: "He (Vladimir Arutuynian) will be charged with premeditated murder and will be facing a life sentence." 5. Wideshot of Gviniashvili 6. Wideshot of FBI and Georgian law enforcement officers at site where Arutuynian was captured 7. Close-up of Arutuynian's belongings scattered on the ground 8. FBI officers at the scene taking photos 9. FBI and local law enforcement officers at scene 10. Local policemen and FBI officers walking 11. Police tape line at Arutunyan's apartment 12. FBI and local law enforcement officers walking STORYLINE Georgian prosecutors on Friday charged a man with premeditated murder for shooting a policeman who tried to arrest him on suspicion of throwing a live grenade toward US President George W. Bush during a rally by in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi in May. The Tbilisi prosecutor's office said 27-year old Vladimir Arutyunian had been formally presented with the charge. They said he refused to give testimony to police officials. Arutyunian was detained after a deadly shootout with security forces on Wednesday in which a policeman died. The shootout took place in a village on the outskirts of the capital Tbilisi. The suspect tried to flee into the nearby woods but was captured about an hour later and taken to a hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds. Arutyunian admitted in video footage shown on Thursday that he threw the grenade that landed near a podium where Bush was speaking. Both Bush and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili were on the podium in downtown Tbilisi when the grenade was thrown and landed about 30 metres (100 feet) away. The grenade did not explode and nobody was hurt. Investigators - both FBI and local law enforcement officers - have been searching for clues on the motive for the attack, which cast a shadow over a visit meant to showcase Georgia's progress. In footage broadcast by Rustavi-2 television from the hospital, Arutyunian signed a document relating to the charge in the presence of a state-appointed lawyer. Arutyunian faces up to a life sentence under the charge.
Georgia Trial - FBI officials give evidence in Bush grenade trial
NAME: GEO TRAIL 20051208X TAPE: EF05/1084 IN_TIME: 10:57:07:13 DURATION: 00:01:52:10 SOURCES: AP TELEVISION/POOL/Police Video DATELINE: Tbilisi - 8 Dec 2005/ FIle RESTRICTIONS: SHOTLIST: AP Television News Tbilisi - 8 December 2005 1. Wide of court exterior 2. Wide of courtroom 3. Close up of guard with Vladimir Arutuynian in a cage 4. Wide of judge 5. Close up judge 6. SOUNDBITE (Georgian) Vladimir Arutuynian, accused (addressing the judge): "I do respect experts from France or Germany, and will appreciate if you invite them, but I have no respect for American experts at all." 7. Close up guards 8. Close up Daniel Hicky, FBI agent, saying he received an additional item of evidence, this time it was a jacket. That jacket was then examined to see if any DNA could be recovered 9. Wide of courtroom Georgian POOL FILE: Georgia - May 2005 10. Various of US President George W. Bush meeting Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili Police Video FILE: Georgia - 22 July 2005 11. Various STILL shots of the suspect in the crowd and the grenade - NB a large red arrow (inserted by police) points at the suspect 12. Various of FBI and Georgian law enforcement officials where suspect Arutyunian was captured STORYLINE: Representatives of the American organisation the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were called as witnesses to the City Court in Tbilisi, to testify against Vladimir Arutuynian who who faces life in prison for allegedly trying to assassinate U.S. President George W. Bush and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in May. The six FBI agents arrived especially to attend the trial, which began on Monday in the Georgian capital. The agents were involved in conducting the ballistic tests and searching Arutuynian's basement, where investigators say chemical and explosive substances. Speaking in court on Thursday, Arutuynian said he had "no respect for American experts at all". Arutuynian, 27, is accused of committing a terrorist act and deliberate murder, charges that carry a punishment of life imprisonment. He has acknowledged that he threw a grenade in the direction of US president George Bush, while Bush was addressing a crowd of several thousand in Tbilisi's main square on May 10. Bush and Saakashvili were behind a bullet-proof barrier when the grenade, wrapped in a cloth, landed about 100 feet (30 metres) away. It did not explode; investigators said it apparently malfunctioned. No one was hurt. During the shootout that followed one policeman was killed, Arutuynian himself was wounded, but he wasn't arrested until July.
Georgia Suspect - Suspect in Bush grenade case stitches lips together
NAME: GEO SUSPECT 20051227I TAPE: EF05/1143 IN_TIME: 11:10:11:16 DURATION: 00:00:45:09 SOURCES: AP TELEVISION DATELINE: Tbilisi - 27 Dec 2005 RESTRICTIONS: SHOTLIST 27 December 2005 1. Wide of courtroom 2. Close up of suspect Vladimir Arutyunyan's face with his lips stitched together inside fence 3. Mid of people in the court room 4. Wide of Vladimir Arutyunyan writing note to his lawyer 5. Close up of same 6. Mid of Arutyunyan passing note to lawyer 7. Mid of lawyer reading the note 8. Wide of courtroom 26 December 2005 9. SOUNDBITE (Georgian) Lizi Japaridze, Vladimir Arutyunian's lawyer: "The report says that he is mentally sane and the way he speaks, his behaviour on the whole, is not a normal person." 27 December 2005 10. Wide pan of courtroom STORYLINE A man charged with trying to assassinate the presidents of the United States and Georgia appeared in court on Tuesday with his mouth sewn shut in what he called a show of solidarity with thousands of inmates conducting a hunger strike in the ex-Soviet republic. Vladimir Arutyunian faces life in prison for allegedly trying to assassinate visiting US President George W. Bush and President Mikhail Saakashvili at a rally in May and for killing a policeman in a shootout before his arrest. Arutyunian, whose trial began earlier this month, has acknowledged that he threw a grenade in the direction of the stage where Bush and Saakashvili were standing behind a bulletproof barrier and said that he would try again to kill Bush if he had the chance. The grenade Arutyunian is accused of throwing landed about 100 feet (30 metres) from the stage. It did not explode, and no one was hurt. Arutyunian has refused to testify before the court, saying the verdict was preordained, and has demanded the presence of human rights monitors. On Tuesday, he conveyed a written statement to judges saying that his mouth was sewn shut to display support for inmates who are conducting a hunger strike to demand better conditions. The Justice Ministry said on Monday that four thousand of Georgia's nine thousand prison inmates were participating in the protest, which 700 inmates at one prison started on Saturday. Saakashvili was elected by a landslide in January 2004 after leading protests that prompted the resignation of longtime President Eduard Shevardnadze. But he faces criticism from rivals who say that despite his stance as a champion of democracy, he is intolerant of dissent and is seeking to tighten control over the impoverished Caucasus Mountain nation.
Georgia Suspect - Georgian television airs footage of Bush grenade suspect
NAME: GEO SUSPECT 230705N TAPE: EF05/0654 IN_TIME: 10:03:08:00 DURATION: 00:01:05:23 SOURCES: APTN/VNR DATELINE: Tbilisi, 22/23 Juy 2005 RESTRICTIONS: SHOTLIST July 23, 2005 Georgian Police VNR 1. Wide shot Vladimir Arutyunian in hospital 2. SOUNDBITE: (Russian) Vladimir Arutyunian, Suspect "I deliberately threw the grenade not straight ahead of me at the bullet proof glass, but towards their heads (Arutyunian makes an arc motion with his hand) so that the shrapnel might fly beyond the glass." 3. Various suspect and grenade July 22, 2005 APTN 4. WIde shot FBI and Georgian law enforcement officers where Vladimir Arutyunian was captured 5. Close-up Arutuynian's belongings scattered on the ground 6. Various FBI and local enforcement officers 7. Police tape at Vladimir Arutyunian's flat 8. FBI and local law enforcement officers walking STORYLINE An interview with a man suspected of throwing a grenade towards US President George W Bush and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili at a rally in May was broadcast on Georgian television on Saturday. Bush and Saakashvili were on a podium protected with bulletproof glass at the rally in Tbilisi when the grenade was thrown. It didn't explode and investigators later said its activation device had apparently malfunctioned. In a television interview shown on Rustavi-2 television, suspected grenade-thrower Vladimir Arutyunian admitted to throwing the grenade at the presidents. "I threw the grenade, not directly at where there was bulletproof glass, but toward the heads so that the shrapnel would fly behind the bulletproof glass, you understand?" Arutyunian says in the video. Rustavi-2 television said the interview footage of Arutyunian was provided by the Interior Ministry. Arutyunian was arrested on Wednesday after a shoot-out that left one policeman dead. He's been charged with murder in relation to the policeman's death, but no charges have been filed in connection with the May grenade incident. Arutyunian was wounded during the shoot-out and has been in a hospital since his arrest. Investigators are searching for a motive in the case. Suspicions that Arutyunian might be linked to Russian forces in Georgia followed reports that Russian military uniforms were found in his house after he was arrested. Russia has troops at two military bases in Georgia and their withdrawal, now scheduled for 2008, had been a tense issue. Georgia and Russia agreed in June on a withdrawal date. The Interior Ministry said on Friday that Arutyunian was believed to have been a member of the Agordzineba party, which supported the leader of a region largely outside central government control. Aslan Abashidze, the recalcitrant leader of the Adzharia region, fled to Russia last year amid rising street protests against his authoritarian rule. The unrest erupted after Abashidze destroyed bridges linking Adzharia with the rest of Georgia and claimed that Saakashvili was preparing a military invasion.
Georgia Grenade - Trial of man accused of trying to kill Bush enters closing phase
NAME: GEO GRENADE 20060111I TAPE: EF06/0031 IN_TIME: 10:53:03:24 DURATION: 00:01:31:08 SOURCES: AP TELEVISION DATELINE: Tbilisi - 11 Jan 2006/File RESTRICTIONS: SHOTLIST: Tbilisi, 11 January 2006 1. Wide shot of Tbilisi courthouse 2. Wide shot vehicle with defendants pulling over 3. Policemen waiting for the vehicle 4. Wide shot of suspect Vladimir Arutyunyan's mother, Angela and journalist. 5. UPSOUND: (Russian) Angela Arutyunyan, Vladimir Arutyunyan's mother: "All I want is to see my son back." 6. Wide shot metal barriers near the courthouse 7. SOUNDBITE: (Russian) Liza Japardize, Defence lawyer: "My defendant has been saying from the very beginning that he is not guilty, and that the television pictures have been fabricated." 8. Wide shot interior of the courthouse AP File, Tbilisi, 2005 9. Various of the arrest, with Vladimir Arutyunyan shown on police video on stretchers, following a shootout near his house in Tbilisi 10. Angela Arutyunyan being escorted by policemen 11. Various of evidence found in his apartment 12. Various of a previous trial session during which Arutyunyan was exchanging notes with the defence lawyers because he had stitched his lips together in protest STORYLINE: A verdict is expected in the Vladimir Arutyunyan trial in Tbilisi. Arutyunian faces life in prison for allegedly trying to kill U.S. President George W. Bush and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili at a huge rally in May 2005 and for killing a policeman in a shootout before his arrest. Arutyunian, whose trial began last month, has acknowledged that he threw a grenade in the direction of the stage where Bush and Saakashvili were standing behind a bullet-proof barrier. The grenade landed about 100 feet (30.5 metres) from the stage. It did not explode, and no one was hurt. Despite Arutyunyan entering a plea not guilty - during the trial he said that he would try to kill ssBush again if he had the chance.
Georgia Verdict - Georgian man sentenced to life in prison for throwing grenade at Bush
NAME: GEO VERDICT 20060111I TAPE: EF06/0032 IN_TIME: 10:37:12:16 DURATION: 00:02:13:19 SOURCES: AP/Police Video/Pool DATELINE: Tbilisi - 11 January/File RESTRICTIONS: SHOTLIST AP TELEVISION Tbilisi - January 11, 2006 1. Wide shot of Tbilisi courthouse, heavy snow falling 2. Wide pan of defendant Vladimir Arutyunian being led into court room 3. Media 4. Wide shot of courtroom, judge reading verdict, armed guard in foreground near cage 5. Judge reading 6. Guards in front of cage, Arutyunian in cage 7. Close-up Arutyunian in the cage 8. Wide shot of people in courtroom 9. SOUNDBITE: (Georgian) David Jugheli, Judge: "According to article 325 (of the Georgian Criminal Code) (Vladimir Arutyunian) is sentenced to life imprisonment. The Criminal Code of Georgia presumes that the extreme penalty overrides the inferior penalty. This means that Vladimir Arutyunian is sentenced to life imprisonment." 10. Arutyunian led out of courtroom Georgian POOL FILE: Georgia - May 2005 11. Various of US President George W Bush meeting Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili Police Video FILE: Tbilisi - 10 May 2005 12. Various STILL shots of suspect in crowd and grenade, NB: a large red arrow (inserted by police) points at suspect AP FILE: Tbilisi - 2005 13. Various of arrest, with Vladimir Arutyunian shown on police video on a gurney, following a shootout near his house 12. Various of evidence found in Arutyunian's apartment 13. Various of a previous trial session during which Arutyunian was exchanging notes with the defence lawyers because he had stitched his lips together in protest STORYLINE: A Georgian court on Wednesday convicted a man of attempted assassination for throwing a grenade at a rally where President George W Bush and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili were appearing and sentenced him to life imprisonment. The court also convicted Vladimir Arutyunian for killing a policeman in the course of an operation to arrest him several weeks after the May 10 incident. Bush and Saakashvili were addressing a rally of thousands in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi from behind a bullet-proof barrier when the grenade, wrapped in a cloth, landed about 30 metres (100 feet) away. It did not explode, and investigators said it apparently malfunctioned. No one was harmed. Arutyunian was arrested in July on the outskirts of Tbilisi after a shootout that killed one officer. Arutyunian was later shown in television footage from a hospital bed admitting that he had thrown the grenade, throwing it high so it would explode without the bullet-proof glass blocking the shrapnel. Bush and Saakashvili learned of the incident only after the rally.
Georgia Suspect 6 - WRAP Bush grenade suspect detained, adds more of suspect after arrest
NAME: GEO SUSPECT 6 210705N TAPE: EF05/0647 IN_TIME: 11:06:00:16 DURATION: 00:03:00:22 SOURCES: APTN DATELINE: Various, 20/21 July 2005 RESTRICTIONS: SHOTLIST Georgian police video Night shots - July 20 1. Various of suspect, Vladimir Arutyunian, being taken in to hospital on a stretcher 2. Close up shot of Arutyunian on stretcher APTN Night shots - July 20 3. Wide shot suspect Vladimir Arutyunian (aka Arutyunov) inside a police vehicle 4. Wide shot police vehicle with Arutyunian inside 5. Wide shot police vehicle driving away 6. Mid shot police vehicle 7. Mid shot masked police near Arutyunian's house 8. Wide shot police 9. Mid shot Vladimir's mother, Angela Arutyunian, being led away by plainclothed policemen 10. Mid shot police investigators 11. Mid shot evidence in red bags 12. SOUNDBITE (Georgian) Angela Arutyunian, Vladimir's mother "I heard the shooting but I couldn't imagine that my son would have committed such a crime." 13. Mid shot Arutyunian's mother being led away Daytime shots - July 21 13. Wide shot of his house 14. Mid shot two cars riddled with bullets 15. Close up bullet holes 16. Wide shot interior Arutyunian's apartment, with stuff scattered on the floor 17. Mid shot stuff on the floor 18. Wide shot police in the area AP PHOTOS - no access Canada/Internet File - July 18 19. Four photos released by the Georgian Interior Ministry showing Vladimir Arutyunyan, who is suspected of throwing a grenade in Tbilisi on May 10, 2005, during the speech of the U.S. President George Bush APTN File- Tbilisi - May 10, 2005 20. US President George W. Bush and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili walking out to address crowds 21. Security officers alerted to security threat STORYLINE A man arrested after a fatal shootout with police has admitted throwing a grenade at a rally in May where US President George W. Bush was making a speech, the Georgian government said on Thursday. The government said the suspect made the admission in the hospital where he is being treated for wounds suffered in the shootout. The shooting erupted in a village on the outskirts of the capital Tbilisi when police tried to arrest him late on Wednesday. One policeman was killed in the crossfire and the suspect, Vladimir Arutyunian, fled into a nearby woods. He was captured about an hour later and taken to a hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds. Police had surrounded his house and his shocked mother was taken away. Bush and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili were on the podium in front of a massive crowd in downtown Tbilisi when the live grenade was thrown. The grenade landed less than 100 feet (30 metres) from the podium but did not explode. A preliminary investigation indicated the activation device deployed too slowly to hit the blasting cap hard enough, the FBI said.
Georgia Trial - Trial opens for man accused of trying to assassinate Bush
NAME: GEO TRIAL 20051205I TAPE: EF05/1074 IN_TIME: 11:19:33:24 DURATION: 00:02:00:13 SOURCES: AP TELEVISION/Georgian Pool/Georgian police video DATELINE: Tbilisi, 5 Dec 2005/FILE RESTRICTIONS: SHOTLIST AP Television Tbilisi, Georgia - 5 December 2005 1. Wide exterior shot of court 2. Vladimir Arutynian being led into barred area of courtroom 3. Arutynian inside courtroom 4. Judge 5. Arutynian inside barred area 6. Mid shot of court in session 7. SOUNDBITE (Georgian): Vladimir Arutynian: "During the whole period of my detention I was isolated, the media were smearing my image in the public eye. I did not have radio or television. Nobody brought me even a radio set." 8. Various shots of court in session Georgian Pool FILE - May 2005 9. Various of US President George W Bush with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili at rally 10. Wide shot of rally 11. Bush and Saakashvili at rally Georgian police video FILE - July 22, 2005 12. Various STILLS of suspect in the crowd (indicated with red arrow) 13. STILL of grenade 13. Various of FBI and Georgian law enforcements at location where suspect was captured STORYLINE: Tbilisi city court on Monday opened the trial of Vladimir Arutyunian, who faces life in prison for allegedly trying to assassinate the presidents of the United States and Georgia in May and for killing a policeman in a shootout before his arrest in July. US President George W Bush and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili were addressing a rally of thousands in Tbilisi from behind a bulletproof barrier when a grenade, wrapped in a cloth, landed about 100 feet (30 metres) away. It did not explode; investigators said it apparently malfunctioned. No one was hurt. Arutyunian acknowledged that he threw the grenade in the direction of the tribune and said that he would try again to kill Bush if he had the chance. He has refused to testify before the court and demanded the presence of rights monitors. "The verdict is preordained," he said on Monday. "I demand that the international organisation Human Rights Watch be present." Arutyunian, 27, has been unemployed save for odd jobs since leaving school early. He lived with his mother Angela, who sells plastic bags at a Tbilisi market. Investigators say they found explosives, toxic compounds and detective literature including Day of the Jackal, a book about an assassination attempt against French President Charles de Gaulle in Arutyunian's residence. Arutyunian also had a Kalashnikov assault rifle and a Russian military uniform, though there is no record of his serving either in the Georgian or Russian military.
Georgia Grenade - Prosecutor comments on case, suspect in custody
NAME: GEO GRENADE 270705N TAPE: EF05/0665 IN_TIME: 10:14:45:09 DURATION: 00:01:19:03 SOURCES: APTN DATELINE: Tbilisi, 27 July 2005 RESTRICTIONS: APTN Clients Only SHOTLIST: 1. Wide shot exterior two blue tents where FBI and Georgian police investigators work 2. Mid shot investigators at wok 3. Close shot equipment on desk 4. Wide shot FBI investigator walking 5. Close shot containers for chemicals 6. Wide shot investigators 7. Mid shot investigators 8. SOUNDBITE (English) Brian Parman, FBI Investigator "I can say there was a significantly dangerous situation in that room, but together Americans and Georgians have worked together to neutralise that threat to the residents here and to the public at large." 9. Mid shot desk with equipment 10. SOUNDBITE (Georgian) Zurab Adeishvili, Georgia's Prosecutor-General "Here we have found very dangerous substances, which gives us the right to say that this man (Vladimir Arutyunyan) posed a significant threat and had the capacity to carry out terrorist acts." 11. Wide shot police cars near Arutyunyan's house 12. Mid shot Georgian policemen 13. Wide shot FBI investigators STORYLINE: The US FBI, in the first public comments after four days of investigations in the house of suspected bomber Vladimir Arutyunyan, said the man posed a significant threat to the public. Arutyunyan, 27, has been charged with terrorism and the murder of a policemen in a shoot-out during his arrest on July 21. The terrorism charge is based on Arutyunyan's failed attempt last May to set off a grenade during US President George W. Bush's visit to Tbilisi. Last week, Arutyunian was shown on local television admitting to throwing the grenade. The device landed about 100 feet (30 metres) away from the stage where Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and US President George W. Bush were standing behind a bulletproof barrier. It did not explode, and investigators later said it apparently had malfunctioned. No one was harmed in the incident. Since Arutyunyan's arrest, dangerous chemicals have been found in his home, and both American and Georgian investigators emphasised their cooperation in neutralising the threat. FBI Investigator Brian Parman, said there had been "a significantly dangerous situation in that room" but that Americans and Georgians had worked together to neutralise the threat. Georgia's Prosecutor-General Zurab Adeishvili, said that Arutyunyan had "posed a significant threat and had the capacity to carry out terrorist acts". Arutyunian's lawyer said on Tuesday that the man had intended to kill Bush, but not other Georgians. Georgian authorities, working with the FBI, were still trying to figure out Arutyunian's exact motives. The Interior Ministry said that Arutyunian was believed to have been a member of a political party that supports the former leader of a region largely outside central government control.
APTN 1300 PRIME NEWS EUROPE
AP-APTN-1330: Lebanon Politics 2 Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:Lebanon Politics 2- REPLAY Saad Hariri appointed PM of new unity government LENGTH: 00:42 FIRST RUN: 1230 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: Natsound SOURCE: AP TELEVISION STORY NUMBER: 611060 DATELINE: Beirut - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 00:42 SHOTLIST: 1. Saad Hariri entering Baabda presidential palace 2. Mid shot of Lebanese President Michel Suleiman (on left) and newly appointed Prime Minister Saad Hariri (on right) 3. Close up of Hariri 4. Close up of Suleiman 5. Close up of Hariri 6. Mid shot of Suleiman and Hariri 7. Exterior of Baabda presidential palace 4. Close up of parliament speaker Nabih Berri 5. Close up of Suleiman 6. Mid shot of Berri and Suleiman STORYLINE: Lebanon's president on Saturday appointed parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri to become prime minister after his pro-Western coalition defeated a Hezbollah-led alliance in this month's election. The 39-year-old politician replaces his ally Fuad Saniora, who held the post since 2005. President Michel Suleiman appointed Hariri after consultations with legislators, most of whom named the US-backed politician as their choice for premier. Rival leaders have been seeking to defuse tension after a bruising election campaign and there have been repeated calls for a unity government involving Hezbollah and its allies. The new 128-member legislature on Thursday re-elected Hezbollah ally Nabih Berri as parliament speaker for the fifth consecutive term, a move expected to smooth the way for a unity government. Hariri now faces the difficult task of negotiating with other political factions to form a government - a process which could take days or even weeks. The head of Hezbollah's 12-member parliamentary bloc, however, already said that if Hariri was named prime minister, his group would be "open and cooperative in order to help boost confidence and achieve a national unity government". Hariri's father, Rafik, held the post of prime minister for 10 years. He was killed by a truck bomb in 2005 after resigning. The assassination sparked massive protests against Syria, which many - including Saad Hariri - blamed for the attack. The demonstrations, coupled with intense international pressure, forced Syria to pull its tens of thousands of troops out of Lebanon, ending nearly three decades of Syrian control of its smaller neighbour. 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APTN APEX 06-27-09 0932EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-1330: Japan Jackson Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:Japan Jackson- REPLAY Fans hold vigil to remember the King of Pop LENGTH: 01:27 FIRST RUN: 1230 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: Japanese/Nat SOURCE: AP TELEVISION STORY NUMBER: 611052 DATELINE: Tokyo - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 01:27 SHOTLIST: 1. Pan left of pop star Michael Jackson's fans in Japan holding a candle vigil 2. Tilt up from candle to woman's face 3. Mid of candle and Michael Jackson photos, UPSOUND Michael Jackson's tune "You Are Not Alone" 4. Close up of woman crying, UPSOUND Michael Jackson's tune "You Are Not Alone" 5. Mid of fans holding candles, UPSOUND Michael Jackson's tune "You Are Not Alone" 6. Close up of handwritten love message to Michael, UPSOUND Michael Jackson's tune "You Are Not Alone" 7. Close up of woman holding handkerchief, UPSOUND Michael Jackson's tune "You Are Not Alone" 8. Tilt up of vigil, UPSOUND Michael Jackson's tune "You Are Not Alone" 9. SOUNDBITE (Japanese) Maki Izumi, 27 year-old Michael Jackson fan, Vox Pop: "I still cannot believe this at all." 10. Michael Jackson fan wearing mask imitating Michael's dance, then stumbling 11. SOUNDBITE (Japanese) Kuro (only one name given), 18-year-old Michael Jackson fan, Vox Pop: "I hope his art will be kept as his legacy." 12. Wide of vigil STORYLINE: About two-hundred Japanese fans of pop star Michael Jackson gathered in central Tokyo for a candle vigil on Saturday evening, after the death of the pop music icon shocked the world. Jackson's fans held candles and listened to the star's music at Yoyogi Park. A fan danced the moon walk in tribute to the King of Pop who died in Los Angeles, California, on Thursday. Another fan, 27 year-old Maki Izumi, said she still couldn't believe Jackson had died. Japan has one of Jackson's strongest fan bases. The star last visited Japan two years ago. The official cause of Jackson's death has not been determined and is not expected to be known for weeks. However Brian Oxman, a former Jackson attorney and a family friend, told NBC's "Today" show on Friday that he had been concerned about Jackson's use of painkillers and had warned the singer's family about possible abuse. In November 1993, Jackson cancelled the rest of his "Dangerous" world tour to seek treatment for addiction to painkillers prescribed after reconstructive scalp surgery. Whatever led to Jackson's death, his passing left a deep impression on fans and fellow singers worldwide. 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APTN APEX 06-27-09 0934EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-1330: Mexico Drug War Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:Mexico Drug War- REPLAY Shootout between police, gunmen kill 12 LENGTH: 02:23 FIRST RUN: 2330 RESTRICTIONS: No Access Mexico TYPE: Natsound SOURCE: TV AZTECA STORY NUMBER: 611012 DATELINE: Guanajuato state - 26 June 2009 LENGTH: 02:23 SHOTLIST 1. Various of police at scene 2. Various of pick up truck involved in shooting 3. Helicopter flying over scene of shooting 4. Police vehicle involved in shooting 5. Close of bullet shell 6. Various of police officers driving off 7. Two bullet shells on ground 8. Man arrested in back of pick up truck 9. Forensic medicine truck driving by 10. Various of police at scene 11. Various of man arrested in back of pick up truck 12. Man being arrested and thrown in back of pick up truck as it drives away STORYLINE: A shootout between police and gunmen killed 12 people on Friday in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, the state's governor said. At least one police officer was wounded in the clash, Governor Juan Manuel Oliva said. Oliva said that soldiers and federal and state police were on patrol in the town of Apaseo el Alto when assailants opened fire. Oliva said arrests have been made, but he gave no other details. Local broadcaster TV Azteca showed two suspects being placed in the back of a pick up truck and being driven away. Mexico has been suffering a wave of gang violence that has left more than 10,800 people dead since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006, and launched a military-led crackdown on drug traffickers. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 0939EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-1330: Iraq al Maliki Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:Iraq al Maliki- REPLAY PM urges unity against militants in run up to US withdrawal LENGTH: 01:01 FIRST RUN: 1230 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: Arabic/Nat SOURCE: AP TELEVISION STORY NUMBER: 611056 DATELINE: Baghdad - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 01:01 SHOTLIST: 1. Wide of news conference 2. Mid of Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi (second from left on screen), Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (third from left on screen) and President Jalal Talabani (fourth from left on screen) 3. Mid of Mahdi, al-Maliki and Talabani 4. Mid of audience at the conference 5. SOUNDBITE: (Arabic) Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi Prime Minister: "Today, we are in need of unity, as they have shown their teeth against us. Their reality has became apparent as we are approaching this day. They want to sweep delight from the Iraqi people's hearts, they have undisclosed their real intentions. But this will not bend our determination and will for what we have agreed upon, that is to return security responsibilities to our military and police forces." 6. Wide of audience at the conference STORYLINE: Iraq's prime minister on Saturday appealed for national unity as the country's vice president said he was worried about deteriorating security after more than 250 people were killed in the week before a US withdrawal from cities. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, blamed a series of bombings on the remnants of al-Qaida in Iraq and said they were aimed at triggering violence between Shiites and Sunnis. "Today, we are in need of unity, as they have shown their teeth against us," al-Maliki said of the extremists responsible for the attacks. Nearly all the bombings and deaths in the past week have targeted Shiite areas, including the two deadliest attacks - a June 20 bombing that killed 82 people outside a mosque in northern Iraq and another in Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City that killed 78. Iraq nearly slipped into civil war two years ago and tens of thousands of people died in attacks between Sunni extremists such as al-Qaida and Shiite militias and death squads. It was brought back from the brink by a huge inflow of U.S. troops in 2007 in what became known as the "surge." As part of an apparent effort to deflate sectarian tensions, late on Friday the United States released its most important Shiite prisoner, a key aide to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Shiites have been complaining that hundreds of prisoners, many of them militiamen and followers of al-Sadr remain behind bars. U.S. and Iraqi officials have warned of a possible spike in violence over the next week. Police and army units have been beefed up around Baghdad, especially around Sadr City, and furloughs for all security services have been cancelled ahead of June 30. U.S. combat troops are set to pull out of Baghdad and all major urban areas by then, as part of an agreement for a phased withdrawal of all American forces by the end of 2011. Al-Maliki's government has declared June 30 a national holiday. But there have been concerns that Iraqi forces will not be able to provide adequate security after the pull out. Extra police were also deployed to predominantly Sunni districts of Baghdad. The date has been declared "Victory Day" by al-Maliki, and Iraq's ability to provide security for its people without American troops has evolved into the cornerstone of his administration as he prepares for next January's elections. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 0941EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-1330: ++Greece Summit 2 Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:++Greece Summit 2- NEW Arrivals, reax as NATO, OSCE begin talks with Russia LENGTH: 02:30 FIRST RUN: 1330 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: English/Nat SOURCE: AP TELEVISION STORY NUMBER: 611051 DATELINE: Corfu - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 02:30 SHOTLIST: 1. Wide security with Greek and EU flags waving overhead 2. Mid of security officers 3. Wide of motorcade arriving 4. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer getting out of car, shaking hands with official 5. SOUNDBITE: (English) Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO Secretary-General: "I expect that it will be the restart of our relationship that we can see where we can more intensively work together, not shying away from the difference of opinion we have, discussing them as well, but I have come here in an optimistic mood." 6. Wide of motorcade arriving 7. U.S. Ambassador to Greece Daniel V. Speckhard getting out of car as Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg approaches him 8. Close-up of Steinberg shaking hands and talking 9. Steinberg walks up stairs and entering meeting venue 10. Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic walks up stairs 11. Close up of police officer 12. Wide of police helicopter flying overhead 13. Wide of police STORYLINE: NATO and Russia are set to resume military ties on Saturday and agree to cooperate on Afghanistan, counter-terrorism and anti-piracy patrols at their first high-level meeting since last year's war between Russia and Georgia, western officials said. Relations between the alliance and the Russian military were frozen in the aftermath of the five-day war last August. Although political ties have thawed considerably over the past five months, there have been no formal military contacts since then. "I've come in an optimistic mood," NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said ahead of a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his counterparts from NATO's 28 member nations on the Greek island of Corfu. The talks are being held in the framework of the NATO-Russia Council, a panel set up in 2002 to improve ties between the former Cold War rivals. The meeting comes as President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev prepare to hold a summit next week, and is likely to reflect the trend toward improved relations. Despite last year's disruption of ties with NATO, Russia has continued cooperating with individual NATO nations such as the U.S., France or Germany by allowing them to use Russia's rail network to resupply international forces in Afghanistan, and its navy has worked with NATO warships on their joint anti-piracy patrols. Officials said participants are expected to give the go-ahead on Saturday for formal military ties to be restarted with meetings of defence ministers and military chiefs of staff. The NATO-Russia meeting will be followed Sunday by a meeting of foreign ministers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), whose rotating chairmanship Greece currently holds. The OSCE talks, which start Saturday night with a dinner, will be followed Sunday afternoon by a meeting between EU ministers to discuss Iran, the Greek Foreign Ministry has said. 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APTN APEX 06-27-09 0949EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-1330: US Obama Address Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:US Obama Address- REPLAY President hails 'historic' climate change bill in weekly address LENGTH: 03:18 FIRST RUN: 1030 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: English/Nat SOURCE: WHITEHOUSE.GOV STORY NUMBER: 611044 DATELINE: Washington DC - 27June 2009 LENGTH: 03:18 SHOTLIST 1. SOUNDBITE (English) Barack Obama, US President: "Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a historic piece of legislation that will open the door to a clean energy economy and a better future for America. For more than three decades, we have talked about our dependence on foreign oil. And for more than three decades, we have seen that dependence grow. We have seen our reliance on fossil fuels jeopardise our national security. We have seen it pollute the air we breathe and endanger our planet. And most of all, we have seen other countries realise a critical truth: the nation that leads in the creation of a clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy. Now is the time for the United States of America to realise this too. Now is the time for us to lead. The energy bill that passed the House will finally create a set of incentives that will spark a clean energy transformation in our economy. It will spur the development of low carbon sources of energy - everything from wind, solar, and geothermal power to safer nuclear energy and cleaner coal. It will spur new energy savings, like the efficient windows and other materials that reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer. And most importantly, it will make possible the creation of millions of new jobs. Make no mistake: this is a jobs' bill. We're already seeing why this is true in the clean energy investments we're making through the Recovery Act. In California, 3,000 people will be employed to build a new solar plant that will create 1,000 permanent jobs. In Michigan, investment in wind turbines and wind technology is expected to create over 2,600 jobs. In Florida, three new solar projects are expected to employ 1,400 people. This legislation has also been written carefully to address the concerns that many have expressed in the past. Instead of increasing the deficit, it is paid for by the polluters who currently emit dangerous carbon emissions. It provides assistance to businesses and families as they make the gradual transition to clean energy technologies. It gives rural communities and farmers the opportunity to participate in climate solutions and generate new income. And above all, it will protect consumers from the costs of this transition, so that in a decade, the price to the average American will be just about a postage stamp a day. We have been talking about energy for decades. But there is no longer a disagreement over whether our dependence on foreign oil is endangering our security. It is. There is no longer a debate about whether carbon pollution is placing our planet in jeopardy. It's happening. And there is no longer a question about whether the jobs and industries of the 21st century will be centered around clean, renewable energy. The question is, which country will create these jobs and these industries? I want that answer to be the United States of America. And I believe that the American people and the men and women they sent to Congress share that view. So I want to congratulate the House for passing this bill, and I want to urge the Senate to take this opportunity to come together and meet our obligations - to our constituents, to our children, to God's creation, and to future generations. Thanks for listening." 2. Whitehouse website graphic STORYLINE Hours after the US House of Representatives passed landmark legislation meant to curb greenhouse gas emissions and create an energy-efficient economy, President Barack Obama on Saturday urged senators to show courage and follow suit. The sharply debated bill's fate is unclear in the Senate, and Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address to ratchet up pressure on the 100-seat chamber. Obama said the bill would create jobs, make renewable energy profitable and decrease America's dependence on foreign oil. "It will spur the development of low-carbon sources of energy - everything from wind, solar and geothermal power to safer nuclear energy and cleaner coal," he said. House Democratic leaders said the bill helped accomplish one of Obama's campaign promises and would make the US a leader in international efforts to address climate change when negotiations take place in Copenhagen later this year. Following the 219-212 vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the bill "transformational". The vote marked the first time either house of Congress has passed legislation to curb global warming gases. The legislation, totalling about 1,200 pages, would require the US to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and by 83 percent by mid-century. Success will be tougher in the Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid says he wants to take up the legislation by the fall. Sixty votes will be needed to overcome any Republican filibuster. Supporters and opponents agreed that the legislation would lead to higher energy costs. But they disagreed on the impact on consumers. Democrats pointed to two reports - one from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the other from the Environmental Protection Agency - that suggested average increases would be limited after tax credits and rebates were taken into account. The CBO estimated the bill would cost an average household 175 US dollars a year, the EPA 80 US dollars to 110 US dollars a year. But Republicans and industry groups say the real figure would much higher. The White House and congressional Democrats argued the bill would create (m) millions of green jobs as the nation shifts to greater reliance on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar and development of more fuel-efficient vehicles - and away from use of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal. Republicans saw it differently, with some saying it would drive up food, gas and electricity prices. But Obama said the measure would cost the average American about the price of a postage stamp per day. "It is paid for by the polluters who currently emit dangerous carbon emissions," the president said. "It provides assistance to businesses and families as they make the gradual transition to clean energy technologies." In California alone, Obama said, 3,000 people will be employed to build a new solar plant that will create 1,000 permanent jobs. "There is no longer a debate about whether carbon pollution is placing our planet in jeopardy. It's happening," he said. "And there is no longer a question about whether the jobs and industries of the 21st century will be centered around clean, renewable energy. The question is, which country will create these jobs and these industries? I want that answer to be the United States of America." Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 0950EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-1330: MidEast Crossing 2 Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:MidEast Crossing 2- REPLAY Egypt opens Rafah crossing to Palestinians; Haniyeh reax LENGTH: 02:48 FIRST RUN: 1230 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: Arabic/Nat SOURCE: AP TELEVISION STORY NUMBER: 611054 DATELINE: Rafah Crossing - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 02:48 SHOTLIST: (FIRST RUN 0930 AMERICAS PRIME NEWS - 27 JUNE 2009) 1. Mid of people getting off bus at Rafah Crossing, Gaza Strip 2. Wide of people entering crossing through metal detector 3. People sitting, more people entering crossing through metal detector 4. Close up of women 5. Various of people at crossing with officers working at counters 6. Mid of officer inspecting a man's documents 7. Mid of woman waiting at counter 8. Mid of officers working behind screens 9. Various of officer checking passport 10. Close up of passport being stamped 11. Mid of officer giving passport back to man 12. Mid of family sitting 13. Close up of child's face 14. Wide of ambulances outside crossing 15. Mid of women sitting in car with bags 16. Wide of Palestinian patient Dr. Suliman Hamdan Abu Seteh inside ambulance waiting to enter Egypt 17. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Dr. Suliman Hamdan Abu Seteh, Palestinian patient: "I ask the governments to treat us like human beings, to treat us within the law, to treat us like humans in other countries, where patients can get treatment, and to allow people to travel, not like our situation, it's like a prison, a prison that has a length of three kilometres. This is the Gaza Strip, it's like a pack of matches." 18. Wide of buses at crossing 19. Wide of truck at crossing 20. Mid of Egyptian soldiers 21. Wide of Rafah Crossing with Egyptian flag ++NEW (FIRST RUN 1230 NEWS UPDATE - 27 JUNE 2009) 22. Wide of Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza, entering crossing while waving to people 23. Haniyeh shaking hands with officials 24. Officer talking to Haniyeh 25. Hanieh walking outside crossing 26. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza: "We say the situation in the West Bank should stop to be able to facilitate an agreement, because what is happening in the West Bank is a major blockade to the Palestinian-Palestinian agreement." 27. Haniyeh leaving STORYLINE: Egypt briefly opened its border with the blockaded Gaza Strip on Saturday, and five-thousand Gazans have registered to to leave over three days. Among those permitted to cross at the Rafah border crossing are medical patients and Gazans with foreign residency. "I ask the governments to treat us like human beings, to treat us within the law," said one patient, Dr. Suliman Hamdan Abu Seteh, at the crossing. Egypt and Israel sealed Gaza's borders two years ago, after the Islamic militant Hamas seized control of the territory. Hamas was democratically elected in the Gaza Strip in a 2006 Palestinian parliament vote, but then broke off with the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas following months of conflict over power-sharing with the new government. Hamas eventually took control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, leaving Abbas' government in nominal control of the occupied West Bank only. The closure of the Gaza Strip has trapped some 1.4 (m) million people. Egypt opens the crossing periodically, like on Saturday. Gaza official Ghazi Hamad said the crossing would be open for three days and around 5,000 residents registered to leave, mostly those who work abroad and patients needing medical care outside Gaza. One visitor to the crossing point was Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza. He talked to officials and was shown procedures allowing people to cross. Israel has allowed in food and humanitarian aid, but banned supplies needed to repair damage from Israel's winter war on Hamas, aimed, it said, at stopping rocket fire from Gaza on Israeli towns. On Friday, the international community called for lifting the Gaza blockade. The issue was one of the subjects discussed in Trieste, Northern Italy, by the Quartet of MidEast negotiators and foreign ministers of the Group of Eight industrialised nations. They have urged Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip and freeze all settlement activity in the West Bank, backing US President Barack Obama's Mideast policy. The closure is making it impossible to rebuild Gaza after Israel's devastating recent winter offensive, particularly as cement is not permitted to pass through the border blockade. Five months after Israel launched its offensive to halt Hamas rocket fire, most of the estimated 250-thousand people whose homes were damaged or destroyed have been unable to rebuild. Voices calling for new thinking are growing louder, with the administration of US President Barack Obama arguing that squeezing ordinary Gazans is a recipe for instability. But there's no clear path forward, since opening the borders would require engaging the militants whom much of the world has shunned. The ban on cement also means that United Nations plans to spend 371 (m) million US dollars to repair war-damaged homes are on hold. The Obama administration has urged easing the embargo. Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader in Gaza, visited the crossing on Saturday and thanked Egypt for opening it. He also commented on the ongoing Egyptian-mediated talks between Hamas and its rival Fatah. "We say the situation in the West Bank should stop to be able to facilitate an agreement, because what is happening in the West Bank is a major blockade to the Palestinian-Palestinian agreement," Haniyeh said referring to Fatah's treatment of Hamas members in the West Bank. Hamas overran Gaza two years ago, leaving Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas only in control of the West Bank. Abbas has been clamping down on Hamas in the West Bank since the Gaza takeover. Hamas, viewed as a "terror organisation" by some countries, is refusing to heed the international demands that would open Gaza's borders: recognising Israel and renouncing violence. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 0951EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-1330: Ppines Jackson Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:Ppines Jackson- REPLAY Prison inmates perform dance tribute to Michael Jackson LENGTH: 01:07 FIRST RUN: 1030 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: English/Nat SOURCE: AP TELEVISION STORY NUMBER: 611038 DATELINE: Cebu - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 01:07 SHOTLIST 1. Various of Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Centre inmates performing Michael Jackson's "Thriller" dance routine 2. People watching 3. SOUNDBITE: (English) No name given, tourist, vox pop: "I heard about it on YouTube and I'm so glad I came. It's been an amazing experience." 4. Various of inmates performing routine to sound of "We Are The World" STORYLINE The Filipino inmates who shot to global fame with a Youtube video recreating the "Thriller" dance swayed and stomped again on Saturday in a behind-bars tribute to their idol, Michael Jackson. After being told of Jackson's death on Thursday in Los Angeles, the 1,500 inmates at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Centre hit the exercise yard, practicing for nine hours on Friday night, and into the wee hours of Saturday morning, for the show. They took breaks only to eat or when it rained, said professional choreographer Gwendolyn Lador, hired by the prison to teach the inmates the dance. Some inmates said they felt sad because they had lost their idol and they felt pressure to perform well on Saturday. A crowd of 700 Cebuanos and foreign tourists watched the performance from a second-floor corridor, swaying to the music and applauding as the inmates, dressed in orange prison jumpsuits, stomped and clapped in unison in the hilltop prison, behind thick stone walls topped by electrified razor wire. Other numbers included "Ben," "I'll Be There" and "We Are the World." The inmates then held up a 5-by-10 foot (1.5-by-3 meter) tarpaulin showing Michael Jackson holding a sword and his name written below it. Others waved the flags of the Philippines and other nations. Before the show, the performers dedicated a prayer to Jackson's family. Byron Garcia, the Cebu provincial security consultant who came up with the idea of adding synchronised dancing to poorly attended exercise sessions, said he was surprised by the popularity of the 2007 video, one of more than a dozen inmate dance numbers he has posted on YouTube. "Thriller" has attracted 24.3 (m) million hits since it was posted two years ago, with nearly a (m) million of them in the 24 hours since news of Jackson's death spread. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 0952EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-1330: ++Italy G8 2 Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:++Italy G8 2- NEW G8 ministers comment on Afghanistan stabilisation summit LENGTH: 02:49 FIRST RUN: 1330 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: English/Italian/Nat SOURCE: AP TELEVISION/GOVERNMENT POOL STORY NUMBER: 611063 DATELINE: Trieste - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 02:49 SHOTLIST: AP TELEVISION 1. Wide exterior of Palazzo del Governo in Trieste 2. European Union and Italian flags outside building 3. Wide of foreign ministers and other dignitaries posing for group photo 4. Pan left family photo 5. Wide of delegates walking away 6. SOUNDBITE (English): Javier Solana, EU Foreign Policy Chief: "Well, I think a lot has been accomplished, in particular for the preparation of the elections and begin to prepare also the day after. If the elections are credible, and I hope they will be credible and everybody is going to make an effort in that direction, the day after will be very important and a new page has to again to be written in Afghanistan." 7. Cut-away delegates leaving 8. SOUNDBITE (English) Carl Bildt, Swedish Foreign Minister: "I think a new focus on the economic development of Afghanistan and the regional integration. This is one of the least integrated regions in the global economy and we know from other parts of the world - Europe - that integration brings huge economic and political benefits, so we are trying to do the same in that region as well." 9. Mid of delegates leaving the Palazzo della Regione, venue of talks 10. SOUNDBITE: (English) Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: (Commenting on US government shift on drug eradication) "I am very much in favour of this shift. Already a year ago and even more so, two years ago, we published a report in which we said the eradication, the way it was done in 2007 and 2008 was not adequate. Just a few thousand hectares were eradicated, a fraction of the cultivation. This year about 6500 hectares were eradicated that is definitely too little, at too high cost. We need to indeed shift and change the attitude regarding it." GOVERNMENT POOL 11. Wide shot Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini addressing final news conference 12. SOUNDBITE: (Italian) Franco Frattini, Italian Foreign Minister: "Certainly Afghanistan continues to be an area of concern. A country that merits our help and support, a country that needs to be helped and encouraged to multiply the efforts that it is already honestly making and are being noticed. Certainly the success of Pakistan will bring success to Afghanistan and vice versa." 13. Journalists 14. Wide of news conference STORYLINE: The United States on Saturday announced a new drug policy for opium-rich Afghanistan, saying it was phasing out funding for eradication efforts while significantly increasing its funding for alternate crop and drug interdiction efforts. The announcement came as foreign ministers of the Group of Eight industrialised nations prepared for a second day of talks in the Italian city of Trieste on the stabilisation of Afghanistan Speaking at the end of the talks the European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana said "a lot" had been accomplished, particularly with regard to preparations for Afghanistan's upcoming elections. "If the elections are credible, and I hope they will be credible and everybody is going to make an effort in that direction, the day after will be very important and a new page has to begin to be written in Afghanistan." President Hamid Karzai is the favourite in the August 20 vote in Afghanistan. On the fight against drugs the US envoy for Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, said that eradication programmes weren't working and were only driving farmers into the hands of the Taliban. The G-8 ministers "strongly appreciated" the US shift, which also includes an increase in annual US funding for agricultural development from a few million dollars to a few hundred million dollars, said Foreign Minister Franco Frattini of Italy, the current G-8 president. The shift was also welcomed by Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. "We published a report in which we said the eradication, the way it was done in 2007 and 2008 was not adequate," said Costa. "This year about 6500 hectares were eradicated that is definitely too little, at too high cost. We need to indeed shift and change the attitude regarding it. Afghanistan is the world's leading source of opium, cultivating 93 percent of the world's heroin-producing crop. The United Nations has estimated the Taliban and other Afghan militants made 50 (m) million US dollars to 70 (m) million US dollars of last year's opium and heroin trade. The UN drug office said in a report this week that opium cultivation dropped 19 percent last year, but was still concentrated in southern provinces where the Taliban insurgency is strongest. Agriculture was among the issues taken up at the G-8 meeting on Afghanistan on Saturday, with participants saying in their final statement that agricultural development was "key to the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as other countries in the region." It called for expanded international cooperation in agriculture to boost employment and incomes and provide farmers with alternatives to poppy production. Ministers also urged greater cooperation among countries in the region to promote stability. "This is one of the least integrated regions in the global economy and we know from other parts of the world - Europe - that integration brings huge economic and political benefits, so we are trying to do the same in that region as well," said Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. Frattini, in a final news briefing, noted that Afghanistan was a country that need to be "helped and encouraged to multiply the efforts that it is already honestly making and are being noticed." He added that successful efforts in tackling security threats in neighbouring Pakistan would in turn benefit Afghanistan. Foreign Ministers from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and members of the Arab league took part in the discussions in Trieste. The shift in US policy follows a steady decrease in the number of hectares (acres) destroyed by eradication programmes. According to the UN report, opium poppy eradication reached a high in 2003, after the Taliban were ousted from power, with over 21,000 hectares (51,900 acres) eradicated. In 2008, only 5,480 hectares (13,500 acres) were cut down compared with 19,047 hectares (47,000 acres) in 2007. Costa said Afghan opium would kill 100-thousand people this year in the parts of world where demand for heroin is highest: Europe, Russia and West Asia. To fight it, he said major powers had to expand their counter-drug efforts to Pakistan as well as Iran, where half the 7,000 tons of exported Afghan opium transits, "causing the highest addiction rate in the world." Iran had been invited to attend the G-8 meeting on Afghanistan, because anti-drug efforts in Afghanistan have been identified as a key area where the United States and Iran can work together - part of President Barack Obama's outreach effort. But Italy withdrew the invitation after Iran failed to respond and after its bloody post-election crackdown on protesters, which has sparked international condemnation. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 1001EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-1330: ++Germany Jackson Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:++Germany Jackson- NEW Tributes to King of Pop at annual Gay Pride parade LENGTH: 02:01 FIRST RUN: 1330 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: German/Nat SOURCE: AP TELEVISION STORY NUMBER: 611065 DATELINE: Berlin - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 02:01 SHOTLIST 1. Wide of Kurfuerstendamm (main street) in Berlin, Christopher Street Day (CSD) parade on the move 2. Close of party bus with sign reading (English) "Berlin, CSD Parade '09" 3. Close of the costumed CSD parade participant, tilt up 4. Wide of crowd 5. Revellers dressed in alien costumes 6. Reveller in "mourning" costume, holding Michael Jackson photo 7. Costumed reveller 8. Wide of party truck passing by 9. Close of the top of the truck with people dancing 10. Costumed revellers 11. SOUNDBITE (German) Vox pops, Revellers, no names given: "Of course we mourn, that is why we're in black or white today, that is our memorial outfit for Michael." "I've done my nose, she did her lips, normally we're all in black?but this is a completely different event here." "Michael we love you." 12. Wide of truck carrying the Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, passing by 13. SOUNDBITE (German) Holger Look, Parade participant: "He excited millions of people and whatever is said about his private life, it is all a bit foggy, but he was simply a genius" 14. Wide of the parade STORYLINE Thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender revellers gathered in Berlin on Saturday for the annual Christopher Street Day parade. Although the event was not dominated by the death of Michael Jackson, many participants paid tribute to the singer whose death led to a global outpouring of grief. "He excited millions and whatever is said about his private life...he was simply a genius," said one fan. Revellers wore a variety of costumes, including one reveller who chose to dress in a black "mourning" costume, carrying a photograph of the King of Pop. Almost 50 party trucks joined the parade route through the heart of the German capital. They were expected to end at the landmark Column of Victory later in the day. The gay pride parade is held each year in honour of the first uprising of homosexuals and other minorities against police assaults that took place in New York's Christopher Street, in Greenwich Village, on 27 June 1969. This protest eventually led to further demonstrations, calling for the rights of homosexuals and transsexuals. The first Christopher Street Day parade in Germany took place in 1979 in Berlin. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 1002EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-1330: +France Camp 2 Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:+France Camp 2- WRAP Protest in support of illegal immigrants ADDS more LENGTH: 02:09 FIRST RUN: 1330 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: French/English/Nat SOURCE: AP TELEVISION STORY NUMBER: 611067 DATELINE: Calais - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 02:09 SHOTLIST: (FIRST RUN 0930 AMERICAS PRIME NEWS - 27 JUNE 2009) 1. Demonstrators marching 2. Various of demonstrators marching, banging drums 3. Police helicopter flying overhead 4. Demonstrators standing in street, pan to riot police line 5. Various of riot police and demonstrators ++NEW (FIRST RUN 1330 EUROPE PRIME NEWS - 27 JUNE 2009) 6. Various of demonstrators marching and holding banners 7. SOUNDBITE: (French) Catherine Lebrun, Protester: "Free movement of foreigners, closing of detention centres, and all the immigrants to get papers. Those are the three main reasons that mobilised us today, for the rights of the immigrants." 8. Demonstration marching, holding banner, reading (English) "Free all migration prisoners" 9. SOUNDBITE: (English) Stefan, Protester: "Our message is obviously no borders, we want a world without states, a world where people can move freely, where your place of birth shouldn't determine where you go and what upbringing you get." 10. Wide of demonstrators chanting 11. Mid of riot police 12. Demonstrators walking in front of riot police STORYLINE: Hundreds of protesters marched in the French port of Calais on Saturday to demonstrate against the treatment of migrants by the authorities. Since the closure of the Sangatte camp in Calais, many migrants looking to reach the UK have been forced to take shelter in the forests and streets surrounding Calais. Sangatte was closed in 2002 in a bid to stem the flow of illegal immigrants crossing the Channel into the UK. The protesters from both the UK and France argue that the migrants should be allowed to enter the UK and that restrictions on their movements should be lifted. "Free movement of foreigners, closing of detention centres, and all the immigrants to get papers. Those are the three main reasons that mobilised us today," protester Catherine Lebrun said. Riot police were out in force and police vehicles blocked the street. The protest was organised by an umbrella organisation calling itself No Borders. According to its web site, No Borders is a network of groups demanding freedom of movement for all and an end to all migration controls. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 1005EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM -------------------
APTN 0930 PRIME NEWS - AMERICAS
AP-APTN-0930: Taiwan Jackson Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:Taiwan Jackson- REPLAY Michael Jackson impersonator remembers meeting his hero LENGTH: 02:17 FIRST RUN: 0630 RESTRICTIONS: Part No Taiwan TYPE: Mandarin/Nats SOURCE: AP TELEVISION/CTV STORY NUMBER: 611026 DATELINE: Taipei County - 27 June 2009/FILE LENGTH: 02:17 SHOTLIST: AP Television - AP Clients Only Taipei County - 27 June, 2009 1. Wide of Michael Jackson impersonator Wang Chi-Wei dancing to Michael Jackson song "Billie Jean" 2. Close-up Wang's dance steps 3. Close-up Wang's face 4. Close-up Wang's dance steps 5. Wide of Wang dancing 6. Pan shot Wang performing Jackson's famous "Moon walk" dance 7. SOUNDBITE: (Mandarin) Wang Chi-Wei, Michael Jackson impersonator: "I remember I melted when Michael Jackson put his hand on my shoulder in an exclusive photo call in 1993." 8. Wide shot newspaper clipping and pictures from 1993 9. Close-up picture of Wang and Michael Jackson 10. Tilt down concert tickets of Michael Jackson's Asia tours in 1993 and 1996 CTV - No Access Taiwan FILE: Taipei - 1993 11. Various of Wang dancing to Michael Jackson song "Billie Jean" in Michael Jackson impersonator contest in 1993 with STILL of Michael Jackson AP Television - AP Clients Only Taipei County - 27 June 2009 12. SOUNDBITE: (Mandarin) Wang Chi-Wei, Michael Jackson impersonator: "We were all hoping it was just a joke. Until I saw Michael Jackson's body lying still on the stretcher then I realised that he was dead, I cried with my student last night. Our love for him is real. When some people criticised him we really wanted to support him but I think we don't have the chance any more." 13. Wide of Wang's daughter watching Wang dancing with his student Lee Yen-Ting 14. Close-up Wang's daughter 15. Mid of Wang dancing with his student Lee 16. Wide of Wang and Lee dancing STORYLINE: In Taipei on Saturday, Taiwan's top Michael Jackson impersonator donned a wig, trademark black loafers and fedora hat and danced the moon walk in tribute to the King of Pop who died on Thursday. Thirty-year-old Wang Chi-Wei won a photo opportunity with his pop icon after coming first in an imitation competition in 1993 by dancing to the Jackson hit 'Billie Jean'. Wang still clearly remembered the big moment and said he "melted when Michael Jackson put his hand on my shoulder". Wang was tearful as he talked of the death of his pop hero. "Our love for him is real," he said. "When some people criticised him we really wanted to support him, but I think we don't have the chance any more," he added. Taiwan is one of the few Asian destinations where Jackson held concerts; the Dangerous World Tour in 1993 and the History World Tour in 1996. Wang attended both concerts and still has the tickets. He has imparted his moon walk skills to 29-year-old professional dancer Lee Yen-Ting. They believe that people find it exciting to watch them performing Jackson's unique dance which few can master. Both Wang and Lee say they will continue dancing to keep the legacy of Michael Jackson alive. Jackson collapsed at his rented home in Los Angeles on Thursday and died aged 50 from a suspected heart attack. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 0551EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-0930: US Climate Bill Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:US Climate Bill- REPLAY House passes major energy climate bill in triumph for US president LENGTH: 02:05 FIRST RUN: 0330 RESTRICTIONS: Part No NAmerica/Net TYPE: English/Natsound SOURCE: POOL/ ABC STORY NUMBER: 611020 DATELINE: Washington DC - 26 June 2009 LENGTH: 02:05 SHOTLIST POOL - AP Clients Only 1. Wide of US House of Representatives 2. Wide of House floor 3. SOUNDBITE (English) John Boehner, Republican Minority Leader: "What we have on the floor today is typical big government. And the fight that we have between the two sides of the aisle really boils down to one word. It boils down to freedom. The freedom to allow the American people to live their lives without all of these extra taxes and all of this bureaucracy." 4. Wide of House with graphic overlaid showing vote tally 5. SOUNDBITE (English) Ed Pastor, Democratic congressman: "On this vote, yeas are 219, nays are 212. The bill is passed." ABC - No Access NAmerica/Internet 6. US President Barack Obama walking into room 7. SOUNDBITE (English) Barack Obama, US President: "Today, the House of Representatives took historic action with the passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act. It's a bold and necessary step that holds the promise of creating new industries and (m) millions of new jobs, decreasing our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, and strictly limiting the release of pollutants that threaten the health of families and communities and the planet itself. Now it's up to the senate to take the next step. I am confident that in the coming weeks and months, the senate will demonstrate the same commitment to addressing what is a tremendous challenge and an extraordinary opportunity." 8. Wide of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking at news conference 9. SOUNDBITE (English) Nancy Pelosi, Democratic House Speaker: "Everyone is very excited about the history that was made here in the House of Representatives this evening. We passed transformational legislation which will take us into the future. No matter how long our colleagues wanted to talk against it, they could not hold the future back." 10. Cutaway of people at news conference STORYLINE: In a triumph for US President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled House narrowly passed sweeping legislation on Friday that calls for the nation's first limits on pollution linked to global warming and aims to usher in a new era of cleaner, yet more costly energy. The vote was 219-212, capping months of negotiations and days of intense bargaining among Democrats. Republicans were overwhelmingly against the measure, arguing it would destroy jobs in the midst of a recession while burdening consumers with a new tax in the form of higher energy costs. Congressman John Boehner, the House Republican leader, used a one-hour speech shortly before the final vote to warn of what he said were unintended consequences that would cost jobs, depress real estate prices and put the government into parts of the economy where it had no role. "What we have on the floor today is typical big government. And the fight that we have between the two sides of the aisle really boils down to one word. It boils down to freedom.The freedom to allow the American people to live their lives without all of these extra taxes and all of this bureaucracy," he said. At the White House, Obama said the bill would create jobs, and added that with its vote, the House had put America on a path toward leading the way toward creating a 21st century global economy. "It's a bold and necessary step that holds the promise of creating new industries and (m) millions of new jobs, decreasing our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, and strictly limiting the release of pollutants that threaten the health of families and communities and the planet itself," Obama said. The House's action fulfilled Speaker Nancy Pelosi's vow to clear major energy legislation before July 4. It also sent the measure to a highly uncertain fate in the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was hopeful that the Senate will be able to debate and pass bipartisan and comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation this fall. The legislation would require the US to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and by about 80 percent by mid-century. That was slightly more aggressive than Obama originally wanted, 14 percent by 2020 and the same 80 percent by mid-century. US carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are rising at about 1 percent a year and are predicted to continue increasing without mandatory limits. Under the bill, the government would limit heat-trapping pollution from factories, refineries and power plants and issue allowances for polluters. Most of the allowances would be given away, but about 15 percent would be auctioned by bid and the proceeds used to defray higher energy costs for lower-income individuals and families. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 0552EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-0930: Pakistan Shooting Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:Pakistan Shooting- REPLAY GRAPHIC Five militants killed in shootout LENGTH: 01:28 FIRST RUN: 0630 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: Urdu/Natsound SOURCE: AP TELEVISION STORY NUMBER: 611024 DATELINE: Karachi - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 01:28 SHOTLIST ++NIGHT SHOTS++ 1. Exterior of Abbasi Shaheed hospital in Karachi 2. Various of bodies of men officials say are militants being taken to hospital morgue 3. Body being placed on slab 4. Pan of bodies of suspected militants as man takes image on mobile phone ++GRAPHIC++ 5. Police officer and officials 6. SOUNDBITE (Urdu) Iftikhar lodhi, District superintendent of police: "Police got the tip-off that comrades of the Chief of Tehrik-e-Taliban in Pakistan, Baitullah Mehsud were hiding over here. After getting the information police conducted a raid near the super highway. Six persons escaped during cross firing but five were hit. Those five injured men died on the way by ambulance to Abbasi Shaheed hospital. Five dead bodies are at the morgue. Police have filed the case and an investigation is underway." 7. Cutaway of Iodhi's shirt 8. Ambulance outside morgue SHOTLIST Police killed five men they believed were Taliban militants on Saturday, a top official in Karachi said. The men were killed in a night time raid on a Karachi apartment believed to be housing insurgents loyal to the Pakistani Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, who has been blamed for a wave of suicide attacks, A city police spokesperson said officers found a large quantity of weapons and explosives in the apartment. He said the militants were planning attacks in Pakistan's biggest city. Police taking part in the raid early on Saturday told the militants to surrender, but they shot at police, he said. In the gunbattle that ensued, five militants were killed, five were wounded and six escaped in the darkness, he said. Iftikhar lodhi, the district superintendent of police said the information leading to the gunbattle came from a tip off. "Police have filed the case and an investigation is underway," he said. Mehsud is blamed for a wave of suicide bombings across Pakistan that spokesmen for his group have said is in retaliation for two military offensives against Taliban in the country's volatile northwest. Troops are winding down their campaign to oust the Taliban from the Swat Valley region after two months of fighting and are turning their attention to a fresh offensive targeting Mehsud in his home territory of South Waziristan, in the tribal belt on the Afghan border. The militant attacks have targeted security forces but have also hit mosques, markets and one major international hotel. The latest struck an army vehicle in Pakistani Kashmir on Friday, killing two soldiers. The bombing was claimed by a Mehsud spokesman who warned of more attacks. It was the first time that this strategically sensitive area - where rival India has long accused Pakistan of harbouring Islamic militants that launch attacks in Indian Kashmir - has been targeted by the Taliban. The government says the recent suicide bombings have fuelled its determination to destroy Mehsud's network and end militancy in Pakistan. Washington strongly backs the military campaigns, which are seen as a test of the government's resolve after years of unfinished offensives and failed peace deals with militants. Karachi, a teeming port city of more than 16 (m) million and Pakistan's commercial hub, has long been a hotbed for Taliban and al-Qaeda linked groups who are believed to have staged bank robberies, kidnapping for ransom and other criminal activities to raise funds. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 0553EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-0930: Afghanistan Karzai Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:Afghanistan Karzai- REPLAY Afghan president urges Taliban, militants to vote in coming elections LENGTH: 01:13 FIRST RUN: 0830 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: Pashto/Dari/Nats SOURCE: AP TELEVISION STORY NUMBER: 611033 DATELINE: Kabul - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 01:13 SHOTLIST 1. Various of traffic 2. Man walking past posters of coming presidential election 3. Close of candidate posters 4. Afghan President Hamid Karzai walking in to news conference at presidential palace 5. Close of media 6. SOUNDBITE: (Dari) Hamid Karzai, Afghan President: "I call on the Taliban to come and participate in the Afghan election, vote for their future president, for their favourite delegate in the provincial council and move their country towards prosperity, stability and happiness along with other Afghans." 7. Wide of Karzai at podium 8. SOUNDBITE: (Pashto) Hamid Karzai, Afghan President: "We should try to have a legitimate election, and to have this, everyone should participate in the election. We will try to do that and may God help us to succeed in this part." 9. Wide of Karzai at podium STORYLINE Afghan President Hamid Karzai called on members of the Taliban and other opposition militants to "vote for their future president" in the country's August 20 presidential election. "We should try to have a legitimate election, and to have this, everyone should participate in the election," Karzai said during a news conference on Saturday at the presidential palace. Forty-one candidates are running for president, though a recent poll showed Karzai with a big lead over his opponents. US, NATO and Afghan troops will provide security for the vote. Karzai also said he wanted to assure the US and international community that Afghanistan would continue to support the fight against militant extremism no matter who wins the presidency. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 0554EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-0930: WBank Scuffles Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:WBank Scuffles- REPLAY Palestinian farmers and activists in scuffles with Israeli police LENGTH: 02:16 FIRST RUN: 0830 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: Arabic/Nat SOURCE: AP TELEVISION STORY NUMBER: 611034 DATELINE: Safa - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 02:16 SHOTLIST 1. Mid of Palestinian farmers walking towards vineyards together with Israeli and foreign activists 2. Various reverse shots of Palestinian farmers with Israeli and foreign activists walking 3. Mid of Israeli soldiers trying to prevent activists from moving further into vineyards 4. Various of farmers and activists scuffling with soldiers 5. More of scuffles and soldiers arresting an activist 6. Mid of sound-bomb exploding 7. More of activists arguing with soldiers 8. Various of Israeli soldiers arresting activists, more scuffles 9. Wide of Israeli soldiers pushing activists and Palestinians away 10. Mid of Israeli soldier pushing a photographer away 11. Mid of Israeli soldiers dragging activist away 12. Mid of Israeli soldiers dragging other activist away 13. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Hassan Abd El-Hamid, Palestinian farmer: "We came this morning as usual to collect peaches, as we do every Saturday, but the soldiers prevented us from doing it. We came, we found the soldiers here, they stopped the citizens and the farmers as you can see, we have land here and they prevented us from going to it and collecting the peaches. If we don't collect them, they will be damaged." 14. Mid of Israeli soldier pushing farmer 15. Wide of farmers and activists arguing with soldiers STORYLINE Palestinian farmers accompanied by Israeli and foreign activists scuffled on Saturday with Israeli soldiers, who blocked them from their vineyards and other fields in the West Bank, according to Palestinian witnesses. Palestinian farmers said access to their fields in Safa, south of Bethlehem, is limited and controlled by the Israeli army, as the fields are close to the major settlement block of Gush-Etzion. Hassan Abd El-Hamid, one of the Palestinian farmers, said the fruit in his fields had to be collected as soon as possible, or it would go bad. The Israeli army said the area had been declared a closed military zone to prevent confrontation between settlers in the area and Palestinians, which has occurred a few times in recent weeks. The army clarified that Palestinian farmers from the area were allowed access to their land and that they were stopped only when accompanied by Israelis who were not allowed into the closed military zone. The army added that 15 of the Israeli activists had been arrested during the scuffles. The settlement issue is a major obstacle both to the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and to an eventual peace deal. The issue was also one of the subjects discussed on Friday in Trieste, Northern Italy, by the Quartet of Mideast negotiators and foreign ministers of the Group of Eight industrialised nations, who urged Israel to freeze all settlement activity in the West Bank and lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip, backing US President Barack Obama's Mideast policy. Israel has rejected demands that it halt all settlement building, saying it must accommodate "natural growth" in the Israeli enclaves. However both the G-8 and the Quartet - the United States, Russia, European Union and United Nations - urged Israel to freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth, with the quartet also urging it to dismantle settlement outposts erected since March 2001. It was the first Quartet meeting since Obama came to office, held on the sidelines of a meeting of the G-8 foreign ministers in Trieste, a picturesque Adriatic port on Italy's northeastern coast. The call of both the Quartet and the G-8 for a settlement freeze signalled broad international support for Obama's Mideast policy. The Bush administration had accepted the need for some settlement growth, something the Palestinians long rejected. But just last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated that the United States wanted a halt to settlement activity in the West Bank, saying no informal agreement that Israel may have reached with the Bush administration was valid. Clinton was speaking after a meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who said he wanted the Bush administration understandings to remain. The United States and Israel have at least publicly given no ground in their opposing views, though Israeli officials say they are trying to find a formula agreeable to Washington that would allow at least limited construction. Nearly 300,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements, along with 180,000 Israelis in Jewish neighbourhoods of east Jerusalem. The Palestinians seek both areas, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, as parts of a future state. Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu grudgingly yielded to Obama's demand that Israel endorse the idea of a Palestinian state, albeit with a host of conditions the Palestinians reject. But he rejected US pressure for a settlement freeze. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 0555EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-0930: Italy G8 Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:Italy G8- REPLAY Security, preparations ahead of talks on stabilisation of Afghanistan LENGTH: 01:05 FIRST RUN: 0630 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: Natsound SOURCE: AP TELEVISION STORY NUMBER: 611027 DATELINE: Trieste - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 01:05 SHOTLIST 1. Wide port of Trieste 2. Wide of buildings 3. Various of police at road block 4. Wide exterior of Palazzo della Regione, venue of conference 5. Wide of building entrance 6. Coast guard boat on the water 7. Mid of scuba diver dropping off side of rubber dinghy 8. Wide of boat patrolling port 9. Wide of buildings near the water front STORYLINE Police and the coast guards patrolled the Italian port of Trieste on Saturday morning as foreign ministers of the Group of Eight industrialised nations prepared for a second day of talks on the stabilisation of Afghanistan. A police scuba diver took a look below waters and coast guard and police boats patrolled nearby. Talks that began on Friday were to continue to discuss a host of complex issues facing Afghanistan: narco-trafficking and the use of drug money to allegedly support terror, immigration and food security. Foreign Ministers from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and members of the Arab league were taking part in the discussions. The G8 foreign ministers have lamented corruption and the lack of basic services such as health and water in Afghanistan, saying that better cooperation among countries in the region was needed to promote stability. They endorsed on Friday Pakistan's battle against Taliban insurgents and promised to work more with the country's government "in the face of terrorism, extremism and militancy." Improving security in the troubled region is a focus of the three-day meeting in this northeastern Italian city. Italy, the host of the meeting, sought to broaden participation in the talks, arguing that Afghanistan is a problem that needs to be addressed regionally. As a result, the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan participated in Friday's session, and a joint statement was issued. In the statement, the ministers said that, despite some efforts by the Afghan government, "insecurity, widespread corruption and capacity shortfalls continue to complicate the delivery of basic services at the local level, including health, education and water." President Hamid Karzai has been criticised both at home and abroad for corruption in his administration but he is the favourite in the August 20 vote in Afghanistan. Friday's statement also looked at drug trafficking and the opium trade, which help fund extremists, saying that it was urgent to find alternative sources of income. Italy had also invited Iran to attend the talks, arguing that it could play an important role in talks on Afghan stabilisation. But Rome retracted the invitation after Iran failed to respond, and amid concerns over Iran's violent crackdown on protesters after disputed election results. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 0559EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-0930: Greece Russia Talks Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:Greece Russia Talks- REPLAY Preps ahead of talks btw Russia, NATO and OSCE on European security LENGTH: 02:37 FIRST RUN: 0730 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: English/Nat SOURCE: AP TELEVISION STORY NUMBER: 611030 DATELINE: Corfu - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 02:37 SHOTLIST: 1. Wide pan from sea to hotel serving as venue for NATO-Russia Council and OSCE informal ministerial meetings 2. Mid of meeting venue 3. Close-up of sign reading: (English) "Grecotel Corfu Imperial" 4. Wide of coast guard patrol boat at sea 5. Pull out from coast guard patrol boat at sea to sign reading: (English) "Corfu 2009 informal ministerial meeting" 6. Wide of Greek flag 7. Mid of police outside venue 8. Wide of terrace 9. Set-up of OSCE spokesman Martin Nesirky 10. Close-up of Nesirky's hands 11. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Nesirky, OSCE spokesman: "Clearly in a sense President Medvedev's proposals first outlined - and I would use the words outlined quite deliberately because they were not very, very clear or concrete proposals - this has been the catalyst for this whole process that's now really beginning to gather momentum. Now clearly there are many different ideas out there, probably as many as there are countries in the organisation. But the fact that you've got ministers, more than 40 ministers coming here to Corfu is a clear indication that they believe the time is right to really start this process, the Corfu process, and to make some headway on this." 12. Various of special police forces paroling headland with machine guns 13. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Nesirky, OSCE spokesman: "Clearly we would prefer to have our mandate which would be broader and involve military monitoring so that we could continue the work that we've done over many years. And let's face it, the Georgian people, the Georgian government would like to have us there, not just to deal with hard security matters, but to help them for example with rule of law, helping to improve their judiciary system, freedom of the media. So this is not something that we want to impose from outside. We can't do that. It's what the Georgian people would like." 14. Wide of coast guard patrol boat 15. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Nesirky, OSCE spokesman: "This is the start of a process and that is why chose we word Corfu Process, or the expression Corfu Process, because we believe this is the start of an open-ended and frank dialogue about the future of European security." 16. Wide of sea and island STORYLINE: Foreign ministers from across Europe and beyond were gathering in Corfu on Saturday to tackle issues of European security, nearly a year after Russia's war with Georgia raised concerns about stability on the continent's eastern fringes. The ministers' informal meeting on the western Greek island is the first such gathering in the 34-year history of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) - a grouping of 56 countries encompassing regions from North America to Europe, Central Asia and Russia. Speaking before the proceedings, OSCE spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said a Russian proposal for a European Security Treaty was the catalyst for "this whole process that's now really beginning to gather momentum". The proposed pact, touted by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev since he took office in May 2008, would encompass North America, Europe and the former Soviet Union, strengthening Russia's role in shaping regional and global security. The OSCE talks will be preceded by the first meeting between NATO and Russian foreign ministers since the alliance broke of ties with Moscow after last August's war with Georgia. Although political ties have thawed considerably over the past five months, there have been no formal military contacts since the war. NATO cut off the ties last August, when Russian forces invaded Georgia after that country's troops attacked its breakaway province of South Ossetia. For months, the Vienna-based OSCE has been struggling to salvage a 16-year-old monitoring mission in Georgia following the war, after Moscow blocked the extension of its mandate late last year. As a result, it will be forced to shut down by June 30 if no compromise is reached. Nesirky said the OSCE would clearly have preferred a "broader" mandate, which would involve "military monitoring so that we could continue the work that we've done over many years". He said this was "what the Georgian people would like". Russia agreed to the EU and OSCE monitors, who moved into the areas surrounding Abkhazia and fellow breakaway republic South Ossetia last Autumn, as Russian forces withdrew under EU-brokered peace deals. But Moscow refused to allow them into the separatist regions themselves, and has taken diplomatic steps to decrease the presence of international missions in Georgia. Saturday's meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his counterparts from NATO's 28 member nations comes as President Barack Obama and Medvedev prepare for a summit next month. Officials said the talks in Corfu would reflect the trend towards improved relations. Relations on the political side began to improve after Obama took office, as NATO ambassadors met with Russia's envoy to the NATO-Russia Council, a panel set up in 2002 to improve cooperation between the former Cold War foes. On the military side, Russia cooperated with individual NATO nations such as the US, France or Germany by allowing them to use Russia's rail network to resupply international forces in Afghanistan. The Russian navy has also worked with the warships of various NATO nations during their joint anti-piracy patrols off the Somali coast. But there have been no formal military ties between the alliance and Russia. Officials on both sides said the foreign ministers are expected to give a go-ahead Saturday for meetings of defence ministers and chiefs of staff that would restart military cooperation in areas of shared interests. Likely to be discussed are contentious issues such as Georgia and a key European arms-control treaty, but none of them is seen as an obstacle to improving relations. Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said this week she anticipated a positive atmosphere for both the OSCE and NATO-Russia talks. She said the ministers would "brainstorm" a proposal by Russia to hold a summit to discuss all security issues affecting Europe. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 0601EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-0930: ++MidEast Crossing Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:++MidEast Crossing- NEW Egypt opens Rafah crossing to Palestinians seeking medical aid and students LENGTH: 02:24 FIRST RUN: 0930 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: Arabic/Nat SOURCE: AP TELEVISION STORY NUMBER: 611040 DATELINE: Rafah Crossing - 27 June v22141tvls r t AP-APTN-0930:++MidEastCr 06-27 0896 AP-APTN-0930: ++MidEast Crossing Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:++MidEast Crossing- NEW Egypt opens Rafah crossing to Palestinians seeking medical aid and students LENGTH: 02:24 FIRST RUN: 0930 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: Arabic/Nat SOURCE: AP TELEVISION STORY NUMBER: 611040 DATELINE: Rafah Crossing - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 02:24 ++CLIENTS PLEASE NOTE: AUDIO HAS BEEN CORRECTED - PLS IGNORE FIRST EDIT SENT++ SHOTLIST 1. Mid of people getting off bus at Rafah Crossing, Gaza Strip 2. Wide of people entering crossing through metal detector 3. People sitting, more people entering crossing through metal detector 4. Close up of women 5. Various of people at crossing w2009 LENGTH: 02:24 ++CLIENTS PLEASE NOTE: AUDIO HAS BEEN CORRECTED - PLS IGNORE FIRST EDIT SENT++ SHOTLIST 1. Mid of people getting off bus at Rafah Crossing, Gaza Strip 2. Wide of people entering crossing through metal detector 3. People sitting, more people entering crossing through metal detector 4. Close up of women 5. Various of people at crossing with officers working at counters 6. Mid of officer inspecting a man's documents 7. Mid of woman waiting at counter 8. Mid of officers working behind screens 9. Various of officer checking passport 10. Close up of passport being stamped 11. Mid of officer giving passport back to man 12. Mid of family sitting 13. Close up of child's face 14. Wide of ambulances outside croith officers working at counters 6. Mid of officer inspecting a man's documents 7. Mid of woman waiting at counter 8. Mid of officers working behind screens 9. Various of officer checking passport 10. Close up of passport being stamped 11. Mid of officer giving passport back to man 12. Mid of family sitting 13. Close up of child's face 14. Wide of ambulances outside crossing 15. Mid of women sitting in car with bags 16. Wide of Palestinian patient Dr. Suliman Hamdan Abu Seteh inside ambulance waiting to enter Egypt 17. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Dr. Suliman Hamdan Abu Seteh, Palestinian patient: "I ask the governments to treat us like human beings, to treat us within the law, to treat us like humassing 15. Mid of women sitting in car with bags 16. Wide of Palestinian patient Dr. Suliman Hamdan Abu Seteh inside ambulance waiting to enter Egypt 17. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Dr. Suliman Hamdan Abu Seteh, Palestinian patient: "I ask the governments to treat us like human beings, to treat us within the law, to treat us like humans in other countries, where patients can get treatment, and to allow people to travel, not like our situation, it's like a prison, a prison that has a length of three kilometres. This is the Gaza Strip, it's like a pack of matches." 18. Wide of buses at crossing 19. Wide of truck at crossing 20. Mid Egyptian soldiers 21. Wide of Rafah Crossing with Egyptian flag STORYLINE Egypt briefly opened its border with blockaded Gaza on Saturday, and five-thousand Gazans have signed up to leave over three days. Among those permitted to cross at the Rafah border crossing are medical patients and Gazans with foreign residency. "I ask the governments to treat us like human beings, to treat us within the law," said one patient, Dr. Suliman Hamdan Abu Seteh, at the crossing. Egypt and Israel sealed Gaza's borders two years ago, after the Islamic militant Hamas seized control of the territory. Hamas was democratically elected in the Gaza Strip in a 2006 Palestinian parliament vote, but then broke off with the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas following months of conflict over power-sharing with the new government. Hamas eventually took control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, leaving Abbas' government in nominal control of the occupied West Bank only. The closure of the Gaza Strip has trapped some 1.4 (m) million people in Gaza. Egypt opens the crossing periodically, like on Saturday. Israel has allowed in food and humanitarian aid, but banned supplies needed to repair damage from Israel's winter war on Hamas, meant to stop Gaza rocket fire on Israeli towns. On Friday, the international community called for lifting the Gaza blockade. The issue was one of the subjects discussed on Friday in Trieste, Northern Italy, by the Quartet of Mideast negotiators and foreign ministers of the Group of Eight industrialised nations, who urged Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip and freeze all settlement activity in the West Bank, backing US President Barack Obama's Mideast policy. The closure is making it impossible to rebuild Gaza after Israel's devastating recent winter offensive, particularly as cement is not permitted to pass through the border blockade. Five months after Israel launched its offensive to halt Hamas rocket fire, most of the estimated 250-thousand people whose homes were damaged or destroyed have been unable to rebuild. Voices calling for new thinking are growing louder, with the administration of US President Barack Obama arguing that squeezing ordinary Gazans is a recipe for instability. But there's no clear path forward, since opening the borders would require engaging the militants whom much of the world has shunned. Hamas, viewed as a "terror organisation" by some countries, is refusing to heed the international demands that would open Gaza's borders: recognising Israel and renouncing violence. The ban on cement also means that United Nations plans to spend 371 (m) million US dollars to repair war-damaged homes are on hold. The Obama administration has urged easing the embargo. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 0753EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-0930: US Jackson 4 Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:US Jackson 4- CORRECTION Tributes, coroner; Quincy Jones, vigil LENGTH: 05:07 FIRST RUN: 0830 RESTRICTIONS: See Script TYPE: English/Nat SOURCE: AP TELEVISION/AP PHOTOS/ABC STORY NUMBER: 611032 DATELINE: Various - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 05:07 PLEASE IGNORE SCRIPT SENT EARLIER AND REPLACE WITH FOLLOWING, WHICH AMENDS STILL RESTRICTIONS SHOTLIST (FIRST RUN 0230 NEWS UPDATE - 26 JUNE 2009) AP TELEVISION - AP Clients Only Encino, US - 26 June 2009 1. People gathered outside Jackson family house 2. Various of flowers and tribute posters 3. Various of people gathered, some comforting each other 4. Various of people laying flowers 5. Close-up of girl hugging friend 6. Tribute poster on wall 7. SOUNDBITE: (English) Rose Yorba, Michael Jackson fan: "To have something like this happen to him it just tears me apart. I mean we stood up crying all night last night because he's just so big to us and to have him leave it's just like why, I don't think it was his time to go, it wasn't his time." 8. Woman in uniform laying flowers (FIRST RUN 0230 NEWS UPDATE - 26 JUNE 2009) AP TELEVISION - AP Clients Only Los Angeles, US - 26 June 2009 9. Wide of news conference 10. SOUNDBITE: (English) Charlie Beck, Deputy Police Chief: "We will do a thorough interview with the doctor to discuss some of the unanswered questions that have been raised by the death of Michael Jackson and we expect that the doctor will be able to shed some light on some things that when viewed with conjunctions coroner's findings will lead us to some conclusions." (FIRST RUN 0030 NEWS UPDATE - 26 JUNE 2009) AP Photo/Houston Chronicle - No Access Canada/ For Broadcast use only - Strictly No Access Online or Mobile/Must Courtesy Houston Chronicle Houston, US - 7 June 2009 11. STILL of cardiologist Doctor Conrad Murray (FIRST RUN 0530 NEWS UPDATE - 26 JUNE 2009) AP TELEVISION - AP Clients Only New York, US - 26 June 2009 12. Pull out from Apollo Theatre sign reading (English) "In Memory of Michael Jackson. A True Apollo Legend." 13. Pan across people dancing 14. Woman writing on memorial 15. Mid of candles 16. People dancing (FIRST RUN 0530 NEWS UPDATE - 26 JUNE 2009) ABC - No Access NAmerica/Internet Los Angeles, US - 26 June 2009 17. Various aerials of people lined up at the Hollywood Walk of Fame to see Jackson's star ++NEW (FIRST RUN 0830 EUROPE PRIME NEWS - 26 JUNE 2009) ABC - No Access NAmerica/Internet Los Angeles, US - 27 June 2009 ++NIGHT SHOTS++ 18. Various aerials of people holding a candlelight vigil in Leimert Park in memory of Jackson (FIRST RUN 0630 ASIA PRIME NEWS - 26 JUNE 2009) AP TELEVISION - AP Clients Only Los Angeles, US - 27 June 2009 ++NIGHT SHOTS++ 19. SOUNDBITE (English) Ed Winter, Assistant Chief, Los Angeles Coroner's Office: "Mr Michael Jackson's remains have been removed from the coroner's office, removed a little bit ago. It's in an undisclosed location as per the family's request. Also there's a security hold on the case so I can't discuss the location. We ask that you respect the family's wishes. I spent most of the day with the family and they are very concerned and trying to get through their mourning process." (FIRST RUN 0830 EUROPE PRIME NEWS - 26 JUNE 2009) ABC - No Access NAmerica/Internet Los Angeles, US - 26 June 2009 ++NIGHT SHOTS++ 20. Aerial of water fountain and pan across people holding vigil in Leimert Park (FIRST RUN 0630 ASIA PRIME NEWS - 26 JUNE 2009) AP TELEVISION - AP Clients Only Los Angeles, US - 27 June 2009 ++NIGHT SHOTS++ 21. SOUNDBITE (English) Ed Winter, Assistant Chief, Los Angeles Coroner's Office: "Met with the family, and they are all grieving in their own way. Also just asked that their thoughts and prayers go out to them." (FIRST RUN 0830 EUROPE PRIME NEWS - 26 JUNE 2009) ABC - No Access NAmerica/Internet Los Angeles, US - 26 June 2009 ++NIGHT SHOTS++ 22. Aerial of vigil (FIRST RUN 0830 EUROPE PRIME NEWS - 26 JUNE 2009) ABC - No Access NAmerica/Internet Luxembourg - 26 June 2009 23. SOUNDBITE (English) Quincy Jones, Music Producer: "Michael was the same kind of an artist you know, that walked in the shoes of giants first and became his own giant and that's the way you do it. I mean there's only 12 notes out there so we're not going to reinvent a 13th note. And he walked in the shoes of giants and became a giant himself." (FIRST RUN 0830 EUROPE PRIME NEWS - 26 JUNE 2009) ABC - No Access NAmerica/Internet Los Angeles, US - 26 June 2009 ++NIGHT SHOTS++ 24. Aerial pan of vigil (FIRST RUN 0830 EUROPE PRIME NEWS - 26 JUNE 2009) ABC - No Access NAmerica/Internet Luxembourg - 26 June 2009 25. SOUNDBITE (English) Quincy Jones, Music Producer: "No, no, I don't believe, never could believe that Michael would leave at this age, you know, it doesn't make sense. He's younger than my daughter you know, it's unbelievable. And I'm still numb, and confounded and it's almost surrealistic." (FIRST RUN 0830 EUROPE PRIME NEWS - 26 JUNE 2009) ABC - No Access NAmerica/Internet Los Angeles, US - 26 June 2009 ++NIGHT SHOTS++ 26. Wide aerial view of vigil in Leimert Park STORYLINE The assistant chief at the Los Angeles county coroner's office on Saturday confirmed that the body of pop superstar Michael Jackson had been released and taken to an undisclosed location in a single, unescorted vehicle. Ed Winter said that this was according to the wishes of Jackson's family and also due to a security hold on the investigation requested by the police department. Winter, who had spent time with Jackson's family members on Friday said they were "all grieving in their own way". No funeral plans have been announced. Meanwhile, grief for the King of Pop poured out from the icons of music to heartbroken fans, and the world came to grips with losing one of the most luminous celebrities of all time. Speaking from Luxembourg, music industry legend Quincy Jones expressed sadness at the death. "He walked in the shoes of giants and became a giant himself," Jones said. "Never could believe that Michael would leave at this age, you know, it doesn't make sense. He's younger than my daughter you know, it's unbelievable. And I'm still numb, and confounded," he said. The final act of Jackson's life came into clearer focus on Friday, a picture of a fallen superstar working out with TV's "Incredible Hulk" Lou Ferrigno, and under the care of his own private cardiologist, as he tried to get his 50-year-old body in shape for a gruelling bid to reclaim his glory. While the exact circumstances of his death remained unclear, early clues suggested he may simply have pushed his heart too far. Police said they had towed the doctor's BMW from Jackson's home because it may include medication or other evidence, and a source familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that a heart attack appeared to have caused the cardiac arrest that led to the pop icon's sudden death. Authorities said they spoke with the doctor briefly on Thursday and on Friday and expected to meet with him again soon. Police stressed that the doctor, identified by the Los Angeles Times as cardiologist Conrad Murray, was not a criminal suspect. "We will do a thorough interview with the doctor to discuss some of the unanswered questions that have been raised by the death of Michael Jackson," said Charlie Beck, Deputy Police Chief. "We expect that the doctor will be able to shed some light on some things that when viewed with conjunctions coroner's findings will lead us to some conclusions," he added. The president of the company promoting Jackson's shows said Murray was Jackson's personal physician for three years. Jackson insisted Murray accompany him to London, said Randy Phillips, president of AEG Live. The worldwide wave of mourning for Jackson continued unabated for the man who revolutionised pop music and moonwalked his way into entertainment legend. On Friday, hundreds made a pilgrimage to the Jackson family home in Encino, California, leaving flowers and messages of love. They did the same at his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and at the home in Los Angeles' Holmby Hills where Jackson was stricken. Some camped out overnight. In New York, people stopped at Harlem's Apollo Theatre, where Jackson had performed as a child with his brothers in one of rock's first bubblegum supergroups, the Jackson Five. Late on Friday, people gathered in Leimert Park in a south section of Los Angeles for an impromptu vigil. Many of those in attendance held candles. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 0831EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-0930: ++France Camp Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:++France Camp- CORRECTION Protesters threaten camp holding illegal immigrants LENGTH: 01:16 FIRST RUN: 0930 RESTRICTIONS: AP Clients Only TYPE: Natsound SOURCE: AP TELEVISION STORY NUMBER: 611036 DATELINE: Calais - 27 June 2009 LENGTH: 01:16 PLEASE IGNORE SCRIPT SENT EARLIER AND REPLACE WITH FOLLOWING, WHICH AMENDS LOCATION TO CALAIS SHOTLIST 1. Wide of camp set up by protesters against the treatment of migrants by authorities 2. Various of protest signs outside camp 3. People preparing banners 4. Demonstrators marching 5. Various of demonstrators marching, banging drums 6. Close of demonstrator banging drum 7. Police helicopter flying overhead 8. Demonstrators standing in street, pan to riot police line 9. Various of riot police and demonstrators 10. Police vehicles blocking street STORYLINE Hundreds of protesters marched in the French port of Calais on Saturday to demonstrate against the treatment of migrants by the authorities. Since the closure of the Sangatte camp in Calais, many migrants looking to reach the UK have been forced to take shelter in the forests and streets surrounding Calais. Sangatte was closed in 2002 in a bid to stem the flow of illegal immigrants crossing the Channel into the UK. The protesters from both the UK and France argue that the migrants should be allowed to enter the UK and that restrictions on their movements should be lifted. Riot police were out in force and police vehicles blocked the street. The protest was organised by an umbrella organisation calling itself No Borders. According to its web site, No Borders is a network of groups demanding freedom of movement for all and an end to all migration controls. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 0901EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM ------------------- AP-APTN-0930: ++Iran US Saturday, 27 June 2009 STORY:++Iran US- NEW Ahmadinejad criticises Obama for interfering in Iranian affairs LENGTH: 01:24 FIRST RUN: 0930 RESTRICTIONS: No Iran/No BBC Persian Service/No VOA Persian TV TYPE: Farsi/Natsound SOURCE: IRINN STORY NUMBER: 611039 DATELINE: Tehran - 27 Jan 2009 LENGTH: 01:24 ++CLIENTS PLEASE NOTE IMPROVED TRANSLATION++ ++NO ACCESS BBC PERSIAN TV SERVICE/ VOA PERSIAN TV++ ++AP Television is adhering to Iranian law that stipulates all media are banned from providing BBC Persian or VOA Persian any coverage from Iran, and under this law if any media violate this ban the Iranian authorities can immediately shut down that organisation in Tehran.++ SHOTLIST: 1. Zoom in to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking at podium 2. Cutaway of judiciary officials 3. SOUNDBITE: (Farsi) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian President: "We are surprised at Mr. Obama. Why did he enter (into discussions about Iran's election)? Didn't he say that he was after change? Why did he interfere? Why did he utter opinions irrespective of norms and decorum and manners? They keep saying that they want to hold talks with Iran. Alright, we have expressed our readiness as well. But is this the correct way (for holding talks)? Definitely, they have made a mistake. They opened their hand to the people of Iran; their fist has been opened, before all the people of the world. Their mask has been removed. If we had spent spend hundreds of millions of toumans (iranian currency) on publicity and diplomacy to tell the world that they are still the same and they have not changed much, we couldn't do it." 4. Mid of Ahmadinejad speaking at podium STORYLINE Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad slammed US President Barack Obama for remarks the Iranian president believed were interfering with his country's domestic issues. Iran's violent post-election chaos has captured the world's attention and elicited increasingly sharp condemnations from Obama. Iran's ruling clergy have widened the clampdown on the opposition since a bitterly disputed June 12 presidential election, and scattered protests have replaced the initial mass rallies. At least 17 people have been killed in a state-led crackdown on protesters, including a young Iranian girl who became an icon of the protests. Neda Agha Soltan, 27, was shot dead on a Tehran street a week ago. Grainy videotape that captured her bleeding to death was viewed by (m) millions on YouTube, has become an undisputed icon in the bloody struggle between Iran's ruling clerics and opposition protesters challenging the regime over the presidential election they contend was rigged. Her death also has stirred Obama, who held her up earlier this week as an example for those seeking freedom and said it was a "raw and painful" loss. Incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who was proclaimed the landslide winner over opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, has repeatedly accused the western countries of interfering with Iran's internal affairs and had earlier called for "repentance" from the US leader. On Friday, Obama scoffed at the idea that he should apologise to Iran's leaders for criticising their violent crackdown on demonstrators and said Ahmadinejad has operated outside "international norms" and now must answer to his people. Obama's comments got more direct about the two leaders, saying that Mousavi had captured the spirit and imagination of the Iranian people who want a more free society. "Why did he utter remarks irrespective of norms and decorum?" Ahmadinejad said on state television on Saturday, during a conference with judiciary officials. "They have revealed their intentions before the Iranian nation, before the world nations. Their mask has been removed," he added. The demonstrations petered out this week under an ever-intensifying crackdown. Mousavi, meanwhile, has sent mixed signals to supporters, asking them not to break the law while pledging not to drop his challenge. Amnesty International called the prospect of quick trials and capital punishment for some detainees "a very worrying development". Their remarks came after a senior Iranian cleric asked for the protest leaders to be be severely punished or even executed, following Iran's largest wave of dissent since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Amnesty International said Iran was the world's No. 2 executioner after China last year, with at least 346 known instances of people put to death. The group also called on the regime to release dozens of detained journalists it said faced possible torture. As the protests dwindle amid intensifying official pressure, the opposition may suffer from a decline in international attention. The protests and violence dominated Western news broadcasts for nearly two weeks, with the reports substantially bolstered by videos gleaned from Internet sites and by commentary from social networking sites. Such sites were a key pipeline for the opposition amid the tight restrictions on foreign media in the country. But along with the diminished action on the streets in Iran, other stories have arisen to siphon away attention, especially the death of pop star Michael Jackson. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN APEX 06-27-09 0905EDT ------------------- END -- OF -- ITEM -------------------
Status of Iraq War Hearing SWITCHED 1800 - 1900
Joint hearings of the House Armed Services and House Foreign Affairs committee with General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. CLEAN HEARING TRANSCRIPT OF THE 18:00-19:00 HOUR WITHOUT TIME CODE GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first, if I could just start out and note that there is no question that al Qaeda Iraq is part of the greater al Qaeda movement. We have intercepted numerous communications between al Qaeda senior leadership, AQSL as they're called, and the -- REP. ACKERMAN: Isn't it true, General, that al Qaeda in Iraq formed in 2005, two years after we first got there? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, I'm not saying when it started. I'm saying merely that al Qaeda Iraq clearly is part of the overall greater al Qaeda network. REP. ACKERMAN: But they didn't exist until we -- (inaudible). GEN. PETRAEUS: We have intercepted numerous communications, and there is no question also but that al Qaeda Iraq is a key element in igniting the ethnosectarian violence. They have been in effect an element that has poured gas on burning embers with the bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque, for example, and with efforts that they have tried recently, for example, bombing the poor Yazidi villages in northwestern Iraq and so forth. REP. ACKERMAN: Are they a threat to us? GEN. PETRAEUS: Al Qaeda Central is a threat to us. I don't know what the result would be if we left Iraq and left al Qaeda Iraq in place. That is very, very hard to say. REP. ACKERMAN: Then how could you -- GEN. PETRAEUS: I don't know where they would go from here. Again, I'm not trying to -- REP. ACKERMAN: Then how could you suggest that we leave after the sectarian violence stops? REP. SKELTON: (Sounds gavel.) Go ahead and answer the question. GEN. PETRAEUS: I'm not sure I understand that question, Congressman. REP. ACKERMAN: The question is, your testimony appears to indicate that our mission is to end the sectarian violence. If we end the sectarian violence, how can we leave without killing everybody who we've identified as part of a terrorist organization such as al Qaeda in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, al Qaeda again, as I mentioned, Congressman, is part of the sectarian violence. They really are the fuel -- important, most important fuel on the Sunni Arab side of this ethnosectarian conflict -- REP. ACKERMAN: Question again is, how do we leave? GEN. PETRAEUS: The way to leave is to stabilize the situations in each area, and each area will require a slightly different solution. The solution in Anbar province, as an example, has been one that is quite different from what -- one that might be used in a mixed sectarian area. But stabilizing the area, trying to get the violence down, in some cases literally using cement T-walls to secure neighborhoods and then to establish a sustainable security arrangement that increasingly is one that Iraqis can take over by themselves. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from New York, Mr. McHugh. REP. JOHN MCHUGH (R-NY): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, let me add my words of deep appreciation and respect for the amazing job you've done. Whether one agrees with our current circumstances in the Middle East or not, I would hope no one of any thinking, responsible mind would question your devotion to country and dedication to duty. I appreciate it. General, I enjoyed that back and forth with my fellow New Yorker, but let me put it a little bit more simply. Is Iraq an important part on the global war on terror in your mind? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, I think that defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq would be a huge step forward in the global war on terror, and I think that failing to do that would be a shot of adrenaline to the global Islamic extremist movement. REP. MCHUGH: Then I assume you agree with the conclusions of the National Intelligence Estimate, that if we were to leave Iraq precipitously from a military perspective, that the likelihood would be of a return to effectiveness, if you will, of AQI, al Qaeda in Iraq. Is that something you agree with? GEN. PETRAEUS: I do. If we were to leave before we and Iraqi forces had a better handle on al Qaeda-Iraq, that likely would be the outcome. We've made substantial progress against al Qaeda, as I mentioned in my opening statement, but as I also mentioned, al Qaeda remains very dangerous and certainly still capable of horrific mass- casualty sensational attacks. REP. MCHUGH: A lot of good people believe that -- and you've heard a little bit, and I suspect you'll hear more today -- good people believe that we have an opportunity by abandoning the mission in, they would argue, a thoughtful way, in Iraq and redirecting our attention entirely against Afghanistan would be the best thing to do in the war on terror. From what you know on the circumstances for the moment, would taking that step, abandoning the current conditions in Iraq for a total commitment to Afghanistan -- (inaudible) -- plus or minus in the war on terror? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, as I mentioned, allowing al Qaeda-Iraq to really rejuvenate, to regain its sanctuaries would certainly lead to a resumption of the kinds of ethnosectarian-fueling attacks that they were conducting on a much more regular basis than they have been able to conduct since the surge of offensives that we have launched in particular. I'm not sure what, you know, a huge injection of assets would do in the Afghanistan portion -- the portion of Afghanistan that is directed against al Qaeda, and I think in fairness that's probably a better question for General McChrystal, the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, or Admiral Fallon, the combatant commander. REP. MCHUGH: Thank you, sir. Ambassador Crocker, you've said it, I think everyone on this panel feels it, probably most if not all Americans feel a great deal of frustration toward the Iraqi government and the slowness in which they've taken steps that are commensurate with the military side of this equation, and I certainly share those. Folks talk about sending a message to the Iraqi government. There's few things we can see an effect, such as military reductions, that we perceive as perhaps being helpful in turning the screws, encouraging them to make those hard decisions. Advise us, sir. What can we do effectively to send a message to facilitate positive steps by Maliki and the government that's currently in power? AMB. CROCKER: It's a great question, and certainly it's one that General Petraeus and I wrestle with almost every day. First, on the issue of troop reductions as a lever. I think we have to be very careful about this. If the Iraqis develop the sense that we're prepared for a non-conditions-based withdrawal of substantial numbers of our troops, my view is that it would make them less inclined to compromise and not more. And the reason for that is that if they see us coming out, they're still going to be there. And they are then going to be looking over -- increasingly over the tops of our heads, over the horizon to figure out how they're going to survive and how they're going to get through the coming massive sectarian conflict. So it's -- it's the kind of thing we got to think very carefully about, and I'm extremely cautious in ever putting that out on the table. I find that what I kind of need to do on a day-to-day basis is first try to understand, and that's why I spent some time in my statement on how things got to be the way they are in Iraq. That doesn't mean saying, well, you're an abused child so it's okay to do whatever you want, but it does help to understand why these things are difficult; with that understanding, then figuring out where some pressure works, what kinds of pressure, where encouragement works, where some fresh thinking works. And we employ all of that on a fairly regular basis. And one example of a small success was our encouragement for the Anbar forum that took place just last Thursday that brought federal and provincial leaders together in Anbar. REP. SKELTON: Before I -- the gentleman's time has expired. I thank the gentleman. Before I call Mr. Manzullo, the gentleman from Illinois, let me add a footnote. That we speak about benchmarks, and we've had testimony in the Armed Services Committee that the benchmarks are really commitments made by the Maliki government. Mr. Manzullo. Five minutes. REP. DONALD MANZULLO (R-IL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, media reports refer to U.S. plans to build a military base near the Iran-Iraq border to curtail the flow of weapons into Iraq. Could you please elaborate on these plans? And is Iran the greatest threat to Iraqi security or is al Qaeda the greatest threat? And is the U.S. presence, and thus our massive resources in Iraq, hindering our ability to eradicate al Qaeda worldwide? GEN. PETRAEUS: First of all, Congressman, there is already a base in the area that I think -- I haven't seen that article, but there is a base southeast of Baghdad in Kut, which is where, in fact, the new contribution from the country of Georgia, a brigade, is going to be based. And that is probably what that was referring to. There is an effort to work with the Iraqis to try to interdict the flow, as I mentioned earlier, of these arms, ammunition and other assistance -- lethal assistance coming from Iran that are being funneled to these breakaway rogue militias/special groups associated with the Jaish al-Mahdi, the Sadr militia. You've asked a great question about which is the biggest threat, if you will. We tend to see al Qaeda-Iraq the wolf closest to the sled, because it is the threat that carries out the most horrific attacks in Iraq that cause the very high casualties, that attempt to reignite ethno-sectarian violence, as they did in fact with the February 2006 bombing of the gold dome mosque. And you saw how the security incidents just climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed, and really all the way until just the last several months, before they started to come down. They are still dangerous. They're off-balance. They have lost the initiative in a number of areas. We have taken away sanctuaries in a number of important areas. But they still remain very, very lethal and very dangerous, and they will certainly try to reconstitute. So that is, in a sense, what we see as the immediate and most pressing threat, and we've put great emphasis on that, with our Iraqi counterparts, because they are very much in this. It was the Iraqi army that killed the emir of Mosul, as an example, and has actually had a number of other successes recently against al Qaeda elements. The long-term threat may well be the Iranian-supported militia extremists in Iraq. If these could become a surrogate in the form of a Hezbollah-like element, these are very worrisome. We have learned a great about Iran since we captured the head of the special groups and the deputy commander of Lebanese Hezbollah, Department 2800. They have shared with us. They have explained, as have a number of others that we have captured -- explained the level of assistance, training, equipping, funding and so forth. And we captured documents with them that documented the attacks that they had carried out and clearly were so detailed because they were in fact giving those to prove what they had done to justify the further expenditure of funds from Iran. Prime Minister Maliki, I think, sees that as perhaps THE biggest threat, and a number of the Iraqi leaders, just as we have learned a great deal more in recent months, have also learned a great deal more. And they have been very worried about what they have seen, despite the fact, as was mentioned earlier, that a number of them have quite a long history with Iran, and in some cases many years in exile in Iran. REP. MANZULLO: The last question was, is our presence in Iraq hindering our ability to fight al Qaeda worldwide? GEN. PETRAEUS: Again, I think that's probably a better question for the commander who is charged with the overall counterterrorist effort of the United States, Lieutenant General Stan McChrystal, who spends a great deal of time in Iran, has very sizable assets -- in Iraq -- has very sizable aspects -- assets in Iraq as well. And I think he would be the one who would best be able to answer whether the relative mix against Iraq or Afghanistan or elsewhere, because there are certainly al Qaeda affiliates. And we do track this with him every week. In fact, we get together and discuss not just al Qaeda in Iraq, but al Qaeda in the Levant and in other areas, the Horn of Africa and so forth as well. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman from Illinois. Mr. Taylor, gentleman from Mississippi. REP. GENE TAYLOR (D-MS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General and Mr. Ambassador, for being here. General, we hear a lot of talk about there being a partnership with the Iraqis and building up Iraqi capabilities. When I looked around your headquarters at the Water Palace at Easter, it sure looked like an all-American show to me. In fact, I don't recall the presence of a single Iraqi there. Given the talk of standing them up so that we can create a situation where at some point the Americans can come home, at what point does it become more of a partnership in reality as opposed to a partnership in words? GEN. PETRAEUS: Thanks, Congressman. In fact, right across from our headquarters is the Iraqi ground force headquarters, which is really the equivalent of the Multinational Corps Iraq and which has partnered very closely with Lieutenant General Odierno and his headquarters. We have a substantial number of transition team advisers in that headquarters and, in fact, we have Iraqi liaison in our headquarters as well. Our biggest effort really, certainly from my level, is with the Iraqi joint headquarters, which is in their Ministry of Defense building, which is contiguous, literally, with a door right between the wall, contiguous to the Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq headquarters, General Dubik's headquarters, which is the organization that is charged with supporting the development of the ministry and the joint headquarters. And that is how we work with them. I also provide a substantial number of officers from staff sections in the Multinational Force headquarters, the intelligence operations and others, who are actually partnered with the Iraqis there and also at the Baghdad Operational Command headquarters. REP. TAYLOR: General, in your conversations with the Iraqis, do you ever point at a calendar, whether this year, next year, the following year, the year after that, and say, "We expect you to be an operational force by this date"? What I fail to see, and I'd like you to enlighten me, is a target date. We hear numbers of Iraqis trained; we hear dollars spent on equipment. What I don't hear or see is a target date where you expect them to be able to police their own country and defend their own country. And if I'm missing that, I would certainly like you to point that out. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, in fact, that transition has been going on. And in fact, the dates are usually mutually agreed. There is a joint Multinational Force Iraq/government of Iraq committee that has representation from the different security ministries and in fact determines the dates, for example, for provincial Iraqi control. Even during the surge -- REP. TAYLOR: And those dates are, sir? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, those are always -- they're agreed by province. As an example, a couple of months ago, we did it for Maysan province. The three Iraqi Kurdish provinces were just recently done. Several provinces were done before the surge as well. And Karbala, for example, is coming up right after Ramadan, about a month or so from now. Now, we have dates on a schedule that we work out with this committee, and it lays out the projected time frames for when this process of provincial Iraqi control will go forward, and we have that for each of the different provinces out there. Sometimes the dates have slipped. There's no question about that. In the case of, for example, Diyala province, which experienced real difficulties as Baqubah was on the verge of becoming the new capital of a caliphate of al Qaeda, that slipped. On the other hand, Anbar province, all the sudden, which was not one that we were looking forward to at all, actually now has a date, and I think it's something like January of 2008. So that process has been ongoing. There are numbers of provinces in which there are few if any coalition forces. Several have no coalition forces. Others have a single special forces team or what have you. REP. TAYLOR: General, for the record, could you supply us that timeline by province to this committee? GEN. PETRAEUS: I'd be happy to give you the provincial Iraqi control schedule that we have right now, yes, sir. REP. TAYLOR: Okay, thank you. Thank you again for your service. REP. SKELTON: Let me ask a question. Would that be classified or unclassified? GEN. PETRAEUS: Sir, I think it is classified. Again, whatever it is, we'll get it to you. REP. SKELTON: We would appreciate that. I thank the gentleman from Mississippi. REP. TAYLOR: Thank you again, General Petraeus. GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. The gentleman from American Samoa, Mr. Faleomavaega, please. DEL. ENI FALEOMAVAEGA (D-AS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank both of you gentlemen for your service to our country. I keep hearing that our active duty and Marine forces are overstretched. And I also express the very serious concerns about the capacity of our current (ready ?) Reservists and National Guard organization, and which was confirmed by General Keane, who expressed some real serious concerns about the way we are using our (ready ?) Reservists and National Guardsmen. And gentlemen, with the tremendous strain and shortages in military equipment, preparedness and training of our (ready ?) Reservists and National Guardsmen and women, who are obligated now to serve in Iraq, does our military currently have the capacity to fight two fronts, in Iraq and Afghanistan? And do we have enough added strategic reserves to fight another potential war front like Iran, the Taiwan Straits, or even to have the situation that's now brewing between the Kurds and our ally, Turkey? With the crisis now brewing there in that northern part of the country in Iraq, I wanted to know if we have the capacity -- it seems like we have all the military personnel available to do what everyone wanted to do to perform the military mission. And I'd like to hear your professional judgment on that, General Petraeus. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, thank you. First of all, I very much share the concern over the strain on our military forces, and in particular on our ground forces and other so-called high-demand, low-density assets. As I mentioned, that was one of the factors that informed my recommendations to draw down the five Army brigade combat teams, the Marine expeditionary unit and the two Marine battalions, between now and next summer. I also am on the record as offering the opinion that our ground forces are too small. And I did that before the approval of the expansion of those. And I am gratified to see, frankly, the support that this body has given to the effort to expand our ground forces because of the strain that has put on them and, by the way, of course, on their families. With respect to your question, sir, again, with respect, I'm just not the one to answer that. I am pretty focused on the mission in Iraq and not really equipped to answer whether or not -- what else is out there for other contingencies, although I know in a general sense, obviously, that there is very little else out there. DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Thank you, General. I have the highest respect for our men and women in military uniform. And I could not agree more with my good friend from California when he mentioned statements by General MacArthur about duty, honor and country. And General Petraeus, one of your colleagues, the former chief of staff for the Army, General Eric Shinseki, was vilified and humiliated by civilian authority because he just wanted to offer a professional judgment on the situation there in Iraq. He recommended that we should have at least 250,000 soldiers if we really wanted to do a good job from the very beginning. Now they put him out to dry. General Taguba also was another good soldier vilified and humiliated by civilian authority of what he felt was doing his job and his duty to our country. It's been estimated that because there are 6 million people living in Baghdad that it would require at least 100,000 soldiers to bring security, real security, to the people living in that city. Could I ask for your opinion, General Petraeus, if you think that 160,000 soldiers that you now command is more than sufficient in capacity to do what you need to do right now in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, there's never been a commander in history, I don't think, who would not like to have more forces, more money, more allies and perhaps a variety of other assets. I have what we have in the military, what the military could provide for the surge. Beyond that, we certainly an increasing number of Iraqis, by the way. I might that add that in fact one of Prime Minister Maliki's initiatives has been to expand the number of forces in general and also the manning of each division so that it is at 120 percent of authorized strength so that with their leave policy, which is a must -- and remember, these guys don't ever go home except on leave with their pay. They are in the fight until it is over, and if they don't take their pay home at the end of the four weeks or so or whatever that period is that was worked out for them, they will not get that pay. But I have also again recommended today reductions in our force levels that I believe will be prudent, based on what we have achieved and what I believe we will have achieved together with our Iraqi counterparts. REP./DEL. : Thank you, General. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from American Samoa raises the issue of readiness. We have had in the Armed Services Committee extensive testimony and documentation, particularly in the Readiness Subcommittee under my friend from Texas, Mr. Ortiz, on the strains, particularly on the ground forces of the Army and Marines. And I tell my friend from American Samoa, it's very, very serious. Thank you for raising that issue. Mr. Bartlett. REP. ROSCOE G. BARTLETT (R-MD): Thank you folks very much for your service and your testimony. Remembering all those years I sat in the bottom row and never had a chance to ask my question, I'm going to yield most of my time to the most junior member on our side of the aisle, but first I must ask a very brief question and then make a brief comment. The brief question is, General, in an attempt to discredit your testimony today, The New York Times is quoted as saying that "The Pentagon no longer counts deaths from car bombings." And The Washington Post is reported as saying that we -- that you will only count assassinations if the bullet entered the back of the heard and not the front. Unless you interrupt me to say that I'm wrong, I'm going to assume that both of these allegations are false. GEN. PETRAEUS: They are false, that's correct. REP. BARTLETT: Thank you for confirming my suspicions. GEN. PETRAEUS: We have a formula for ethnosectarian violence. There's a very clear definition about it. It's acts taken by individuals of one ethnic or sectarian grouping against another ethnosectarian grouping in general for an ethnosectarian reason. It is not that complicated, candidly. If al Qaeda bombs a neighborhood that is Shi'a, that is an ethnosectarian incident, and it is adjudged as such. And where this idea of the bullet entering comes into it is not something I'm aware of. REP. BARTLETT: Thank you, sir. I just didn't want those allegations out there without the opportunity to refute them. Mr. Ambassador, on page four of your testimony, you note the tension between deciding whether or not the power ought to be in the center or the periphery. Some see the devolution of power to regions and provinces as being the best insurance against the rise of a future tyrannical figure in Baghdad. Others see Iraq with its complex demographics as in need of a strong authority. I would submit, Mr. Ambassador, this is the essential question, and unless we know which of those roads we ought to be traveling, I think that the probability of success is enormously diminished. If we haven't already, I hope we can decide which of those roads we ought to be traveling on because they are very different processes, sir. Let me yield the balance of my time now, I believe, (to) our most junior member, Mr. Geoff Davis from Kentucky. (Short pause.) (Cross talk off mike.) REP. GEOFF DAVIS (R-KY): With the chairman's indulgence, I'll ask that the time for the power failure not be counted against -- REP. SKELTON: Please proceed. REP. DAVIS: Thank you very much. Yes, it is somewhat ironic with our challenges today that we provide the criticism to our Arabic partners. I find it ironic that the Iraqi national assembly has been more legislatively effective this year than the United States Congress in passing laws, so our criticism should also measure ourselves. First, General Petraeus, I want to commend you on your application of classic counterinsurgency principles, working with the localized social and cultural networks to build from the bottom-up -- or as Speaker Tip O'Neill used to say, all politics is local. I've heard feedback from across the theater from friends of more than 30 years ranging down to young soldiers and their perspectives, and I think the people on both ends of the political spectrum are trying to oversimplify, to define as black-and-white issues that are best measured in shades of gray. You both have inherited a situation in which our instruments of power were initially employed with flawed assumptions and now in which any course of action has potentially significant second-and third- order effects, and there's areas that I would appreciate if you could comment on. First, one closer to home. I have often heard from troops at all levels, ranging from Central Command staff all the way down to platoon members, in Sadr City that the military is at war, but the nation is not. You mentioned the need to fight in cyberspace, and I assume meaning an information campaign explaining both to the world our ideas and also to the people. And I guess the question there would be: What would you tell the American people, not Congress, is the reason that we should support the recommendations of both of you? And then, following on that, given the effects that these decisions will have on the future, do you have some suggestions on key reforms to our national security or interagency process that you'd recommend to better integrate and facilitate our instruments of national power? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first of all, if I could, I do believe that our leaders get it in Iraq more than we ever have before. Part of that is just sheer experience. Just about every battalion or brigade commander, most company commanders have served in Iraq at least one tour before, some more than one. We've made mistakes along the way; we've learned a lot of lessons the hard way. But we've made significant changes in our institutional Army, Marine Corps, in particular, and the other services, in terms of our doctrine, the education of our commissioned, non-commissioned officers, the preparation at the combat training centers, the entire road-to-deployment process. And I think that that has made a change in adopting some of the counterinsurgency practices that we are using. With respect to who is at war and who isn't, I would merely associate myself with the remarks of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Pace, who has said on a number of occasions, I believe, before the House Armed Services Committee among them, that he believes that the military obviously is at war, but that he's not so sure about all of the other agencies. Although I would certainly say that State and AID are very much in the same camp. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. But it's not just the military that's at war. It's their families, General. GEN. PETRAEUS: That is exactly -- REP. SKELTON: And we appreciate their sacrifices. GEN. PETRAEUS: Right. REP. SKELTON: Next on my list I have the gentleman from California, Mr. Royce. REP. EDWARD ROYCE (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, I would just like to ask you your thoughts on al Qaeda in Iraq. You mentioned the reduction of the popular level of support. And I think General Jones's commission bears that out, his finding that that support level in Anbar had decreased dramatically. And it sort of begs the question: Where does al Qaeda in Iraq draw it's support today? And how do those fighters get into the country? And what could we be doing? In theory, what could we be doing? Now, let's say in Saudi Arabia, you have a young man buying a one-way plane ticket into Damascus. It shouldn't be that hard to figure out what might be going on. What could we be doing in these countries, and I ask the ambassador the same question, in order to deter then influx? I'd also like just some stats. I mean, is it 40 percent Saudi, 30 percent North African? If you've taken out 2,500 of their fighters and 100 of their officer corps recently, then clearly focusing on how they get into the country would be a question that I'd be interested in. And lastly when you look at your plan to draw down the force of five brigades here over the ensuing months, and then as you step down to a few brigades left in Iraq for the purpose of overwatch, all of that is based upon how well the Iraqi military performs. The numbers you've given us would indicate now that there soon will be a half-million soldiers or security people in Iraq under the Iraqi military. But what type of progress -- give us your unvarnished opinion of the progress that's being made or not being made by these Iraqi military units, because the success of your plan to reach a position where you draw down to a few brigades left for overwatch is dependent upon their success. Thank you, General. Thank you, Ambassador Crocker. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, by the way, the reduction for -- of support for al Qaeda extends well beyond Anbar as well. It now is manifested, as we mentioned, both in Abu Ghraib, other areas that used to be sanctuaries for Iraq, three important neighborhoods in particular: Amiriyah, Ghazalia and Adhamiya. In each one of those at varying stages, the first two in particular, local individuals have stood up, literally generated local forces that have now been tied into our forces. Prime Minister Maliki has directed his army to work with them and coordinate with them, and the next step would be to work to get them into a legitimate Iraqi security force institution. Al Qaeda continues to get its support from a variety of means. Certainly it gets direction, money and expertise from the outside. It does send in from the outside foreigners to try to help rejuvenate areas. In fact, we killed the three -- we call them the al-Turki brothers. These were individuals who had spent time in Afghanistan in the past, who had come into Iraq. We missed them. They came in again. And that time we were able to -- literally to kill them. And so they were not able to do what they were supposed to do, which was to help in northern Iraq, which was under big pressure. So there is outside support, and there's also this flow of these foreign fighters, a number of whom do end up being suicide bombers. We still estimate that -- and it's very hard to tell, but somewhere -- 80 percent or so of the suicide bombers are from outside Iraq. And that was what we were talking about earlier, the importance of the diplomatic offensive, to work with source countries, to work with the countries through whom these fighters can transit to make it more difficult, as you say. And there's a variety of mechanisms. We believe, for example, that Saudi Arabia has taken steps in fact to make it tougher. The last Saudi foreign fighter we captured had actually had to take a bus to Damascus and then got into the network that eventually brought him into the country. We believe that Saudi Arabia is still probably the largest country in terms of the foreign fighters, although that again may be diminishing somewhat. And there are certainly others that come from North Africa, Jordan, Syria and so forth into Iraq. The Iraqi security forces range in quality from exceptionally good, at the very high end, with the Iraqi counterterrorist force, which is a true special mission unit in its capability, equipment, training, and is probably more active, undoubtedly more active than any other such unit in the region; the Iraqi commando battalion, which is expanding substantially and now has forces positioned outside Baghdad as well; and other elements of the Iraqi special operations force brigade; the national police emergency response unit, also very, very active; and the special tactics unit. It then ranges all the way down through units that are variously good and aggressive, including special units typically in most of the provinces with whom we partner special forces teams, who do an absolutely superb job, and Prime Minister Maliki, in fact, personally has come to place greater importance on those because it was these high-end units and special units that he literally took with him. Actually we moved some of them down by air, others by ground, and then he took a column of about 40 vehicles personally to go to Karbala and to restore peace and stability to that situation after the confrontation between the militia of Sadr and the shrine security guards. But this runs all the way down -- it runs the gamut to -- and I have to be up front and say there are still some units, particularly in the national police, but also a handful in the Iraqi army, that were formed literally out of sectarian militias or were hijacked, in the case of some of the national police units, during the height of the sectarian violence. And those still have issues that have to be addressed. And again, especially in the wake of this militia -- the militia problems, where Sadr's militia is very clearly linked to the assassination of one, and likely two, governors in southern provinces, they have become a huge concern to him and to the government of Iraq. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Hawaii, Mr. Abercrombie. REP. NEIL ABERCROMBIE (D-HI): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, thank you for being here. Aloha to both of you. Mr. Chairman, in the course of the questioning so far, I think I have some answers that I was seeking. I would like to just make two observations based on that and yield what time I have left to Representative Castor as the junior-most member. REP. SKELTON: Certainly. REP. ABERCROMBIE: Very quickly, two points. I'll submit for the record statements from General Petraeus starting in 2004 through General Casey in 2005, General Abizaid in 2006, and looping back to General Petraeus today. Not with the idea of trying to say this is what you said then, this is what you say now. On the contrary. I think that what it shows is is that the general remarks concern from the military point of view is that we were making steady progress but the Iraqis are not ready to take over, and this was true in '04, '05, '06 and '07. Our problem is, is what do we do under those circumstances? The problem is, Mr. Chairman, that four years later, the number of U.S. troops being killed continues to climb, thousands more Iraqis are dead and the cost of the war continues to escalate and the refugees continue to stream out of Iraq. My concern is is that lost in all the statistics is the question of a very simple yet heartbreaking fact: The rate and overall number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq has gone up, not down, from 2006 to 2007. From January to August 2006, 462 U.S. troops; from January to August 2007, 740. The problem, I think, Mr. Chairman, is that we are in a situation in which in effect we are saying is is that there's only one plan for Iraq, militarily speaking -- indefinite occupation by U.S. troops. That's not a comment on the military; it's a comment on the politics, which leaves me, Ambassador, to my second statement, quickly. In your very statement today, events have caught up with your and are riding you. Your statements about oil, your statements about the oil revenues, of central government and the regional government -- today we find out the Hunt Corporation of Texas has signed an oil exploration agreement with Kurdistan. The central government is cut out. At the same time, we read that the Commerce Department is seeking an international legal adviser to draft laws and regulations that will govern Iran's oil -- Iraq's oil and gas sector. We are going to be doing the drafting of the oil protocols. Iraq is not a sovereign country. This adviser that's being sought by the Commerce Department has a contract that'll run through 2008 with an option extension to 2010. We're occupying that country politically and militarily and are going to suffer the results. I will yield the rest of my time to Representative Castor. (Light Applause.) REP. SKELTON: (Sounds gavel.) REP. KATHY CASTOR (D-FL): And I thank my colleague. Thank you, Mr. Abercrombie, and thank you, gentlemen, for your service. Gentlemen, Admiral Michael Mullen, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress last month that unless Iraq has achieved political unity, no amount of troops and no amount of time will make much of a difference. He also warned that the United States risks breaking the Army if the Pentagon decided to maintain its present troop level in Iraq beyond next spring. Add onto that last week's report by a commission of retired senior U.S. military officers, where they said that Iraq's army, despite some progress, will be unable to take over internal security from the U.S. forces in the next 12 to 18 months. The report also said that the 25,000-member Iraqi national police force is dysfunctional and so riddled with sectarianism and corruption that it should be disbanded. And the latest NIE -- the consensus view of all U.S. intelligence agencies said that the modest military gains achieved by the troop surge will mean little or nothing unless there is a fundamental shift in the factors driving Iraqi political and security developments. Gentlemen, while the American people have great confidence in the troops and our brave men and women in uniform, they have totally lost confidence at the top of our national government. There's a complete lack of credibility coming from the White House. The latest -- you know, it first justified the war by claiming that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, none were found. Then the war was about establishing a model democracy in the Arab world, some model. After that, it was necessary to fight on to defeat al Qaeda, which sprouted a local branch in Iraq. The troop surge was supposed to give Iraqi leaders the security and time to bring about national reconciliation, it didn't happen. Now the president's latest spin is a withdrawal could result in another Vietnam. I think the American people want to know, as we're in the fifth year of this war, how much longer, how many billions of dollars more, while we are growing a global strategic risk? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congresswoman, if I could, one reason that I did recommend the reduction of forces is because of the recognition of the strain on our ground forces. Again, that was an important operational -- strategic consideration that did inform the recommendations that I made. I might point out, by the way, that we could have literally run this surge all the way until April. That's the first time that a surge brigade hits 15 months. But because of a variety of considerations and also, frankly, the battlefield geometry of figuring out how to most efficiently and with minimal release in place and so forth get to where we need to be by mid-July, we recommended the reduction of the brigade combat teams in addition to the Marine Expeditionary Unit that will come out later this month without replacement, but that the reduction of the brigade combat teams begin in mid-December. I could -- if I could also point out again that Iraqis are taking over considerable responsibility. The recent celebration of the death of the Seventh Imam, which results in the convergence of about typically approaching a million pilgrims to a(n) important shrine in North-Central Baghdad, the Kadhimiya Shrine, this year was planned and executed by Iraqi forces in a true interagency effort, overseen by the Baghdad Operational Center and its commander, but also involving not just army and police but also emergency services, other transportation assets, medical assets and so forth. Two years ago, there were nearly a thousand pilgrims who were stampeded to death when rumors of enemy action or perhaps actual activities resulted in that particular event. Every other year, there have been dozens of individuals killed by terrorist activities. This year, we are not aware of any deaths due to extremist activity. And the only deaths at all were from accidents, just normal accidents that took place on that day. So again there is progress. There are locations where Iraqis are exclusively maintaining security in their areas. Although you rightly note, and I share it frankly, the frustration particularly during -- what happened during the period of ethnosectarian violence, the sectarian violence of 2006, when some units literally took steps backward, and the effort took steps backward. And that was a tragedy and it is something that we are helping the Iraqis deal with now. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentlelady. To follow through on a thought that the gentlelady raised, your recommendations for cutting back the numbers, General, do they go below the number of troops that we had prior to the so-called surge? GEN. PETRAEUS: They do not right now, Mr. Chairman, and that is something that we are working on, and let me explain why that is. There have been other forces that have come into Iraq for a variety of other tasks. One is connected with an improvised explosive device effort. Others provide additional intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets. These are assets that we would have wanted regardless of whether we were surging or not. And then the largest is probably the additional military police for the growing detainee population, so that we do not run a catch- and-release program and just turn around and have a revolving door where we're taking in terrorists and then letting them back into society without having gone through a rehabilitation or pledge process. Which, by the way, we are now doing and is one thing that I mentioned that I thanked the Congress for the resources for. Because this is a very, very important effort, that we not just have the clock run out on these individuals, and the they go back to their neighborhoods and resume what they were doing before, but that they have gone through some process that prepares them to re-enter society. And by the way, we have about 800 juveniles as well and we recently created a school that will help them as well. And then we have a pledge-and-guarantor process that tries to tie tribes and sheikhs and other civic leaders into this, so that there is a sense of responsibility at the local level for individuals who have been returned who are their family or tribal members. REP. SKELTON: The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Payne. REP. DONALD PAYNE (D-NJ): Thank you very much. And let me thank both of you for this very important report. I simply have a couple of quick questions. I wonder, General Petraeus, if the support of the tribal leaders against al Qaeda -- is that irreversible, or is it that that may change possibly in the future? The second thing that does disturbance me about the GAO report and the vast difference in the calculation of the sectarian violence. And I just wonder -- I know you answered a question by one of my colleagues that The Times was just wrong, but is there any way that reconciling can be, since the two of you seem to be so far apart on that? And further, I just wonder why it has taken the Iraqi army so long to try to become proficient? Now I understand the war with Iraq and Iran -- they say that a(n) estimated million Iranians were killed. Now was it -- I know we were assisting Iraq. Was it our military's superiority or our weaponry that was sort of the dark force that made the appearance of Iraqi competence? Because it seems to be confusing that after year after year after year, the police -- they'd say that the entire police department in one area needs to be reconstructed, but that's the national police, not the local police. The soldiers have performed poorly. And so what -- why is there such a disconnect between their Iraq-Iran conflict and the fact that they can't seem to put a sustainable offensive together to weed out Qaeda and these bandits that have come in, who were not there, of course, before we went in. Therefore, I guess Iraq is worse off than it was before al Qaeda came in. So I just get confused at -- why is it taking so long? Do they -- have they just gone on strike or let somebody else do the fighting because it's easier to let someone else do it and keep your powder dry and your head down? And you know, what's missing in this picture? GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, Congressman. Sir, the -- first of all, on the tribal leaders, they want to be part of the new Iraq. The Sunni Arabs in Anbar province, as an example, went through various stages of post-liberation, feeling disrespected, unemployed, disgusted and even boycotting the elections and then realizing that they had made a huge mistake and were left out, in many respects, of the new Iraq. A number of them were resistance fighters during that time, as they like to use the term, and tacitly or actively supported al Qaeda, until they came to really come to grips with the Taliban-like ideology of al Qaeda. The ambassador talked about some of the practices that al Qaeda inflicted on the people. And they recognized the indiscriminate violence that was a part of what al Qaeda was doing, and they said, "No more." And then they realized that, okay, we're not going to run Iraq again, but it wouldn't be a bad thing if the Euphrates River Valley were a decent place in which we could live, work, and raise a family. And that seems to be their objective, in addition to certainly having their place at the table in Baghdad and getting their share of the resources. And although there is not a revenue-sharing law agreed, interestingly, there is revenue sharing; oil revenue sharing is taking place. And the ambassador mentioned now they've even learned the term "supplemental," because Anbar province got a supplemental for its provincial budget. With respect to the GAO report, their data cutoff, the answer is the data cutoff. At the very least, their data cutoff was five weeks ago and in some cases, I think -- we might check this, but in some cases I think it was nine weeks ago. But at the very least, these last five weeks, as we showed you on the slides, have actually been very significant. Remembering that we launched the surge of offensives in mid-June, it took a couple weeks to start seeing the results, and that's why I mentioned that eight of the last 12 weeks, in fact, the level of security incidents has come down. And that's -- we don't -- I don't know how far you have to go back to see that kind of trend; it is certainly a couple of years. And as I mentioned, the level of attacks, sort of a sub-set of incidents, is actually the lowest -- lowest last week that it's been since April. With respect to the Iraqi army that defeated Iran, or held their own against Iran, there are some remnants of that army still around, and there actually are some very highly professional Iraqi army and air force and naval officers who have been taken from the old army, the old air force, and so forth. But that's 15 years ago, and during that time, of course, they were defeated by the United States and coalition forces in Desert Storm, suffered years of sanctions, of course, then were disestablished and, of course, literally had to start from the bottom. In fact, there was no ministry of defense, literally. No building, in fact, when I took over as the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq commander in the summer of 2004. It was being rebuilt, but it was not even reoccupied for a number of months later. There were no battalions at that -- or maybe one battalion operational, despite heroic efforts by Major Paul Eaton, whose effort had been largely inadequately resourced up to that time as well. This has been building, you know, the world's largest aircraft while in flight and while being shot at. And it takes us a year just to reconstitute a brigade that has actually already been in the fight, keep some 40 (percent) to 50 percent of its members. But just to get it ready to go back, the road to deployment is we want to get at least to a year and, ideally, more. And they are starting, as I said, very much from scratch and just don't have a sufficient number of commissioned and noncommissioned officers who are out there from that old army, again, given the number of years. And even just since the army was disestablished in the summer of 2003, that in itself is a number of years, and these individuals are not necessarily fighting fit, shall we say, if they have been on the sidelines for most of the time since then. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. We will take a five-minute break and return, call upon Mr. McKeon and Mr. Chabot. (Raps gavel.) (Recess.) REP. SKELTON: We will come to order. We were told previously that the witnesses had a hard stop at 6:30. I have just spoken with General Petraeus and I hope that the ambassador will agree with his decision to extend the time for an additional 20 minutes -- wherever the ambassador is. (Pause.) Will somebody find the ambassador, please? Mr. McKeon will be next. (Pause.) Mr. McKeon and Mr. Chabot, in that order. Now the gentleman from California, Mr. McKeon. REP. HOWARD P. "BUCK" MCKEON (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, I'd like to join with my colleagues in thanking you for your exemplary service. At the outset, I'd like to associate myself with the remarks of Mr. Hunter and Ms. Ros-Lehtinen in their opening comments. Specifically, I've been deeply saddened by the attacks that have been made on General Petraeus for the last week or two -- citing what he was going to say, and how he was going to say it, and what his recommendations were going to be. I have here General Petraeus' statement that he gave us after the meeting started. If I might quote, "Although I have briefed my assessment and recommendations to my chain of command, I wrote this testimony myself. It has not been cleared by, or shared with anyone in the Pentagon, the White House, or Congress." It just, I think, indicates how some would like to politicize this war on terror and our war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I'm sorry that you've become a target for things. I read in a report that you have a 63 percent rating with the American people, and I guess this is an attempt to tear you down to our level. And I'm sure that will not work. Anybody that's had a chance to see you here today will know of your integrity and your devotion to duty, and that you're giving us your best assessment of the situation. General, I've heard the comment that the Army is broken. You talked about how the enlistment is going among the troops. Would you care to talk a little bit about the Army, and is it broken? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, sir, the part of the Army that I can talk about knowledgably at this point is, of course, that which is in Iraq. And that is an Army that has sacrificed great deal, and whose family members have sacrificed a great deal. A number of those great soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen -- and so in addition to our soldiers, certainly, are on a second or perhaps third tour -- some of them shorter tours and are on even more over time. We have asked an enormous amount of these individuals and, candidly, what impresses me so enormously in return is that they do continue to raise their right hand and to serve additional tours, to volunteer for additional tours in uniform. That is not just because of the tax-free bonuses, I can assure you. There's no compensation that can make up for some of the sacrifices that some of our soldiers and their families have endured. On July 4th, in fact, we had a large reenlistment ceremony -- 588 members of different services raised their right hand, and it was a pretty inspiring sight. As I mentioned, it far exceeded the goals for the units that are under the Multi-National core, Iraq already with several weeks to go. And as you know when reenlistment times often the last few weeks of the fiscal year are a pretty frantic affair as soldiers have sorted out all the options and then finally make their choice. Our soldiers are not starry-eyed idealists. In fact, at this point, I prefer not to be a pessimist or an optimist, but to be a realist. And I think a lot of our soldiers are that way. Morale is solid. But candidly morale is an individual thing, so is the view on what's going on in Iraq sometimes. You know, there's 165,000 different American views of Iraq right now and a lot of it depends on where you are and how things are going where you are. And the perspective of someone again in Anbar province where there has been success that we did not expect or someone who's in one of the very tough ethno-sectarian fault line areas -- say, in West Rasheed of Baghdad or East Rasheed -- has a very different perspective. 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. But with all of that -- with the heat, with this really challenging, barbaric, difficult enemy who is allusive and hard to find and employs sniper tactics, improvised explosive devices, suicide bombs against us, our Iraqi colleagues and innocent civilians -- against all of that, our soldiers continue to ruck up and go out each day from their patrol basis, combat outpost, joint security stations and they do it ready for a hand grenade or a handshake. And if they get the handshake, they'll take it. If they get the hand grenade, they know what to do in that case as well. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank you very much. The gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Chabot. REP. STEVE CHABOT (R-OH): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, first of all, thank you very much for your service to our country. We first met in Iraq a few years back. One of the more memorable incidents for me was when we were in a Blackhawk over Mosul and you pointed out the house where Saddam's murderous sons had met their end, Uday and Qusay. And Qusay, let's not forget was directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of Shi'a, and hundreds of them at this own hand. And Uday's -- one of his favorite pastimes was abducting young women off the streets of Baghdad, many of whom were never seen alive again. And these were to be Iraq's future leaders. They learned well from their father. General, my question is this -- in July of 2007, you told the New York Post that troop morale had remained high because soldiers understood they're, quote, "engaged in a critical endeavor," unquote. Many of those supporting a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq have regarded low troop morale as a reason for leaving. Could you comment on the current morale of our troops in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, again, as I mentioned, Congressman, I believe that morale is solid. But it is an individual thing and it depends on the kind of day that that individual has had. Our soldiers are determined. They know how important this task is, and that is a crucial factor in what they're doing. When they raise their right hand again, as so many have, they do it knowing that they may be called upon to serve again in Iraq or Afghanistan, for them and their family to make further sacrifices in addition to those that they have already made. I'm going to be up front. You know, none of us want to stay in Iraq forever. We all want to come home. We all have days of frustration and all the rest of that. But what we want to do is come home the right way, having added, I guess, to the heritage of our services, accomplished the mission that our country has laid out for us. And again, I think that that's a very important factor in what our soldiers are doing, in addition to the fact that, frankly, they also just respect the individuals with whom they are carrying out this important mission, the men and women on their right and left who share very important values, among them selfless service and devotion to duty. And that, indeed, is a huge factor in why many of us continue to serve and to stay in uniform, because the privilege of serving with such individuals is truly enormous. MR. CHABOT: Thank you, General. And finally, could you comment on the significance of Shi'ite militia leader Maqtada al-Sadr's decision from his hideaway in Iran to suspend the operations of the Mahdi Army for six months? Does this indicate that he clearly feels threatened, is on the run? And what should U.S.-Iraqi military and political response be? And given its involvement in brutal crimes against civilians and its pronounced support for violence against the U.S., should the Mahdi Army be declared a foreign terrorist organization? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, first of all, we think that the action by Maqtada al-Sadr, his declaration from Iran, is because of a sense of embarrassment over what happened in the Shi'a holy city of Karballa, where in the -- one of the most holy celebrations of the year, individuals associated with his militia confronted shrine guards and the result was a shootout and, eventually, loss of life. That, again, was an enormous embarrassment for all of Iraq, but in particular for his militia and for the Shi'a Arabs in Iraq. And it was one reason that Prime Minister Maliki personally went to Karballa the next morning, after having deployed Iraqi special operations forces in the middle of the night by helicopter and others by ground. In response to that, frankly, we have applauded that. Again, we are not going to kill our way out of all these problems in Iraq. You're not going to kill or capture all of the Sadr militia anymore than we are going to kill or capture all the insurgents in Iraq. And in fact, what we have tried very hard to do is to identify who the irreconcilables are, if you will, on either end of the spectrum, Sunni and Shi'a, and then to figure out where do the reconcilables begin and try to reach out to the reconcilables. Some of this is a little bit distasteful. It's not easy sitting across the table, let's say, or drinking tea with someone whose tribal members may have shot at our forces or in fact drawn the blood -- killed our forces. We learned a bit, in fact, about this from my former deputy commander, Lieutenant General Graham Lamb (sp), former head of 22 SAS and the director of Special Forces in the United Kingdom, and he reminded us that you reconcile with your enemies, not with your friends. That's why it's called reconciliation. And he talked about how he sat across the table from individuals who were former IRA members who had been swinging pipes at his lads, as he put it, just a few years earlier. That was quite instructive for us. He in fact headed some of the early efforts that we had in the early part of this year and into the spring, and then it was one of -- part of his initiative that the ambassador and I established this engagement -- strategic engagement cell of a senior diplomat -- senior United Kingdom two-star again and others supporting them who have reached out to individuals that could be reconciled and then helped connect them with the Iraqi government. Some of that will have to be done with members of the Jaish al-Mahdi, with the -- Sadr's militia. The question is: Who are the irreconcilables? And so on the one hand, we have applauded; we have said we look forward to the opportunity to confirm the excellence of your militia in observing your pledge of honor, and that has enormous meaning in the Iraqi culture. And indeed a number of them have in fact obeyed what he said. However, there are a number of others who have not, and those are now regarded as criminal. We're not taking on Jaish al- Mahdi; we are with the Iraqi counterparts going after criminals who have violated Sadr's order and have carried out attacks on our forces, innocent civilians or Iraqi forces. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. We are trying to get as many members as possible under the five- minute rule. The ambassador and the general have agreed for additional 20 minutes. I might point out that I'm told there will be a vote called shortly after 6:30. I have also requested the -- will be held open a few moments longer for us, and also remind the members of the two committees that there is a ceremony that's supposed to begin at 7:00. Mr. Reyes? REP. SILVESTRE REYES (D-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and General and Ambassador, thank you both for your service to our country. I was curious in your statement, General Petraeus, you made mention that the Iraqis have taken the lead in many areas, that many operate with minimal coalition support, so -- which is contrary to what General Jones' observations were last week, when he said that they're probably 12 to 18 months away from being able to operate independently. Can you give us your opinion or your assessment of that -- GEN. PETRAEUS: I can indeed. REP. REYES: -- particularly in relation to General Jones' statement? GEN. PETRAEUS: I sure can. And in fact, he and I had a lot of conversations during his time in Iraq, and he, by the way, did a superb assessment and spent the time in Iraq, I might add, that is needed to do that type of assessment with his commissioners. What he is talking about is something different from what I was talking about in the statement. What he's talking about is the institutions of the Iraqi security forces being able to truly support their forces throughout the country -- REP. REYES: So it's to be able to spend alone on their own? GEN. PETRAEUS: But we're talking about the institutions doing that as opposed to what I was talking about, is the fact that there are many Iraqi force units who are operating on their own. In Samawa, for example, in Muthanna province in the south, there are no coalition forces whatsoever. They're on their own. Now, occasionally they will call our Special Forces team that is actually in an adjacent province and ask for some assistance. The same is largely true in Nasiriyah. There's a superb Australian unit there, largely focused on civil military operations. And again, when the Iraqi units in that area have been challenged with something they couldn't handle, they just call our Special Forces team, and we bring some enablers to bear, if you will -- close air support, attack helicopters or what have you. The same is true in Najaf. There's only a single U.S. Special Forces team in Najaf. Karbala has no forces. A very small contingent -- and so forth -- REP. REYES: So -- because -- GEN. PETRAEUS: So there are a number of places where Iraqi forces are operating on their own -- and by the way, they may not -- those battalions in those areas may not be operational readiness assessment number one. In other words, they may not be rated as meeting the readiness requirements for operating on their own, but de facto -- the fact is they are operating on their own, but they might be short equipment, leaders, maintenance standards or what have you. REP. REYES: So just the -- of the total force -- GEN. PETRAEUS: What General Jones was getting at was the institutional support. What he's talking about is the ability to support these forces with a logistical system, with depots, with maintenance, with administrative and all the rest of that. That is the challenge. Again, we have found that it's challenging to build battalions, but it's really hard to rebuild an entire army and all of its institutions that go into supporting that battalion or -- you know, way over a hundred battalions, the brigades, the divisions and all the rest of that with command and control communications, intelligence systems, combat enablers, medevac and all the rest of that makes up a force as we know it, as opposed to forces that are unable to do that. REP. REYES: Well, thank you, General. Ambassador, you made mention about the Provincial Reconstruction Teams and the fact that we went from 10 to 25. As I think all of us know, we're having a very tough time recruiting people from the different agencies that make up these teams. Can you briefly tell us -- going from 10 to 25 in a country the size of California, that's not as good news as it seems, is it? AMB. CROCKER: Well, it is a very substantial increase, and a lot of that has been in the areas of greatest population and greatest challenges, like Baghdad itself. So the surge of Provincial Reconstruction Teams into the Baghdad area -- and incidentally, all of those teams are embedded with brigade combat teams and -- REP. REYES: It's because of the security situation. AMB. CROCKER: Exactly -- although what we've discovered is that it makes for a tremendous unity of effort, and it's actually a force multiplier to have them together, so we're taking a look at the rest of the landscape and basically seeking to replicate kind of the embedded concepts for almost all of the PRTs, because that fusion really works. And it helps to coordinate objectives so that we don't have a military unit kind of working in the same area as a PRT without the kind of coordination you need. So that's been tremendously effective. Now, in terms of staffing these up, that's something I've given my particular personal focus to. The surge in PRT personnel that this operation is requiring is to be an additional 283 people in place by the end of the year. And to the annoyance of my staff, I check this three times a week, and also back with Washington, and I am firmly assured that we are on track to meet that requirement by December 31st. Now this includes a lot of military personnel, which will then be backfilled as we move into 2008. But as a report delivered by the special inspector general for Iraq just last week indicated, the PRT program is one of the most valuable programs the U.S. runs in Iraq. Now, that was the special inspector general's comment, so we're clearly on to a good thing here, and we will continue to expand the limits of this endeavor to deliver the most effective response we can to capacity-building needs, particularly on budget execution. I'd make one final comment because I do think that it's important: that as drawdowns and redeployments take place, a challenge we both have is being sure that PRTs continue to be able to do their mission where required, even as the military footprint changes. So we don't have all the answers to that. It's a work in progress, but something we're very much focused on. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Sherman. REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D-CA): Thank you. Mr. Chairman, the ultimate question for our country is how much of the resources available to fight the global war on terror should be deployed in Iraq. That decision cannot be made in Baghdad, because our fine gentlemen from Baghdad don't receive reports on what's going on in Afghanistan, Somalia, the Tri-Borders area of Paraguay, or Sudan. It's a shame that those with global perspectives, the leaders here in Washington, so lack credibility that they're unwilling to really step forward in front of the cameras and say that Iraq is the central front in the war on the terror. So instead they imply that Iraq is the central front by telling us that the decision of how much of our resources to put into Iraq should be dependent upon a report drafted in Baghdad. In effect, we've substituted global perspective for battlefield valor. Now, General Petraeus, when I -- as a general, you're always planning for possible contingencies. The counterinsurgency manual is filled with hypothetical situations and possible responses. And General, you're sworn to defend our Constitution, and you've carried out that oath with honor. Your duty to defend the Constitution would become more complex if we had a constitutional crisis here in Washington. Assume that Congress passes a law stating that no government funds should be used after March of next year, except for certain limited purposes, such as force protection, or for training. The president of the United States instead orders you to conduct U.S.- led offensive military operations, a purpose for which Congress has said we have appropriated no funds. Under those circumstances, what do you do? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, and not trying to be flip, what I would do is consult my lawyer. And again, I'm not trying to make light of this at all, but I would literally have to talk to my lawyer, and obviously talk to my chain of command and get some advice and counsel on what in fact to do. And if I could mention, perhaps, Congressman, on -- REP. SHERMAN: So General, you're saying you might very well disobey an order from the president of the United States on the advice of your legal counsel? GEN. PETRAEUS: I did not say that, Congressman. What I said is I'd have to figure out what I was going to do. If I could just follow up on one item you did say, Congressman -- REP. SHERMAN: General, I did have one -- GEN. PETRAEUS: For what it's worth, al Qaeda believes that Iraq is the central front in the global war on terrorism. REP. SHERMAN: Well, al Qaeda is telling us that they think it's the central front. They might be lying. GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, and also -- REP. SHERMAN: They've been known to do so, General. And if we allow Ahmadinejad and bin Laden to tell us where to fight them, they may not give us their best advice. But I do have one more question and very limited time. GEN. PETRAEUS: Yes, sir. REP. SHERMAN: On about September 15th, this nation's going to get a long, detailed report, well over 100 pages, I would guess. And the press is going to call it the Petraeus report. Now you know and I know that the White House has exercised editorial control over the report that will be released later this week. The country wants the Petraeus report. They want a long, detailed report, written in Baghdad, without edits from the Pentagon or the White House. Are you willing to give to these committees your detailed report, the documents you gave to the White House for them to create the report that they plan to release later this week? And -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Can I answer that so I can -- First of all, on the benchmarks report, my understanding is that the law states that that report is submitted by the president with the input from the ambassador and myself. So at least it is the Petraeus- Crocker report. REP. SHERMAN: General, if you -- my question was carefully couched. I realize months ago, Congress may have asked for a report from the White House, and we'll be happy to get it and read it. But what I said was what the country really wants right now, not months ago but right now -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Right. REP. SHERMAN: -- is the Petraeus report. We want hundreds of pages written in Baghdad, edited by you, without edits from the Pentagon and the White House. Can you get it to us? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, first of all, what I've tried to do today, Congressman, with respect, is to give the Petraeus report. And then I would add to that that Ambassador Crocker and I did submit extensive input for the benchmarks report. The draft that I saw most recently -- because like any of these reports, it does go up and it is then provided back to us for comment, is that it is essentially unchanged. REP. SHERMAN: But in any case, you are warning us that if 100 pages or so is released by the White House later this week, they've done the final edit, and it may or may not be your report as written. GEN. PETRAEUS: I don't think that there is any substantive change in that report, according to the draft that I saw the other day. My guys had a copy, checked it against what we submitted, that the ambassador and I collaborated on. And there was nothing substantive whatsoever that was different in that report. You may want to mention, Ambassador. AMB. CROCKER: No, that's -- that is my understanding of it as well. The September 15th benchmark report will be an update of the July report. And the procedure for drafting it is exactly the same as it was in July. We provide input, but it is a White House report. So it is going to be again procedurally exactly the same as the July report. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Thornberry, please. REP. MAC THORNBERRY (R-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I appreciate both of your service and your professionalism, especially in the light of personal attacks against you. Ambassador Crocker, how do you make elected representatives of the people to compromise with each other and reach agreement? We seem to have some difficulty with that. How do you make that happen in Baghdad? AMB. CROCKER: I will very carefully restrict myself to commenting about the situation in Baghdad, because it is a serious issue. It is at the core ultimately of what kind of future Iraq is going to have, whether its representatives, elected and otherwise, are able to come together and reconcile. Process in this is as important, in some ways, as actual results. And the -- one of the elements out of this summer's activity that does give me some cautious encouragement is that representatives, mainly from the parliament, from the Council of Representatives, of the five major political blocs showed an ability to come together and night after night and work their way through a lot of the major issues. The issues they were able to get close to agreement on, they teed up to their leaders, and that's what was embodied in that August 26th declaration that, in addition to the points I've already mentioned, also included commitments on reforms regarding detainees, how they're held, what the conditions are, when they see a judge, when they're released, as well as how to deal with armed groups. The five got agreement on those points as well. But it's the way they did it. Each evening for weeks, representatives -- Sunni, Shi'a and Kurds -- came together and showed an ability to work quite productively together. And that is what I am hoping is going to carry forward in the months ahead as they deal with other issues. The real answer, of course, is, you can't compel it. People have to see their interests served by a process of accommodation. And that's what we're seeing, I think, at least the hopeful beginnings of. REP. THORNBERRY: Thank you. General Petraeus, what do we do about Iran? You -- in answer to previous questions, you said the last time Ambassador Crocker went and talked to them, then the flow of arms accelerated. So some people suggest we need to have a diplomatic surge and go talk to them intensely. I'm a little skeptical that that's going to make a difference. What do we do about the arms, the training, the money that comes from Iran and undermines our efforts? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, inside Iraq, which is where my responsibility lies, we obviously are trying to interdict the flow of the arms, the training network, the money and so forth, and also to disrupt the networks that carry that out. It was very substantial, for example, to capture the head of the special groups in all of Iraq and that deputy commander of the Lebanese Hezbollah department that I talked about earlier that exists to support the Qods Force effort in supporting these special groups inside Iraq that are offshoots of the Sadr militia. Beyond that, it does obviously become a regional problem. It is something that I have discussed extensively with Admiral Fallon and with others in the chain of command. And there certainly is examination of various contingencies, depending on what does happen in terms of Iranian activity in Iraq. But our focus is on interdicting the flow and on disrupting, killing or capturing those individuals who are engaged in it. We also in fact killed the head of the network that carried out the attacks on our soldiers in Karbala, where five of our soldiers were killed back in January. That was yet another effort in that overall offensive against those individuals. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Pence from Indiana. REP. MIKE PENCE (R-IN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to thank General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker for your service to the nation. The old book tells us if you owe debts, pay debts; if honor, than honor; if respect, then respect. And having met with both of you on several occasions downrange in different assignments, I know this nation owes you a debt of honor and a debt of respect. And I want to appreciate the way my colleagues have addressed this hearing today. General Petraeus, just for clarification sake, it seems to me you opened your testimony today with a very emphatic declarative. I think your words were, "This is my testimony." I think you added that it had not been cleared by the White House or the Department of Defense. And I just -- again, we're getting the Petraeus report. GEN. PETRAEUS: That is correct. As I stated, I obviously have given recommendations, and I gave an assessment of the situation as part of those recommendations during a week of video teleconferences, consultations with Admiral Fallon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the secretary of Defense and then ultimately the president. But the testimony that I provided today, this statement, is one that I eventually took control of the electrons about two weeks ago and, as I mentioned, has not been shared with anybody outside of my inner circle. REP. PENCE: Well, thank you. Thanks for clarifying that. I think it's important. Two quick points. First on the subject of joint security stations. When I was there in April in Baghdad with you, General Petraeus, we visited a joint security station downtown. I think your testimony today suggests that now the joint security stations are, to use your phrase, are across Iraq. I wondered if you might comment for these committees about the extent to which embedding, if you will, American and Iraqi forces together -- living together, deploying together -- in neighborhood areas has expanded beyond the scope of Baghdad the impact that it's having. And for Ambassador Crocker, just for the sake of efficiency, when I was in Ramadi in that same trick, we met with Sheikh Sattar, some of the leaders of the Iraqi Awakening Movement. It was at that time, I think, 20 of the 22 sheikhs in Al Anbar province had organized that effort. The transformation of Al Anbar has been extraordinary. You made a provocative comment today, saying that that movement is, quote, "unfolding" in other parts of Iraq, and I think you mentioned Diyala and Nineveh provinces. I wonder if you might -- each of you severally -- touch on that. I saw those things in their nascent form this spring, and it seems like both of them have expanded well beyond expectations, to the good of U.S. interests and stability in Iraq. General? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, the concept, again, is that if you're going to secure the population, you have to live with the population. You can't commute to this fight. And the idea is that, wherever possible, to do it together with our Iraqi counterparts, in some cases police, some cases army, sometimes all of the above. The idea of the joint security stations is to be really command and control hubs typically for areas in which there are coalition forces, Iraqi army and Iraqi police, and sometimes now even these local volunteers, who -- again, by directive of Prime Minister Maliki -- are individuals with whom the Iraqi army is supposed to deal as well. There are a number of other outposts, patrol bases and other small bits of infrastructure, if you will, that have also been established to apply this idea that is so central to counterinsurgency operations of again positioning in and among the population. And you see it in Ramadi. For example, in Ramadi there are a couple of dozen, I think, is the last count of police stations, patrol bases, combat outposts, you name it, many of which have both coalition, either U.S. Army or U.S. Marines together, with Iraqi police or Iraqi soldiers, or in some cases still local volunteers who are in the process of being transitioned into one of the security ministries. We see the same in Fallujah. In Fallujah, though it is police stations and there are 10 precincts now established in Fallujah -- the last one was just completed -- in each of those there's typically a Marine squad or a force of about that size, and over time we've been able to move -- (Chairman Skelton sounds gavel) -- our main force elements out of Fallujah and also now to move two of the three battalions in the Iraqi army that were in that area, which frees them up to actually go up and replace the Marine Expeditionary Unit that's coming out and continue the pressure on al Qaeda-Iraq up in the Lake Tharthar area. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. Try and move along -- next, we have Dr. Snyder, Mr. Wexler, Mr. Jones, Mr. Flake -- REP. PENCE: Mr. Chairman? With your indulgence, I had posed a question to Ambassador Crocker. I don't think he had a chance to respond. REP. SKELTON: I'm sorry. I didn't catch that. Ambassador, please answer as quickly as possible. AMB. CROCKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We're seeing the phenomenon of Anbar repeated elsewhere of Iraqis deciding they've had enough of terrorists. Anbar itself, the whole way it unfolded there is unique to Anbar, and we've got to have the, again, the area smarts and the tactical flexibility to perceive what opportunities are with their regional differences. So Diyala, for example, is much more complicated than Anbar because instead of being just Sunni, that Sunni, Shi'a, Kurd intermixed and has required much more careful handling which, I must say, the military has done an absolutely brilliant job of in an incredibly complex political- military context. But you know, again, in Anbar and Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, in Baghdad, the three neighborhoods that General Petraeus mentioned in Diyala, which is a little bit to the northeast and also in Nineveh to the north and in Salahuddin, a process under way that is conceptually similar to what happened in Anbar but has in each case its particular differences that have to be taken into account by us and by the Iraqis. REP. SKELTON: Thank you very much. Dr. Snyder. REP. VIC SNYDER (D-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, I have a question for each of you if you will each answer briefly. I then want to brag on you. So if you -- the quicker you all answer my questions, the quicker I can get to bragging on the two of you. First, General Petraeus, on the chart that you passed out here earlier, the one that talks about the recommended force reduction mission shift, does it go out the timeline here at the end, General Petraeus? We have a straight line at the end. How far out does that line go? The specific question is: How many years do you anticipate U.S. troops will be in Iraq if you had Ambassador Crocker's crystal ball? GEN. PETRAEUS: And I'm afraid that I do not. In fact, that is an illustrative document with respect to both the mission mix and the stair step there. As I mentioned, there is every intention and recognition that forces will continue to be reduced after the mid-July time frame when we have reached the 15 Army Brigade Combat Team level and Marine RCT level. What we need to do is get a bit closer to that time to where, with some degree of confidence, we can make an assessment and make recommendations on that. REP. SNYDER: Thank you. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned the Provincial Reconstruction Teams, and I appreciate you bringing them up. I had a different recollection, though, of the testimony last week of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. One of the staff people was Ginger Cruze. When she testified, she actually testified that by the end of this year, State Department will have identified 68 percent of the State Department personnel to be on board. So they will not necessarily be on board; they will have just identified two-thirds of their staff requirements. So while I appreciate your attentiveness to this, I think we still -- I think the State Department is letting you down, and that somehow we've got to grapple with this issue of how to get the other agencies to step forward and assist the work that General Petraeus and his people are doing, the work that you want to do. So you may need to have another meeting with them and talk about now what exactly are we going to be having at the end of December, because they said that there was only identified two-thirds of them by the end of this year. The reason I want to brag on the two of you, I think you-all have done a good job here today and have done a great job throughout your careers. I don't know if the two of you are going to be able to solve these problems, the challenges you have before you, but you are the all-star team. And if anybody can do it, you can do it. I think that's why some of us find some of the stuff that's been said the last week or so pretty offensive. But we talk about reconciliation. You know, both in the Congress and in the country, we've been going through kind of a soft partition into D's and R's, the soft partition, the red state and the blue state. I think you-all can be part of this reconciliation because our country will do better in foreign policy if we're more united. I put Secretary Gates in that category, too. And what I like about Secretary Gates is, reports that I get back from the Pentagon is that more junior generals actually feel like they can tell him when they think he's wrong or when they have other ideas. And I don't want you to respond to this, but I know that has not been the case for the first -- for the last six years. And so I think there is some process stuff going on that may help get some of this reconciliation. An example of this has been this report that General Jones' group put out last week, that's been referred to several times. Now, it's like everything else in life, we pick and choose. And several people that are critical of what's going on have brought out some of the criticisms of the police and the Iraqi army. But the very -- the last paragraphs, the concluding thoughts -- and I'm going to quote from the report -- quote: "While much remains to be done before success can be confidently declared, the strategic consequences of failure or even perceived failure for the United States and the coalition are enormous. We approach a truly strategic moment in this still-young century. Iraq's regional geostrategic position, the balance of power in the Middle East, the economic stability made possible by a flow of energy in many parts of the world, and the ability to defeat and contain terrorism where it is most manifest are issues that do not lend themselves to easy or quick solution. How we respond to them, however, could well define our nation in the eyes of the world for years to come." And that's the end of the quote. And so those of us who, on whatever side we come down to now or in the last several years on what you-all are about, we've got to start looking at this, I think, this bigger picture. And I would -- my one question for you, Ambassador Crocker. There's a lot of criticism that we do not have the right strategic diplomatic picture that helps you do the work that you're doing. In fact, maybe I won't even put that as a question but just leave that as a comment. I think we've got a lot of work to do in the Congress and the administration to give you that kind of strategic diplomacy for that whole region. Thank you for your service. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. Mr. Wexler. REP. ROBERT WEXLER (D-FL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker, I vehemently opposed the surge when the president announced it last winter, and instead I called for our troops to be withdrawn. In your testimony today, you claim that the surge is working and that you need more time. With all due respect, General, among unbiased, nonpartisan experts, the consensus is stark; the surge has failed based on most parameters. In truth, war-related deaths have doubled in Iraq in 2007 compared to last year. Tragically, it is my understanding that seven more American troops have died while we've been talking today. Cherry- picking statistics or selectively massaging information will not change the basic truth. Please understand, General Petraeus, I do not question your credibility. You are a true patriot. I admire your service to our nation. But I do question your facts. And it is my patriotic duty to represent my constituents and ask you, question you about your argument that the surge in troops be extended until next year, next summer, especially when your testimony stating that the dramatic reduction in sectarian deaths is opposite from the National Intelligence Estimate, the Government Accounting Office and several other non-biased, nonpartisan reports. I am skeptical, General. More importantly, the American people are skeptical because four years ago very credible people both in uniform and not in uniform came before this Congress and sold us a bill of goods that turned out to be false. And that's why we went to war based on false pretense to begin with. This testimony today is eerily similar to the testimony the American people heard on April 28th, 1967, from General William Westmoreland, when he told the American people America was making progress in Vietnam. General, you say we're making progress in Iraq, but the Iraqi parliament simply left Baghdad and shut down operations last month. You say we're making progress, but the nonpartisan GAO office concluded that the Iraqi government has failed to meet 15 of the 18 political, economic and security benchmarks that Congress mandated. You say we're making progress, but war-related deaths have doubled. And an ABC-BBC poll recently said that 70 percent of Iraqis say the surge has worsened their lives. Iraqis say the surge is not working. I will conclude my comments, General, and give you a chance to respond, but just one more thing, if I may. We've heard a lot today about America's credibility. President Bush recently stated we should not have withdrawn our troops from Vietnam, because of the great damage to America's credibility. General, there are 58,195 names etched into the Vietnam War Memorial. Twenty years from now, when we build the Iraq war memorial on the National Mall, how many more men and women will have been sacrificed to protect our so-called credibility? How many more names will be added to the wall before we admit it is time to leave? How many more names, General? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first of all, I have not said that the surge should be extended. In fact, my recommendations are that the surge be curtailed earlier than it would have been. The forces of the surge could have run all the way till April before we began pulling them out, and that would be if we did not recommend its continuation beyond that. My recommendations, in fact, include the withdrawal of the Marine expeditionary unit this month without replacement and then a brigade starting in mid-December and then another one about every 45 days. And that's a considerable amount prior to, in fact, how far the surge could have run if we'd just pushed everybody for 15 months. REP. WEXLER: Respectfully, General -- GEN. PETRAEUS: In fact, I am -- and with respect to the facts that I have laid out today, I very much stand by those. As I mentioned, the GAO report actually did cut off data at least five weeks and in some cases longer than that in the assessment that it made. And in fact those subsequent five weeks have been important in establishing a trend that security incidents have gone down, as they have, and have reached, as I mentioned, the lowest level since June 2006, with respect to incidents, and with April 2006, in terms of attacks. I stand by the explanation of the reduction in ethno-sectarian deaths and so forth. And lastly, I would say, Congressman, that no one is more conscious of the loss of life than the commander of the forces. That is something I take and feel very deeply. And if I did not think that this was a hugely important endeavor and if I did not think that it was an endeavor in which we could succeed, I would not have testified as I did to you all here today. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. Before I call on Mr. Jones, the gentleman from California, Mr. Hunter, has a unanimous consent. REP. HUNTER: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just -- I'm requesting unanimous consent that the questions of Mr. Graves of Missouri be submitted to General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. Without objection. Mr. Jones. REP. WALTER JONES (R-NC): Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. And General Petraeus, thank you. And Ambassador Crocker, thank you as well. And let me just say that many of the comments you've heard today about our troops and thank you again for your leadership. But we had General Barry McCaffrey before the oversight committee chaired by Chairman Snyder about five or six weeks ago. And I have Camp Lejeune down in my district, and from time to time I have a chance to see some of the Marines who are, you know, out of uniform at certain locations and have conversations. What Barry McCaffrey said was that by April or May of 2008, that the Marine Corps, the Army, the Reserves and the National Guard will start to unravel; that they are absolutely stressed and worn out. And General, you have acknowledged that, so let me make that clear. My question primarily is going to be for Ambassador Crocker. I want to start by reading a quote by Army Lieutenant General Jay Garner, first U.S. official in charge of postwar Baghdad. This is his quote: "I don't know that the Iraqi government has ever demonstrated ability to lead the country, and we should not be surprised. You will never find in my lifetime one man that all Iraqis will coalesce around. Iraqis are too divided among sectarian, ethnic and tribal loyalties, and their loyalties are regional, not national." Mr. Ambassador, I know you have over 20-some years in foreign service with the State Department, and I respect that very much. You made mention of Lebanon, where we had Marines killed there at the barracks. You are dealing with a country that is not national; it is regional. It is a tribal system that has been part of that history of what is now Iraq. And I listened to you carefully and appreciated your comments. You made some statements like "we see some signs of," "we're encouraged," and, you know, those kind of statements which sound good in your written testimony. But my question is, for the American people, I mean, this is a huge investment. And I realize that it is a war on terrorism; I mean, many of us questioned whether we should have gone into Afghanistan, stayed in Afghanistan, gone after bin Laden and al Qaeda instead of diverting to Iraq, but that damage is done. As Colin Powell said, if you break it, you own it. Well, we own it -- sadly, mainly, with blood. My question is to you is, where -- how can you say or how can you hope to encourage a national government when, in this testimony today and in the days before, people have talked about the great successes in Anbar, and that's not because of the national government? How can you take a country that has never had nationalism and believe that we can bring these people together when, as someone said before -- I've spoke -- I mean, they broke and decided not to meet with some of their responsibilities for 30 days. And that sent a bad signal to many people, maybe to our troops, maybe not to our troops. But how do you see this coming together, and how long will it take it to come together? AMB. CROCKER: Congressman, you pose, I think, the critical question. And that's why in my written testimony I focused a lot of attention on that. What kind of state is ultimately going to emerge in Iraq? Because that is still very much an issue under discussion, a work in progress, with some elements of the population, mainly the Sunnis, still focused on a strong central authority; and others, mainly but not exclusively Kurds and Shi'as, saying it needs to be a decentralized federalism. So you have those differences. And even within those two camps, often not a lot of detailed thought as to what either strong central authority or decentralized federalism would actually look like. So, you know, that is part of the challenge. Iraqis will have to work through this. Among the encouraging things I noted that I'd seen is that now among Sunnis there is a discussion that maybe federalism is the way this country needs to go. That has in part been conditioned by the experience in Anbar, but not exclusively. That is why I say this is going to take time, and it's going to take further strategic patience on our part and further commitment. There simply are no easy, quick answers. There are no switches to flip that are going to cause the politics to come magically together. It's going to have to be worked through. I believe that it can. I believe that the things that we have seen over the last six months and that I've described, General Petraeus has described, do hold out cause for hope. But it's going to take their resolve and our backing to actually make that happen. Now, you mention Anbar. I think that that can be a very interesting illustration in this process, where something got started out in Anbar that the central government certainly didn't precipitate, but then the central government found ways to connect to it, both by hiring police and by providing additional resources to the provincial budget. So, you know, this is going to be something that Iraqis are going to have to work through. I'd like to be able to say that we can get this done in six months or nine months or by next July; I can't sit here and do that. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. Mr. Flake. AMB. CROCKER: I can say that I think it's possible. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Flake. REP. JEFF FLAKE (R-AZ): I thank you both for your very enlightening testimony. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned there's abundant evidence that the security gains have opened the door for meaningful politics. I think we all agree that the purpose of the surge was to create the space necessary for the politicians to do their work. Where -- how do you strike a balance between giving them space and providing a convenient excuse not to reach conclusion on some of these debates? They're talking about federalism, for example. I mean, we can have debates here on the topic, and we do have such debates. But where -- how do you respond to the criticism or the assumption that they would move faster if we had a more precipitous withdrawal or drawdown? AMB. CROCKER: I'd make two comments, sir. First, we are engaged in this process. I spend a lot of my time, as does my staff, working with political figures, sorting through issues, offering advice, twisting some arms from time to time, to help them get done what in many cases they've laid out as their own objectives, but find it a little hard to actually get it over the finish line. So we are involved in that and will continue to be. With respect to the point on using leverage -- using troops as leverage, to say we're going to start backing out of here regardless of whether you've got it done or not, as I said in a slightly different context earlier, I think we have to be very careful with that because if the notion takes hold among Iraqis that what we really do intend to do is just execute a non-conditions-based withdrawal -- say, the famous precipitous withdrawal -- I think it pushes them actually in the wrong direction. I think it creates a climate in which they are much less likely to compromise, because they'll be looking over our heads, concluding that the U.S. is about to pull, so they had better be getting ready for what comes next. And what comes next will be a giant street fight. It's not a climate, I think, that lends itself to compromise. REP. FLAKE: If I might, then, without us putting troops aside, then, what other leverage do we have? Is it aid that is contingent on them moving forward? Some of the -- you know, with regard to some of the benchmarks? What else is effective? Is there something that has been used in other scenarios, say, the peace process in Northern Ireland, or other -- anything that you've used in prior diplomatic efforts that would be more useful here? AMB. CROCKER: Again, like so much else in Iraq, the political dynamic there is probably not unique in world history, but it is pretty special. And while we're always looking for good lessons from outside, in the case of Northern Ireland, for example, where an international commission was formed to help the people work through issues, we've gotten the documentation on that, and we've made it available to Iraqi political figures as something that we and they might work with. They're -- they've got that under consideration. Clearly we do have leverage, and we do use it. I mean, the presence of 160,000 troops is a lot of leverage. And you know, we are using those troops for their security. That gives us, again, not only the opportunity but the obligation to tell them they've got to use the space they're getting to move forward. REP. FLAKE: In the remaining time I have, quickly, for the general, some argue that the presence of U.S. troops gives al Qaeda simply a target. Is there a difference between their attacks on U.S. troops as opposed to attacks on other coalition forces? I know there are different regions, but in Basra, for example, where the British have been, is there -- GEN. PETRAEUS: There are virtually no al Qaeda, really, in the southern part of Iraq because, of course, it's a Shi'a area and much less hospitable to them. REP. FLAKE: Right. GEN. PETRAEUS: They -- we think there have been attacks over time, occasionally, but nothing at all recently in the southern part of Iraq. REP. FLAKE: In other areas, is there any evidence that -- and I know we've performed different roles, the different coalition forces, but is there any evidence that they are more likely to attack Americans than other coalition forces? GEN. PETRAEUS: No. In fact, they're probably more likely to attack Iraqi forces right now. In fact, they're very concerned by the rise of particularly these local volunteers who have been assimilated into the Iraqi forces, because that represents a very, very significant challenge to them. It means that locals are invested in security, and of course they have an incentive that folks from the outside can never have. They are going to fight and die for their neighborhood, again, in a way that -- others who might come in from elsewhere would not be willing to do the same. So in fact we've seen a very substantial number of attacks on these forces as they have become more effective, trying to take out their checkpoints, attack their bases and so forth. REP. FLAKE: Thank you. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. Mr. Smith from Washington. REP. ADAM SMITH (D-WA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, General, Ambassador, for your service and for your testimony today. I want to explore something we haven't talked that much about, and that is to some degree -- Iraq, to a very large degree, is dividing along sectarian lines and has been for some time. I mean, if we're not there yet, we're pretty -- we pretty soon will be to the point where there's no such thing as a mixed Shi'a-Sunni neighborhood. So even while we're surging forward, this -- (inaudible) -- ethnic cleansing, division, whatever you want to call it, is going on. And I think there's a number of implications of that. You know, one is, it sort of underscores the difficulty of reaching a solution. You know, I, I guess, will be a minority among some of my colleagues here. I don't really so much blame the Iraqis for the situation. It's an intractable situation. It's not like if they stuck around in August in parliament they would have solved this. They, you know, have a deep division between Shi'a and Sunni that I think everybody in this room understands, and it's not a problem that leverage or anything is really going to solve. It is what it is, and it's a reality on the ground. And I'm concerned that we don't seem to be reacting very much to that reality, or as much as we should be. We still have this fantasy of a, you know, unity government in Iraq that we are supposedly fighting to create the space to come about. And I think most people would have to acknowledge at this point it is not going to happen. More on that in a second. I just want to -- one quick question for General Petraeus. So when you figure out what ethno-sectarian violence is, you don't count Shi'a on Shi'a and Sunni on Sunni. And that's a little troubling, in the sense that since this ethnic cleansing is going on and the neighbors have divided, a lot of the violence then comes down to once they've divided it that way, then it's, okay, which Shi'a are going to be in charge and which Sunni are going to be in charge? I mean, to some degree that's part of what's going on in Anbar. Sunnis -- GEN. PETRAEUS: First of all, Congressman, we count in the -- civilian deaths include all deaths, as I mentioned. REP. A. SMITH: Okay. But in the sectarian -- GEN. PETRAEUS: They are in there. REP. A. SMITH: In the sectarian violence. GEN. PETRAEUS: We are focused on sectarian violence, ethno- sectarian violence -- REP. A. SMITH: Right. GEN. PETRAEUS: -- because in some cases it's Arabs and Kurds as well -- because that is what eats at the fabric of Iraqi society. That is what tore the fabric of Iraqi society in the -- REP. A. SMITH: That could be, General, but if I may for just one minute -- GEN. PETRAEUS: -- latter part of 2006. If I could finish, sir. And it does not stop. It never stops until it is stopped by something else. And what we wanted to -- want to have happen is to have it stopped because there is a sustainable security situation. In some cases we help it stop by cement walls. REP. A. SMITH: That could well be, but what I said is essentially accurate, that you don't count -- in the chart that we showed, you weren't showing us civilian deaths, you were showing -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Oh, I did show you civilian deaths. That is -- REP. A. SMITH: Ethno-sectarian -- GEN. PETRAEUS: -- in the chart. There are civilian deaths. REP. A. SMITH: Okay. GEN. PETRAEUS: I showed that slide. And that has come down substantially. REP. A. SMITH: But for the purpose -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Now, it has not come down as much outside Baghdad because of the mass casualty attacks carried out by al Qaeda. And we count all of those, all civilian deaths. That's why I showed that slide and then showed the subset of that slide, which is the ethno- sectarian deaths REP. A. SMITH: Okay. GEN PETRAEUS: We focus on that because of the damage that ethno- sectarian violence does to neighborhoods, particularly, again, in Baghdad. And the problem with the discussion is that Baghdad is a mixed province, still, as are Babil, Wasat, Diyala and other areas of Iraq. REP. A. SMITH: If I could have -- GEN. PETRAEUS: And beyond that, beyond that, the resources are provided by a central government. So with the mechanism that exists now under the Iraqi constitution, there has to be representation of and responsiveness to all Iraqis in that government to ensure that all do get. Now -- REP. A. SMITH: My time is very limited. I wanted to ask Ambassador Crocker a question, if I may. I appreciate that -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you for letting me answer that anyway. REP. A. SMITH: The question, then, is, what is the political solution that we are moving toward? And that's what is most concerning to us. And the bottom line is, even under General Petraeus's description, in July of 2007 we will have roughly the same number of troops in Iraq that we had in January of 2007. Now, a lot of progress has happened, but that is obviously a problem for us. What is the political solution that we are working towards where the conditions are in place that we can begin to end our occupation, keeping in mind the fact that this ethnic division is happening? And maybe, Ambassador Crocker, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but Baghdad is separating along ethnic lines, is it not? And how does that -- what are the implications for where we're headed with all of this? If you could take a stab at that. AMB. CROCKER: Baghdad, like so many other parts of Iraq, in spite of the sectarian violence that occurred, remains a very mixed area. And that is why, again, abruptly changing course now could have some extremely nasty humanitarian consequences. Iraq is still, to a large degree, an intermixed society. Now, that puts special weight on the question you ask. So, what kind of political society is it going to be? According to the constitution, Iraq is a federal state. The debate is over what kind of federal state. Iraqis are going to need to work through this. The encouraging news I see is that now all communities increasingly are ready to talk about translating federalism down to a practical level. And that's a conversation that very much does need to take place. As I tried to lay out in my testimony, there is a tremendous amount of unfinished business here. There is that debate. There is within that debate the whole question of how the center and the periphery relate. For example, a hot debate that I had a chance to witness among Iraq's leaders was over can a provincial governor under certain circumstances -- emergency circumstances -- command federal forces. That's a pretty big issue, and it's an unresolved issue. So that's why -- and everything I said, I tried to lay out that I see reasons to believe that Iraq can stabilize as a secure democratic federal state at peace with its neighbors, under the rule of law, an ally in the war on terrorism. But it's going to take a lot of work, and it's going to take time. REP. SKELTON: The chair recognizes the gentleman from New York, Mr. Engel. REP. ENGEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to say at the outset, gentlemen, that I respect both of you and I thank you for your service to the nation. I am respectful of our troops who put their lives on the line for us every day. But I really must disagree with a lot of what I've heard here today. The American people are fed up -- I'm fed up -- and essentially what I'm hearing from both of you today is essentially "stay the course in Iraq." How long can we put up with staying the course? Young Americans are dying in someone else's civil war, as far as I'm concerned. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned that Iraq will slip into civil war if we leave. I mean, we're in civil war now. It's become apparent to me that the Iraqis will not step up until we step out, and as long as we have what seems to be an open-ended commitment, the Iraqis will never step up. So we have an open-ended commitment with many, many troops. At some point you have to ask, is this the best way to keep the U.S. safe? General Petraeus, you said that the Iraqi politicians were understanding more and more about the threat from Iran. Mr. Maliki is supported by a pro-Iranian parliamentarians in the parliament. That keeps his coalition in power, so how much can he really go against Iran? He's a product of Iran. His people that back him are supporters of Iran. You know, for years we keep hearing rosy, upbeat pictures about Iraq -- "Victory is right around the corner; things are going well" -- and it never seems to materialize. General Petraeus, I have an article here called "Battling for Iraq." It's an op-ed piece that you wrote three years ago in The Washington Post -- today -- three years ago, and I want to just quote some of the things you said. You said, "Now, however, 18 months after entering Iraq, I see tangible progress. Iraqi security elements are being rebuilt from the ground up." You wrote that -- you said, "The institutions that oversee them are being reestablished from the top down, and Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously in the face of an enemy that has shown a willingness to do anything to disrupt the establishment of a new Iraq." You talk about Iraqi police and soldiers, and you say they're "performing a wide variety of security missions. Training is on track and increasing in capacity." And finally, you said in this article -- op-ed piece three years ago, "I meet with Iraqi security forces every day. I have seen the determination and their desire to assume the full burden of security tasks for Iraq. Iraqi security forces are developing steadily, and they are in the fight. Momentum has gathered in recent months." So today you said -- and I'll just quote a few things -- "Coalition and Iraqi security forces have achieved progress in the security area. Iraqi security forces have also continued to grow and to shoulder more of the load." And finally you said, "The progress our forces have achieved with our Iraqi counterparts, as I noted at the outset, has been substantial." So I guess my question really is that, you know, why should we believe that your assessment today is any more accurate than it was three years ago in September 2004? Three years ago I was able to listen to the optimism, but frankly I find it hard to listen now, four years-plus into this war with no end in sight. Optimism is great, but reality is what we really need. GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, Congressman. I actually appreciate the opportunity to talk about that op-ed piece because I stand by it. I think what I said there was accurate. You -- there are also a number of items in there that talk about the challenges that Iraq faced, about hardships that lay ahead, and a number of other items that are included in that piece. And what I would note, by the way, is that Iraqis are dying in combat, are taking losses that are typically two to three -- closer to three -- times ours in an average month. They are stepping up to the plate. What did happen between that time and the progress that we started -- all I was doing was saying that we were getting our act together with the train and equip program and that we were beginning -- "Training is on track." That's what it was. It was on track and it was moving along. And over the course of the next six, eight, 12 months, in fact it generally continued to progress. And then along came sectarian violence and certainly the February bombing of the gold dome mosque in Samara, and you saw what that did to the country of Iraq. It literally tore the fabric of Baghdad society, Iraqi society at large between Sunni and Shi'a, and literally some of those forces that we were proud of in the beginning took enormous steps backward and were hijacked by sectarian forces and influences at that time. What I have tried to provide today is not a rosy picture. I have tried to provide an accurate picture. As I said, I have long since gone from being a pessimist or an optimist about Iraq. I'm a realist. We have learned lessons very much the hard way, and again the damage done by sectarian violence in particular has been a huge setback for the overall effort, and it resulted in the change that had to be carried out as a result of General Casey and Ambassador Khalilzad assessing in December of 2006 that the effort was failing to achieve its objectives. That's where we were. And as I mentioned, we have then made changes to that that have enabled the military progress that I have talked about. And that is military progress indeed that has emerged certainly most in the last three months, since the mid-June surge of offensives, but is something that we certainly are going to do all that we can to build on and to continue in the weeks and months ahead. Thank you -- (inaudible). REP. ENGEL: But General, that was three years ago, and this is three years later. REP. SKELTON: Whoa, whoa -- (inaudible). REP. ENGEL: Will we be saying the same thing three years from now? REP. SKELTON: Mr. Engel -- Mr. Engel, you're over a minute over your time. The chair recognizes the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Akin. REP. AKIN: I wanted to say, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, thank you for your service. I thank you, and I know that my son who's had a little free time over in Fallujah would also thank you for your good service, as well. I also would like to compliment you on your testimony today. It is professional and credible, as we anticipated that it would be. But some of us sitting here were guessing, trying to figure out what you were going to say today, and one of the things that did surprise me a little bit was that you seem to be a little gentler on the Iraqi parliament and maybe not quite as aggressive on federalism, which seems to be working well and working with the local level. So I guess my question is this: instead of threatening, well, we're going to take our troops and go home, does it not make sense to a certain degree to say, look, if the national legislature can't figure out when to have elections in Anbar province, we'll help -- we'll take care of that for you; we'll go ahead and schedule those. And by the way, you need to understand that Anbar and the different provinces are going to be able to take care of their own garbage collection and police and all this, the type of things we think of as local government functions. And can we not be building at the local level at the same time as at the federal level, both in terms of political leverage to encourage and spur each one on, but also just because of the -- the local progress seems to be working pretty well? And my last question. It kind of goes -- if you comment on that, but the next piece would be, if we wanted to elect the equivalent of a mayor of a city or people to a city council that are not working at the -- you know, at the federal level, do we have the authority to do that, and can that process take place? And is that happening? AMB. CROCKER: That's a series of good questions. Let me start by saying that we are very much focused on how we can help in the provinces. In Anbar, for example, we've got three embedded PRTs as well as the main PRT out there, been working very closely with the Marines in just these kind of issues. Okay, you've got a municipality now. And by the way, of course, Iraq is now at the stage where Iraqis are forming their own municipal governments. REP. AKIN: Are they doing that right now? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, they -- REP. AKIN: Forming their own? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, sir. They -- REP. AKIN: Do they elect people to run those -- so that's going on right now? AMB. CROCKER: They do indeed, and that's been one of the other elements of the Anbar phenomenon that I think now every town of significance in Anbar has an elected mayor and municipal council. And the mission we've got is doing everything we can, military and civilians, to try to help these new councils learn to act like they're councils; to, you know, deliver services, to pick up the trash. That is a major priority, and it's important. At the same time, we do encourage, as I said, the linkages up and down the line so that the municipal councils are tied into the provincial council because that's where the provincial budget is executed, not just in Anbar but everywhere in the country, so that the municipalities are getting their share as well. And this is not as easy as it may sound in a country that at least since the '60s -- and you can argue all the way back to the creation of Iraq as a modern state -- has never had that kind of contract between its government and its people. So, again, it's part of the revolution and progress, if you will. But we have seen that as conditions -- as security conditions stabilize, a lot of things start happening like these municipal councils, like a focus on services, like linkages from top to bottom. And again, we've -- Iraqis talk about federalism, but what does that mean in a case where resources all flow from the center? You know, the budget for Anbar comes from Baghdad. They don't have the capacity to develop a revenue base independently. So all of those things are in play, and they have been in play, basically, just since security started to improve out there. A tremendous amount has happened in a fairly short time, which gives me, again, some encouragement that as security conditions stabilize in other parts of the country, you can see not the same process -- because, as I said earlier, each place has its own unique characteristics -- but, you know, roughly similar processes start to catch hold. REP. AKIN: Thank you very much. REP. JOHN BOOZMAN (R-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. REP. TAYLOR: The gentleman from Arkansas, Mr. Boozman. REP. BOOZMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, when I was over and visiting not too long ago with you, two or three weeks ago, one of the real concerns that I had after I left was that, in visiting with the guys that had been there for a while, what I would call the backbone of the military, many of those guys were on their third deployment. And I'm pleased to hear that, because we are making progress, that we are going to be able to withdraw. Occasionally we'll have votes here that maybe mandate that you have to go over -- you know, you've got to come back for the same amount of time that you've gone. Besides the argument of not wanting to micro-manage the war from Congress, which I believe very strongly that we shouldn't do, what does that do to your flexibility if we were to actually pass something like that? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, that's not really a question that I can answer. That would have to be one that the chief of staff of the Army or the commandant of the Marine Corps would have to address. My job, as you know, is to request forces and then try to make the best possible use of them, and I'm not really sufficiently knowledgeable in what the status is at this point in time of reaching a point where we can start extending the time that forces are at home and so forth. REP. BOOZMAN: Let me ask very quickly, Mr. Crocker, one of the frustrations I've had in traveling the area has been that the -- our efforts to try -- our Voice of America-type efforts that was so successful against the Soviet Union, sometimes the people in the region have not spoken very well of that through the years. Is that better, or can you tell us a little bit about what we're trying to do to get the hearts and minds through the media? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, sir, that has, of course, been something that we've been engaged in since 2003, and as you suggest with some fairly mixed results in trying to get this right. We've got a couple of vehicles out there for it. One of them is Al Hurra, which has, quite frankly, as I understand it, been involved in a few controversies and has gone through some high-level personnel changes. As well as, of course, VOA, which has been a stalwart all along, as you point out. It is a complex media environment in Iraq and in the region, and it requires having people in place who know how messages resonate and know how to put them together. I was in Iraq in 2003 for several months as we put together the Governing Council and our first media efforts, and coming back a little over four years later I've been impressed by the progress we have made. But to be completely frank with you, I think we still have a way to go both in Iraq and in the region in articulating an effective message to Arab audiences. REP. BOOZMAN: General Petraeus, I've got tremendous respect for you, tremendous respect for General Jones. A lot -- you know, people have alluded to that report. Well, it would be helpful, I think, to me and others if at some point that perhaps you could maybe respond through writing or whatever some of the ideas that he's got that differ than the ideas that you -- I would just encourage you -- again, that would be very helpful to me if at some point you could delineate the differences that you have and then why. I yield back. REP. SKELTON: The chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California, Ms. Sanchez. REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ (D-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, gentlemen, for being before us today. It's good to see you both again. As usual, I have tons of questions, General and Ambassador, but let me limit it to this one. The BBC released the results of a poll conducted in August that indicates that Iraqi opinion is at the gloomiest state ever since the BBC and ABC News polls began in February of 2004. According to the latest poll, between 67 and 70 percent of Iraqis say that the surge has made things worse in some key areas, including security and the conditions for political dialogue, reconstruction and economic development. Since the last BBC/ABC News poll in February, the number of Iraqis who think that the U.S.-led coalition forces should leave immediately has risen sharply, from 35 to 47 percent. And 85 percent of Iraqis say they have little or no confidence in the U.S. and U.K. forces. So I know a lot of politicians live by polls, and I realize that the U.S. policy in Iraq shouldn't simply follow the polls, because, you know, there can be a wide range of influence on some of this. Nevertheless, it's a fundamental principle of the U.S. Army counterinsurgency doctrine that the attitudes of the population are an important center of gravity in such a conflict. I think that was stated in our counterinsurgency manual. First -- I have three questions for you -- were you aware of the poll? Do you have your own polling? And why -- and what are your findings versus the attitude of the Iraqi public that we find in the BBC poll? Secondly, how do you explain the sharply negative perception of Iraqis regarding security conditions in Iraq since the surge began? If your data so indicates that dramatic and sharp declines in violence have happened in the last three months, then why isn't it reflected in the attitudes of the Iraqi citizens who are living this hell day by day? And third, one of the cornerstones of your counterinsurgency strategy is to deploy U.S. forces into the areas where they conduct operations, and the BBC poll indicates a dramatic increase in the percentage of Iraqis who want U.S.-led forces to leave Iraq. And that supports the finding of the independent commission by General Jones, that said massive troop presence and U.S. military facilities creates a negative perception among Iraqis that U.S. forces are a long-term occupying force. So, how concerned are you that this apparent decline in public confidence is happening due to that, and how do we address it? Is it a public relations problem or is there a substantive strategy issue that we need to face? And I'll start with the ambassador. AMB. CROCKER: Thank you very much, Congresswoman. No, I have not seen this particular poll. As you know, there are a lot of polls out there. And to say the least, I think polling in Iraq at this point is probably a fairly inexact science -- which is not to call into question, you know, this particular poll. I simply don't know. I know that I have seen -- REP. SANCHEZ: It's a BBC/ABC poll. They usually know how to conduct surveys quite well, I would say. AMB. CROCKER: Yeah. What -- REP. SANCHEZ: They certainly find that they count better than most of our generals count in Iraq. And General Petraeus will know what I mean by that. AMB. CROCKER: I have seen other national polling data that shows, for example, that the number of Iraqis who now feel secure in their own neighborhoods and indeed feel secure moving around the city has gone up significantly. I don't know whether that is accurate either. What I do know, since Iraq, with all of its problems and imperfections, is now an open political society where political figures do have a sense of where their constituencies are, that all of Iraq's principal leaders have registered the sense they have that there has been an improvement of security in the course of the surge. And they've also been very clear that they credit multi-national forces with much of that improvement, and that they don't want to see any marked precipitous reduction in how those forces are deployed until conditions sustain it. Another example I would give you is the communique of the leaders on the 26th of August, in which these five individuals, who have some pretty substantial differences among them, were all prepared to sign on to language that called for a long-term strategic relationship with the U.S. So, again -- REP. SANCHEZ: Well, sure. They want our money, and they want our -- you know, I mean, we're pumping lots of -- we're about the only thing going on in the economy. AMB. CROCKER: Well, actually, there's a lot starting to go on in the economy, and we've talked about what we're seeing in terms of provincial development; that's -- that's mainly coming from -- REP. SANCHEZ: Potential development. AMB. CROCKER: Provincial. REP. SANCHEZ: Provincial. AMB. CROCKER: Provincial development. That's coming out of the central treasury. And it is generating economic activity. We support that. We have a number of programs of our own that we work in coordination with Iraqi government. But there is economic activity. Again, it's anecdotal, but what I have noticed going around Baghdad is people, because they're feeling relatively better about their security conditions, are now asking, "Okay, so where are the services?" REP. SANCHEZ: Again, why is the poll so far off from your anecdotal? AMB. CROCKER: Ma'am, I -- you know, I haven't seen the poll. I don't know what the margin of error is or how it was conducted. REP. SANCHEZ: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. We have an ongoing vote. We're told they will hold the vote open for an extra two or three minutes for us. I don't believe we have time to call on an additional member, which I regret, and I thank you for staying the additional 20 minutes, Mr. Ambassador and General. I appreciate -- we all appreciate your being with us -- REP. ORTIZ: I was ready. REP. SKELTON: -- your professionalism and your duty to our country. With that, we'll adjourn the hearing. (Sounds gavel.) END.
Status of Iraq War Hearing SWITCHED 1800 - 1900
Joint hearings of the House Armed Services and House Foreign Affairs committee with General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. CLEAN HEARING TRANSCRIPT OF THE 18:00-19:00 HOUR WITHOUT TIME CODE GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first, if I could just start out and note that there is no question that al Qaeda Iraq is part of the greater al Qaeda movement. We have intercepted numerous communications between al Qaeda senior leadership, AQSL as they're called, and the -- REP. ACKERMAN: Isn't it true, General, that al Qaeda in Iraq formed in 2005, two years after we first got there? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, I'm not saying when it started. I'm saying merely that al Qaeda Iraq clearly is part of the overall greater al Qaeda network. REP. ACKERMAN: But they didn't exist until we -- (inaudible). GEN. PETRAEUS: We have intercepted numerous communications, and there is no question also but that al Qaeda Iraq is a key element in igniting the ethnosectarian violence. They have been in effect an element that has poured gas on burning embers with the bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque, for example, and with efforts that they have tried recently, for example, bombing the poor Yazidi villages in northwestern Iraq and so forth. REP. ACKERMAN: Are they a threat to us? GEN. PETRAEUS: Al Qaeda Central is a threat to us. I don't know what the result would be if we left Iraq and left al Qaeda Iraq in place. That is very, very hard to say. REP. ACKERMAN: Then how could you -- GEN. PETRAEUS: I don't know where they would go from here. Again, I'm not trying to -- REP. ACKERMAN: Then how could you suggest that we leave after the sectarian violence stops? REP. SKELTON: (Sounds gavel.) Go ahead and answer the question. GEN. PETRAEUS: I'm not sure I understand that question, Congressman. REP. ACKERMAN: The question is, your testimony appears to indicate that our mission is to end the sectarian violence. If we end the sectarian violence, how can we leave without killing everybody who we've identified as part of a terrorist organization such as al Qaeda in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, al Qaeda again, as I mentioned, Congressman, is part of the sectarian violence. They really are the fuel -- important, most important fuel on the Sunni Arab side of this ethnosectarian conflict -- REP. ACKERMAN: Question again is, how do we leave? GEN. PETRAEUS: The way to leave is to stabilize the situations in each area, and each area will require a slightly different solution. The solution in Anbar province, as an example, has been one that is quite different from what -- one that might be used in a mixed sectarian area. But stabilizing the area, trying to get the violence down, in some cases literally using cement T-walls to secure neighborhoods and then to establish a sustainable security arrangement that increasingly is one that Iraqis can take over by themselves. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from New York, Mr. McHugh. REP. JOHN MCHUGH (R-NY): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, let me add my words of deep appreciation and respect for the amazing job you've done. Whether one agrees with our current circumstances in the Middle East or not, I would hope no one of any thinking, responsible mind would question your devotion to country and dedication to duty. I appreciate it. General, I enjoyed that back and forth with my fellow New Yorker, but let me put it a little bit more simply. Is Iraq an important part on the global war on terror in your mind? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, I think that defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq would be a huge step forward in the global war on terror, and I think that failing to do that would be a shot of adrenaline to the global Islamic extremist movement. REP. MCHUGH: Then I assume you agree with the conclusions of the National Intelligence Estimate, that if we were to leave Iraq precipitously from a military perspective, that the likelihood would be of a return to effectiveness, if you will, of AQI, al Qaeda in Iraq. Is that something you agree with? GEN. PETRAEUS: I do. If we were to leave before we and Iraqi forces had a better handle on al Qaeda-Iraq, that likely would be the outcome. We've made substantial progress against al Qaeda, as I mentioned in my opening statement, but as I also mentioned, al Qaeda remains very dangerous and certainly still capable of horrific mass- casualty sensational attacks. REP. MCHUGH: A lot of good people believe that -- and you've heard a little bit, and I suspect you'll hear more today -- good people believe that we have an opportunity by abandoning the mission in, they would argue, a thoughtful way, in Iraq and redirecting our attention entirely against Afghanistan would be the best thing to do in the war on terror. From what you know on the circumstances for the moment, would taking that step, abandoning the current conditions in Iraq for a total commitment to Afghanistan -- (inaudible) -- plus or minus in the war on terror? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, as I mentioned, allowing al Qaeda-Iraq to really rejuvenate, to regain its sanctuaries would certainly lead to a resumption of the kinds of ethnosectarian-fueling attacks that they were conducting on a much more regular basis than they have been able to conduct since the surge of offensives that we have launched in particular. I'm not sure what, you know, a huge injection of assets would do in the Afghanistan portion -- the portion of Afghanistan that is directed against al Qaeda, and I think in fairness that's probably a better question for General McChrystal, the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, or Admiral Fallon, the combatant commander. REP. MCHUGH: Thank you, sir. Ambassador Crocker, you've said it, I think everyone on this panel feels it, probably most if not all Americans feel a great deal of frustration toward the Iraqi government and the slowness in which they've taken steps that are commensurate with the military side of this equation, and I certainly share those. Folks talk about sending a message to the Iraqi government. There's few things we can see an effect, such as military reductions, that we perceive as perhaps being helpful in turning the screws, encouraging them to make those hard decisions. Advise us, sir. What can we do effectively to send a message to facilitate positive steps by Maliki and the government that's currently in power? AMB. CROCKER: It's a great question, and certainly it's one that General Petraeus and I wrestle with almost every day. First, on the issue of troop reductions as a lever. I think we have to be very careful about this. If the Iraqis develop the sense that we're prepared for a non-conditions-based withdrawal of substantial numbers of our troops, my view is that it would make them less inclined to compromise and not more. And the reason for that is that if they see us coming out, they're still going to be there. And they are then going to be looking over -- increasingly over the tops of our heads, over the horizon to figure out how they're going to survive and how they're going to get through the coming massive sectarian conflict. So it's -- it's the kind of thing we got to think very carefully about, and I'm extremely cautious in ever putting that out on the table. I find that what I kind of need to do on a day-to-day basis is first try to understand, and that's why I spent some time in my statement on how things got to be the way they are in Iraq. That doesn't mean saying, well, you're an abused child so it's okay to do whatever you want, but it does help to understand why these things are difficult; with that understanding, then figuring out where some pressure works, what kinds of pressure, where encouragement works, where some fresh thinking works. And we employ all of that on a fairly regular basis. And one example of a small success was our encouragement for the Anbar forum that took place just last Thursday that brought federal and provincial leaders together in Anbar. REP. SKELTON: Before I -- the gentleman's time has expired. I thank the gentleman. Before I call Mr. Manzullo, the gentleman from Illinois, let me add a footnote. That we speak about benchmarks, and we've had testimony in the Armed Services Committee that the benchmarks are really commitments made by the Maliki government. Mr. Manzullo. Five minutes. REP. DONALD MANZULLO (R-IL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, media reports refer to U.S. plans to build a military base near the Iran-Iraq border to curtail the flow of weapons into Iraq. Could you please elaborate on these plans? And is Iran the greatest threat to Iraqi security or is al Qaeda the greatest threat? And is the U.S. presence, and thus our massive resources in Iraq, hindering our ability to eradicate al Qaeda worldwide? GEN. PETRAEUS: First of all, Congressman, there is already a base in the area that I think -- I haven't seen that article, but there is a base southeast of Baghdad in Kut, which is where, in fact, the new contribution from the country of Georgia, a brigade, is going to be based. And that is probably what that was referring to. There is an effort to work with the Iraqis to try to interdict the flow, as I mentioned earlier, of these arms, ammunition and other assistance -- lethal assistance coming from Iran that are being funneled to these breakaway rogue militias/special groups associated with the Jaish al-Mahdi, the Sadr militia. You've asked a great question about which is the biggest threat, if you will. We tend to see al Qaeda-Iraq the wolf closest to the sled, because it is the threat that carries out the most horrific attacks in Iraq that cause the very high casualties, that attempt to reignite ethno-sectarian violence, as they did in fact with the February 2006 bombing of the gold dome mosque. And you saw how the security incidents just climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed, and really all the way until just the last several months, before they started to come down. They are still dangerous. They're off-balance. They have lost the initiative in a number of areas. We have taken away sanctuaries in a number of important areas. But they still remain very, very lethal and very dangerous, and they will certainly try to reconstitute. So that is, in a sense, what we see as the immediate and most pressing threat, and we've put great emphasis on that, with our Iraqi counterparts, because they are very much in this. It was the Iraqi army that killed the emir of Mosul, as an example, and has actually had a number of other successes recently against al Qaeda elements. The long-term threat may well be the Iranian-supported militia extremists in Iraq. If these could become a surrogate in the form of a Hezbollah-like element, these are very worrisome. We have learned a great about Iran since we captured the head of the special groups and the deputy commander of Lebanese Hezbollah, Department 2800. They have shared with us. They have explained, as have a number of others that we have captured -- explained the level of assistance, training, equipping, funding and so forth. And we captured documents with them that documented the attacks that they had carried out and clearly were so detailed because they were in fact giving those to prove what they had done to justify the further expenditure of funds from Iran. Prime Minister Maliki, I think, sees that as perhaps THE biggest threat, and a number of the Iraqi leaders, just as we have learned a great deal more in recent months, have also learned a great deal more. And they have been very worried about what they have seen, despite the fact, as was mentioned earlier, that a number of them have quite a long history with Iran, and in some cases many years in exile in Iran. REP. MANZULLO: The last question was, is our presence in Iraq hindering our ability to fight al Qaeda worldwide? GEN. PETRAEUS: Again, I think that's probably a better question for the commander who is charged with the overall counterterrorist effort of the United States, Lieutenant General Stan McChrystal, who spends a great deal of time in Iran, has very sizable assets -- in Iraq -- has very sizable aspects -- assets in Iraq as well. And I think he would be the one who would best be able to answer whether the relative mix against Iraq or Afghanistan or elsewhere, because there are certainly al Qaeda affiliates. And we do track this with him every week. In fact, we get together and discuss not just al Qaeda in Iraq, but al Qaeda in the Levant and in other areas, the Horn of Africa and so forth as well. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman from Illinois. Mr. Taylor, gentleman from Mississippi. REP. GENE TAYLOR (D-MS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General and Mr. Ambassador, for being here. General, we hear a lot of talk about there being a partnership with the Iraqis and building up Iraqi capabilities. When I looked around your headquarters at the Water Palace at Easter, it sure looked like an all-American show to me. In fact, I don't recall the presence of a single Iraqi there. Given the talk of standing them up so that we can create a situation where at some point the Americans can come home, at what point does it become more of a partnership in reality as opposed to a partnership in words? GEN. PETRAEUS: Thanks, Congressman. In fact, right across from our headquarters is the Iraqi ground force headquarters, which is really the equivalent of the Multinational Corps Iraq and which has partnered very closely with Lieutenant General Odierno and his headquarters. We have a substantial number of transition team advisers in that headquarters and, in fact, we have Iraqi liaison in our headquarters as well. Our biggest effort really, certainly from my level, is with the Iraqi joint headquarters, which is in their Ministry of Defense building, which is contiguous, literally, with a door right between the wall, contiguous to the Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq headquarters, General Dubik's headquarters, which is the organization that is charged with supporting the development of the ministry and the joint headquarters. And that is how we work with them. I also provide a substantial number of officers from staff sections in the Multinational Force headquarters, the intelligence operations and others, who are actually partnered with the Iraqis there and also at the Baghdad Operational Command headquarters. REP. TAYLOR: General, in your conversations with the Iraqis, do you ever point at a calendar, whether this year, next year, the following year, the year after that, and say, "We expect you to be an operational force by this date"? What I fail to see, and I'd like you to enlighten me, is a target date. We hear numbers of Iraqis trained; we hear dollars spent on equipment. What I don't hear or see is a target date where you expect them to be able to police their own country and defend their own country. And if I'm missing that, I would certainly like you to point that out. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, in fact, that transition has been going on. And in fact, the dates are usually mutually agreed. There is a joint Multinational Force Iraq/government of Iraq committee that has representation from the different security ministries and in fact determines the dates, for example, for provincial Iraqi control. Even during the surge -- REP. TAYLOR: And those dates are, sir? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, those are always -- they're agreed by province. As an example, a couple of months ago, we did it for Maysan province. The three Iraqi Kurdish provinces were just recently done. Several provinces were done before the surge as well. And Karbala, for example, is coming up right after Ramadan, about a month or so from now. Now, we have dates on a schedule that we work out with this committee, and it lays out the projected time frames for when this process of provincial Iraqi control will go forward, and we have that for each of the different provinces out there. Sometimes the dates have slipped. There's no question about that. In the case of, for example, Diyala province, which experienced real difficulties as Baqubah was on the verge of becoming the new capital of a caliphate of al Qaeda, that slipped. On the other hand, Anbar province, all the sudden, which was not one that we were looking forward to at all, actually now has a date, and I think it's something like January of 2008. So that process has been ongoing. There are numbers of provinces in which there are few if any coalition forces. Several have no coalition forces. Others have a single special forces team or what have you. REP. TAYLOR: General, for the record, could you supply us that timeline by province to this committee? GEN. PETRAEUS: I'd be happy to give you the provincial Iraqi control schedule that we have right now, yes, sir. REP. TAYLOR: Okay, thank you. Thank you again for your service. REP. SKELTON: Let me ask a question. Would that be classified or unclassified? GEN. PETRAEUS: Sir, I think it is classified. Again, whatever it is, we'll get it to you. REP. SKELTON: We would appreciate that. I thank the gentleman from Mississippi. REP. TAYLOR: Thank you again, General Petraeus. GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. The gentleman from American Samoa, Mr. Faleomavaega, please. DEL. ENI FALEOMAVAEGA (D-AS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank both of you gentlemen for your service to our country. I keep hearing that our active duty and Marine forces are overstretched. And I also express the very serious concerns about the capacity of our current (ready ?) Reservists and National Guard organization, and which was confirmed by General Keane, who expressed some real serious concerns about the way we are using our (ready ?) Reservists and National Guardsmen. And gentlemen, with the tremendous strain and shortages in military equipment, preparedness and training of our (ready ?) Reservists and National Guardsmen and women, who are obligated now to serve in Iraq, does our military currently have the capacity to fight two fronts, in Iraq and Afghanistan? And do we have enough added strategic reserves to fight another potential war front like Iran, the Taiwan Straits, or even to have the situation that's now brewing between the Kurds and our ally, Turkey? With the crisis now brewing there in that northern part of the country in Iraq, I wanted to know if we have the capacity -- it seems like we have all the military personnel available to do what everyone wanted to do to perform the military mission. And I'd like to hear your professional judgment on that, General Petraeus. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, thank you. First of all, I very much share the concern over the strain on our military forces, and in particular on our ground forces and other so-called high-demand, low-density assets. As I mentioned, that was one of the factors that informed my recommendations to draw down the five Army brigade combat teams, the Marine expeditionary unit and the two Marine battalions, between now and next summer. I also am on the record as offering the opinion that our ground forces are too small. And I did that before the approval of the expansion of those. And I am gratified to see, frankly, the support that this body has given to the effort to expand our ground forces because of the strain that has put on them and, by the way, of course, on their families. With respect to your question, sir, again, with respect, I'm just not the one to answer that. I am pretty focused on the mission in Iraq and not really equipped to answer whether or not -- what else is out there for other contingencies, although I know in a general sense, obviously, that there is very little else out there. DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Thank you, General. I have the highest respect for our men and women in military uniform. And I could not agree more with my good friend from California when he mentioned statements by General MacArthur about duty, honor and country. And General Petraeus, one of your colleagues, the former chief of staff for the Army, General Eric Shinseki, was vilified and humiliated by civilian authority because he just wanted to offer a professional judgment on the situation there in Iraq. He recommended that we should have at least 250,000 soldiers if we really wanted to do a good job from the very beginning. Now they put him out to dry. General Taguba also was another good soldier vilified and humiliated by civilian authority of what he felt was doing his job and his duty to our country. It's been estimated that because there are 6 million people living in Baghdad that it would require at least 100,000 soldiers to bring security, real security, to the people living in that city. Could I ask for your opinion, General Petraeus, if you think that 160,000 soldiers that you now command is more than sufficient in capacity to do what you need to do right now in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, there's never been a commander in history, I don't think, who would not like to have more forces, more money, more allies and perhaps a variety of other assets. I have what we have in the military, what the military could provide for the surge. Beyond that, we certainly an increasing number of Iraqis, by the way. I might that add that in fact one of Prime Minister Maliki's initiatives has been to expand the number of forces in general and also the manning of each division so that it is at 120 percent of authorized strength so that with their leave policy, which is a must -- and remember, these guys don't ever go home except on leave with their pay. They are in the fight until it is over, and if they don't take their pay home at the end of the four weeks or so or whatever that period is that was worked out for them, they will not get that pay. But I have also again recommended today reductions in our force levels that I believe will be prudent, based on what we have achieved and what I believe we will have achieved together with our Iraqi counterparts. REP./DEL. : Thank you, General. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from American Samoa raises the issue of readiness. We have had in the Armed Services Committee extensive testimony and documentation, particularly in the Readiness Subcommittee under my friend from Texas, Mr. Ortiz, on the strains, particularly on the ground forces of the Army and Marines. And I tell my friend from American Samoa, it's very, very serious. Thank you for raising that issue. Mr. Bartlett. REP. ROSCOE G. BARTLETT (R-MD): Thank you folks very much for your service and your testimony. Remembering all those years I sat in the bottom row and never had a chance to ask my question, I'm going to yield most of my time to the most junior member on our side of the aisle, but first I must ask a very brief question and then make a brief comment. The brief question is, General, in an attempt to discredit your testimony today, The New York Times is quoted as saying that "The Pentagon no longer counts deaths from car bombings." And The Washington Post is reported as saying that we -- that you will only count assassinations if the bullet entered the back of the heard and not the front. Unless you interrupt me to say that I'm wrong, I'm going to assume that both of these allegations are false. GEN. PETRAEUS: They are false, that's correct. REP. BARTLETT: Thank you for confirming my suspicions. GEN. PETRAEUS: We have a formula for ethnosectarian violence. There's a very clear definition about it. It's acts taken by individuals of one ethnic or sectarian grouping against another ethnosectarian grouping in general for an ethnosectarian reason. It is not that complicated, candidly. If al Qaeda bombs a neighborhood that is Shi'a, that is an ethnosectarian incident, and it is adjudged as such. And where this idea of the bullet entering comes into it is not something I'm aware of. REP. BARTLETT: Thank you, sir. I just didn't want those allegations out there without the opportunity to refute them. Mr. Ambassador, on page four of your testimony, you note the tension between deciding whether or not the power ought to be in the center or the periphery. Some see the devolution of power to regions and provinces as being the best insurance against the rise of a future tyrannical figure in Baghdad. Others see Iraq with its complex demographics as in need of a strong authority. I would submit, Mr. Ambassador, this is the essential question, and unless we know which of those roads we ought to be traveling, I think that the probability of success is enormously diminished. If we haven't already, I hope we can decide which of those roads we ought to be traveling on because they are very different processes, sir. Let me yield the balance of my time now, I believe, (to) our most junior member, Mr. Geoff Davis from Kentucky. (Short pause.) (Cross talk off mike.) REP. GEOFF DAVIS (R-KY): With the chairman's indulgence, I'll ask that the time for the power failure not be counted against -- REP. SKELTON: Please proceed. REP. DAVIS: Thank you very much. Yes, it is somewhat ironic with our challenges today that we provide the criticism to our Arabic partners. I find it ironic that the Iraqi national assembly has been more legislatively effective this year than the United States Congress in passing laws, so our criticism should also measure ourselves. First, General Petraeus, I want to commend you on your application of classic counterinsurgency principles, working with the localized social and cultural networks to build from the bottom-up -- or as Speaker Tip O'Neill used to say, all politics is local. I've heard feedback from across the theater from friends of more than 30 years ranging down to young soldiers and their perspectives, and I think the people on both ends of the political spectrum are trying to oversimplify, to define as black-and-white issues that are best measured in shades of gray. You both have inherited a situation in which our instruments of power were initially employed with flawed assumptions and now in which any course of action has potentially significant second-and third- order effects, and there's areas that I would appreciate if you could comment on. First, one closer to home. I have often heard from troops at all levels, ranging from Central Command staff all the way down to platoon members, in Sadr City that the military is at war, but the nation is not. You mentioned the need to fight in cyberspace, and I assume meaning an information campaign explaining both to the world our ideas and also to the people. And I guess the question there would be: What would you tell the American people, not Congress, is the reason that we should support the recommendations of both of you? And then, following on that, given the effects that these decisions will have on the future, do you have some suggestions on key reforms to our national security or interagency process that you'd recommend to better integrate and facilitate our instruments of national power? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first of all, if I could, I do believe that our leaders get it in Iraq more than we ever have before. Part of that is just sheer experience. Just about every battalion or brigade commander, most company commanders have served in Iraq at least one tour before, some more than one. We've made mistakes along the way; we've learned a lot of lessons the hard way. But we've made significant changes in our institutional Army, Marine Corps, in particular, and the other services, in terms of our doctrine, the education of our commissioned, non-commissioned officers, the preparation at the combat training centers, the entire road-to-deployment process. And I think that that has made a change in adopting some of the counterinsurgency practices that we are using. With respect to who is at war and who isn't, I would merely associate myself with the remarks of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Pace, who has said on a number of occasions, I believe, before the House Armed Services Committee among them, that he believes that the military obviously is at war, but that he's not so sure about all of the other agencies. Although I would certainly say that State and AID are very much in the same camp. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. But it's not just the military that's at war. It's their families, General. GEN. PETRAEUS: That is exactly -- REP. SKELTON: And we appreciate their sacrifices. GEN. PETRAEUS: Right. REP. SKELTON: Next on my list I have the gentleman from California, Mr. Royce. REP. EDWARD ROYCE (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, I would just like to ask you your thoughts on al Qaeda in Iraq. You mentioned the reduction of the popular level of support. And I think General Jones's commission bears that out, his finding that that support level in Anbar had decreased dramatically. And it sort of begs the question: Where does al Qaeda in Iraq draw it's support today? And how do those fighters get into the country? And what could we be doing? In theory, what could we be doing? Now, let's say in Saudi Arabia, you have a young man buying a one-way plane ticket into Damascus. It shouldn't be that hard to figure out what might be going on. What could we be doing in these countries, and I ask the ambassador the same question, in order to deter then influx? I'd also like just some stats. I mean, is it 40 percent Saudi, 30 percent North African? If you've taken out 2,500 of their fighters and 100 of their officer corps recently, then clearly focusing on how they get into the country would be a question that I'd be interested in. And lastly when you look at your plan to draw down the force of five brigades here over the ensuing months, and then as you step down to a few brigades left in Iraq for the purpose of overwatch, all of that is based upon how well the Iraqi military performs. The numbers you've given us would indicate now that there soon will be a half-million soldiers or security people in Iraq under the Iraqi military. But what type of progress -- give us your unvarnished opinion of the progress that's being made or not being made by these Iraqi military units, because the success of your plan to reach a position where you draw down to a few brigades left for overwatch is dependent upon their success. Thank you, General. Thank you, Ambassador Crocker. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, by the way, the reduction for -- of support for al Qaeda extends well beyond Anbar as well. It now is manifested, as we mentioned, both in Abu Ghraib, other areas that used to be sanctuaries for Iraq, three important neighborhoods in particular: Amiriyah, Ghazalia and Adhamiya. In each one of those at varying stages, the first two in particular, local individuals have stood up, literally generated local forces that have now been tied into our forces. Prime Minister Maliki has directed his army to work with them and coordinate with them, and the next step would be to work to get them into a legitimate Iraqi security force institution. Al Qaeda continues to get its support from a variety of means. Certainly it gets direction, money and expertise from the outside. It does send in from the outside foreigners to try to help rejuvenate areas. In fact, we killed the three -- we call them the al-Turki brothers. These were individuals who had spent time in Afghanistan in the past, who had come into Iraq. We missed them. They came in again. And that time we were able to -- literally to kill them. And so they were not able to do what they were supposed to do, which was to help in northern Iraq, which was under big pressure. So there is outside support, and there's also this flow of these foreign fighters, a number of whom do end up being suicide bombers. We still estimate that -- and it's very hard to tell, but somewhere -- 80 percent or so of the suicide bombers are from outside Iraq. And that was what we were talking about earlier, the importance of the diplomatic offensive, to work with source countries, to work with the countries through whom these fighters can transit to make it more difficult, as you say. And there's a variety of mechanisms. We believe, for example, that Saudi Arabia has taken steps in fact to make it tougher. The last Saudi foreign fighter we captured had actually had to take a bus to Damascus and then got into the network that eventually brought him into the country. We believe that Saudi Arabia is still probably the largest country in terms of the foreign fighters, although that again may be diminishing somewhat. And there are certainly others that come from North Africa, Jordan, Syria and so forth into Iraq. The Iraqi security forces range in quality from exceptionally good, at the very high end, with the Iraqi counterterrorist force, which is a true special mission unit in its capability, equipment, training, and is probably more active, undoubtedly more active than any other such unit in the region; the Iraqi commando battalion, which is expanding substantially and now has forces positioned outside Baghdad as well; and other elements of the Iraqi special operations force brigade; the national police emergency response unit, also very, very active; and the special tactics unit. It then ranges all the way down through units that are variously good and aggressive, including special units typically in most of the provinces with whom we partner special forces teams, who do an absolutely superb job, and Prime Minister Maliki, in fact, personally has come to place greater importance on those because it was these high-end units and special units that he literally took with him. Actually we moved some of them down by air, others by ground, and then he took a column of about 40 vehicles personally to go to Karbala and to restore peace and stability to that situation after the confrontation between the militia of Sadr and the shrine security guards. But this runs all the way down -- it runs the gamut to -- and I have to be up front and say there are still some units, particularly in the national police, but also a handful in the Iraqi army, that were formed literally out of sectarian militias or were hijacked, in the case of some of the national police units, during the height of the sectarian violence. And those still have issues that have to be addressed. And again, especially in the wake of this militia -- the militia problems, where Sadr's militia is very clearly linked to the assassination of one, and likely two, governors in southern provinces, they have become a huge concern to him and to the government of Iraq. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Hawaii, Mr. Abercrombie. REP. NEIL ABERCROMBIE (D-HI): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, thank you for being here. Aloha to both of you. Mr. Chairman, in the course of the questioning so far, I think I have some answers that I was seeking. I would like to just make two observations based on that and yield what time I have left to Representative Castor as the junior-most member. REP. SKELTON: Certainly. REP. ABERCROMBIE: Very quickly, two points. I'll submit for the record statements from General Petraeus starting in 2004 through General Casey in 2005, General Abizaid in 2006, and looping back to General Petraeus today. Not with the idea of trying to say this is what you said then, this is what you say now. On the contrary. I think that what it shows is is that the general remarks concern from the military point of view is that we were making steady progress but the Iraqis are not ready to take over, and this was true in '04, '05, '06 and '07. Our problem is, is what do we do under those circumstances? The problem is, Mr. Chairman, that four years later, the number of U.S. troops being killed continues to climb, thousands more Iraqis are dead and the cost of the war continues to escalate and the refugees continue to stream out of Iraq. My concern is is that lost in all the statistics is the question of a very simple yet heartbreaking fact: The rate and overall number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq has gone up, not down, from 2006 to 2007. From January to August 2006, 462 U.S. troops; from January to August 2007, 740. The problem, I think, Mr. Chairman, is that we are in a situation in which in effect we are saying is is that there's only one plan for Iraq, militarily speaking -- indefinite occupation by U.S. troops. That's not a comment on the military; it's a comment on the politics, which leaves me, Ambassador, to my second statement, quickly. In your very statement today, events have caught up with your and are riding you. Your statements about oil, your statements about the oil revenues, of central government and the regional government -- today we find out the Hunt Corporation of Texas has signed an oil exploration agreement with Kurdistan. The central government is cut out. At the same time, we read that the Commerce Department is seeking an international legal adviser to draft laws and regulations that will govern Iran's oil -- Iraq's oil and gas sector. We are going to be doing the drafting of the oil protocols. Iraq is not a sovereign country. This adviser that's being sought by the Commerce Department has a contract that'll run through 2008 with an option extension to 2010. We're occupying that country politically and militarily and are going to suffer the results. I will yield the rest of my time to Representative Castor. (Light Applause.) REP. SKELTON: (Sounds gavel.) REP. KATHY CASTOR (D-FL): And I thank my colleague. Thank you, Mr. Abercrombie, and thank you, gentlemen, for your service. Gentlemen, Admiral Michael Mullen, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress last month that unless Iraq has achieved political unity, no amount of troops and no amount of time will make much of a difference. He also warned that the United States risks breaking the Army if the Pentagon decided to maintain its present troop level in Iraq beyond next spring. Add onto that last week's report by a commission of retired senior U.S. military officers, where they said that Iraq's army, despite some progress, will be unable to take over internal security from the U.S. forces in the next 12 to 18 months. The report also said that the 25,000-member Iraqi national police force is dysfunctional and so riddled with sectarianism and corruption that it should be disbanded. And the latest NIE -- the consensus view of all U.S. intelligence agencies said that the modest military gains achieved by the troop surge will mean little or nothing unless there is a fundamental shift in the factors driving Iraqi political and security developments. Gentlemen, while the American people have great confidence in the troops and our brave men and women in uniform, they have totally lost confidence at the top of our national government. There's a complete lack of credibility coming from the White House. The latest -- you know, it first justified the war by claiming that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, none were found. Then the war was about establishing a model democracy in the Arab world, some model. After that, it was necessary to fight on to defeat al Qaeda, which sprouted a local branch in Iraq. The troop surge was supposed to give Iraqi leaders the security and time to bring about national reconciliation, it didn't happen. Now the president's latest spin is a withdrawal could result in another Vietnam. I think the American people want to know, as we're in the fifth year of this war, how much longer, how many billions of dollars more, while we are growing a global strategic risk? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congresswoman, if I could, one reason that I did recommend the reduction of forces is because of the recognition of the strain on our ground forces. Again, that was an important operational -- strategic consideration that did inform the recommendations that I made. I might point out, by the way, that we could have literally run this surge all the way until April. That's the first time that a surge brigade hits 15 months. But because of a variety of considerations and also, frankly, the battlefield geometry of figuring out how to most efficiently and with minimal release in place and so forth get to where we need to be by mid-July, we recommended the reduction of the brigade combat teams in addition to the Marine Expeditionary Unit that will come out later this month without replacement, but that the reduction of the brigade combat teams begin in mid-December. I could -- if I could also point out again that Iraqis are taking over considerable responsibility. The recent celebration of the death of the Seventh Imam, which results in the convergence of about typically approaching a million pilgrims to a(n) important shrine in North-Central Baghdad, the Kadhimiya Shrine, this year was planned and executed by Iraqi forces in a true interagency effort, overseen by the Baghdad Operational Center and its commander, but also involving not just army and police but also emergency services, other transportation assets, medical assets and so forth. Two years ago, there were nearly a thousand pilgrims who were stampeded to death when rumors of enemy action or perhaps actual activities resulted in that particular event. Every other year, there have been dozens of individuals killed by terrorist activities. This year, we are not aware of any deaths due to extremist activity. And the only deaths at all were from accidents, just normal accidents that took place on that day. So again there is progress. There are locations where Iraqis are exclusively maintaining security in their areas. Although you rightly note, and I share it frankly, the frustration particularly during -- what happened during the period of ethnosectarian violence, the sectarian violence of 2006, when some units literally took steps backward, and the effort took steps backward. And that was a tragedy and it is something that we are helping the Iraqis deal with now. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentlelady. To follow through on a thought that the gentlelady raised, your recommendations for cutting back the numbers, General, do they go below the number of troops that we had prior to the so-called surge? GEN. PETRAEUS: They do not right now, Mr. Chairman, and that is something that we are working on, and let me explain why that is. There have been other forces that have come into Iraq for a variety of other tasks. One is connected with an improvised explosive device effort. Others provide additional intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets. These are assets that we would have wanted regardless of whether we were surging or not. And then the largest is probably the additional military police for the growing detainee population, so that we do not run a catch- and-release program and just turn around and have a revolving door where we're taking in terrorists and then letting them back into society without having gone through a rehabilitation or pledge process. Which, by the way, we are now doing and is one thing that I mentioned that I thanked the Congress for the resources for. Because this is a very, very important effort, that we not just have the clock run out on these individuals, and the they go back to their neighborhoods and resume what they were doing before, but that they have gone through some process that prepares them to re-enter society. And by the way, we have about 800 juveniles as well and we recently created a school that will help them as well. And then we have a pledge-and-guarantor process that tries to tie tribes and sheikhs and other civic leaders into this, so that there is a sense of responsibility at the local level for individuals who have been returned who are their family or tribal members. REP. SKELTON: The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Payne. REP. DONALD PAYNE (D-NJ): Thank you very much. And let me thank both of you for this very important report. I simply have a couple of quick questions. I wonder, General Petraeus, if the support of the tribal leaders against al Qaeda -- is that irreversible, or is it that that may change possibly in the future? The second thing that does disturbance me about the GAO report and the vast difference in the calculation of the sectarian violence. And I just wonder -- I know you answered a question by one of my colleagues that The Times was just wrong, but is there any way that reconciling can be, since the two of you seem to be so far apart on that? And further, I just wonder why it has taken the Iraqi army so long to try to become proficient? Now I understand the war with Iraq and Iran -- they say that a(n) estimated million Iranians were killed. Now was it -- I know we were assisting Iraq. Was it our military's superiority or our weaponry that was sort of the dark force that made the appearance of Iraqi competence? Because it seems to be confusing that after year after year after year, the police -- they'd say that the entire police department in one area needs to be reconstructed, but that's the national police, not the local police. The soldiers have performed poorly. And so what -- why is there such a disconnect between their Iraq-Iran conflict and the fact that they can't seem to put a sustainable offensive together to weed out Qaeda and these bandits that have come in, who were not there, of course, before we went in. Therefore, I guess Iraq is worse off than it was before al Qaeda came in. So I just get confused at -- why is it taking so long? Do they -- have they just gone on strike or let somebody else do the fighting because it's easier to let someone else do it and keep your powder dry and your head down? And you know, what's missing in this picture? GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, Congressman. Sir, the -- first of all, on the tribal leaders, they want to be part of the new Iraq. The Sunni Arabs in Anbar province, as an example, went through various stages of post-liberation, feeling disrespected, unemployed, disgusted and even boycotting the elections and then realizing that they had made a huge mistake and were left out, in many respects, of the new Iraq. A number of them were resistance fighters during that time, as they like to use the term, and tacitly or actively supported al Qaeda, until they came to really come to grips with the Taliban-like ideology of al Qaeda. The ambassador talked about some of the practices that al Qaeda inflicted on the people. And they recognized the indiscriminate violence that was a part of what al Qaeda was doing, and they said, "No more." And then they realized that, okay, we're not going to run Iraq again, but it wouldn't be a bad thing if the Euphrates River Valley were a decent place in which we could live, work, and raise a family. And that seems to be their objective, in addition to certainly having their place at the table in Baghdad and getting their share of the resources. And although there is not a revenue-sharing law agreed, interestingly, there is revenue sharing; oil revenue sharing is taking place. And the ambassador mentioned now they've even learned the term "supplemental," because Anbar province got a supplemental for its provincial budget. With respect to the GAO report, their data cutoff, the answer is the data cutoff. At the very least, their data cutoff was five weeks ago and in some cases, I think -- we might check this, but in some cases I think it was nine weeks ago. But at the very least, these last five weeks, as we showed you on the slides, have actually been very significant. Remembering that we launched the surge of offensives in mid-June, it took a couple weeks to start seeing the results, and that's why I mentioned that eight of the last 12 weeks, in fact, the level of security incidents has come down. And that's -- we don't -- I don't know how far you have to go back to see that kind of trend; it is certainly a couple of years. And as I mentioned, the level of attacks, sort of a sub-set of incidents, is actually the lowest -- lowest last week that it's been since April. With respect to the Iraqi army that defeated Iran, or held their own against Iran, there are some remnants of that army still around, and there actually are some very highly professional Iraqi army and air force and naval officers who have been taken from the old army, the old air force, and so forth. But that's 15 years ago, and during that time, of course, they were defeated by the United States and coalition forces in Desert Storm, suffered years of sanctions, of course, then were disestablished and, of course, literally had to start from the bottom. In fact, there was no ministry of defense, literally. No building, in fact, when I took over as the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq commander in the summer of 2004. It was being rebuilt, but it was not even reoccupied for a number of months later. There were no battalions at that -- or maybe one battalion operational, despite heroic efforts by Major Paul Eaton, whose effort had been largely inadequately resourced up to that time as well. This has been building, you know, the world's largest aircraft while in flight and while being shot at. And it takes us a year just to reconstitute a brigade that has actually already been in the fight, keep some 40 (percent) to 50 percent of its members. But just to get it ready to go back, the road to deployment is we want to get at least to a year and, ideally, more. And they are starting, as I said, very much from scratch and just don't have a sufficient number of commissioned and noncommissioned officers who are out there from that old army, again, given the number of years. And even just since the army was disestablished in the summer of 2003, that in itself is a number of years, and these individuals are not necessarily fighting fit, shall we say, if they have been on the sidelines for most of the time since then. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. We will take a five-minute break and return, call upon Mr. McKeon and Mr. Chabot. (Raps gavel.) (Recess.) REP. SKELTON: We will come to order. We were told previously that the witnesses had a hard stop at 6:30. I have just spoken with General Petraeus and I hope that the ambassador will agree with his decision to extend the time for an additional 20 minutes -- wherever the ambassador is. (Pause.) Will somebody find the ambassador, please? Mr. McKeon will be next. (Pause.) Mr. McKeon and Mr. Chabot, in that order. Now the gentleman from California, Mr. McKeon. REP. HOWARD P. "BUCK" MCKEON (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, I'd like to join with my colleagues in thanking you for your exemplary service. At the outset, I'd like to associate myself with the remarks of Mr. Hunter and Ms. Ros-Lehtinen in their opening comments. Specifically, I've been deeply saddened by the attacks that have been made on General Petraeus for the last week or two -- citing what he was going to say, and how he was going to say it, and what his recommendations were going to be. I have here General Petraeus' statement that he gave us after the meeting started. If I might quote, "Although I have briefed my assessment and recommendations to my chain of command, I wrote this testimony myself. It has not been cleared by, or shared with anyone in the Pentagon, the White House, or Congress." It just, I think, indicates how some would like to politicize this war on terror and our war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I'm sorry that you've become a target for things. I read in a report that you have a 63 percent rating with the American people, and I guess this is an attempt to tear you down to our level. And I'm sure that will not work. Anybody that's had a chance to see you here today will know of your integrity and your devotion to duty, and that you're giving us your best assessment of the situation. General, I've heard the comment that the Army is broken. You talked about how the enlistment is going among the troops. Would you care to talk a little bit about the Army, and is it broken? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, sir, the part of the Army that I can talk about knowledgably at this point is, of course, that which is in Iraq. And that is an Army that has sacrificed great deal, and whose family members have sacrificed a great deal. A number of those great soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen -- and so in addition to our soldiers, certainly, are on a second or perhaps third tour -- some of them shorter tours and are on even more over time. We have asked an enormous amount of these individuals and, candidly, what impresses me so enormously in return is that they do continue to raise their right hand and to serve additional tours, to volunteer for additional tours in uniform. That is not just because of the tax-free bonuses, I can assure you. There's no compensation that can make up for some of the sacrifices that some of our soldiers and their families have endured. On July 4th, in fact, we had a large reenlistment ceremony -- 588 members of different services raised their right hand, and it was a pretty inspiring sight. As I mentioned, it far exceeded the goals for the units that are under the Multi-National core, Iraq already with several weeks to go. And as you know when reenlistment times often the last few weeks of the fiscal year are a pretty frantic affair as soldiers have sorted out all the options and then finally make their choice. Our soldiers are not starry-eyed idealists. In fact, at this point, I prefer not to be a pessimist or an optimist, but to be a realist. And I think a lot of our soldiers are that way. Morale is solid. But candidly morale is an individual thing, so is the view on what's going on in Iraq sometimes. You know, there's 165,000 different American views of Iraq right now and a lot of it depends on where you are and how things are going where you are. And the perspective of someone again in Anbar province where there has been success that we did not expect or someone who's in one of the very tough ethno-sectarian fault line areas -- say, in West Rasheed of Baghdad or East Rasheed -- has a very different perspective. 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. But with all of that -- with the heat, with this really challenging, barbaric, difficult enemy who is allusive and hard to find and employs sniper tactics, improvised explosive devices, suicide bombs against us, our Iraqi colleagues and innocent civilians -- against all of that, our soldiers continue to ruck up and go out each day from their patrol basis, combat outpost, joint security stations and they do it ready for a hand grenade or a handshake. And if they get the handshake, they'll take it. If they get the hand grenade, they know what to do in that case as well. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank you very much. The gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Chabot. REP. STEVE CHABOT (R-OH): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, first of all, thank you very much for your service to our country. We first met in Iraq a few years back. One of the more memorable incidents for me was when we were in a Blackhawk over Mosul and you pointed out the house where Saddam's murderous sons had met their end, Uday and Qusay. And Qusay, let's not forget was directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of Shi'a, and hundreds of them at this own hand. And Uday's -- one of his favorite pastimes was abducting young women off the streets of Baghdad, many of whom were never seen alive again. And these were to be Iraq's future leaders. They learned well from their father. General, my question is this -- in July of 2007, you told the New York Post that troop morale had remained high because soldiers understood they're, quote, "engaged in a critical endeavor," unquote. Many of those supporting a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq have regarded low troop morale as a reason for leaving. Could you comment on the current morale of our troops in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, again, as I mentioned, Congressman, I believe that morale is solid. But it is an individual thing and it depends on the kind of day that that individual has had. Our soldiers are determined. They know how important this task is, and that is a crucial factor in what they're doing. When they raise their right hand again, as so many have, they do it knowing that they may be called upon to serve again in Iraq or Afghanistan, for them and their family to make further sacrifices in addition to those that they have already made. I'm going to be up front. You know, none of us want to stay in Iraq forever. We all want to come home. We all have days of frustration and all the rest of that. But what we want to do is come home the right way, having added, I guess, to the heritage of our services, accomplished the mission that our country has laid out for us. And again, I think that that's a very important factor in what our soldiers are doing, in addition to the fact that, frankly, they also just respect the individuals with whom they are carrying out this important mission, the men and women on their right and left who share very important values, among them selfless service and devotion to duty. And that, indeed, is a huge factor in why many of us continue to serve and to stay in uniform, because the privilege of serving with such individuals is truly enormous. MR. CHABOT: Thank you, General. And finally, could you comment on the significance of Shi'ite militia leader Maqtada al-Sadr's decision from his hideaway in Iran to suspend the operations of the Mahdi Army for six months? Does this indicate that he clearly feels threatened, is on the run? And what should U.S.-Iraqi military and political response be? And given its involvement in brutal crimes against civilians and its pronounced support for violence against the U.S., should the Mahdi Army be declared a foreign terrorist organization? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, first of all, we think that the action by Maqtada al-Sadr, his declaration from Iran, is because of a sense of embarrassment over what happened in the Shi'a holy city of Karballa, where in the -- one of the most holy celebrations of the year, individuals associated with his militia confronted shrine guards and the result was a shootout and, eventually, loss of life. That, again, was an enormous embarrassment for all of Iraq, but in particular for his militia and for the Shi'a Arabs in Iraq. And it was one reason that Prime Minister Maliki personally went to Karballa the next morning, after having deployed Iraqi special operations forces in the middle of the night by helicopter and others by ground. In response to that, frankly, we have applauded that. Again, we are not going to kill our way out of all these problems in Iraq. You're not going to kill or capture all of the Sadr militia anymore than we are going to kill or capture all the insurgents in Iraq. And in fact, what we have tried very hard to do is to identify who the irreconcilables are, if you will, on either end of the spectrum, Sunni and Shi'a, and then to figure out where do the reconcilables begin and try to reach out to the reconcilables. Some of this is a little bit distasteful. It's not easy sitting across the table, let's say, or drinking tea with someone whose tribal members may have shot at our forces or in fact drawn the blood -- killed our forces. We learned a bit, in fact, about this from my former deputy commander, Lieutenant General Graham Lamb (sp), former head of 22 SAS and the director of Special Forces in the United Kingdom, and he reminded us that you reconcile with your enemies, not with your friends. That's why it's called reconciliation. And he talked about how he sat across the table from individuals who were former IRA members who had been swinging pipes at his lads, as he put it, just a few years earlier. That was quite instructive for us. He in fact headed some of the early efforts that we had in the early part of this year and into the spring, and then it was one of -- part of his initiative that the ambassador and I established this engagement -- strategic engagement cell of a senior diplomat -- senior United Kingdom two-star again and others supporting them who have reached out to individuals that could be reconciled and then helped connect them with the Iraqi government. Some of that will have to be done with members of the Jaish al-Mahdi, with the -- Sadr's militia. The question is: Who are the irreconcilables? And so on the one hand, we have applauded; we have said we look forward to the opportunity to confirm the excellence of your militia in observing your pledge of honor, and that has enormous meaning in the Iraqi culture. And indeed a number of them have in fact obeyed what he said. However, there are a number of others who have not, and those are now regarded as criminal. We're not taking on Jaish al- Mahdi; we are with the Iraqi counterparts going after criminals who have violated Sadr's order and have carried out attacks on our forces, innocent civilians or Iraqi forces. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. We are trying to get as many members as possible under the five- minute rule. The ambassador and the general have agreed for additional 20 minutes. I might point out that I'm told there will be a vote called shortly after 6:30. I have also requested the -- will be held open a few moments longer for us, and also remind the members of the two committees that there is a ceremony that's supposed to begin at 7:00. Mr. Reyes? REP. SILVESTRE REYES (D-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and General and Ambassador, thank you both for your service to our country. I was curious in your statement, General Petraeus, you made mention that the Iraqis have taken the lead in many areas, that many operate with minimal coalition support, so -- which is contrary to what General Jones' observations were last week, when he said that they're probably 12 to 18 months away from being able to operate independently. Can you give us your opinion or your assessment of that -- GEN. PETRAEUS: I can indeed. REP. REYES: -- particularly in relation to General Jones' statement? GEN. PETRAEUS: I sure can. And in fact, he and I had a lot of conversations during his time in Iraq, and he, by the way, did a superb assessment and spent the time in Iraq, I might add, that is needed to do that type of assessment with his commissioners. What he is talking about is something different from what I was talking about in the statement. What he's talking about is the institutions of the Iraqi security forces being able to truly support their forces throughout the country -- REP. REYES: So it's to be able to spend alone on their own? GEN. PETRAEUS: But we're talking about the institutions doing that as opposed to what I was talking about, is the fact that there are many Iraqi force units who are operating on their own. In Samawa, for example, in Muthanna province in the south, there are no coalition forces whatsoever. They're on their own. Now, occasionally they will call our Special Forces team that is actually in an adjacent province and ask for some assistance. The same is largely true in Nasiriyah. There's a superb Australian unit there, largely focused on civil military operations. And again, when the Iraqi units in that area have been challenged with something they couldn't handle, they just call our Special Forces team, and we bring some enablers to bear, if you will -- close air support, attack helicopters or what have you. The same is true in Najaf. There's only a single U.S. Special Forces team in Najaf. Karbala has no forces. A very small contingent -- and so forth -- REP. REYES: So -- because -- GEN. PETRAEUS: So there are a number of places where Iraqi forces are operating on their own -- and by the way, they may not -- those battalions in those areas may not be operational readiness assessment number one. In other words, they may not be rated as meeting the readiness requirements for operating on their own, but de facto -- the fact is they are operating on their own, but they might be short equipment, leaders, maintenance standards or what have you. REP. REYES: So just the -- of the total force -- GEN. PETRAEUS: What General Jones was getting at was the institutional support. What he's talking about is the ability to support these forces with a logistical system, with depots, with maintenance, with administrative and all the rest of that. That is the challenge. Again, we have found that it's challenging to build battalions, but it's really hard to rebuild an entire army and all of its institutions that go into supporting that battalion or -- you know, way over a hundred battalions, the brigades, the divisions and all the rest of that with command and control communications, intelligence systems, combat enablers, medevac and all the rest of that makes up a force as we know it, as opposed to forces that are unable to do that. REP. REYES: Well, thank you, General. Ambassador, you made mention about the Provincial Reconstruction Teams and the fact that we went from 10 to 25. As I think all of us know, we're having a very tough time recruiting people from the different agencies that make up these teams. Can you briefly tell us -- going from 10 to 25 in a country the size of California, that's not as good news as it seems, is it? AMB. CROCKER: Well, it is a very substantial increase, and a lot of that has been in the areas of greatest population and greatest challenges, like Baghdad itself. So the surge of Provincial Reconstruction Teams into the Baghdad area -- and incidentally, all of those teams are embedded with brigade combat teams and -- REP. REYES: It's because of the security situation. AMB. CROCKER: Exactly -- although what we've discovered is that it makes for a tremendous unity of effort, and it's actually a force multiplier to have them together, so we're taking a look at the rest of the landscape and basically seeking to replicate kind of the embedded concepts for almost all of the PRTs, because that fusion really works. And it helps to coordinate objectives so that we don't have a military unit kind of working in the same area as a PRT without the kind of coordination you need. So that's been tremendously effective. Now, in terms of staffing these up, that's something I've given my particular personal focus to. The surge in PRT personnel that this operation is requiring is to be an additional 283 people in place by the end of the year. And to the annoyance of my staff, I check this three times a week, and also back with Washington, and I am firmly assured that we are on track to meet that requirement by December 31st. Now this includes a lot of military personnel, which will then be backfilled as we move into 2008. But as a report delivered by the special inspector general for Iraq just last week indicated, the PRT program is one of the most valuable programs the U.S. runs in Iraq. Now, that was the special inspector general's comment, so we're clearly on to a good thing here, and we will continue to expand the limits of this endeavor to deliver the most effective response we can to capacity-building needs, particularly on budget execution. I'd make one final comment because I do think that it's important: that as drawdowns and redeployments take place, a challenge we both have is being sure that PRTs continue to be able to do their mission where required, even as the military footprint changes. So we don't have all the answers to that. It's a work in progress, but something we're very much focused on. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Sherman. REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D-CA): Thank you. Mr. Chairman, the ultimate question for our country is how much of the resources available to fight the global war on terror should be deployed in Iraq. That decision cannot be made in Baghdad, because our fine gentlemen from Baghdad don't receive reports on what's going on in Afghanistan, Somalia, the Tri-Borders area of Paraguay, or Sudan. It's a shame that those with global perspectives, the leaders here in Washington, so lack credibility that they're unwilling to really step forward in front of the cameras and say that Iraq is the central front in the war on the terror. So instead they imply that Iraq is the central front by telling us that the decision of how much of our resources to put into Iraq should be dependent upon a report drafted in Baghdad. In effect, we've substituted global perspective for battlefield valor. Now, General Petraeus, when I -- as a general, you're always planning for possible contingencies. The counterinsurgency manual is filled with hypothetical situations and possible responses. And General, you're sworn to defend our Constitution, and you've carried out that oath with honor. Your duty to defend the Constitution would become more complex if we had a constitutional crisis here in Washington. Assume that Congress passes a law stating that no government funds should be used after March of next year, except for certain limited purposes, such as force protection, or for training. The president of the United States instead orders you to conduct U.S.- led offensive military operations, a purpose for which Congress has said we have appropriated no funds. Under those circumstances, what do you do? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, and not trying to be flip, what I would do is consult my lawyer. And again, I'm not trying to make light of this at all, but I would literally have to talk to my lawyer, and obviously talk to my chain of command and get some advice and counsel on what in fact to do. And if I could mention, perhaps, Congressman, on -- REP. SHERMAN: So General, you're saying you might very well disobey an order from the president of the United States on the advice of your legal counsel? GEN. PETRAEUS: I did not say that, Congressman. What I said is I'd have to figure out what I was going to do. If I could just follow up on one item you did say, Congressman -- REP. SHERMAN: General, I did have one -- GEN. PETRAEUS: For what it's worth, al Qaeda believes that Iraq is the central front in the global war on terrorism. REP. SHERMAN: Well, al Qaeda is telling us that they think it's the central front. They might be lying. GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, and also -- REP. SHERMAN: They've been known to do so, General. And if we allow Ahmadinejad and bin Laden to tell us where to fight them, they may not give us their best advice. But I do have one more question and very limited time. GEN. PETRAEUS: Yes, sir. REP. SHERMAN: On about September 15th, this nation's going to get a long, detailed report, well over 100 pages, I would guess. And the press is going to call it the Petraeus report. Now you know and I know that the White House has exercised editorial control over the report that will be released later this week. The country wants the Petraeus report. They want a long, detailed report, written in Baghdad, without edits from the Pentagon or the White House. Are you willing to give to these committees your detailed report, the documents you gave to the White House for them to create the report that they plan to release later this week? And -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Can I answer that so I can -- First of all, on the benchmarks report, my understanding is that the law states that that report is submitted by the president with the input from the ambassador and myself. So at least it is the Petraeus- Crocker report. REP. SHERMAN: General, if you -- my question was carefully couched. I realize months ago, Congress may have asked for a report from the White House, and we'll be happy to get it and read it. But what I said was what the country really wants right now, not months ago but right now -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Right. REP. SHERMAN: -- is the Petraeus report. We want hundreds of pages written in Baghdad, edited by you, without edits from the Pentagon and the White House. Can you get it to us? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, first of all, what I've tried to do today, Congressman, with respect, is to give the Petraeus report. And then I would add to that that Ambassador Crocker and I did submit extensive input for the benchmarks report. The draft that I saw most recently -- because like any of these reports, it does go up and it is then provided back to us for comment, is that it is essentially unchanged. REP. SHERMAN: But in any case, you are warning us that if 100 pages or so is released by the White House later this week, they've done the final edit, and it may or may not be your report as written. GEN. PETRAEUS: I don't think that there is any substantive change in that report, according to the draft that I saw the other day. My guys had a copy, checked it against what we submitted, that the ambassador and I collaborated on. And there was nothing substantive whatsoever that was different in that report. You may want to mention, Ambassador. AMB. CROCKER: No, that's -- that is my understanding of it as well. The September 15th benchmark report will be an update of the July report. And the procedure for drafting it is exactly the same as it was in July. We provide input, but it is a White House report. So it is going to be again procedurally exactly the same as the July report. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Thornberry, please. REP. MAC THORNBERRY (R-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I appreciate both of your service and your professionalism, especially in the light of personal attacks against you. Ambassador Crocker, how do you make elected representatives of the people to compromise with each other and reach agreement? We seem to have some difficulty with that. How do you make that happen in Baghdad? AMB. CROCKER: I will very carefully restrict myself to commenting about the situation in Baghdad, because it is a serious issue. It is at the core ultimately of what kind of future Iraq is going to have, whether its representatives, elected and otherwise, are able to come together and reconcile. Process in this is as important, in some ways, as actual results. And the -- one of the elements out of this summer's activity that does give me some cautious encouragement is that representatives, mainly from the parliament, from the Council of Representatives, of the five major political blocs showed an ability to come together and night after night and work their way through a lot of the major issues. The issues they were able to get close to agreement on, they teed up to their leaders, and that's what was embodied in that August 26th declaration that, in addition to the points I've already mentioned, also included commitments on reforms regarding detainees, how they're held, what the conditions are, when they see a judge, when they're released, as well as how to deal with armed groups. The five got agreement on those points as well. But it's the way they did it. Each evening for weeks, representatives -- Sunni, Shi'a and Kurds -- came together and showed an ability to work quite productively together. And that is what I am hoping is going to carry forward in the months ahead as they deal with other issues. The real answer, of course, is, you can't compel it. People have to see their interests served by a process of accommodation. And that's what we're seeing, I think, at least the hopeful beginnings of. REP. THORNBERRY: Thank you. General Petraeus, what do we do about Iran? You -- in answer to previous questions, you said the last time Ambassador Crocker went and talked to them, then the flow of arms accelerated. So some people suggest we need to have a diplomatic surge and go talk to them intensely. I'm a little skeptical that that's going to make a difference. What do we do about the arms, the training, the money that comes from Iran and undermines our efforts? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, inside Iraq, which is where my responsibility lies, we obviously are trying to interdict the flow of the arms, the training network, the money and so forth, and also to disrupt the networks that carry that out. It was very substantial, for example, to capture the head of the special groups in all of Iraq and that deputy commander of the Lebanese Hezbollah department that I talked about earlier that exists to support the Qods Force effort in supporting these special groups inside Iraq that are offshoots of the Sadr militia. Beyond that, it does obviously become a regional problem. It is something that I have discussed extensively with Admiral Fallon and with others in the chain of command. And there certainly is examination of various contingencies, depending on what does happen in terms of Iranian activity in Iraq. But our focus is on interdicting the flow and on disrupting, killing or capturing those individuals who are engaged in it. We also in fact killed the head of the network that carried out the attacks on our soldiers in Karbala, where five of our soldiers were killed back in January. That was yet another effort in that overall offensive against those individuals. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Pence from Indiana. REP. MIKE PENCE (R-IN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to thank General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker for your service to the nation. The old book tells us if you owe debts, pay debts; if honor, than honor; if respect, then respect. And having met with both of you on several occasions downrange in different assignments, I know this nation owes you a debt of honor and a debt of respect. And I want to appreciate the way my colleagues have addressed this hearing today. General Petraeus, just for clarification sake, it seems to me you opened your testimony today with a very emphatic declarative. I think your words were, "This is my testimony." I think you added that it had not been cleared by the White House or the Department of Defense. And I just -- again, we're getting the Petraeus report. GEN. PETRAEUS: That is correct. As I stated, I obviously have given recommendations, and I gave an assessment of the situation as part of those recommendations during a week of video teleconferences, consultations with Admiral Fallon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the secretary of Defense and then ultimately the president. But the testimony that I provided today, this statement, is one that I eventually took control of the electrons about two weeks ago and, as I mentioned, has not been shared with anybody outside of my inner circle. REP. PENCE: Well, thank you. Thanks for clarifying that. I think it's important. Two quick points. First on the subject of joint security stations. When I was there in April in Baghdad with you, General Petraeus, we visited a joint security station downtown. I think your testimony today suggests that now the joint security stations are, to use your phrase, are across Iraq. I wondered if you might comment for these committees about the extent to which embedding, if you will, American and Iraqi forces together -- living together, deploying together -- in neighborhood areas has expanded beyond the scope of Baghdad the impact that it's having. And for Ambassador Crocker, just for the sake of efficiency, when I was in Ramadi in that same trick, we met with Sheikh Sattar, some of the leaders of the Iraqi Awakening Movement. It was at that time, I think, 20 of the 22 sheikhs in Al Anbar province had organized that effort. The transformation of Al Anbar has been extraordinary. You made a provocative comment today, saying that that movement is, quote, "unfolding" in other parts of Iraq, and I think you mentioned Diyala and Nineveh provinces. I wonder if you might -- each of you severally -- touch on that. I saw those things in their nascent form this spring, and it seems like both of them have expanded well beyond expectations, to the good of U.S. interests and stability in Iraq. General? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, the concept, again, is that if you're going to secure the population, you have to live with the population. You can't commute to this fight. And the idea is that, wherever possible, to do it together with our Iraqi counterparts, in some cases police, some cases army, sometimes all of the above. The idea of the joint security stations is to be really command and control hubs typically for areas in which there are coalition forces, Iraqi army and Iraqi police, and sometimes now even these local volunteers, who -- again, by directive of Prime Minister Maliki -- are individuals with whom the Iraqi army is supposed to deal as well. There are a number of other outposts, patrol bases and other small bits of infrastructure, if you will, that have also been established to apply this idea that is so central to counterinsurgency operations of again positioning in and among the population. And you see it in Ramadi. For example, in Ramadi there are a couple of dozen, I think, is the last count of police stations, patrol bases, combat outposts, you name it, many of which have both coalition, either U.S. Army or U.S. Marines together, with Iraqi police or Iraqi soldiers, or in some cases still local volunteers who are in the process of being transitioned into one of the security ministries. We see the same in Fallujah. In Fallujah, though it is police stations and there are 10 precincts now established in Fallujah -- the last one was just completed -- in each of those there's typically a Marine squad or a force of about that size, and over time we've been able to move -- (Chairman Skelton sounds gavel) -- our main force elements out of Fallujah and also now to move two of the three battalions in the Iraqi army that were in that area, which frees them up to actually go up and replace the Marine Expeditionary Unit that's coming out and continue the pressure on al Qaeda-Iraq up in the Lake Tharthar area. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. Try and move along -- next, we have Dr. Snyder, Mr. Wexler, Mr. Jones, Mr. Flake -- REP. PENCE: Mr. Chairman? With your indulgence, I had posed a question to Ambassador Crocker. I don't think he had a chance to respond. REP. SKELTON: I'm sorry. I didn't catch that. Ambassador, please answer as quickly as possible. AMB. CROCKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We're seeing the phenomenon of Anbar repeated elsewhere of Iraqis deciding they've had enough of terrorists. Anbar itself, the whole way it unfolded there is unique to Anbar, and we've got to have the, again, the area smarts and the tactical flexibility to perceive what opportunities are with their regional differences. So Diyala, for example, is much more complicated than Anbar because instead of being just Sunni, that Sunni, Shi'a, Kurd intermixed and has required much more careful handling which, I must say, the military has done an absolutely brilliant job of in an incredibly complex political- military context. But you know, again, in Anbar and Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, in Baghdad, the three neighborhoods that General Petraeus mentioned in Diyala, which is a little bit to the northeast and also in Nineveh to the north and in Salahuddin, a process under way that is conceptually similar to what happened in Anbar but has in each case its particular differences that have to be taken into account by us and by the Iraqis. REP. SKELTON: Thank you very much. Dr. Snyder. REP. VIC SNYDER (D-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, I have a question for each of you if you will each answer briefly. I then want to brag on you. So if you -- the quicker you all answer my questions, the quicker I can get to bragging on the two of you. First, General Petraeus, on the chart that you passed out here earlier, the one that talks about the recommended force reduction mission shift, does it go out the timeline here at the end, General Petraeus? We have a straight line at the end. How far out does that line go? The specific question is: How many years do you anticipate U.S. troops will be in Iraq if you had Ambassador Crocker's crystal ball? GEN. PETRAEUS: And I'm afraid that I do not. In fact, that is an illustrative document with respect to both the mission mix and the stair step there. As I mentioned, there is every intention and recognition that forces will continue to be reduced after the mid-July time frame when we have reached the 15 Army Brigade Combat Team level and Marine RCT level. What we need to do is get a bit closer to that time to where, with some degree of confidence, we can make an assessment and make recommendations on that. REP. SNYDER: Thank you. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned the Provincial Reconstruction Teams, and I appreciate you bringing them up. I had a different recollection, though, of the testimony last week of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. One of the staff people was Ginger Cruze. When she testified, she actually testified that by the end of this year, State Department will have identified 68 percent of the State Department personnel to be on board. So they will not necessarily be on board; they will have just identified two-thirds of their staff requirements. So while I appreciate your attentiveness to this, I think we still -- I think the State Department is letting you down, and that somehow we've got to grapple with this issue of how to get the other agencies to step forward and assist the work that General Petraeus and his people are doing, the work that you want to do. So you may need to have another meeting with them and talk about now what exactly are we going to be having at the end of December, because they said that there was only identified two-thirds of them by the end of this year. The reason I want to brag on the two of you, I think you-all have done a good job here today and have done a great job throughout your careers. I don't know if the two of you are going to be able to solve these problems, the challenges you have before you, but you are the all-star team. And if anybody can do it, you can do it. I think that's why some of us find some of the stuff that's been said the last week or so pretty offensive. But we talk about reconciliation. You know, both in the Congress and in the country, we've been going through kind of a soft partition into D's and R's, the soft partition, the red state and the blue state. I think you-all can be part of this reconciliation because our country will do better in foreign policy if we're more united. I put Secretary Gates in that category, too. And what I like about Secretary Gates is, reports that I get back from the Pentagon is that more junior generals actually feel like they can tell him when they think he's wrong or when they have other ideas. And I don't want you to respond to this, but I know that has not been the case for the first -- for the last six years. And so I think there is some process stuff going on that may help get some of this reconciliation. An example of this has been this report that General Jones' group put out last week, that's been referred to several times. Now, it's like everything else in life, we pick and choose. And several people that are critical of what's going on have brought out some of the criticisms of the police and the Iraqi army. But the very -- the last paragraphs, the concluding thoughts -- and I'm going to quote from the report -- quote: "While much remains to be done before success can be confidently declared, the strategic consequences of failure or even perceived failure for the United States and the coalition are enormous. We approach a truly strategic moment in this still-young century. Iraq's regional geostrategic position, the balance of power in the Middle East, the economic stability made possible by a flow of energy in many parts of the world, and the ability to defeat and contain terrorism where it is most manifest are issues that do not lend themselves to easy or quick solution. How we respond to them, however, could well define our nation in the eyes of the world for years to come." And that's the end of the quote. And so those of us who, on whatever side we come down to now or in the last several years on what you-all are about, we've got to start looking at this, I think, this bigger picture. And I would -- my one question for you, Ambassador Crocker. There's a lot of criticism that we do not have the right strategic diplomatic picture that helps you do the work that you're doing. In fact, maybe I won't even put that as a question but just leave that as a comment. I think we've got a lot of work to do in the Congress and the administration to give you that kind of strategic diplomacy for that whole region. Thank you for your service. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. Mr. Wexler. REP. ROBERT WEXLER (D-FL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker, I vehemently opposed the surge when the president announced it last winter, and instead I called for our troops to be withdrawn. In your testimony today, you claim that the surge is working and that you need more time. With all due respect, General, among unbiased, nonpartisan experts, the consensus is stark; the surge has failed based on most parameters. In truth, war-related deaths have doubled in Iraq in 2007 compared to last year. Tragically, it is my understanding that seven more American troops have died while we've been talking today. Cherry- picking statistics or selectively massaging information will not change the basic truth. Please understand, General Petraeus, I do not question your credibility. You are a true patriot. I admire your service to our nation. But I do question your facts. And it is my patriotic duty to represent my constituents and ask you, question you about your argument that the surge in troops be extended until next year, next summer, especially when your testimony stating that the dramatic reduction in sectarian deaths is opposite from the National Intelligence Estimate, the Government Accounting Office and several other non-biased, nonpartisan reports. I am skeptical, General. More importantly, the American people are skeptical because four years ago very credible people both in uniform and not in uniform came before this Congress and sold us a bill of goods that turned out to be false. And that's why we went to war based on false pretense to begin with. This testimony today is eerily similar to the testimony the American people heard on April 28th, 1967, from General William Westmoreland, when he told the American people America was making progress in Vietnam. General, you say we're making progress in Iraq, but the Iraqi parliament simply left Baghdad and shut down operations last month. You say we're making progress, but the nonpartisan GAO office concluded that the Iraqi government has failed to meet 15 of the 18 political, economic and security benchmarks that Congress mandated. You say we're making progress, but war-related deaths have doubled. And an ABC-BBC poll recently said that 70 percent of Iraqis say the surge has worsened their lives. Iraqis say the surge is not working. I will conclude my comments, General, and give you a chance to respond, but just one more thing, if I may. We've heard a lot today about America's credibility. President Bush recently stated we should not have withdrawn our troops from Vietnam, because of the great damage to America's credibility. General, there are 58,195 names etched into the Vietnam War Memorial. Twenty years from now, when we build the Iraq war memorial on the National Mall, how many more men and women will have been sacrificed to protect our so-called credibility? How many more names will be added to the wall before we admit it is time to leave? How many more names, General? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first of all, I have not said that the surge should be extended. In fact, my recommendations are that the surge be curtailed earlier than it would have been. The forces of the surge could have run all the way till April before we began pulling them out, and that would be if we did not recommend its continuation beyond that. My recommendations, in fact, include the withdrawal of the Marine expeditionary unit this month without replacement and then a brigade starting in mid-December and then another one about every 45 days. And that's a considerable amount prior to, in fact, how far the surge could have run if we'd just pushed everybody for 15 months. REP. WEXLER: Respectfully, General -- GEN. PETRAEUS: In fact, I am -- and with respect to the facts that I have laid out today, I very much stand by those. As I mentioned, the GAO report actually did cut off data at least five weeks and in some cases longer than that in the assessment that it made. And in fact those subsequent five weeks have been important in establishing a trend that security incidents have gone down, as they have, and have reached, as I mentioned, the lowest level since June 2006, with respect to incidents, and with April 2006, in terms of attacks. I stand by the explanation of the reduction in ethno-sectarian deaths and so forth. And lastly, I would say, Congressman, that no one is more conscious of the loss of life than the commander of the forces. That is something I take and feel very deeply. And if I did not think that this was a hugely important endeavor and if I did not think that it was an endeavor in which we could succeed, I would not have testified as I did to you all here today. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. Before I call on Mr. Jones, the gentleman from California, Mr. Hunter, has a unanimous consent. REP. HUNTER: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just -- I'm requesting unanimous consent that the questions of Mr. Graves of Missouri be submitted to General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. Without objection. Mr. Jones. REP. WALTER JONES (R-NC): Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. And General Petraeus, thank you. And Ambassador Crocker, thank you as well. And let me just say that many of the comments you've heard today about our troops and thank you again for your leadership. But we had General Barry McCaffrey before the oversight committee chaired by Chairman Snyder about five or six weeks ago. And I have Camp Lejeune down in my district, and from time to time I have a chance to see some of the Marines who are, you know, out of uniform at certain locations and have conversations. What Barry McCaffrey said was that by April or May of 2008, that the Marine Corps, the Army, the Reserves and the National Guard will start to unravel; that they are absolutely stressed and worn out. And General, you have acknowledged that, so let me make that clear. My question primarily is going to be for Ambassador Crocker. I want to start by reading a quote by Army Lieutenant General Jay Garner, first U.S. official in charge of postwar Baghdad. This is his quote: "I don't know that the Iraqi government has ever demonstrated ability to lead the country, and we should not be surprised. You will never find in my lifetime one man that all Iraqis will coalesce around. Iraqis are too divided among sectarian, ethnic and tribal loyalties, and their loyalties are regional, not national." Mr. Ambassador, I know you have over 20-some years in foreign service with the State Department, and I respect that very much. You made mention of Lebanon, where we had Marines killed there at the barracks. You are dealing with a country that is not national; it is regional. It is a tribal system that has been part of that history of what is now Iraq. And I listened to you carefully and appreciated your comments. You made some statements like "we see some signs of," "we're encouraged," and, you know, those kind of statements which sound good in your written testimony. But my question is, for the American people, I mean, this is a huge investment. And I realize that it is a war on terrorism; I mean, many of us questioned whether we should have gone into Afghanistan, stayed in Afghanistan, gone after bin Laden and al Qaeda instead of diverting to Iraq, but that damage is done. As Colin Powell said, if you break it, you own it. Well, we own it -- sadly, mainly, with blood. My question is to you is, where -- how can you say or how can you hope to encourage a national government when, in this testimony today and in the days before, people have talked about the great successes in Anbar, and that's not because of the national government? How can you take a country that has never had nationalism and believe that we can bring these people together when, as someone said before -- I've spoke -- I mean, they broke and decided not to meet with some of their responsibilities for 30 days. And that sent a bad signal to many people, maybe to our troops, maybe not to our troops. But how do you see this coming together, and how long will it take it to come together? AMB. CROCKER: Congressman, you pose, I think, the critical question. And that's why in my written testimony I focused a lot of attention on that. What kind of state is ultimately going to emerge in Iraq? Because that is still very much an issue under discussion, a work in progress, with some elements of the population, mainly the Sunnis, still focused on a strong central authority; and others, mainly but not exclusively Kurds and Shi'as, saying it needs to be a decentralized federalism. So you have those differences. And even within those two camps, often not a lot of detailed thought as to what either strong central authority or decentralized federalism would actually look like. So, you know, that is part of the challenge. Iraqis will have to work through this. Among the encouraging things I noted that I'd seen is that now among Sunnis there is a discussion that maybe federalism is the way this country needs to go. That has in part been conditioned by the experience in Anbar, but not exclusively. That is why I say this is going to take time, and it's going to take further strategic patience on our part and further commitment. There simply are no easy, quick answers. There are no switches to flip that are going to cause the politics to come magically together. It's going to have to be worked through. I believe that it can. I believe that the things that we have seen over the last six months and that I've described, General Petraeus has described, do hold out cause for hope. But it's going to take their resolve and our backing to actually make that happen. Now, you mention Anbar. I think that that can be a very interesting illustration in this process, where something got started out in Anbar that the central government certainly didn't precipitate, but then the central government found ways to connect to it, both by hiring police and by providing additional resources to the provincial budget. So, you know, this is going to be something that Iraqis are going to have to work through. I'd like to be able to say that we can get this done in six months or nine months or by next July; I can't sit here and do that. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. Mr. Flake. AMB. CROCKER: I can say that I think it's possible. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Flake. REP. JEFF FLAKE (R-AZ): I thank you both for your very enlightening testimony. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned there's abundant evidence that the security gains have opened the door for meaningful politics. I think we all agree that the purpose of the surge was to create the space necessary for the politicians to do their work. Where -- how do you strike a balance between giving them space and providing a convenient excuse not to reach conclusion on some of these debates? They're talking about federalism, for example. I mean, we can have debates here on the topic, and we do have such debates. But where -- how do you respond to the criticism or the assumption that they would move faster if we had a more precipitous withdrawal or drawdown? AMB. CROCKER: I'd make two comments, sir. First, we are engaged in this process. I spend a lot of my time, as does my staff, working with political figures, sorting through issues, offering advice, twisting some arms from time to time, to help them get done what in many cases they've laid out as their own objectives, but find it a little hard to actually get it over the finish line. So we are involved in that and will continue to be. With respect to the point on using leverage -- using troops as leverage, to say we're going to start backing out of here regardless of whether you've got it done or not, as I said in a slightly different context earlier, I think we have to be very careful with that because if the notion takes hold among Iraqis that what we really do intend to do is just execute a non-conditions-based withdrawal -- say, the famous precipitous withdrawal -- I think it pushes them actually in the wrong direction. I think it creates a climate in which they are much less likely to compromise, because they'll be looking over our heads, concluding that the U.S. is about to pull, so they had better be getting ready for what comes next. And what comes next will be a giant street fight. It's not a climate, I think, that lends itself to compromise. REP. FLAKE: If I might, then, without us putting troops aside, then, what other leverage do we have? Is it aid that is contingent on them moving forward? Some of the -- you know, with regard to some of the benchmarks? What else is effective? Is there something that has been used in other scenarios, say, the peace process in Northern Ireland, or other -- anything that you've used in prior diplomatic efforts that would be more useful here? AMB. CROCKER: Again, like so much else in Iraq, the political dynamic there is probably not unique in world history, but it is pretty special. And while we're always looking for good lessons from outside, in the case of Northern Ireland, for example, where an international commission was formed to help the people work through issues, we've gotten the documentation on that, and we've made it available to Iraqi political figures as something that we and they might work with. They're -- they've got that under consideration. Clearly we do have leverage, and we do use it. I mean, the presence of 160,000 troops is a lot of leverage. And you know, we are using those troops for their security. That gives us, again, not only the opportunity but the obligation to tell them they've got to use the space they're getting to move forward. REP. FLAKE: In the remaining time I have, quickly, for the general, some argue that the presence of U.S. troops gives al Qaeda simply a target. Is there a difference between their attacks on U.S. troops as opposed to attacks on other coalition forces? I know there are different regions, but in Basra, for example, where the British have been, is there -- GEN. PETRAEUS: There are virtually no al Qaeda, really, in the southern part of Iraq because, of course, it's a Shi'a area and much less hospitable to them. REP. FLAKE: Right. GEN. PETRAEUS: They -- we think there have been attacks over time, occasionally, but nothing at all recently in the southern part of Iraq. REP. FLAKE: In other areas, is there any evidence that -- and I know we've performed different roles, the different coalition forces, but is there any evidence that they are more likely to attack Americans than other coalition forces? GEN. PETRAEUS: No. In fact, they're probably more likely to attack Iraqi forces right now. In fact, they're very concerned by the rise of particularly these local volunteers who have been assimilated into the Iraqi forces, because that represents a very, very significant challenge to them. It means that locals are invested in security, and of course they have an incentive that folks from the outside can never have. They are going to fight and die for their neighborhood, again, in a way that -- others who might come in from elsewhere would not be willing to do the same. So in fact we've seen a very substantial number of attacks on these forces as they have become more effective, trying to take out their checkpoints, attack their bases and so forth. REP. FLAKE: Thank you. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. Mr. Smith from Washington. REP. ADAM SMITH (D-WA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, General, Ambassador, for your service and for your testimony today. I want to explore something we haven't talked that much about, and that is to some degree -- Iraq, to a very large degree, is dividing along sectarian lines and has been for some time. I mean, if we're not there yet, we're pretty -- we pretty soon will be to the point where there's no such thing as a mixed Shi'a-Sunni neighborhood. So even while we're surging forward, this -- (inaudible) -- ethnic cleansing, division, whatever you want to call it, is going on. And I think there's a number of implications of that. You know, one is, it sort of underscores the difficulty of reaching a solution. You know, I, I guess, will be a minority among some of my colleagues here. I don't really so much blame the Iraqis for the situation. It's an intractable situation. It's not like if they stuck around in August in parliament they would have solved this. They, you know, have a deep division between Shi'a and Sunni that I think everybody in this room understands, and it's not a problem that leverage or anything is really going to solve. It is what it is, and it's a reality on the ground. And I'm concerned that we don't seem to be reacting very much to that reality, or as much as we should be. We still have this fantasy of a, you know, unity government in Iraq that we are supposedly fighting to create the space to come about. And I think most people would have to acknowledge at this point it is not going to happen. More on that in a second. I just want to -- one quick question for General Petraeus. So when you figure out what ethno-sectarian violence is, you don't count Shi'a on Shi'a and Sunni on Sunni. And that's a little troubling, in the sense that since this ethnic cleansing is going on and the neighbors have divided, a lot of the violence then comes down to once they've divided it that way, then it's, okay, which Shi'a are going to be in charge and which Sunni are going to be in charge? I mean, to some degree that's part of what's going on in Anbar. Sunnis -- GEN. PETRAEUS: First of all, Congressman, we count in the -- civilian deaths include all deaths, as I mentioned. REP. A. SMITH: Okay. But in the sectarian -- GEN. PETRAEUS: They are in there. REP. A. SMITH: In the sectarian violence. GEN. PETRAEUS: We are focused on sectarian violence, ethno- sectarian violence -- REP. A. SMITH: Right. GEN. PETRAEUS: -- because in some cases it's Arabs and Kurds as well -- because that is what eats at the fabric of Iraqi society. That is what tore the fabric of Iraqi society in the -- REP. A. SMITH: That could be, General, but if I may for just one minute -- GEN. PETRAEUS: -- latter part of 2006. If I could finish, sir. And it does not stop. It never stops until it is stopped by something else. And what we wanted to -- want to have happen is to have it stopped because there is a sustainable security situation. In some cases we help it stop by cement walls. REP. A. SMITH: That could well be, but what I said is essentially accurate, that you don't count -- in the chart that we showed, you weren't showing us civilian deaths, you were showing -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Oh, I did show you civilian deaths. That is -- REP. A. SMITH: Ethno-sectarian -- GEN. PETRAEUS: -- in the chart. There are civilian deaths. REP. A. SMITH: Okay. GEN. PETRAEUS: I showed that slide. And that has come down substantially. REP. A. SMITH: But for the purpose -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Now, it has not come down as much outside Baghdad because of the mass casualty attacks carried out by al Qaeda. And we count all of those, all civilian deaths. That's why I showed that slide and then showed the subset of that slide, which is the ethno- sectarian deaths REP. A. SMITH: Okay. GEN PETRAEUS: We focus on that because of the damage that ethno- sectarian violence does to neighborhoods, particularly, again, in Baghdad. And the problem with the discussion is that Baghdad is a mixed province, still, as are Babil, Wasat, Diyala and other areas of Iraq. REP. A. SMITH: If I could have -- GEN. PETRAEUS: And beyond that, beyond that, the resources are provided by a central government. So with the mechanism that exists now under the Iraqi constitution, there has to be representation of and responsiveness to all Iraqis in that government to ensure that all do get. Now -- REP. A. SMITH: My time is very limited. I wanted to ask Ambassador Crocker a question, if I may. I appreciate that -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you for letting me answer that anyway. REP. A. SMITH: The question, then, is, what is the political solution that we are moving toward? And that's what is most concerning to us. And the bottom line is, even under General Petraeus's description, in July of 2007 we will have roughly the same number of troops in Iraq that we had in January of 2007. Now, a lot of progress has happened, but that is obviously a problem for us. What is the political solution that we are working towards where the conditions are in place that we can begin to end our occupation, keeping in mind the fact that this ethnic division is happening? And maybe, Ambassador Crocker, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but Baghdad is separating along ethnic lines, is it not? And how does that -- what are the implications for where we're headed with all of this? If you could take a stab at that. AMB. CROCKER: Baghdad, like so many other parts of Iraq, in spite of the sectarian violence that occurred, remains a very mixed area. And that is why, again, abruptly changing course now could have some extremely nasty humanitarian consequences. Iraq is still, to a large degree, an intermixed society. Now, that puts special weight on the question you ask. So, what kind of political society is it going to be? According to the constitution, Iraq is a federal state. The debate is over what kind of federal state. Iraqis are going to need to work through this. The encouraging news I see is that now all communities increasingly are ready to talk about translating federalism down to a practical level. And that's a conversation that very much does need to take place. As I tried to lay out in my testimony, there is a tremendous amount of unfinished business here. There is that debate. There is within that debate the whole question of how the center and the periphery relate. For example, a hot debate that I had a chance to witness among Iraq's leaders was over can a provincial governor under certain circumstances -- emergency circumstances -- command federal forces. That's a pretty big issue, and it's an unresolved issue. So that's why -- and everything I said, I tried to lay out that I see reasons to believe that Iraq can stabilize as a secure democratic federal state at peace with its neighbors, under the rule of law, an ally in the war on terrorism. But it's going to take a lot of work, and it's going to take time. REP. SKELTON: The chair recognizes the gentleman from New York, Mr. Engel. REP. ENGEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to say at the outset, gentlemen, that I respect both of you and I thank you for your service to the nation. I am respectful of our troops who put their lives on the line for us every day. But I really must disagree with a lot of what I've heard here today. The American people are fed up -- I'm fed up -- and essentially what I'm hearing from both of you today is essentially "stay the course in Iraq." How long can we put up with staying the course? Young Americans are dying in someone else's civil war, as far as I'm concerned. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned that Iraq will slip into civil war if we leave. I mean, we're in civil war now. It's become apparent to me that the Iraqis will not step up until we step out, and as long as we have what seems to be an open-ended commitment, the Iraqis will never step up. So we have an open-ended commitment with many, many troops. At some point you have to ask, is this the best way to keep the U.S. safe? General Petraeus, you said that the Iraqi politicians were understanding more and more about the threat from Iran. Mr. Maliki is supported by a pro-Iranian parliamentarians in the parliament. That keeps his coalition in power, so how much can he really go against Iran? He's a product of Iran. His people that back him are supporters of Iran. You know, for years we keep hearing rosy, upbeat pictures about Iraq -- "Victory is right around the corner; things are going well" -- and it never seems to materialize. General Petraeus, I have an article here called "Battling for Iraq." It's an op-ed piece that you wrote three years ago in The Washington Post -- today -- three years ago, and I want to just quote some of the things you said. You said, "Now, however, 18 months after entering Iraq, I see tangible progress. Iraqi security elements are being rebuilt from the ground up." You wrote that -- you said, "The institutions that oversee them are being reestablished from the top down, and Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously in the face of an enemy that has shown a willingness to do anything to disrupt the establishment of a new Iraq." You talk about Iraqi police and soldiers, and you say they're "performing a wide variety of security missions. Training is on track and increasing in capacity." And finally, you said in this article -- op-ed piece three years ago, "I meet with Iraqi security forces every day. I have seen the determination and their desire to assume the full burden of security tasks for Iraq. Iraqi security forces are developing steadily, and they are in the fight. Momentum has gathered in recent months." So today you said -- and I'll just quote a few things -- "Coalition and Iraqi security forces have achieved progress in the security area. Iraqi security forces have also continued to grow and to shoulder more of the load." And finally you said, "The progress our forces have achieved with our Iraqi counterparts, as I noted at the outset, has been substantial." So I guess my question really is that, you know, why should we believe that your assessment today is any more accurate than it was three years ago in September 2004? Three years ago I was able to listen to the optimism, but frankly I find it hard to listen now, four years-plus into this war with no end in sight. Optimism is great, but reality is what we really need. GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, Congressman. I actually appreciate the opportunity to talk about that op-ed piece because I stand by it. I think what I said there was accurate. You -- there are also a number of items in there that talk about the challenges that Iraq faced, about hardships that lay ahead, and a number of other items that are included in that piece. And what I would note, by the way, is that Iraqis are dying in combat, are taking losses that are typically two to three -- closer to three -- times ours in an average month. They are stepping up to the plate. What did happen between that time and the progress that we started -- all I was doing was saying that we were getting our act together with the train and equip program and that we were beginning -- "Training is on track." That's what it was. It was on track and it was moving along. And over the course of the next six, eight, 12 months, in fact it generally continued to progress. And then along came sectarian violence and certainly the February bombing of the gold dome mosque in Samara, and you saw what that did to the country of Iraq. It literally tore the fabric of Baghdad society, Iraqi society at large between Sunni and Shi'a, and literally some of those forces that we were proud of in the beginning took enormous steps backward and were hijacked by sectarian forces and influences at that time. What I have tried to provide today is not a rosy picture. I have tried to provide an accurate picture. As I said, I have long since gone from being a pessimist or an optimist about Iraq. I'm a realist. We have learned lessons very much the hard way, and again the damage done by sectarian violence in particular has been a huge setback for the overall effort, and it resulted in the change that had to be carried out as a result of General Casey and Ambassador Khalilzad assessing in December of 2006 that the effort was failing to achieve its objectives. That's where we were. And as I mentioned, we have then made changes to that that have enabled the military progress that I have talked about. And that is military progress indeed that has emerged certainly most in the last three months, since the mid-June surge of offensives, but is something that we certainly are going to do all that we can to build on and to continue in the weeks and months ahead. Thank you -- (inaudible). REP. ENGEL: But General, that was three years ago, and this is three years later. REP. SKELTON: Whoa, whoa -- (inaudible). REP. ENGEL: Will we be saying the same thing three years from now? REP. SKELTON: Mr. Engel -- Mr. Engel, you're over a minute over your time. The chair recognizes the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Akin. REP. AKIN: I wanted to say, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, thank you for your service. I thank you, and I know that my son who's had a little free time over in Fallujah would also thank you for your good service, as well. I also would like to compliment you on your testimony today. It is professional and credible, as we anticipated that it would be. But some of us sitting here were guessing, trying to figure out what you were going to say today, and one of the things that did surprise me a little bit was that you seem to be a little gentler on the Iraqi parliament and maybe not quite as aggressive on federalism, which seems to be working well and working with the local level. So I guess my question is this: instead of threatening, well, we're going to take our troops and go home, does it not make sense to a certain degree to say, look, if the national legislature can't figure out when to have elections in Anbar province, we'll help -- we'll take care of that for you; we'll go ahead and schedule those. And by the way, you need to understand that Anbar and the different provinces are going to be able to take care of their own garbage collection and police and all this, the type of things we think of as local government functions. And can we not be building at the local level at the same time as at the federal level, both in terms of political leverage to encourage and spur each one on, but also just because of the -- the local progress seems to be working pretty well? And my last question. It kind of goes -- if you comment on that, but the next piece would be, if we wanted to elect the equivalent of a mayor of a city or people to a city council that are not working at the -- you know, at the federal level, do we have the authority to do that, and can that process take place? And is that happening? AMB. CROCKER: That's a series of good questions. Let me start by saying that we are very much focused on how we can help in the provinces. In Anbar, for example, we've got three embedded PRTs as well as the main PRT out there, been working very closely with the Marines in just these kind of issues. Okay, you've got a municipality now. And by the way, of course, Iraq is now at the stage where Iraqis are forming their own municipal governments. REP. AKIN: Are they doing that right now? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, they -- REP. AKIN: Forming their own? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, sir. They -- REP. AKIN: Do they elect people to run those -- so that's going on right now? AMB. CROCKER: They do indeed, and that's been one of the other elements of the Anbar phenomenon that I think now every town of significance in Anbar has an elected mayor and municipal council. And the mission we've got is doing everything we can, military and civilians, to try to help these new councils learn to act like they're councils; to, you know, deliver services, to pick up the trash. That is a major priority, and it's important. At the same time, we do encourage, as I said, the linkages up and down the line so that the municipal councils are tied into the provincial council because that's where the provincial budget is executed, not just in Anbar but everywhere in the country, so that the municipalities are getting their share as well. And this is not as easy as it may sound in a country that at least since the '60s -- and you can argue all the way back to the creation of Iraq as a modern state -- has never had that kind of contract between its government and its people. So, again, it's part of the revolution and progress, if you will. But we have seen that as conditions -- as security conditions stabilize, a lot of things start happening like these municipal councils, like a focus on services, like linkages from top to bottom. And again, we've -- Iraqis talk about federalism, but what does that mean in a case where resources all flow from the center? You know, the budget for Anbar comes from Baghdad. They don't have the capacity to develop a revenue base independently. So all of those things are in play, and they have been in play, basically, just since security started to improve out there. A tremendous amount has happened in a fairly short time, which gives me, again, some encouragement that as security conditions stabilize in other parts of the country, you can see not the same process -- because, as I said earlier, each place has its own unique characteristics -- but, you know, roughly similar processes start to catch hold. REP. AKIN: Thank you very much. REP. JOHN BOOZMAN (R-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. REP. TAYLOR: The gentleman from Arkansas, Mr. Boozman. REP. BOOZMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, when I was over and visiting not too long ago with you, two or three weeks ago, one of the real concerns that I had after I left was that, in visiting with the guys that had been there for a while, what I would call the backbone of the military, many of those guys were on their third deployment. And I'm pleased to hear that, because we are making progress, that we are going to be able to withdraw. Occasionally we'll have votes here that maybe mandate that you have to go over -- you know, you've got to come back for the same amount of time that you've gone. Besides the argument of not wanting to micro-manage the war from Congress, which I believe very strongly that we shouldn't do, what does that do to your flexibility if we were to actually pass something like that? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, that's not really a question that I can answer. That would have to be one that the chief of staff of the Army or the commandant of the Marine Corps would have to address. My job, as you know, is to request forces and then try to make the best possible use of them, and I'm not really sufficiently knowledgeable in what the status is at this point in time of reaching a point where we can start extending the time that forces are at home and so forth. REP. BOOZMAN: Let me ask very quickly, Mr. Crocker, one of the frustrations I've had in traveling the area has been that the -- our efforts to try -- our Voice of America-type efforts that was so successful against the Soviet Union, sometimes the people in the region have not spoken very well of that through the years. Is that better, or can you tell us a little bit about what we're trying to do to get the hearts and minds through the media? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, sir, that has, of course, been something that we've been engaged in since 2003, and as you suggest with some fairly mixed results in trying to get this right. We've got a couple of vehicles out there for it. One of them is Al Hurra, which has, quite frankly, as I understand it, been involved in a few controversies and has gone through some high-level personnel changes. As well as, of course, VOA, which has been a stalwart all along, as you point out. It is a complex media environment in Iraq and in the region, and it requires having people in place who know how messages resonate and know how to put them together. I was in Iraq in 2003 for several months as we put together the Governing Council and our first media efforts, and coming back a little over four years later I've been impressed by the progress we have made. But to be completely frank with you, I think we still have a way to go both in Iraq and in the region in articulating an effective message to Arab audiences. REP. BOOZMAN: General Petraeus, I've got tremendous respect for you, tremendous respect for General Jones. A lot -- you know, people have alluded to that report. Well, it would be helpful, I think, to me and others if at some point that perhaps you could maybe respond through writing or whatever some of the ideas that he's got that differ than the ideas that you -- I would just encourage you -- again, that would be very helpful to me if at some point you could delineate the differences that you have and then why. I yield back. REP. SKELTON: The chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California, Ms. Sanchez. REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ (D-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, gentlemen, for being before us today. It's good to see you both again. As usual, I have tons of questions, General and Ambassador, but let me limit it to this one. The BBC released the results of a poll conducted in August that indicates that Iraqi opinion is at the gloomiest state ever since the BBC and ABC News polls began in February of 2004. According to the latest poll, between 67 and 70 percent of Iraqis say that the surge has made things worse in some key areas, including security and the conditions for political dialogue, reconstruction and economic development. Since the last BBC/ABC News poll in February, the number of Iraqis who think that the U.S.-led coalition forces should leave immediately has risen sharply, from 35 to 47 percent. And 85 percent of Iraqis say they have little or no confidence in the U.S. and U.K. forces. So I know a lot of politicians live by polls, and I realize that the U.S. policy in Iraq shouldn't simply follow the polls, because, you know, there can be a wide range of influence on some of this. Nevertheless, it's a fundamental principle of the U.S. Army counterinsurgency doctrine that the attitudes of the population are an important center of gravity in such a conflict. I think that was stated in our counterinsurgency manual. First -- I have three questions for you -- were you aware of the poll? Do you have your own polling? And why -- and what are your findings versus the attitude of the Iraqi public that we find in the BBC poll? Secondly, how do you explain the sharply negative perception of Iraqis regarding security conditions in Iraq since the surge began? If your data so indicates that dramatic and sharp declines in violence have happened in the last three months, then why isn't it reflected in the attitudes of the Iraqi citizens who are living this hell day by day? And third, one of the cornerstones of your counterinsurgency strategy is to deploy U.S. forces into the areas where they conduct operations, and the BBC poll indicates a dramatic increase in the percentage of Iraqis who want U.S.-led forces to leave Iraq. And that supports the finding of the independent commission by General Jones, that said massive troop presence and U.S. military facilities creates a negative perception among Iraqis that U.S. forces are a long-term occupying force. So, how concerned are you that this apparent decline in public confidence is happening due to that, and how do we address it? Is it a public relations problem or is there a substantive strategy issue that we need to face? And I'll start with the ambassador. AMB. CROCKER: Thank you very much, Congresswoman. No, I have not seen this particular poll. As you know, there are a lot of polls out there. And to say the least, I think polling in Iraq at this point is probably a fairly inexact science -- which is not to call into question, you know, this particular poll. I simply don't know. I know that I have seen -- REP. SANCHEZ: It's a BBC/ABC poll. They usually know how to conduct surveys quite well, I would say. AMB. CROCKER: Yeah. What -- REP. SANCHEZ: They certainly find that they count better than most of our generals count in Iraq. And General Petraeus will know what I mean by that. AMB. CROCKER: I have seen other national polling data that shows, for example, that the number of Iraqis who now feel secure in their own neighborhoods and indeed feel secure moving around the city has gone up significantly. I don't know whether that is accurate either. What I do know, since Iraq, with all of its problems and imperfections, is now an open political society where political figures do have a sense of where their constituencies are, that all of Iraq's principal leaders have registered the sense they have that there has been an improvement of security in the course of the surge. And they've also been very clear that they credit multi-national forces with much of that improvement, and that they don't want to see any marked precipitous reduction in how those forces are deployed until conditions sustain it. Another example I would give you is the communique of the leaders on the 26th of August, in which these five individuals, who have some pretty substantial differences among them, were all prepared to sign on to language that called for a long-term strategic relationship with the U.S. So, again -- REP. SANCHEZ: Well, sure. They want our money, and they want our -- you know, I mean, we're pumping lots of -- we're about the only thing going on in the economy. AMB. CROCKER: Well, actually, there's a lot starting to go on in the economy, and we've talked about what we're seeing in terms of provincial development; that's -- that's mainly coming from -- REP. SANCHEZ: Potential development. AMB. CROCKER: Provincial. REP. SANCHEZ: Provincial. AMB. CROCKER: Provincial development. That's coming out of the central treasury. And it is generating economic activity. We support that. We have a number of programs of our own that we work in coordination with Iraqi government. But there is economic activity. Again, it's anecdotal, but what I have noticed going around Baghdad is people, because they're feeling relatively better about their security conditions, are now asking, "Okay, so where are the services?" REP. SANCHEZ: Again, why is the poll so far off from your anecdotal? AMB. CROCKER: Ma'am, I -- you know, I haven't seen the poll. I don't know what the margin of error is or how it was conducted. REP. SANCHEZ: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. We have an ongoing vote. We're told they will hold the vote open for an extra two or three minutes for us. I don't believe we have time to call on an additional member, which I regret, and I thank you for staying the additional 20 minutes, Mr. Ambassador and General. I appreciate -- we all appreciate your being with us -- REP. ORTIZ: I was ready. REP. SKELTON: -- your professionalism and your duty to our country. With that, we'll adjourn the hearing. (Sounds gavel.) END.
Status of Iraq War Hearing SWITCHED 1800 - 1900
Joint hearings of the House Armed Services and House Foreign Affairs committee with General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. CLEAN HEARING TRANSCRIPT OF THE 18:00-19:00 HOUR WITHOUT TIME CODE GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first, if I could just start out and note that there is no question that al Qaeda Iraq is part of the greater al Qaeda movement. We have intercepted numerous communications between al Qaeda senior leadership, AQSL as they're called, and the -- REP. ACKERMAN: Isn't it true, General, that al Qaeda in Iraq formed in 2005, two years after we first got there? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, I'm not saying when it started. I'm saying merely that al Qaeda Iraq clearly is part of the overall greater al Qaeda network. REP. ACKERMAN: But they didn't exist until we -- (inaudible). GEN. PETRAEUS: We have intercepted numerous communications, and there is no question also but that al Qaeda Iraq is a key element in igniting the ethnosectarian violence. They have been in effect an element that has poured gas on burning embers with the bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque, for example, and with efforts that they have tried recently, for example, bombing the poor Yazidi villages in northwestern Iraq and so forth. REP. ACKERMAN: Are they a threat to us? GEN. PETRAEUS: Al Qaeda Central is a threat to us. I don't know what the result would be if we left Iraq and left al Qaeda Iraq in place. That is very, very hard to say. REP. ACKERMAN: Then how could you -- GEN. PETRAEUS: I don't know where they would go from here. Again, I'm not trying to -- REP. ACKERMAN: Then how could you suggest that we leave after the sectarian violence stops? REP. SKELTON: (Sounds gavel.) Go ahead and answer the question. GEN. PETRAEUS: I'm not sure I understand that question, Congressman. REP. ACKERMAN: The question is, your testimony appears to indicate that our mission is to end the sectarian violence. If we end the sectarian violence, how can we leave without killing everybody who we've identified as part of a terrorist organization such as al Qaeda in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, al Qaeda again, as I mentioned, Congressman, is part of the sectarian violence. They really are the fuel -- important, most important fuel on the Sunni Arab side of this ethnosectarian conflict -- REP. ACKERMAN: Question again is, how do we leave? GEN. PETRAEUS: The way to leave is to stabilize the situations in each area, and each area will require a slightly different solution. The solution in Anbar province, as an example, has been one that is quite different from what -- one that might be used in a mixed sectarian area. But stabilizing the area, trying to get the violence down, in some cases literally using cement T-walls to secure neighborhoods and then to establish a sustainable security arrangement that increasingly is one that Iraqis can take over by themselves. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from New York, Mr. McHugh. REP. JOHN MCHUGH (R-NY): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, let me add my words of deep appreciation and respect for the amazing job you've done. Whether one agrees with our current circumstances in the Middle East or not, I would hope no one of any thinking, responsible mind would question your devotion to country and dedication to duty. I appreciate it. General, I enjoyed that back and forth with my fellow New Yorker, but let me put it a little bit more simply. Is Iraq an important part on the global war on terror in your mind? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, I think that defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq would be a huge step forward in the global war on terror, and I think that failing to do that would be a shot of adrenaline to the global Islamic extremist movement. REP. MCHUGH: Then I assume you agree with the conclusions of the National Intelligence Estimate, that if we were to leave Iraq precipitously from a military perspective, that the likelihood would be of a return to effectiveness, if you will, of AQI, al Qaeda in Iraq. Is that something you agree with? GEN. PETRAEUS: I do. If we were to leave before we and Iraqi forces had a better handle on al Qaeda-Iraq, that likely would be the outcome. We've made substantial progress against al Qaeda, as I mentioned in my opening statement, but as I also mentioned, al Qaeda remains very dangerous and certainly still capable of horrific mass- casualty sensational attacks. REP. MCHUGH: A lot of good people believe that -- and you've heard a little bit, and I suspect you'll hear more today -- good people believe that we have an opportunity by abandoning the mission in, they would argue, a thoughtful way, in Iraq and redirecting our attention entirely against Afghanistan would be the best thing to do in the war on terror. From what you know on the circumstances for the moment, would taking that step, abandoning the current conditions in Iraq for a total commitment to Afghanistan -- (inaudible) -- plus or minus in the war on terror? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, as I mentioned, allowing al Qaeda-Iraq to really rejuvenate, to regain its sanctuaries would certainly lead to a resumption of the kinds of ethnosectarian-fueling attacks that they were conducting on a much more regular basis than they have been able to conduct since the surge of offensives that we have launched in particular. I'm not sure what, you know, a huge injection of assets would do in the Afghanistan portion -- the portion of Afghanistan that is directed against al Qaeda, and I think in fairness that's probably a better question for General McChrystal, the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, or Admiral Fallon, the combatant commander. REP. MCHUGH: Thank you, sir. Ambassador Crocker, you've said it, I think everyone on this panel feels it, probably most if not all Americans feel a great deal of frustration toward the Iraqi government and the slowness in which they've taken steps that are commensurate with the military side of this equation, and I certainly share those. Folks talk about sending a message to the Iraqi government. There's few things we can see an effect, such as military reductions, that we perceive as perhaps being helpful in turning the screws, encouraging them to make those hard decisions. Advise us, sir. What can we do effectively to send a message to facilitate positive steps by Maliki and the government that's currently in power? AMB. CROCKER: It's a great question, and certainly it's one that General Petraeus and I wrestle with almost every day. First, on the issue of troop reductions as a lever. I think we have to be very careful about this. If the Iraqis develop the sense that we're prepared for a non-conditions-based withdrawal of substantial numbers of our troops, my view is that it would make them less inclined to compromise and not more. And the reason for that is that if they see us coming out, they're still going to be there. And they are then going to be looking over -- increasingly over the tops of our heads, over the horizon to figure out how they're going to survive and how they're going to get through the coming massive sectarian conflict. So it's -- it's the kind of thing we got to think very carefully about, and I'm extremely cautious in ever putting that out on the table. I find that what I kind of need to do on a day-to-day basis is first try to understand, and that's why I spent some time in my statement on how things got to be the way they are in Iraq. That doesn't mean saying, well, you're an abused child so it's okay to do whatever you want, but it does help to understand why these things are difficult; with that understanding, then figuring out where some pressure works, what kinds of pressure, where encouragement works, where some fresh thinking works. And we employ all of that on a fairly regular basis. And one example of a small success was our encouragement for the Anbar forum that took place just last Thursday that brought federal and provincial leaders together in Anbar. REP. SKELTON: Before I -- the gentleman's time has expired. I thank the gentleman. Before I call Mr. Manzullo, the gentleman from Illinois, let me add a footnote. That we speak about benchmarks, and we've had testimony in the Armed Services Committee that the benchmarks are really commitments made by the Maliki government. Mr. Manzullo. Five minutes. REP. DONALD MANZULLO (R-IL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, media reports refer to U.S. plans to build a military base near the Iran-Iraq border to curtail the flow of weapons into Iraq. Could you please elaborate on these plans? And is Iran the greatest threat to Iraqi security or is al Qaeda the greatest threat? And is the U.S. presence, and thus our massive resources in Iraq, hindering our ability to eradicate al Qaeda worldwide? GEN. PETRAEUS: First of all, Congressman, there is already a base in the area that I think -- I haven't seen that article, but there is a base southeast of Baghdad in Kut, which is where, in fact, the new contribution from the country of Georgia, a brigade, is going to be based. And that is probably what that was referring to. There is an effort to work with the Iraqis to try to interdict the flow, as I mentioned earlier, of these arms, ammunition and other assistance -- lethal assistance coming from Iran that are being funneled to these breakaway rogue militias/special groups associated with the Jaish al-Mahdi, the Sadr militia. You've asked a great question about which is the biggest threat, if you will. We tend to see al Qaeda-Iraq the wolf closest to the sled, because it is the threat that carries out the most horrific attacks in Iraq that cause the very high casualties, that attempt to reignite ethno-sectarian violence, as they did in fact with the February 2006 bombing of the gold dome mosque. And you saw how the security incidents just climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed, and really all the way until just the last several months, before they started to come down. They are still dangerous. They're off-balance. They have lost the initiative in a number of areas. We have taken away sanctuaries in a number of important areas. But they still remain very, very lethal and very dangerous, and they will certainly try to reconstitute. So that is, in a sense, what we see as the immediate and most pressing threat, and we've put great emphasis on that, with our Iraqi counterparts, because they are very much in this. It was the Iraqi army that killed the emir of Mosul, as an example, and has actually had a number of other successes recently against al Qaeda elements. The long-term threat may well be the Iranian-supported militia extremists in Iraq. If these could become a surrogate in the form of a Hezbollah-like element, these are very worrisome. We have learned a great about Iran since we captured the head of the special groups and the deputy commander of Lebanese Hezbollah, Department 2800. They have shared with us. They have explained, as have a number of others that we have captured -- explained the level of assistance, training, equipping, funding and so forth. And we captured documents with them that documented the attacks that they had carried out and clearly were so detailed because they were in fact giving those to prove what they had done to justify the further expenditure of funds from Iran. Prime Minister Maliki, I think, sees that as perhaps THE biggest threat, and a number of the Iraqi leaders, just as we have learned a great deal more in recent months, have also learned a great deal more. And they have been very worried about what they have seen, despite the fact, as was mentioned earlier, that a number of them have quite a long history with Iran, and in some cases many years in exile in Iran. REP. MANZULLO: The last question was, is our presence in Iraq hindering our ability to fight al Qaeda worldwide? GEN. PETRAEUS: Again, I think that's probably a better question for the commander who is charged with the overall counterterrorist effort of the United States, Lieutenant General Stan McChrystal, who spends a great deal of time in Iran, has very sizable assets -- in Iraq -- has very sizable aspects -- assets in Iraq as well. And I think he would be the one who would best be able to answer whether the relative mix against Iraq or Afghanistan or elsewhere, because there are certainly al Qaeda affiliates. And we do track this with him every week. In fact, we get together and discuss not just al Qaeda in Iraq, but al Qaeda in the Levant and in other areas, the Horn of Africa and so forth as well. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman from Illinois. Mr. Taylor, gentleman from Mississippi. REP. GENE TAYLOR (D-MS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General and Mr. Ambassador, for being here. General, we hear a lot of talk about there being a partnership with the Iraqis and building up Iraqi capabilities. When I looked around your headquarters at the Water Palace at Easter, it sure looked like an all-American show to me. In fact, I don't recall the presence of a single Iraqi there. Given the talk of standing them up so that we can create a situation where at some point the Americans can come home, at what point does it become more of a partnership in reality as opposed to a partnership in words? GEN. PETRAEUS: Thanks, Congressman. In fact, right across from our headquarters is the Iraqi ground force headquarters, which is really the equivalent of the Multinational Corps Iraq and which has partnered very closely with Lieutenant General Odierno and his headquarters. We have a substantial number of transition team advisers in that headquarters and, in fact, we have Iraqi liaison in our headquarters as well. Our biggest effort really, certainly from my level, is with the Iraqi joint headquarters, which is in their Ministry of Defense building, which is contiguous, literally, with a door right between the wall, contiguous to the Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq headquarters, General Dubik's headquarters, which is the organization that is charged with supporting the development of the ministry and the joint headquarters. And that is how we work with them. I also provide a substantial number of officers from staff sections in the Multinational Force headquarters, the intelligence operations and others, who are actually partnered with the Iraqis there and also at the Baghdad Operational Command headquarters. REP. TAYLOR: General, in your conversations with the Iraqis, do you ever point at a calendar, whether this year, next year, the following year, the year after that, and say, "We expect you to be an operational force by this date"? What I fail to see, and I'd like you to enlighten me, is a target date. We hear numbers of Iraqis trained; we hear dollars spent on equipment. What I don't hear or see is a target date where you expect them to be able to police their own country and defend their own country. And if I'm missing that, I would certainly like you to point that out. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, in fact, that transition has been going on. And in fact, the dates are usually mutually agreed. There is a joint Multinational Force Iraq/government of Iraq committee that has representation from the different security ministries and in fact determines the dates, for example, for provincial Iraqi control. Even during the surge -- REP. TAYLOR: And those dates are, sir? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, those are always -- they're agreed by province. As an example, a couple of months ago, we did it for Maysan province. The three Iraqi Kurdish provinces were just recently done. Several provinces were done before the surge as well. And Karbala, for example, is coming up right after Ramadan, about a month or so from now. Now, we have dates on a schedule that we work out with this committee, and it lays out the projected time frames for when this process of provincial Iraqi control will go forward, and we have that for each of the different provinces out there. Sometimes the dates have slipped. There's no question about that. In the case of, for example, Diyala province, which experienced real difficulties as Baqubah was on the verge of becoming the new capital of a caliphate of al Qaeda, that slipped. On the other hand, Anbar province, all the sudden, which was not one that we were looking forward to at all, actually now has a date, and I think it's something like January of 2008. So that process has been ongoing. There are numbers of provinces in which there are few if any coalition forces. Several have no coalition forces. Others have a single special forces team or what have you. REP. TAYLOR: General, for the record, could you supply us that timeline by province to this committee? GEN. PETRAEUS: I'd be happy to give you the provincial Iraqi control schedule that we have right now, yes, sir. REP. TAYLOR: Okay, thank you. Thank you again for your service. REP. SKELTON: Let me ask a question. Would that be classified or unclassified? GEN. PETRAEUS: Sir, I think it is classified. Again, whatever it is, we'll get it to you. REP. SKELTON: We would appreciate that. I thank the gentleman from Mississippi. REP. TAYLOR: Thank you again, General Petraeus. GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. The gentleman from American Samoa, Mr. Faleomavaega, please. DEL. ENI FALEOMAVAEGA (D-AS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank both of you gentlemen for your service to our country. I keep hearing that our active duty and Marine forces are overstretched. And I also express the very serious concerns about the capacity of our current (ready ?) Reservists and National Guard organization, and which was confirmed by General Keane, who expressed some real serious concerns about the way we are using our (ready ?) Reservists and National Guardsmen. And gentlemen, with the tremendous strain and shortages in military equipment, preparedness and training of our (ready ?) Reservists and National Guardsmen and women, who are obligated now to serve in Iraq, does our military currently have the capacity to fight two fronts, in Iraq and Afghanistan? And do we have enough added strategic reserves to fight another potential war front like Iran, the Taiwan Straits, or even to have the situation that's now brewing between the Kurds and our ally, Turkey? With the crisis now brewing there in that northern part of the country in Iraq, I wanted to know if we have the capacity -- it seems like we have all the military personnel available to do what everyone wanted to do to perform the military mission. And I'd like to hear your professional judgment on that, General Petraeus. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, thank you. First of all, I very much share the concern over the strain on our military forces, and in particular on our ground forces and other so-called high-demand, low-density assets. As I mentioned, that was one of the factors that informed my recommendations to draw down the five Army brigade combat teams, the Marine expeditionary unit and the two Marine battalions, between now and next summer. I also am on the record as offering the opinion that our ground forces are too small. And I did that before the approval of the expansion of those. And I am gratified to see, frankly, the support that this body has given to the effort to expand our ground forces because of the strain that has put on them and, by the way, of course, on their families. With respect to your question, sir, again, with respect, I'm just not the one to answer that. I am pretty focused on the mission in Iraq and not really equipped to answer whether or not -- what else is out there for other contingencies, although I know in a general sense, obviously, that there is very little else out there. DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Thank you, General. I have the highest respect for our men and women in military uniform. And I could not agree more with my good friend from California when he mentioned statements by General MacArthur about duty, honor and country. And General Petraeus, one of your colleagues, the former chief of staff for the Army, General Eric Shinseki, was vilified and humiliated by civilian authority because he just wanted to offer a professional judgment on the situation there in Iraq. He recommended that we should have at least 250,000 soldiers if we really wanted to do a good job from the very beginning. Now they put him out to dry. General Taguba also was another good soldier vilified and humiliated by civilian authority of what he felt was doing his job and his duty to our country. It's been estimated that because there are 6 million people living in Baghdad that it would require at least 100,000 soldiers to bring security, real security, to the people living in that city. Could I ask for your opinion, General Petraeus, if you think that 160,000 soldiers that you now command is more than sufficient in capacity to do what you need to do right now in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, there's never been a commander in history, I don't think, who would not like to have more forces, more money, more allies and perhaps a variety of other assets. I have what we have in the military, what the military could provide for the surge. Beyond that, we certainly an increasing number of Iraqis, by the way. I might that add that in fact one of Prime Minister Maliki's initiatives has been to expand the number of forces in general and also the manning of each division so that it is at 120 percent of authorized strength so that with their leave policy, which is a must -- and remember, these guys don't ever go home except on leave with their pay. They are in the fight until it is over, and if they don't take their pay home at the end of the four weeks or so or whatever that period is that was worked out for them, they will not get that pay. But I have also again recommended today reductions in our force levels that I believe will be prudent, based on what we have achieved and what I believe we will have achieved together with our Iraqi counterparts. REP./DEL. : Thank you, General. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from American Samoa raises the issue of readiness. We have had in the Armed Services Committee extensive testimony and documentation, particularly in the Readiness Subcommittee under my friend from Texas, Mr. Ortiz, on the strains, particularly on the ground forces of the Army and Marines. And I tell my friend from American Samoa, it's very, very serious. Thank you for raising that issue. Mr. Bartlett. REP. ROSCOE G. BARTLETT (R-MD): Thank you folks very much for your service and your testimony. Remembering all those years I sat in the bottom row and never had a chance to ask my question, I'm going to yield most of my time to the most junior member on our side of the aisle, but first I must ask a very brief question and then make a brief comment. The brief question is, General, in an attempt to discredit your testimony today, The New York Times is quoted as saying that "The Pentagon no longer counts deaths from car bombings." And The Washington Post is reported as saying that we -- that you will only count assassinations if the bullet entered the back of the heard and not the front. Unless you interrupt me to say that I'm wrong, I'm going to assume that both of these allegations are false. GEN. PETRAEUS: They are false, that's correct. REP. BARTLETT: Thank you for confirming my suspicions. GEN. PETRAEUS: We have a formula for ethnosectarian violence. There's a very clear definition about it. It's acts taken by individuals of one ethnic or sectarian grouping against another ethnosectarian grouping in general for an ethnosectarian reason. It is not that complicated, candidly. If al Qaeda bombs a neighborhood that is Shi'a, that is an ethnosectarian incident, and it is adjudged as such. And where this idea of the bullet entering comes into it is not something I'm aware of. REP. BARTLETT: Thank you, sir. I just didn't want those allegations out there without the opportunity to refute them. Mr. Ambassador, on page four of your testimony, you note the tension between deciding whether or not the power ought to be in the center or the periphery. Some see the devolution of power to regions and provinces as being the best insurance against the rise of a future tyrannical figure in Baghdad. Others see Iraq with its complex demographics as in need of a strong authority. I would submit, Mr. Ambassador, this is the essential question, and unless we know which of those roads we ought to be traveling, I think that the probability of success is enormously diminished. If we haven't already, I hope we can decide which of those roads we ought to be traveling on because they are very different processes, sir. Let me yield the balance of my time now, I believe, (to) our most junior member, Mr. Geoff Davis from Kentucky. (Short pause.) (Cross talk off mike.) REP. GEOFF DAVIS (R-KY): With the chairman's indulgence, I'll ask that the time for the power failure not be counted against -- REP. SKELTON: Please proceed. REP. DAVIS: Thank you very much. Yes, it is somewhat ironic with our challenges today that we provide the criticism to our Arabic partners. I find it ironic that the Iraqi national assembly has been more legislatively effective this year than the United States Congress in passing laws, so our criticism should also measure ourselves. First, General Petraeus, I want to commend you on your application of classic counterinsurgency principles, working with the localized social and cultural networks to build from the bottom-up -- or as Speaker Tip O'Neill used to say, all politics is local. I've heard feedback from across the theater from friends of more than 30 years ranging down to young soldiers and their perspectives, and I think the people on both ends of the political spectrum are trying to oversimplify, to define as black-and-white issues that are best measured in shades of gray. You both have inherited a situation in which our instruments of power were initially employed with flawed assumptions and now in which any course of action has potentially significant second-and third- order effects, and there's areas that I would appreciate if you could comment on. First, one closer to home. I have often heard from troops at all levels, ranging from Central Command staff all the way down to platoon members, in Sadr City that the military is at war, but the nation is not. You mentioned the need to fight in cyberspace, and I assume meaning an information campaign explaining both to the world our ideas and also to the people. And I guess the question there would be: What would you tell the American people, not Congress, is the reason that we should support the recommendations of both of you? And then, following on that, given the effects that these decisions will have on the future, do you have some suggestions on key reforms to our national security or interagency process that you'd recommend to better integrate and facilitate our instruments of national power? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first of all, if I could, I do believe that our leaders get it in Iraq more than we ever have before. Part of that is just sheer experience. Just about every battalion or brigade commander, most company commanders have served in Iraq at least one tour before, some more than one. We've made mistakes along the way; we've learned a lot of lessons the hard way. But we've made significant changes in our institutional Army, Marine Corps, in particular, and the other services, in terms of our doctrine, the education of our commissioned, non-commissioned officers, the preparation at the combat training centers, the entire road-to-deployment process. And I think that that has made a change in adopting some of the counterinsurgency practices that we are using. With respect to who is at war and who isn't, I would merely associate myself with the remarks of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Pace, who has said on a number of occasions, I believe, before the House Armed Services Committee among them, that he believes that the military obviously is at war, but that he's not so sure about all of the other agencies. Although I would certainly say that State and AID are very much in the same camp. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. But it's not just the military that's at war. It's their families, General. GEN. PETRAEUS: That is exactly -- REP. SKELTON: And we appreciate their sacrifices. GEN. PETRAEUS: Right. REP. SKELTON: Next on my list I have the gentleman from California, Mr. Royce. REP. EDWARD ROYCE (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, I would just like to ask you your thoughts on al Qaeda in Iraq. You mentioned the reduction of the popular level of support. And I think General Jones's commission bears that out, his finding that that support level in Anbar had decreased dramatically. And it sort of begs the question: Where does al Qaeda in Iraq draw it's support today? And how do those fighters get into the country? And what could we be doing? In theory, what could we be doing? Now, let's say in Saudi Arabia, you have a young man buying a one-way plane ticket into Damascus. It shouldn't be that hard to figure out what might be going on. What could we be doing in these countries, and I ask the ambassador the same question, in order to deter then influx? I'd also like just some stats. I mean, is it 40 percent Saudi, 30 percent North African? If you've taken out 2,500 of their fighters and 100 of their officer corps recently, then clearly focusing on how they get into the country would be a question that I'd be interested in. And lastly when you look at your plan to draw down the force of five brigades here over the ensuing months, and then as you step down to a few brigades left in Iraq for the purpose of overwatch, all of that is based upon how well the Iraqi military performs. The numbers you've given us would indicate now that there soon will be a half-million soldiers or security people in Iraq under the Iraqi military. But what type of progress -- give us your unvarnished opinion of the progress that's being made or not being made by these Iraqi military units, because the success of your plan to reach a position where you draw down to a few brigades left for overwatch is dependent upon their success. Thank you, General. Thank you, Ambassador Crocker. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, by the way, the reduction for -- of support for al Qaeda extends well beyond Anbar as well. It now is manifested, as we mentioned, both in Abu Ghraib, other areas that used to be sanctuaries for Iraq, three important neighborhoods in particular: Amiriyah, Ghazalia and Adhamiya. In each one of those at varying stages, the first two in particular, local individuals have stood up, literally generated local forces that have now been tied into our forces. Prime Minister Maliki has directed his army to work with them and coordinate with them, and the next step would be to work to get them into a legitimate Iraqi security force institution. Al Qaeda continues to get its support from a variety of means. Certainly it gets direction, money and expertise from the outside. It does send in from the outside foreigners to try to help rejuvenate areas. In fact, we killed the three -- we call them the al-Turki brothers. These were individuals who had spent time in Afghanistan in the past, who had come into Iraq. We missed them. They came in again. And that time we were able to -- literally to kill them. And so they were not able to do what they were supposed to do, which was to help in northern Iraq, which was under big pressure. So there is outside support, and there's also this flow of these foreign fighters, a number of whom do end up being suicide bombers. We still estimate that -- and it's very hard to tell, but somewhere -- 80 percent or so of the suicide bombers are from outside Iraq. And that was what we were talking about earlier, the importance of the diplomatic offensive, to work with source countries, to work with the countries through whom these fighters can transit to make it more difficult, as you say. And there's a variety of mechanisms. We believe, for example, that Saudi Arabia has taken steps in fact to make it tougher. The last Saudi foreign fighter we captured had actually had to take a bus to Damascus and then got into the network that eventually brought him into the country. We believe that Saudi Arabia is still probably the largest country in terms of the foreign fighters, although that again may be diminishing somewhat. And there are certainly others that come from North Africa, Jordan, Syria and so forth into Iraq. The Iraqi security forces range in quality from exceptionally good, at the very high end, with the Iraqi counterterrorist force, which is a true special mission unit in its capability, equipment, training, and is probably more active, undoubtedly more active than any other such unit in the region; the Iraqi commando battalion, which is expanding substantially and now has forces positioned outside Baghdad as well; and other elements of the Iraqi special operations force brigade; the national police emergency response unit, also very, very active; and the special tactics unit. It then ranges all the way down through units that are variously good and aggressive, including special units typically in most of the provinces with whom we partner special forces teams, who do an absolutely superb job, and Prime Minister Maliki, in fact, personally has come to place greater importance on those because it was these high-end units and special units that he literally took with him. Actually we moved some of them down by air, others by ground, and then he took a column of about 40 vehicles personally to go to Karbala and to restore peace and stability to that situation after the confrontation between the militia of Sadr and the shrine security guards. But this runs all the way down -- it runs the gamut to -- and I have to be up front and say there are still some units, particularly in the national police, but also a handful in the Iraqi army, that were formed literally out of sectarian militias or were hijacked, in the case of some of the national police units, during the height of the sectarian violence. And those still have issues that have to be addressed. And again, especially in the wake of this militia -- the militia problems, where Sadr's militia is very clearly linked to the assassination of one, and likely two, governors in southern provinces, they have become a huge concern to him and to the government of Iraq. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Hawaii, Mr. Abercrombie. REP. NEIL ABERCROMBIE (D-HI): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, thank you for being here. Aloha to both of you. Mr. Chairman, in the course of the questioning so far, I think I have some answers that I was seeking. I would like to just make two observations based on that and yield what time I have left to Representative Castor as the junior-most member. REP. SKELTON: Certainly. REP. ABERCROMBIE: Very quickly, two points. I'll submit for the record statements from General Petraeus starting in 2004 through General Casey in 2005, General Abizaid in 2006, and looping back to General Petraeus today. Not with the idea of trying to say this is what you said then, this is what you say now. On the contrary. I think that what it shows is is that the general remarks concern from the military point of view is that we were making steady progress but the Iraqis are not ready to take over, and this was true in '04, '05, '06 and '07. Our problem is, is what do we do under those circumstances? The problem is, Mr. Chairman, that four years later, the number of U.S. troops being killed continues to climb, thousands more Iraqis are dead and the cost of the war continues to escalate and the refugees continue to stream out of Iraq. My concern is is that lost in all the statistics is the question of a very simple yet heartbreaking fact: The rate and overall number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq has gone up, not down, from 2006 to 2007. From January to August 2006, 462 U.S. troops; from January to August 2007, 740. The problem, I think, Mr. Chairman, is that we are in a situation in which in effect we are saying is is that there's only one plan for Iraq, militarily speaking -- indefinite occupation by U.S. troops. That's not a comment on the military; it's a comment on the politics, which leaves me, Ambassador, to my second statement, quickly. In your very statement today, events have caught up with your and are riding you. Your statements about oil, your statements about the oil revenues, of central government and the regional government -- today we find out the Hunt Corporation of Texas has signed an oil exploration agreement with Kurdistan. The central government is cut out. At the same time, we read that the Commerce Department is seeking an international legal adviser to draft laws and regulations that will govern Iran's oil -- Iraq's oil and gas sector. We are going to be doing the drafting of the oil protocols. Iraq is not a sovereign country. This adviser that's being sought by the Commerce Department has a contract that'll run through 2008 with an option extension to 2010. We're occupying that country politically and militarily and are going to suffer the results. I will yield the rest of my time to Representative Castor. (Light Applause.) REP. SKELTON: (Sounds gavel.) REP. KATHY CASTOR (D-FL): And I thank my colleague. Thank you, Mr. Abercrombie, and thank you, gentlemen, for your service. Gentlemen, Admiral Michael Mullen, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress last month that unless Iraq has achieved political unity, no amount of troops and no amount of time will make much of a difference. He also warned that the United States risks breaking the Army if the Pentagon decided to maintain its present troop level in Iraq beyond next spring. Add onto that last week's report by a commission of retired senior U.S. military officers, where they said that Iraq's army, despite some progress, will be unable to take over internal security from the U.S. forces in the next 12 to 18 months. The report also said that the 25,000-member Iraqi national police force is dysfunctional and so riddled with sectarianism and corruption that it should be disbanded. And the latest NIE -- the consensus view of all U.S. intelligence agencies said that the modest military gains achieved by the troop surge will mean little or nothing unless there is a fundamental shift in the factors driving Iraqi political and security developments. Gentlemen, while the American people have great confidence in the troops and our brave men and women in uniform, they have totally lost confidence at the top of our national government. There's a complete lack of credibility coming from the White House. The latest -- you know, it first justified the war by claiming that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, none were found. Then the war was about establishing a model democracy in the Arab world, some model. After that, it was necessary to fight on to defeat al Qaeda, which sprouted a local branch in Iraq. The troop surge was supposed to give Iraqi leaders the security and time to bring about national reconciliation, it didn't happen. Now the president's latest spin is a withdrawal could result in another Vietnam. I think the American people want to know, as we're in the fifth year of this war, how much longer, how many billions of dollars more, while we are growing a global strategic risk? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congresswoman, if I could, one reason that I did recommend the reduction of forces is because of the recognition of the strain on our ground forces. Again, that was an important operational -- strategic consideration that did inform the recommendations that I made. I might point out, by the way, that we could have literally run this surge all the way until April. That's the first time that a surge brigade hits 15 months. But because of a variety of considerations and also, frankly, the battlefield geometry of figuring out how to most efficiently and with minimal release in place and so forth get to where we need to be by mid-July, we recommended the reduction of the brigade combat teams in addition to the Marine Expeditionary Unit that will come out later this month without replacement, but that the reduction of the brigade combat teams begin in mid-December. I could -- if I could also point out again that Iraqis are taking over considerable responsibility. The recent celebration of the death of the Seventh Imam, which results in the convergence of about typically approaching a million pilgrims to a(n) important shrine in North-Central Baghdad, the Kadhimiya Shrine, this year was planned and executed by Iraqi forces in a true interagency effort, overseen by the Baghdad Operational Center and its commander, but also involving not just army and police but also emergency services, other transportation assets, medical assets and so forth. Two years ago, there were nearly a thousand pilgrims who were stampeded to death when rumors of enemy action or perhaps actual activities resulted in that particular event. Every other year, there have been dozens of individuals killed by terrorist activities. This year, we are not aware of any deaths due to extremist activity. And the only deaths at all were from accidents, just normal accidents that took place on that day. So again there is progress. There are locations where Iraqis are exclusively maintaining security in their areas. Although you rightly note, and I share it frankly, the frustration particularly during -- what happened during the period of ethnosectarian violence, the sectarian violence of 2006, when some units literally took steps backward, and the effort took steps backward. And that was a tragedy and it is something that we are helping the Iraqis deal with now. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentlelady. To follow through on a thought that the gentlelady raised, your recommendations for cutting back the numbers, General, do they go below the number of troops that we had prior to the so-called surge? GEN. PETRAEUS: They do not right now, Mr. Chairman, and that is something that we are working on, and let me explain why that is. There have been other forces that have come into Iraq for a variety of other tasks. One is connected with an improvised explosive device effort. Others provide additional intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets. These are assets that we would have wanted regardless of whether we were surging or not. And then the largest is probably the additional military police for the growing detainee population, so that we do not run a catch- and-release program and just turn around and have a revolving door where we're taking in terrorists and then letting them back into society without having gone through a rehabilitation or pledge process. Which, by the way, we are now doing and is one thing that I mentioned that I thanked the Congress for the resources for. Because this is a very, very important effort, that we not just have the clock run out on these individuals, and the they go back to their neighborhoods and resume what they were doing before, but that they have gone through some process that prepares them to re-enter society. And by the way, we have about 800 juveniles as well and we recently created a school that will help them as well. And then we have a pledge-and-guarantor process that tries to tie tribes and sheikhs and other civic leaders into this, so that there is a sense of responsibility at the local level for individuals who have been returned who are their family or tribal members. REP. SKELTON: The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Payne. REP. DONALD PAYNE (D-NJ): Thank you very much. And let me thank both of you for this very important report. I simply have a couple of quick questions. I wonder, General Petraeus, if the support of the tribal leaders against al Qaeda -- is that irreversible, or is it that that may change possibly in the future? The second thing that does disturbance me about the GAO report and the vast difference in the calculation of the sectarian violence. And I just wonder -- I know you answered a question by one of my colleagues that The Times was just wrong, but is there any way that reconciling can be, since the two of you seem to be so far apart on that? And further, I just wonder why it has taken the Iraqi army so long to try to become proficient? Now I understand the war with Iraq and Iran -- they say that a(n) estimated million Iranians were killed. Now was it -- I know we were assisting Iraq. Was it our military's superiority or our weaponry that was sort of the dark force that made the appearance of Iraqi competence? Because it seems to be confusing that after year after year after year, the police -- they'd say that the entire police department in one area needs to be reconstructed, but that's the national police, not the local police. The soldiers have performed poorly. And so what -- why is there such a disconnect between their Iraq-Iran conflict and the fact that they can't seem to put a sustainable offensive together to weed out Qaeda and these bandits that have come in, who were not there, of course, before we went in. Therefore, I guess Iraq is worse off than it was before al Qaeda came in. So I just get confused at -- why is it taking so long? Do they -- have they just gone on strike or let somebody else do the fighting because it's easier to let someone else do it and keep your powder dry and your head down? And you know, what's missing in this picture? GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, Congressman. Sir, the -- first of all, on the tribal leaders, they want to be part of the new Iraq. The Sunni Arabs in Anbar province, as an example, went through various stages of post-liberation, feeling disrespected, unemployed, disgusted and even boycotting the elections and then realizing that they had made a huge mistake and were left out, in many respects, of the new Iraq. A number of them were resistance fighters during that time, as they like to use the term, and tacitly or actively supported al Qaeda, until they came to really come to grips with the Taliban-like ideology of al Qaeda. The ambassador talked about some of the practices that al Qaeda inflicted on the people. And they recognized the indiscriminate violence that was a part of what al Qaeda was doing, and they said, "No more." And then they realized that, okay, we're not going to run Iraq again, but it wouldn't be a bad thing if the Euphrates River Valley were a decent place in which we could live, work, and raise a family. And that seems to be their objective, in addition to certainly having their place at the table in Baghdad and getting their share of the resources. And although there is not a revenue-sharing law agreed, interestingly, there is revenue sharing; oil revenue sharing is taking place. And the ambassador mentioned now they've even learned the term "supplemental," because Anbar province got a supplemental for its provincial budget. With respect to the GAO report, their data cutoff, the answer is the data cutoff. At the very least, their data cutoff was five weeks ago and in some cases, I think -- we might check this, but in some cases I think it was nine weeks ago. But at the very least, these last five weeks, as we showed you on the slides, have actually been very significant. Remembering that we launched the surge of offensives in mid-June, it took a couple weeks to start seeing the results, and that's why I mentioned that eight of the last 12 weeks, in fact, the level of security incidents has come down. And that's -- we don't -- I don't know how far you have to go back to see that kind of trend; it is certainly a couple of years. And as I mentioned, the level of attacks, sort of a sub-set of incidents, is actually the lowest -- lowest last week that it's been since April. With respect to the Iraqi army that defeated Iran, or held their own against Iran, there are some remnants of that army still around, and there actually are some very highly professional Iraqi army and air force and naval officers who have been taken from the old army, the old air force, and so forth. But that's 15 years ago, and during that time, of course, they were defeated by the United States and coalition forces in Desert Storm, suffered years of sanctions, of course, then were disestablished and, of course, literally had to start from the bottom. In fact, there was no ministry of defense, literally. No building, in fact, when I took over as the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq commander in the summer of 2004. It was being rebuilt, but it was not even reoccupied for a number of months later. There were no battalions at that -- or maybe one battalion operational, despite heroic efforts by Major Paul Eaton, whose effort had been largely inadequately resourced up to that time as well. This has been building, you know, the world's largest aircraft while in flight and while being shot at. And it takes us a year just to reconstitute a brigade that has actually already been in the fight, keep some 40 (percent) to 50 percent of its members. But just to get it ready to go back, the road to deployment is we want to get at least to a year and, ideally, more. And they are starting, as I said, very much from scratch and just don't have a sufficient number of commissioned and noncommissioned officers who are out there from that old army, again, given the number of years. And even just since the army was disestablished in the summer of 2003, that in itself is a number of years, and these individuals are not necessarily fighting fit, shall we say, if they have been on the sidelines for most of the time since then. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. We will take a five-minute break and return, call upon Mr. McKeon and Mr. Chabot. (Raps gavel.) (Recess.) REP. SKELTON: We will come to order. We were told previously that the witnesses had a hard stop at 6:30. I have just spoken with General Petraeus and I hope that the ambassador will agree with his decision to extend the time for an additional 20 minutes -- wherever the ambassador is. (Pause.) Will somebody find the ambassador, please? Mr. McKeon will be next. (Pause.) Mr. McKeon and Mr. Chabot, in that order. Now the gentleman from California, Mr. McKeon. REP. HOWARD P. "BUCK" MCKEON (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, I'd like to join with my colleagues in thanking you for your exemplary service. At the outset, I'd like to associate myself with the remarks of Mr. Hunter and Ms. Ros-Lehtinen in their opening comments. Specifically, I've been deeply saddened by the attacks that have been made on General Petraeus for the last week or two -- citing what he was going to say, and how he was going to say it, and what his recommendations were going to be. I have here General Petraeus' statement that he gave us after the meeting started. If I might quote, "Although I have briefed my assessment and recommendations to my chain of command, I wrote this testimony myself. It has not been cleared by, or shared with anyone in the Pentagon, the White House, or Congress." It just, I think, indicates how some would like to politicize this war on terror and our war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I'm sorry that you've become a target for things. I read in a report that you have a 63 percent rating with the American people, and I guess this is an attempt to tear you down to our level. And I'm sure that will not work. Anybody that's had a chance to see you here today will know of your integrity and your devotion to duty, and that you're giving us your best assessment of the situation. General, I've heard the comment that the Army is broken. You talked about how the enlistment is going among the troops. Would you care to talk a little bit about the Army, and is it broken? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, sir, the part of the Army that I can talk about knowledgably at this point is, of course, that which is in Iraq. And that is an Army that has sacrificed great deal, and whose family members have sacrificed a great deal. A number of those great soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen -- and so in addition to our soldiers, certainly, are on a second or perhaps third tour -- some of them shorter tours and are on even more over time. We have asked an enormous amount of these individuals and, candidly, what impresses me so enormously in return is that they do continue to raise their right hand and to serve additional tours, to volunteer for additional tours in uniform. That is not just because of the tax-free bonuses, I can assure you. There's no compensation that can make up for some of the sacrifices that some of our soldiers and their families have endured. On July 4th, in fact, we had a large reenlistment ceremony -- 588 members of different services raised their right hand, and it was a pretty inspiring sight. As I mentioned, it far exceeded the goals for the units that are under the Multi-National core, Iraq already with several weeks to go. And as you know when reenlistment times often the last few weeks of the fiscal year are a pretty frantic affair as soldiers have sorted out all the options and then finally make their choice. Our soldiers are not starry-eyed idealists. In fact, at this point, I prefer not to be a pessimist or an optimist, but to be a realist. And I think a lot of our soldiers are that way. Morale is solid. But candidly morale is an individual thing, so is the view on what's going on in Iraq sometimes. You know, there's 165,000 different American views of Iraq right now and a lot of it depends on where you are and how things are going where you are. And the perspective of someone again in Anbar province where there has been success that we did not expect or someone who's in one of the very tough ethno-sectarian fault line areas -- say, in West Rasheed of Baghdad or East Rasheed -- has a very different perspective. 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. But with all of that -- with the heat, with this really challenging, barbaric, difficult enemy who is allusive and hard to find and employs sniper tactics, improvised explosive devices, suicide bombs against us, our Iraqi colleagues and innocent civilians -- against all of that, our soldiers continue to ruck up and go out each day from their patrol basis, combat outpost, joint security stations and they do it ready for a hand grenade or a handshake. And if they get the handshake, they'll take it. If they get the hand grenade, they know what to do in that case as well. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank you very much. The gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Chabot. REP. STEVE CHABOT (R-OH): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, first of all, thank you very much for your service to our country. We first met in Iraq a few years back. One of the more memorable incidents for me was when we were in a Blackhawk over Mosul and you pointed out the house where Saddam's murderous sons had met their end, Uday and Qusay. And Qusay, let's not forget was directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of Shi'a, and hundreds of them at this own hand. And Uday's -- one of his favorite pastimes was abducting young women off the streets of Baghdad, many of whom were never seen alive again. And these were to be Iraq's future leaders. They learned well from their father. General, my question is this -- in July of 2007, you told the New York Post that troop morale had remained high because soldiers understood they're, quote, "engaged in a critical endeavor," unquote. Many of those supporting a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq have regarded low troop morale as a reason for leaving. Could you comment on the current morale of our troops in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, again, as I mentioned, Congressman, I believe that morale is solid. But it is an individual thing and it depends on the kind of day that that individual has had. Our soldiers are determined. They know how important this task is, and that is a crucial factor in what they're doing. When they raise their right hand again, as so many have, they do it knowing that they may be called upon to serve again in Iraq or Afghanistan, for them and their family to make further sacrifices in addition to those that they have already made. I'm going to be up front. You know, none of us want to stay in Iraq forever. We all want to come home. We all have days of frustration and all the rest of that. But what we want to do is come home the right way, having added, I guess, to the heritage of our services, accomplished the mission that our country has laid out for us. And again, I think that that's a very important factor in what our soldiers are doing, in addition to the fact that, frankly, they also just respect the individuals with whom they are carrying out this important mission, the men and women on their right and left who share very important values, among them selfless service and devotion to duty. And that, indeed, is a huge factor in why many of us continue to serve and to stay in uniform, because the privilege of serving with such individuals is truly enormous. MR. CHABOT: Thank you, General. And finally, could you comment on the significance of Shi'ite militia leader Maqtada al-Sadr's decision from his hideaway in Iran to suspend the operations of the Mahdi Army for six months? Does this indicate that he clearly feels threatened, is on the run? And what should U.S.-Iraqi military and political response be? And given its involvement in brutal crimes against civilians and its pronounced support for violence against the U.S., should the Mahdi Army be declared a foreign terrorist organization? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, first of all, we think that the action by Maqtada al-Sadr, his declaration from Iran, is because of a sense of embarrassment over what happened in the Shi'a holy city of Karballa, where in the -- one of the most holy celebrations of the year, individuals associated with his militia confronted shrine guards and the result was a shootout and, eventually, loss of life. That, again, was an enormous embarrassment for all of Iraq, but in particular for his militia and for the Shi'a Arabs in Iraq. And it was one reason that Prime Minister Maliki personally went to Karballa the next morning, after having deployed Iraqi special operations forces in the middle of the night by helicopter and others by ground. In response to that, frankly, we have applauded that. Again, we are not going to kill our way out of all these problems in Iraq. You're not going to kill or capture all of the Sadr militia anymore than we are going to kill or capture all the insurgents in Iraq. And in fact, what we have tried very hard to do is to identify who the irreconcilables are, if you will, on either end of the spectrum, Sunni and Shi'a, and then to figure out where do the reconcilables begin and try to reach out to the reconcilables. Some of this is a little bit distasteful. It's not easy sitting across the table, let's say, or drinking tea with someone whose tribal members may have shot at our forces or in fact drawn the blood -- killed our forces. We learned a bit, in fact, about this from my former deputy commander, Lieutenant General Graham Lamb (sp), former head of 22 SAS and the director of Special Forces in the United Kingdom, and he reminded us that you reconcile with your enemies, not with your friends. That's why it's called reconciliation. And he talked about how he sat across the table from individuals who were former IRA members who had been swinging pipes at his lads, as he put it, just a few years earlier. That was quite instructive for us. He in fact headed some of the early efforts that we had in the early part of this year and into the spring, and then it was one of -- part of his initiative that the ambassador and I established this engagement -- strategic engagement cell of a senior diplomat -- senior United Kingdom two-star again and others supporting them who have reached out to individuals that could be reconciled and then helped connect them with the Iraqi government. Some of that will have to be done with members of the Jaish al-Mahdi, with the -- Sadr's militia. The question is: Who are the irreconcilables? And so on the one hand, we have applauded; we have said we look forward to the opportunity to confirm the excellence of your militia in observing your pledge of honor, and that has enormous meaning in the Iraqi culture. And indeed a number of them have in fact obeyed what he said. However, there are a number of others who have not, and those are now regarded as criminal. We're not taking on Jaish al- Mahdi; we are with the Iraqi counterparts going after criminals who have violated Sadr's order and have carried out attacks on our forces, innocent civilians or Iraqi forces. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. We are trying to get as many members as possible under the five- minute rule. The ambassador and the general have agreed for additional 20 minutes. I might point out that I'm told there will be a vote called shortly after 6:30. I have also requested the -- will be held open a few moments longer for us, and also remind the members of the two committees that there is a ceremony that's supposed to begin at 7:00. Mr. Reyes? REP. SILVESTRE REYES (D-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and General and Ambassador, thank you both for your service to our country. I was curious in your statement, General Petraeus, you made mention that the Iraqis have taken the lead in many areas, that many operate with minimal coalition support, so -- which is contrary to what General Jones' observations were last week, when he said that they're probably 12 to 18 months away from being able to operate independently. Can you give us your opinion or your assessment of that -- GEN. PETRAEUS: I can indeed. REP. REYES: -- particularly in relation to General Jones' statement? GEN. PETRAEUS: I sure can. And in fact, he and I had a lot of conversations during his time in Iraq, and he, by the way, did a superb assessment and spent the time in Iraq, I might add, that is needed to do that type of assessment with his commissioners. What he is talking about is something different from what I was talking about in the statement. What he's talking about is the institutions of the Iraqi security forces being able to truly support their forces throughout the country -- REP. REYES: So it's to be able to spend alone on their own? GEN. PETRAEUS: But we're talking about the institutions doing that as opposed to what I was talking about, is the fact that there are many Iraqi force units who are operating on their own. In Samawa, for example, in Muthanna province in the south, there are no coalition forces whatsoever. They're on their own. Now, occasionally they will call our Special Forces team that is actually in an adjacent province and ask for some assistance. The same is largely true in Nasiriyah. There's a superb Australian unit there, largely focused on civil military operations. And again, when the Iraqi units in that area have been challenged with something they couldn't handle, they just call our Special Forces team, and we bring some enablers to bear, if you will -- close air support, attack helicopters or what have you. The same is true in Najaf. There's only a single U.S. Special Forces team in Najaf. Karbala has no forces. A very small contingent -- and so forth -- REP. REYES: So -- because -- GEN. PETRAEUS: So there are a number of places where Iraqi forces are operating on their own -- and by the way, they may not -- those battalions in those areas may not be operational readiness assessment number one. In other words, they may not be rated as meeting the readiness requirements for operating on their own, but de facto -- the fact is they are operating on their own, but they might be short equipment, leaders, maintenance standards or what have you. REP. REYES: So just the -- of the total force -- GEN. PETRAEUS: What General Jones was getting at was the institutional support. What he's talking about is the ability to support these forces with a logistical system, with depots, with maintenance, with administrative and all the rest of that. That is the challenge. Again, we have found that it's challenging to build battalions, but it's really hard to rebuild an entire army and all of its institutions that go into supporting that battalion or -- you know, way over a hundred battalions, the brigades, the divisions and all the rest of that with command and control communications, intelligence systems, combat enablers, medevac and all the rest of that makes up a force as we know it, as opposed to forces that are unable to do that. REP. REYES: Well, thank you, General. Ambassador, you made mention about the Provincial Reconstruction Teams and the fact that we went from 10 to 25. As I think all of us know, we're having a very tough time recruiting people from the different agencies that make up these teams. Can you briefly tell us -- going from 10 to 25 in a country the size of California, that's not as good news as it seems, is it? AMB. CROCKER: Well, it is a very substantial increase, and a lot of that has been in the areas of greatest population and greatest challenges, like Baghdad itself. So the surge of Provincial Reconstruction Teams into the Baghdad area -- and incidentally, all of those teams are embedded with brigade combat teams and -- REP. REYES: It's because of the security situation. AMB. CROCKER: Exactly -- although what we've discovered is that it makes for a tremendous unity of effort, and it's actually a force multiplier to have them together, so we're taking a look at the rest of the landscape and basically seeking to replicate kind of the embedded concepts for almost all of the PRTs, because that fusion really works. And it helps to coordinate objectives so that we don't have a military unit kind of working in the same area as a PRT without the kind of coordination you need. So that's been tremendously effective. Now, in terms of staffing these up, that's something I've given my particular personal focus to. The surge in PRT personnel that this operation is requiring is to be an additional 283 people in place by the end of the year. And to the annoyance of my staff, I check this three times a week, and also back with Washington, and I am firmly assured that we are on track to meet that requirement by December 31st. Now this includes a lot of military personnel, which will then be backfilled as we move into 2008. But as a report delivered by the special inspector general for Iraq just last week indicated, the PRT program is one of the most valuable programs the U.S. runs in Iraq. Now, that was the special inspector general's comment, so we're clearly on to a good thing here, and we will continue to expand the limits of this endeavor to deliver the most effective response we can to capacity-building needs, particularly on budget execution. I'd make one final comment because I do think that it's important: that as drawdowns and redeployments take place, a challenge we both have is being sure that PRTs continue to be able to do their mission where required, even as the military footprint changes. So we don't have all the answers to that. It's a work in progress, but something we're very much focused on. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Sherman. REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D-CA): Thank you. Mr. Chairman, the ultimate question for our country is how much of the resources available to fight the global war on terror should be deployed in Iraq. That decision cannot be made in Baghdad, because our fine gentlemen from Baghdad don't receive reports on what's going on in Afghanistan, Somalia, the Tri-Borders area of Paraguay, or Sudan. It's a shame that those with global perspectives, the leaders here in Washington, so lack credibility that they're unwilling to really step forward in front of the cameras and say that Iraq is the central front in the war on the terror. So instead they imply that Iraq is the central front by telling us that the decision of how much of our resources to put into Iraq should be dependent upon a report drafted in Baghdad. In effect, we've substituted global perspective for battlefield valor. Now, General Petraeus, when I -- as a general, you're always planning for possible contingencies. The counterinsurgency manual is filled with hypothetical situations and possible responses. And General, you're sworn to defend our Constitution, and you've carried out that oath with honor. Your duty to defend the Constitution would become more complex if we had a constitutional crisis here in Washington. Assume that Congress passes a law stating that no government funds should be used after March of next year, except for certain limited purposes, such as force protection, or for training. The president of the United States instead orders you to conduct U.S.- led offensive military operations, a purpose for which Congress has said we have appropriated no funds. Under those circumstances, what do you do? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, and not trying to be flip, what I would do is consult my lawyer. And again, I'm not trying to make light of this at all, but I would literally have to talk to my lawyer, and obviously talk to my chain of command and get some advice and counsel on what in fact to do. And if I could mention, perhaps, Congressman, on -- REP. SHERMAN: So General, you're saying you might very well disobey an order from the president of the United States on the advice of your legal counsel? GEN. PETRAEUS: I did not say that, Congressman. What I said is I'd have to figure out what I was going to do. If I could just follow up on one item you did say, Congressman -- REP. SHERMAN: General, I did have one -- GEN. PETRAEUS: For what it's worth, al Qaeda believes that Iraq is the central front in the global war on terrorism. REP. SHERMAN: Well, al Qaeda is telling us that they think it's the central front. They might be lying. GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, and also -- REP. SHERMAN: They've been known to do so, General. And if we allow Ahmadinejad and bin Laden to tell us where to fight them, they may not give us their best advice. But I do have one more question and very limited time. GEN. PETRAEUS: Yes, sir. REP. SHERMAN: On about September 15th, this nation's going to get a long, detailed report, well over 100 pages, I would guess. And the press is going to call it the Petraeus report. Now you know and I know that the White House has exercised editorial control over the report that will be released later this week. The country wants the Petraeus report. They want a long, detailed report, written in Baghdad, without edits from the Pentagon or the White House. Are you willing to give to these committees your detailed report, the documents you gave to the White House for them to create the report that they plan to release later this week? And -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Can I answer that so I can -- First of all, on the benchmarks report, my understanding is that the law states that that report is submitted by the president with the input from the ambassador and myself. So at least it is the Petraeus- Crocker report. REP. SHERMAN: General, if you -- my question was carefully couched. I realize months ago, Congress may have asked for a report from the White House, and we'll be happy to get it and read it. But what I said was what the country really wants right now, not months ago but right now -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Right. REP. SHERMAN: -- is the Petraeus report. We want hundreds of pages written in Baghdad, edited by you, without edits from the Pentagon and the White House. Can you get it to us? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, first of all, what I've tried to do today, Congressman, with respect, is to give the Petraeus report. And then I would add to that that Ambassador Crocker and I did submit extensive input for the benchmarks report. The draft that I saw most recently -- because like any of these reports, it does go up and it is then provided back to us for comment, is that it is essentially unchanged. REP. SHERMAN: But in any case, you are warning us that if 100 pages or so is released by the White House later this week, they've done the final edit, and it may or may not be your report as written. GEN. PETRAEUS: I don't think that there is any substantive change in that report, according to the draft that I saw the other day. My guys had a copy, checked it against what we submitted, that the ambassador and I collaborated on. And there was nothing substantive whatsoever that was different in that report. You may want to mention, Ambassador. AMB. CROCKER: No, that's -- that is my understanding of it as well. The September 15th benchmark report will be an update of the July report. And the procedure for drafting it is exactly the same as it was in July. We provide input, but it is a White House report. So it is going to be again procedurally exactly the same as the July report. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Thornberry, please. REP. MAC THORNBERRY (R-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I appreciate both of your service and your professionalism, especially in the light of personal attacks against you. Ambassador Crocker, how do you make elected representatives of the people to compromise with each other and reach agreement? We seem to have some difficulty with that. How do you make that happen in Baghdad? AMB. CROCKER: I will very carefully restrict myself to commenting about the situation in Baghdad, because it is a serious issue. It is at the core ultimately of what kind of future Iraq is going to have, whether its representatives, elected and otherwise, are able to come together and reconcile. Process in this is as important, in some ways, as actual results. And the -- one of the elements out of this summer's activity that does give me some cautious encouragement is that representatives, mainly from the parliament, from the Council of Representatives, of the five major political blocs showed an ability to come together and night after night and work their way through a lot of the major issues. The issues they were able to get close to agreement on, they teed up to their leaders, and that's what was embodied in that August 26th declaration that, in addition to the points I've already mentioned, also included commitments on reforms regarding detainees, how they're held, what the conditions are, when they see a judge, when they're released, as well as how to deal with armed groups. The five got agreement on those points as well. But it's the way they did it. Each evening for weeks, representatives -- Sunni, Shi'a and Kurds -- came together and showed an ability to work quite productively together. And that is what I am hoping is going to carry forward in the months ahead as they deal with other issues. The real answer, of course, is, you can't compel it. People have to see their interests served by a process of accommodation. And that's what we're seeing, I think, at least the hopeful beginnings of. REP. THORNBERRY: Thank you. General Petraeus, what do we do about Iran? You -- in answer to previous questions, you said the last time Ambassador Crocker went and talked to them, then the flow of arms accelerated. So some people suggest we need to have a diplomatic surge and go talk to them intensely. I'm a little skeptical that that's going to make a difference. What do we do about the arms, the training, the money that comes from Iran and undermines our efforts? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, inside Iraq, which is where my responsibility lies, we obviously are trying to interdict the flow of the arms, the training network, the money and so forth, and also to disrupt the networks that carry that out. It was very substantial, for example, to capture the head of the special groups in all of Iraq and that deputy commander of the Lebanese Hezbollah department that I talked about earlier that exists to support the Qods Force effort in supporting these special groups inside Iraq that are offshoots of the Sadr militia. Beyond that, it does obviously become a regional problem. It is something that I have discussed extensively with Admiral Fallon and with others in the chain of command. And there certainly is examination of various contingencies, depending on what does happen in terms of Iranian activity in Iraq. But our focus is on interdicting the flow and on disrupting, killing or capturing those individuals who are engaged in it. We also in fact killed the head of the network that carried out the attacks on our soldiers in Karbala, where five of our soldiers were killed back in January. That was yet another effort in that overall offensive against those individuals. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Pence from Indiana. REP. MIKE PENCE (R-IN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to thank General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker for your service to the nation. The old book tells us if you owe debts, pay debts; if honor, than honor; if respect, then respect. And having met with both of you on several occasions downrange in different assignments, I know this nation owes you a debt of honor and a debt of respect. And I want to appreciate the way my colleagues have addressed this hearing today. General Petraeus, just for clarification sake, it seems to me you opened your testimony today with a very emphatic declarative. I think your words were, "This is my testimony." I think you added that it had not been cleared by the White House or the Department of Defense. And I just -- again, we're getting the Petraeus report. GEN. PETRAEUS: That is correct. As I stated, I obviously have given recommendations, and I gave an assessment of the situation as part of those recommendations during a week of video teleconferences, consultations with Admiral Fallon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the secretary of Defense and then ultimately the president. But the testimony that I provided today, this statement, is one that I eventually took control of the electrons about two weeks ago and, as I mentioned, has not been shared with anybody outside of my inner circle. REP. PENCE: Well, thank you. Thanks for clarifying that. I think it's important. Two quick points. First on the subject of joint security stations. When I was there in April in Baghdad with you, General Petraeus, we visited a joint security station downtown. I think your testimony today suggests that now the joint security stations are, to use your phrase, are across Iraq. I wondered if you might comment for these committees about the extent to which embedding, if you will, American and Iraqi forces together -- living together, deploying together -- in neighborhood areas has expanded beyond the scope of Baghdad the impact that it's having. And for Ambassador Crocker, just for the sake of efficiency, when I was in Ramadi in that same trick, we met with Sheikh Sattar, some of the leaders of the Iraqi Awakening Movement. It was at that time, I think, 20 of the 22 sheikhs in Al Anbar province had organized that effort. The transformation of Al Anbar has been extraordinary. You made a provocative comment today, saying that that movement is, quote, "unfolding" in other parts of Iraq, and I think you mentioned Diyala and Nineveh provinces. I wonder if you might -- each of you severally -- touch on that. I saw those things in their nascent form this spring, and it seems like both of them have expanded well beyond expectations, to the good of U.S. interests and stability in Iraq. General? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, the concept, again, is that if you're going to secure the population, you have to live with the population. You can't commute to this fight. And the idea is that, wherever possible, to do it together with our Iraqi counterparts, in some cases police, some cases army, sometimes all of the above. The idea of the joint security stations is to be really command and control hubs typically for areas in which there are coalition forces, Iraqi army and Iraqi police, and sometimes now even these local volunteers, who -- again, by directive of Prime Minister Maliki -- are individuals with whom the Iraqi army is supposed to deal as well. There are a number of other outposts, patrol bases and other small bits of infrastructure, if you will, that have also been established to apply this idea that is so central to counterinsurgency operations of again positioning in and among the population. And you see it in Ramadi. For example, in Ramadi there are a couple of dozen, I think, is the last count of police stations, patrol bases, combat outposts, you name it, many of which have both coalition, either U.S. Army or U.S. Marines together, with Iraqi police or Iraqi soldiers, or in some cases still local volunteers who are in the process of being transitioned into one of the security ministries. We see the same in Fallujah. In Fallujah, though it is police stations and there are 10 precincts now established in Fallujah -- the last one was just completed -- in each of those there's typically a Marine squad or a force of about that size, and over time we've been able to move -- (Chairman Skelton sounds gavel) -- our main force elements out of Fallujah and also now to move two of the three battalions in the Iraqi army that were in that area, which frees them up to actually go up and replace the Marine Expeditionary Unit that's coming out and continue the pressure on al Qaeda-Iraq up in the Lake Tharthar area. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. Try and move along -- next, we have Dr. Snyder, Mr. Wexler, Mr. Jones, Mr. Flake -- REP. PENCE: Mr. Chairman? With your indulgence, I had posed a question to Ambassador Crocker. I don't think he had a chance to respond. REP. SKELTON: I'm sorry. I didn't catch that. Ambassador, please answer as quickly as possible. AMB. CROCKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We're seeing the phenomenon of Anbar repeated elsewhere of Iraqis deciding they've had enough of terrorists. Anbar itself, the whole way it unfolded there is unique to Anbar, and we've got to have the, again, the area smarts and the tactical flexibility to perceive what opportunities are with their regional differences. So Diyala, for example, is much more complicated than Anbar because instead of being just Sunni, that Sunni, Shi'a, Kurd intermixed and has required much more careful handling which, I must say, the military has done an absolutely brilliant job of in an incredibly complex political- military context. But you know, again, in Anbar and Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, in Baghdad, the three neighborhoods that General Petraeus mentioned in Diyala, which is a little bit to the northeast and also in Nineveh to the north and in Salahuddin, a process under way that is conceptually similar to what happened in Anbar but has in each case its particular differences that have to be taken into account by us and by the Iraqis. REP. SKELTON: Thank you very much. Dr. Snyder. REP. VIC SNYDER (D-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, I have a question for each of you if you will each answer briefly. I then want to brag on you. So if you -- the quicker you all answer my questions, the quicker I can get to bragging on the two of you. First, General Petraeus, on the chart that you passed out here earlier, the one that talks about the recommended force reduction mission shift, does it go out the timeline here at the end, General Petraeus? We have a straight line at the end. How far out does that line go? The specific question is: How many years do you anticipate U.S. troops will be in Iraq if you had Ambassador Crocker's crystal ball? GEN. PETRAEUS: And I'm afraid that I do not. In fact, that is an illustrative document with respect to both the mission mix and the stair step there. As I mentioned, there is every intention and recognition that forces will continue to be reduced after the mid-July time frame when we have reached the 15 Army Brigade Combat Team level and Marine RCT level. What we need to do is get a bit closer to that time to where, with some degree of confidence, we can make an assessment and make recommendations on that. REP. SNYDER: Thank you. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned the Provincial Reconstruction Teams, and I appreciate you bringing them up. I had a different recollection, though, of the testimony last week of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. One of the staff people was Ginger Cruze. When she testified, she actually testified that by the end of this year, State Department will have identified 68 percent of the State Department personnel to be on board. So they will not necessarily be on board; they will have just identified two-thirds of their staff requirements. So while I appreciate your attentiveness to this, I think we still -- I think the State Department is letting you down, and that somehow we've got to grapple with this issue of how to get the other agencies to step forward and assist the work that General Petraeus and his people are doing, the work that you want to do. So you may need to have another meeting with them and talk about now what exactly are we going to be having at the end of December, because they said that there was only identified two-thirds of them by the end of this year. The reason I want to brag on the two of you, I think you-all have done a good job here today and have done a great job throughout your careers. I don't know if the two of you are going to be able to solve these problems, the challenges you have before you, but you are the all-star team. And if anybody can do it, you can do it. I think that's why some of us find some of the stuff that's been said the last week or so pretty offensive. But we talk about reconciliation. You know, both in the Congress and in the country, we've been going through kind of a soft partition into D's and R's, the soft partition, the red state and the blue state. I think you-all can be part of this reconciliation because our country will do better in foreign policy if we're more united. I put Secretary Gates in that category, too. And what I like about Secretary Gates is, reports that I get back from the Pentagon is that more junior generals actually feel like they can tell him when they think he's wrong or when they have other ideas. And I don't want you to respond to this, but I know that has not been the case for the first -- for the last six years. And so I think there is some process stuff going on that may help get some of this reconciliation. An example of this has been this report that General Jones' group put out last week, that's been referred to several times. Now, it's like everything else in life, we pick and choose. And several people that are critical of what's going on have brought out some of the criticisms of the police and the Iraqi army. But the very -- the last paragraphs, the concluding thoughts -- and I'm going to quote from the report -- quote: "While much remains to be done before success can be confidently declared, the strategic consequences of failure or even perceived failure for the United States and the coalition are enormous. We approach a truly strategic moment in this still-young century. Iraq's regional geostrategic position, the balance of power in the Middle East, the economic stability made possible by a flow of energy in many parts of the world, and the ability to defeat and contain terrorism where it is most manifest are issues that do not lend themselves to easy or quick solution. How we respond to them, however, could well define our nation in the eyes of the world for years to come." And that's the end of the quote. And so those of us who, on whatever side we come down to now or in the last several years on what you-all are about, we've got to start looking at this, I think, this bigger picture. And I would -- my one question for you, Ambassador Crocker. There's a lot of criticism that we do not have the right strategic diplomatic picture that helps you do the work that you're doing. In fact, maybe I won't even put that as a question but just leave that as a comment. I think we've got a lot of work to do in the Congress and the administration to give you that kind of strategic diplomacy for that whole region. Thank you for your service. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. Mr. Wexler. REP. ROBERT WEXLER (D-FL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker, I vehemently opposed the surge when the president announced it last winter, and instead I called for our troops to be withdrawn. In your testimony today, you claim that the surge is working and that you need more time. With all due respect, General, among unbiased, nonpartisan experts, the consensus is stark; the surge has failed based on most parameters. In truth, war-related deaths have doubled in Iraq in 2007 compared to last year. Tragically, it is my understanding that seven more American troops have died while we've been talking today. Cherry- picking statistics or selectively massaging information will not change the basic truth. Please understand, General Petraeus, I do not question your credibility. You are a true patriot. I admire your service to our nation. But I do question your facts. And it is my patriotic duty to represent my constituents and ask you, question you about your argument that the surge in troops be extended until next year, next summer, especially when your testimony stating that the dramatic reduction in sectarian deaths is opposite from the National Intelligence Estimate, the Government Accounting Office and several other non-biased, nonpartisan reports. I am skeptical, General. More importantly, the American people are skeptical because four years ago very credible people both in uniform and not in uniform came before this Congress and sold us a bill of goods that turned out to be false. And that's why we went to war based on false pretense to begin with. This testimony today is eerily similar to the testimony the American people heard on April 28th, 1967, from General William Westmoreland, when he told the American people America was making progress in Vietnam. General, you say we're making progress in Iraq, but the Iraqi parliament simply left Baghdad and shut down operations last month. You say we're making progress, but the nonpartisan GAO office concluded that the Iraqi government has failed to meet 15 of the 18 political, economic and security benchmarks that Congress mandated. You say we're making progress, but war-related deaths have doubled. And an ABC-BBC poll recently said that 70 percent of Iraqis say the surge has worsened their lives. Iraqis say the surge is not working. I will conclude my comments, General, and give you a chance to respond, but just one more thing, if I may. We've heard a lot today about America's credibility. President Bush recently stated we should not have withdrawn our troops from Vietnam, because of the great damage to America's credibility. General, there are 58,195 names etched into the Vietnam War Memorial. Twenty years from now, when we build the Iraq war memorial on the National Mall, how many more men and women will have been sacrificed to protect our so-called credibility? How many more names will be added to the wall before we admit it is time to leave? How many more names, General? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first of all, I have not said that the surge should be extended. In fact, my recommendations are that the surge be curtailed earlier than it would have been. The forces of the surge could have run all the way till April before we began pulling them out, and that would be if we did not recommend its continuation beyond that. My recommendations, in fact, include the withdrawal of the Marine expeditionary unit this month without replacement and then a brigade starting in mid-December and then another one about every 45 days. And that's a considerable amount prior to, in fact, how far the surge could have run if we'd just pushed everybody for 15 months. REP. WEXLER: Respectfully, General -- GEN. PETRAEUS: In fact, I am -- and with respect to the facts that I have laid out today, I very much stand by those. As I mentioned, the GAO report actually did cut off data at least five weeks and in some cases longer than that in the assessment that it made. And in fact those subsequent five weeks have been important in establishing a trend that security incidents have gone down, as they have, and have reached, as I mentioned, the lowest level since June 2006, with respect to incidents, and with April 2006, in terms of attacks. I stand by the explanation of the reduction in ethno-sectarian deaths and so forth. And lastly, I would say, Congressman, that no one is more conscious of the loss of life than the commander of the forces. That is something I take and feel very deeply. And if I did not think that this was a hugely important endeavor and if I did not think that it was an endeavor in which we could succeed, I would not have testified as I did to you all here today. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. Before I call on Mr. Jones, the gentleman from California, Mr. Hunter, has a unanimous consent. REP. HUNTER: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just -- I'm requesting unanimous consent that the questions of Mr. Graves of Missouri be submitted to General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. Without objection. Mr. Jones. REP. WALTER JONES (R-NC): Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. And General Petraeus, thank you. And Ambassador Crocker, thank you as well. And let me just say that many of the comments you've heard today about our troops and thank you again for your leadership. But we had General Barry McCaffrey before the oversight committee chaired by Chairman Snyder about five or six weeks ago. And I have Camp Lejeune down in my district, and from time to time I have a chance to see some of the Marines who are, you know, out of uniform at certain locations and have conversations. What Barry McCaffrey said was that by April or May of 2008, that the Marine Corps, the Army, the Reserves and the National Guard will start to unravel; that they are absolutely stressed and worn out. And General, you have acknowledged that, so let me make that clear. My question primarily is going to be for Ambassador Crocker. I want to start by reading a quote by Army Lieutenant General Jay Garner, first U.S. official in charge of postwar Baghdad. This is his quote: "I don't know that the Iraqi government has ever demonstrated ability to lead the country, and we should not be surprised. You will never find in my lifetime one man that all Iraqis will coalesce around. Iraqis are too divided among sectarian, ethnic and tribal loyalties, and their loyalties are regional, not national." Mr. Ambassador, I know you have over 20-some years in foreign service with the State Department, and I respect that very much. You made mention of Lebanon, where we had Marines killed there at the barracks. You are dealing with a country that is not national; it is regional. It is a tribal system that has been part of that history of what is now Iraq. And I listened to you carefully and appreciated your comments. You made some statements like "we see some signs of," "we're encouraged," and, you know, those kind of statements which sound good in your written testimony. But my question is, for the American people, I mean, this is a huge investment. And I realize that it is a war on terrorism; I mean, many of us questioned whether we should have gone into Afghanistan, stayed in Afghanistan, gone after bin Laden and al Qaeda instead of diverting to Iraq, but that damage is done. As Colin Powell said, if you break it, you own it. Well, we own it -- sadly, mainly, with blood. My question is to you is, where -- how can you say or how can you hope to encourage a national government when, in this testimony today and in the days before, people have talked about the great successes in Anbar, and that's not because of the national government? How can you take a country that has never had nationalism and believe that we can bring these people together when, as someone said before -- I've spoke -- I mean, they broke and decided not to meet with some of their responsibilities for 30 days. And that sent a bad signal to many people, maybe to our troops, maybe not to our troops. But how do you see this coming together, and how long will it take it to come together? AMB. CROCKER: Congressman, you pose, I think, the critical question. And that's why in my written testimony I focused a lot of attention on that. What kind of state is ultimately going to emerge in Iraq? Because that is still very much an issue under discussion, a work in progress, with some elements of the population, mainly the Sunnis, still focused on a strong central authority; and others, mainly but not exclusively Kurds and Shi'as, saying it needs to be a decentralized federalism. So you have those differences. And even within those two camps, often not a lot of detailed thought as to what either strong central authority or decentralized federalism would actually look like. So, you know, that is part of the challenge. Iraqis will have to work through this. Among the encouraging things I noted that I'd seen is that now among Sunnis there is a discussion that maybe federalism is the way this country needs to go. That has in part been conditioned by the experience in Anbar, but not exclusively. That is why I say this is going to take time, and it's going to take further strategic patience on our part and further commitment. There simply are no easy, quick answers. There are no switches to flip that are going to cause the politics to come magically together. It's going to have to be worked through. I believe that it can. I believe that the things that we have seen over the last six months and that I've described, General Petraeus has described, do hold out cause for hope. But it's going to take their resolve and our backing to actually make that happen. Now, you mention Anbar. I think that that can be a very interesting illustration in this process, where something got started out in Anbar that the central government certainly didn't precipitate, but then the central government found ways to connect to it, both by hiring police and by providing additional resources to the provincial budget. So, you know, this is going to be something that Iraqis are going to have to work through. I'd like to be able to say that we can get this done in six months or nine months or by next July; I can't sit here and do that. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. Mr. Flake. AMB. CROCKER: I can say that I think it's possible. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Flake. REP. JEFF FLAKE (R-AZ): I thank you both for your very enlightening testimony. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned there's abundant evidence that the security gains have opened the door for meaningful politics. I think we all agree that the purpose of the surge was to create the space necessary for the politicians to do their work. Where -- how do you strike a balance between giving them space and providing a convenient excuse not to reach conclusion on some of these debates? They're talking about federalism, for example. I mean, we can have debates here on the topic, and we do have such debates. But where -- how do you respond to the criticism or the assumption that they would move faster if we had a more precipitous withdrawal or drawdown? AMB. CROCKER: I'd make two comments, sir. First, we are engaged in this process. I spend a lot of my time, as does my staff, working with political figures, sorting through issues, offering advice, twisting some arms from time to time, to help them get done what in many cases they've laid out as their own objectives, but find it a little hard to actually get it over the finish line. So we are involved in that and will continue to be. With respect to the point on using leverage -- using troops as leverage, to say we're going to start backing out of here regardless of whether you've got it done or not, as I said in a slightly different context earlier, I think we have to be very careful with that because if the notion takes hold among Iraqis that what we really do intend to do is just execute a non-conditions-based withdrawal -- say, the famous precipitous withdrawal -- I think it pushes them actually in the wrong direction. I think it creates a climate in which they are much less likely to compromise, because they'll be looking over our heads, concluding that the U.S. is about to pull, so they had better be getting ready for what comes next. And what comes next will be a giant street fight. It's not a climate, I think, that lends itself to compromise. REP. FLAKE: If I might, then, without us putting troops aside, then, what other leverage do we have? Is it aid that is contingent on them moving forward? Some of the -- you know, with regard to some of the benchmarks? What else is effective? Is there something that has been used in other scenarios, say, the peace process in Northern Ireland, or other -- anything that you've used in prior diplomatic efforts that would be more useful here? AMB. CROCKER: Again, like so much else in Iraq, the political dynamic there is probably not unique in world history, but it is pretty special. And while we're always looking for good lessons from outside, in the case of Northern Ireland, for example, where an international commission was formed to help the people work through issues, we've gotten the documentation on that, and we've made it available to Iraqi political figures as something that we and they might work with. They're -- they've got that under consideration. Clearly we do have leverage, and we do use it. I mean, the presence of 160,000 troops is a lot of leverage. And you know, we are using those troops for their security. That gives us, again, not only the opportunity but the obligation to tell them they've got to use the space they're getting to move forward. REP. FLAKE: In the remaining time I have, quickly, for the general, some argue that the presence of U.S. troops gives al Qaeda simply a target. Is there a difference between their attacks on U.S. troops as opposed to attacks on other coalition forces? I know there are different regions, but in Basra, for example, where the British have been, is there -- GEN. PETRAEUS: There are virtually no al Qaeda, really, in the southern part of Iraq because, of course, it's a Shi'a area and much less hospitable to them. REP. FLAKE: Right. GEN. PETRAEUS: They -- we think there have been attacks over time, occasionally, but nothing at all recently in the southern part of Iraq. REP. FLAKE: In other areas, is there any evidence that -- and I know we've performed different roles, the different coalition forces, but is there any evidence that they are more likely to attack Americans than other coalition forces? GEN. PETRAEUS: No. In fact, they're probably more likely to attack Iraqi forces right now. In fact, they're very concerned by the rise of particularly these local volunteers who have been assimilated into the Iraqi forces, because that represents a very, very significant challenge to them. It means that locals are invested in security, and of course they have an incentive that folks from the outside can never have. They are going to fight and die for their neighborhood, again, in a way that -- others who might come in from elsewhere would not be willing to do the same. So in fact we've seen a very substantial number of attacks on these forces as they have become more effective, trying to take out their checkpoints, attack their bases and so forth. REP. FLAKE: Thank you. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. Mr. Smith from Washington. REP. ADAM SMITH (D-WA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, General, Ambassador, for your service and for your testimony today. I want to explore something we haven't talked that much about, and that is to some degree -- Iraq, to a very large degree, is dividing along sectarian lines and has been for some time. I mean, if we're not there yet, we're pretty -- we pretty soon will be to the point where there's no such thing as a mixed Shi'a-Sunni neighborhood. So even while we're surging forward, this -- (inaudible) -- ethnic cleansing, division, whatever you want to call it, is going on. And I think there's a number of implications of that. You know, one is, it sort of underscores the difficulty of reaching a solution. You know, I, I guess, will be a minority among some of my colleagues here. I don't really so much blame the Iraqis for the situation. It's an intractable situation. It's not like if they stuck around in August in parliament they would have solved this. They, you know, have a deep division between Shi'a and Sunni that I think everybody in this room understands, and it's not a problem that leverage or anything is really going to solve. It is what it is, and it's a reality on the ground. And I'm concerned that we don't seem to be reacting very much to that reality, or as much as we should be. We still have this fantasy of a, you know, unity government in Iraq that we are supposedly fighting to create the space to come about. And I think most people would have to acknowledge at this point it is not going to happen. More on that in a second. I just want to -- one quick question for General Petraeus. So when you figure out what ethno-sectarian violence is, you don't count Shi'a on Shi'a and Sunni on Sunni. And that's a little troubling, in the sense that since this ethnic cleansing is going on and the neighbors have divided, a lot of the violence then comes down to once they've divided it that way, then it's, okay, which Shi'a are going to be in charge and which Sunni are going to be in charge? I mean, to some degree that's part of what's going on in Anbar. Sunnis -- GEN. PETRAEUS: First of all, Congressman, we count in the -- civilian deaths include all deaths, as I mentioned. REP. A. SMITH: Okay. But in the sectarian -- GEN. PETRAEUS: They are in there. REP. A. SMITH: In the sectarian violence. GEN. PETRAEUS: We are focused on sectarian violence, ethno- sectarian violence -- REP. A. SMITH: Right. GEN. PETRAEUS: -- because in some cases it's Arabs and Kurds as well -- because that is what eats at the fabric of Iraqi society. That is what tore the fabric of Iraqi society in the -- REP. A. SMITH: That could be, General, but if I may for just one minute -- GEN. PETRAEUS: -- latter part of 2006. If I could finish, sir. And it does not stop. It never stops until it is stopped by something else. And what we wanted to -- want to have happen is to have it stopped because there is a sustainable security situation. In some cases we help it stop by cement walls. REP. A. SMITH: That could well be, but what I said is essentially accurate, that you don't count -- in the chart that we showed, you weren't showing us civilian deaths, you were showing -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Oh, I did show you civilian deaths. That is -- REP. A. SMITH: Ethno-sectarian -- GEN. PETRAEUS: -- in the chart. There are civilian deaths. REP. A. SMITH: Okay. GEN. PETRAEUS: I showed that slide. And that has come down substantially. REP. A. SMITH: But for the purpose -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Now, it has not come down as much outside Baghdad because of the mass casualty attacks carried out by al Qaeda. And we count all of those, all civilian deaths. That's why I showed that slide and then showed the subset of that slide, which is the ethno- sectarian deaths REP. A. SMITH: Okay. GEN PETRAEUS: We focus on that because of the damage that ethno- sectarian violence does to neighborhoods, particularly, again, in Baghdad. And the problem with the discussion is that Baghdad is a mixed province, still, as are Babil, Wasat, Diyala and other areas of Iraq. REP. A. SMITH: If I could have -- GEN. PETRAEUS: And beyond that, beyond that, the resources are provided by a central government. So with the mechanism that exists now under the Iraqi constitution, there has to be representation of and responsiveness to all Iraqis in that government to ensure that all do get. Now -- REP. A. SMITH: My time is very limited. I wanted to ask Ambassador Crocker a question, if I may. I appreciate that -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you for letting me answer that anyway. REP. A. SMITH: The question, then, is, what is the political solution that we are moving toward? And that's what is most concerning to us. And the bottom line is, even under General Petraeus's description, in July of 2007 we will have roughly the same number of troops in Iraq that we had in January of 2007. Now, a lot of progress has happened, but that is obviously a problem for us. What is the political solution that we are working towards where the conditions are in place that we can begin to end our occupation, keeping in mind the fact that this ethnic division is happening? And maybe, Ambassador Crocker, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but Baghdad is separating along ethnic lines, is it not? And how does that -- what are the implications for where we're headed with all of this? If you could take a stab at that. AMB. CROCKER: Baghdad, like so many other parts of Iraq, in spite of the sectarian violence that occurred, remains a very mixed area. And that is why, again, abruptly changing course now could have some extremely nasty humanitarian consequences. Iraq is still, to a large degree, an intermixed society. Now, that puts special weight on the question you ask. So, what kind of political society is it going to be? According to the constitution, Iraq is a federal state. The debate is over what kind of federal state. Iraqis are going to need to work through this. The encouraging news I see is that now all communities increasingly are ready to talk about translating federalism down to a practical level. And that's a conversation that very much does need to take place. As I tried to lay out in my testimony, there is a tremendous amount of unfinished business here. There is that debate. There is within that debate the whole question of how the center and the periphery relate. For example, a hot debate that I had a chance to witness among Iraq's leaders was over can a provincial governor under certain circumstances -- emergency circumstances -- command federal forces. That's a pretty big issue, and it's an unresolved issue. So that's why -- and everything I said, I tried to lay out that I see reasons to believe that Iraq can stabilize as a secure democratic federal state at peace with its neighbors, under the rule of law, an ally in the war on terrorism. But it's going to take a lot of work, and it's going to take time. REP. SKELTON: The chair recognizes the gentleman from New York, Mr. Engel. REP. ENGEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to say at the outset, gentlemen, that I respect both of you and I thank you for your service to the nation. I am respectful of our troops who put their lives on the line for us every day. But I really must disagree with a lot of what I've heard here today. The American people are fed up -- I'm fed up -- and essentially what I'm hearing from both of you today is essentially "stay the course in Iraq." How long can we put up with staying the course? Young Americans are dying in someone else's civil war, as far as I'm concerned. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned that Iraq will slip into civil war if we leave. I mean, we're in civil war now. It's become apparent to me that the Iraqis will not step up until we step out, and as long as we have what seems to be an open-ended commitment, the Iraqis will never step up. So we have an open-ended commitment with many, many troops. At some point you have to ask, is this the best way to keep the U.S. safe? General Petraeus, you said that the Iraqi politicians were understanding more and more about the threat from Iran. Mr. Maliki is supported by a pro-Iranian parliamentarians in the parliament. That keeps his coalition in power, so how much can he really go against Iran? He's a product of Iran. His people that back him are supporters of Iran. You know, for years we keep hearing rosy, upbeat pictures about Iraq -- "Victory is right around the corner; things are going well" -- and it never seems to materialize. General Petraeus, I have an article here called "Battling for Iraq." It's an op-ed piece that you wrote three years ago in The Washington Post -- today -- three years ago, and I want to just quote some of the things you said. You said, "Now, however, 18 months after entering Iraq, I see tangible progress. Iraqi security elements are being rebuilt from the ground up." You wrote that -- you said, "The institutions that oversee them are being reestablished from the top down, and Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously in the face of an enemy that has shown a willingness to do anything to disrupt the establishment of a new Iraq." You talk about Iraqi police and soldiers, and you say they're "performing a wide variety of security missions. Training is on track and increasing in capacity." And finally, you said in this article -- op-ed piece three years ago, "I meet with Iraqi security forces every day. I have seen the determination and their desire to assume the full burden of security tasks for Iraq. Iraqi security forces are developing steadily, and they are in the fight. Momentum has gathered in recent months." So today you said -- and I'll just quote a few things -- "Coalition and Iraqi security forces have achieved progress in the security area. Iraqi security forces have also continued to grow and to shoulder more of the load." And finally you said, "The progress our forces have achieved with our Iraqi counterparts, as I noted at the outset, has been substantial." So I guess my question really is that, you know, why should we believe that your assessment today is any more accurate than it was three years ago in September 2004? Three years ago I was able to listen to the optimism, but frankly I find it hard to listen now, four years-plus into this war with no end in sight. Optimism is great, but reality is what we really need. GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, Congressman. I actually appreciate the opportunity to talk about that op-ed piece because I stand by it. I think what I said there was accurate. You -- there are also a number of items in there that talk about the challenges that Iraq faced, about hardships that lay ahead, and a number of other items that are included in that piece. And what I would note, by the way, is that Iraqis are dying in combat, are taking losses that are typically two to three -- closer to three -- times ours in an average month. They are stepping up to the plate. What did happen between that time and the progress that we started -- all I was doing was saying that we were getting our act together with the train and equip program and that we were beginning -- "Training is on track." That's what it was. It was on track and it was moving along. And over the course of the next six, eight, 12 months, in fact it generally continued to progress. And then along came sectarian violence and certainly the February bombing of the gold dome mosque in Samara, and you saw what that did to the country of Iraq. It literally tore the fabric of Baghdad society, Iraqi society at large between Sunni and Shi'a, and literally some of those forces that we were proud of in the beginning took enormous steps backward and were hijacked by sectarian forces and influences at that time. What I have tried to provide today is not a rosy picture. I have tried to provide an accurate picture. As I said, I have long since gone from being a pessimist or an optimist about Iraq. I'm a realist. We have learned lessons very much the hard way, and again the damage done by sectarian violence in particular has been a huge setback for the overall effort, and it resulted in the change that had to be carried out as a result of General Casey and Ambassador Khalilzad assessing in December of 2006 that the effort was failing to achieve its objectives. That's where we were. And as I mentioned, we have then made changes to that that have enabled the military progress that I have talked about. And that is military progress indeed that has emerged certainly most in the last three months, since the mid-June surge of offensives, but is something that we certainly are going to do all that we can to build on and to continue in the weeks and months ahead. Thank you -- (inaudible). REP. ENGEL: But General, that was three years ago, and this is three years later. REP. SKELTON: Whoa, whoa -- (inaudible). REP. ENGEL: Will we be saying the same thing three years from now? REP. SKELTON: Mr. Engel -- Mr. Engel, you're over a minute over your time. The chair recognizes the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Akin. REP. AKIN: I wanted to say, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, thank you for your service. I thank you, and I know that my son who's had a little free time over in Fallujah would also thank you for your good service, as well. I also would like to compliment you on your testimony today. It is professional and credible, as we anticipated that it would be. But some of us sitting here were guessing, trying to figure out what you were going to say today, and one of the things that did surprise me a little bit was that you seem to be a little gentler on the Iraqi parliament and maybe not quite as aggressive on federalism, which seems to be working well and working with the local level. So I guess my question is this: instead of threatening, well, we're going to take our troops and go home, does it not make sense to a certain degree to say, look, if the national legislature can't figure out when to have elections in Anbar province, we'll help -- we'll take care of that for you; we'll go ahead and schedule those. And by the way, you need to understand that Anbar and the different provinces are going to be able to take care of their own garbage collection and police and all this, the type of things we think of as local government functions. And can we not be building at the local level at the same time as at the federal level, both in terms of political leverage to encourage and spur each one on, but also just because of the -- the local progress seems to be working pretty well? And my last question. It kind of goes -- if you comment on that, but the next piece would be, if we wanted to elect the equivalent of a mayor of a city or people to a city council that are not working at the -- you know, at the federal level, do we have the authority to do that, and can that process take place? And is that happening? AMB. CROCKER: That's a series of good questions. Let me start by saying that we are very much focused on how we can help in the provinces. In Anbar, for example, we've got three embedded PRTs as well as the main PRT out there, been working very closely with the Marines in just these kind of issues. Okay, you've got a municipality now. And by the way, of course, Iraq is now at the stage where Iraqis are forming their own municipal governments. REP. AKIN: Are they doing that right now? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, they -- REP. AKIN: Forming their own? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, sir. They -- REP. AKIN: Do they elect people to run those -- so that's going on right now? AMB. CROCKER: They do indeed, and that's been one of the other elements of the Anbar phenomenon that I think now every town of significance in Anbar has an elected mayor and municipal council. And the mission we've got is doing everything we can, military and civilians, to try to help these new councils learn to act like they're councils; to, you know, deliver services, to pick up the trash. That is a major priority, and it's important. At the same time, we do encourage, as I said, the linkages up and down the line so that the municipal councils are tied into the provincial council because that's where the provincial budget is executed, not just in Anbar but everywhere in the country, so that the municipalities are getting their share as well. And this is not as easy as it may sound in a country that at least since the '60s -- and you can argue all the way back to the creation of Iraq as a modern state -- has never had that kind of contract between its government and its people. So, again, it's part of the revolution and progress, if you will. But we have seen that as conditions -- as security conditions stabilize, a lot of things start happening like these municipal councils, like a focus on services, like linkages from top to bottom. And again, we've -- Iraqis talk about federalism, but what does that mean in a case where resources all flow from the center? You know, the budget for Anbar comes from Baghdad. They don't have the capacity to develop a revenue base independently. So all of those things are in play, and they have been in play, basically, just since security started to improve out there. A tremendous amount has happened in a fairly short time, which gives me, again, some encouragement that as security conditions stabilize in other parts of the country, you can see not the same process -- because, as I said earlier, each place has its own unique characteristics -- but, you know, roughly similar processes start to catch hold. REP. AKIN: Thank you very much. REP. JOHN BOOZMAN (R-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. REP. TAYLOR: The gentleman from Arkansas, Mr. Boozman. REP. BOOZMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, when I was over and visiting not too long ago with you, two or three weeks ago, one of the real concerns that I had after I left was that, in visiting with the guys that had been there for a while, what I would call the backbone of the military, many of those guys were on their third deployment. And I'm pleased to hear that, because we are making progress, that we are going to be able to withdraw. Occasionally we'll have votes here that maybe mandate that you have to go over -- you know, you've got to come back for the same amount of time that you've gone. Besides the argument of not wanting to micro-manage the war from Congress, which I believe very strongly that we shouldn't do, what does that do to your flexibility if we were to actually pass something like that? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, that's not really a question that I can answer. That would have to be one that the chief of staff of the Army or the commandant of the Marine Corps would have to address. My job, as you know, is to request forces and then try to make the best possible use of them, and I'm not really sufficiently knowledgeable in what the status is at this point in time of reaching a point where we can start extending the time that forces are at home and so forth. REP. BOOZMAN: Let me ask very quickly, Mr. Crocker, one of the frustrations I've had in traveling the area has been that the -- our efforts to try -- our Voice of America-type efforts that was so successful against the Soviet Union, sometimes the people in the region have not spoken very well of that through the years. Is that better, or can you tell us a little bit about what we're trying to do to get the hearts and minds through the media? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, sir, that has, of course, been something that we've been engaged in since 2003, and as you suggest with some fairly mixed results in trying to get this right. We've got a couple of vehicles out there for it. One of them is Al Hurra, which has, quite frankly, as I understand it, been involved in a few controversies and has gone through some high-level personnel changes. As well as, of course, VOA, which has been a stalwart all along, as you point out. It is a complex media environment in Iraq and in the region, and it requires having people in place who know how messages resonate and know how to put them together. I was in Iraq in 2003 for several months as we put together the Governing Council and our first media efforts, and coming back a little over four years later I've been impressed by the progress we have made. But to be completely frank with you, I think we still have a way to go both in Iraq and in the region in articulating an effective message to Arab audiences. REP. BOOZMAN: General Petraeus, I've got tremendous respect for you, tremendous respect for General Jones. A lot -- you know, people have alluded to that report. Well, it would be helpful, I think, to me and others if at some point that perhaps you could maybe respond through writing or whatever some of the ideas that he's got that differ than the ideas that you -- I would just encourage you -- again, that would be very helpful to me if at some point you could delineate the differences that you have and then why. I yield back. REP. SKELTON: The chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California, Ms. Sanchez. REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ (D-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, gentlemen, for being before us today. It's good to see you both again. As usual, I have tons of questions, General and Ambassador, but let me limit it to this one. The BBC released the results of a poll conducted in August that indicates that Iraqi opinion is at the gloomiest state ever since the BBC and ABC News polls began in February of 2004. According to the latest poll, between 67 and 70 percent of Iraqis say that the surge has made things worse in some key areas, including security and the conditions for political dialogue, reconstruction and economic development. Since the last BBC/ABC News poll in February, the number of Iraqis who think that the U.S.-led coalition forces should leave immediately has risen sharply, from 35 to 47 percent. And 85 percent of Iraqis say they have little or no confidence in the U.S. and U.K. forces. So I know a lot of politicians live by polls, and I realize that the U.S. policy in Iraq shouldn't simply follow the polls, because, you know, there can be a wide range of influence on some of this. Nevertheless, it's a fundamental principle of the U.S. Army counterinsurgency doctrine that the attitudes of the population are an important center of gravity in such a conflict. I think that was stated in our counterinsurgency manual. First -- I have three questions for you -- were you aware of the poll? Do you have your own polling? And why -- and what are your findings versus the attitude of the Iraqi public that we find in the BBC poll? Secondly, how do you explain the sharply negative perception of Iraqis regarding security conditions in Iraq since the surge began? If your data so indicates that dramatic and sharp declines in violence have happened in the last three months, then why isn't it reflected in the attitudes of the Iraqi citizens who are living this hell day by day? And third, one of the cornerstones of your counterinsurgency strategy is to deploy U.S. forces into the areas where they conduct operations, and the BBC poll indicates a dramatic increase in the percentage of Iraqis who want U.S.-led forces to leave Iraq. And that supports the finding of the independent commission by General Jones, that said massive troop presence and U.S. military facilities creates a negative perception among Iraqis that U.S. forces are a long-term occupying force. So, how concerned are you that this apparent decline in public confidence is happening due to that, and how do we address it? Is it a public relations problem or is there a substantive strategy issue that we need to face? And I'll start with the ambassador. AMB. CROCKER: Thank you very much, Congresswoman. No, I have not seen this particular poll. As you know, there are a lot of polls out there. And to say the least, I think polling in Iraq at this point is probably a fairly inexact science -- which is not to call into question, you know, this particular poll. I simply don't know. I know that I have seen -- REP. SANCHEZ: It's a BBC/ABC poll. They usually know how to conduct surveys quite well, I would say. AMB. CROCKER: Yeah. What -- REP. SANCHEZ: They certainly find that they count better than most of our generals count in Iraq. And General Petraeus will know what I mean by that. AMB. CROCKER: I have seen other national polling data that shows, for example, that the number of Iraqis who now feel secure in their own neighborhoods and indeed feel secure moving around the city has gone up significantly. I don't know whether that is accurate either. What I do know, since Iraq, with all of its problems and imperfections, is now an open political society where political figures do have a sense of where their constituencies are, that all of Iraq's principal leaders have registered the sense they have that there has been an improvement of security in the course of the surge. And they've also been very clear that they credit multi-national forces with much of that improvement, and that they don't want to see any marked precipitous reduction in how those forces are deployed until conditions sustain it. Another example I would give you is the communique of the leaders on the 26th of August, in which these five individuals, who have some pretty substantial differences among them, were all prepared to sign on to language that called for a long-term strategic relationship with the U.S. So, again -- REP. SANCHEZ: Well, sure. They want our money, and they want our -- you know, I mean, we're pumping lots of -- we're about the only thing going on in the economy. AMB. CROCKER: Well, actually, there's a lot starting to go on in the economy, and we've talked about what we're seeing in terms of provincial development; that's -- that's mainly coming from -- REP. SANCHEZ: Potential development. AMB. CROCKER: Provincial. REP. SANCHEZ: Provincial. AMB. CROCKER: Provincial development. That's coming out of the central treasury. And it is generating economic activity. We support that. We have a number of programs of our own that we work in coordination with Iraqi government. But there is economic activity. Again, it's anecdotal, but what I have noticed going around Baghdad is people, because they're feeling relatively better about their security conditions, are now asking, "Okay, so where are the services?" REP. SANCHEZ: Again, why is the poll so far off from your anecdotal? AMB. CROCKER: Ma'am, I -- you know, I haven't seen the poll. I don't know what the margin of error is or how it was conducted. REP. SANCHEZ: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. We have an ongoing vote. We're told they will hold the vote open for an extra two or three minutes for us. I don't believe we have time to call on an additional member, which I regret, and I thank you for staying the additional 20 minutes, Mr. Ambassador and General. I appreciate -- we all appreciate your being with us -- REP. ORTIZ: I was ready. REP. SKELTON: -- your professionalism and your duty to our country. With that, we'll adjourn the hearing. (Sounds gavel.) END.
Status of Iraq War Hearing SWITCHED 1800 - 1900
Joint hearings of the House Armed Services and House Foreign Affairs committee with General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. CLEAN HEARING TRANSCRIPT OF THE 18:00-19:00 HOUR WITHOUT TIME CODE GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first, if I could just start out and note that there is no question that al Qaeda Iraq is part of the greater al Qaeda movement. We have intercepted numerous communications between al Qaeda senior leadership, AQSL as they're called, and the -- REP. ACKERMAN: Isn't it true, General, that al Qaeda in Iraq formed in 2005, two years after we first got there? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, I'm not saying when it started. I'm saying merely that al Qaeda Iraq clearly is part of the overall greater al Qaeda network. REP. ACKERMAN: But they didn't exist until we -- (inaudible). GEN. PETRAEUS: We have intercepted numerous communications, and there is no question also but that al Qaeda Iraq is a key element in igniting the ethnosectarian violence. They have been in effect an element that has poured gas on burning embers with the bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque, for example, and with efforts that they have tried recently, for example, bombing the poor Yazidi villages in northwestern Iraq and so forth. REP. ACKERMAN: Are they a threat to us? GEN. PETRAEUS: Al Qaeda Central is a threat to us. I don't know what the result would be if we left Iraq and left al Qaeda Iraq in place. That is very, very hard to say. REP. ACKERMAN: Then how could you -- GEN. PETRAEUS: I don't know where they would go from here. Again, I'm not trying to -- REP. ACKERMAN: Then how could you suggest that we leave after the sectarian violence stops? REP. SKELTON: (Sounds gavel.) Go ahead and answer the question. GEN. PETRAEUS: I'm not sure I understand that question, Congressman. REP. ACKERMAN: The question is, your testimony appears to indicate that our mission is to end the sectarian violence. If we end the sectarian violence, how can we leave without killing everybody who we've identified as part of a terrorist organization such as al Qaeda in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, al Qaeda again, as I mentioned, Congressman, is part of the sectarian violence. They really are the fuel -- important, most important fuel on the Sunni Arab side of this ethnosectarian conflict -- REP. ACKERMAN: Question again is, how do we leave? GEN. PETRAEUS: The way to leave is to stabilize the situations in each area, and each area will require a slightly different solution. The solution in Anbar province, as an example, has been one that is quite different from what -- one that might be used in a mixed sectarian area. But stabilizing the area, trying to get the violence down, in some cases literally using cement T-walls to secure neighborhoods and then to establish a sustainable security arrangement that increasingly is one that Iraqis can take over by themselves. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from New York, Mr. McHugh. REP. JOHN MCHUGH (R-NY): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, let me add my words of deep appreciation and respect for the amazing job you've done. Whether one agrees with our current circumstances in the Middle East or not, I would hope no one of any thinking, responsible mind would question your devotion to country and dedication to duty. I appreciate it. General, I enjoyed that back and forth with my fellow New Yorker, but let me put it a little bit more simply. Is Iraq an important part on the global war on terror in your mind? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, I think that defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq would be a huge step forward in the global war on terror, and I think that failing to do that would be a shot of adrenaline to the global Islamic extremist movement. REP. MCHUGH: Then I assume you agree with the conclusions of the National Intelligence Estimate, that if we were to leave Iraq precipitously from a military perspective, that the likelihood would be of a return to effectiveness, if you will, of AQI, al Qaeda in Iraq. Is that something you agree with? GEN. PETRAEUS: I do. If we were to leave before we and Iraqi forces had a better handle on al Qaeda-Iraq, that likely would be the outcome. We've made substantial progress against al Qaeda, as I mentioned in my opening statement, but as I also mentioned, al Qaeda remains very dangerous and certainly still capable of horrific mass- casualty sensational attacks. REP. MCHUGH: A lot of good people believe that -- and you've heard a little bit, and I suspect you'll hear more today -- good people believe that we have an opportunity by abandoning the mission in, they would argue, a thoughtful way, in Iraq and redirecting our attention entirely against Afghanistan would be the best thing to do in the war on terror. From what you know on the circumstances for the moment, would taking that step, abandoning the current conditions in Iraq for a total commitment to Afghanistan -- (inaudible) -- plus or minus in the war on terror? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, as I mentioned, allowing al Qaeda-Iraq to really rejuvenate, to regain its sanctuaries would certainly lead to a resumption of the kinds of ethnosectarian-fueling attacks that they were conducting on a much more regular basis than they have been able to conduct since the surge of offensives that we have launched in particular. I'm not sure what, you know, a huge injection of assets would do in the Afghanistan portion -- the portion of Afghanistan that is directed against al Qaeda, and I think in fairness that's probably a better question for General McChrystal, the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, or Admiral Fallon, the combatant commander. REP. MCHUGH: Thank you, sir. Ambassador Crocker, you've said it, I think everyone on this panel feels it, probably most if not all Americans feel a great deal of frustration toward the Iraqi government and the slowness in which they've taken steps that are commensurate with the military side of this equation, and I certainly share those. Folks talk about sending a message to the Iraqi government. There's few things we can see an effect, such as military reductions, that we perceive as perhaps being helpful in turning the screws, encouraging them to make those hard decisions. Advise us, sir. What can we do effectively to send a message to facilitate positive steps by Maliki and the government that's currently in power? AMB. CROCKER: It's a great question, and certainly it's one that General Petraeus and I wrestle with almost every day. First, on the issue of troop reductions as a lever. I think we have to be very careful about this. If the Iraqis develop the sense that we're prepared for a non-conditions-based withdrawal of substantial numbers of our troops, my view is that it would make them less inclined to compromise and not more. And the reason for that is that if they see us coming out, they're still going to be there. And they are then going to be looking over -- increasingly over the tops of our heads, over the horizon to figure out how they're going to survive and how they're going to get through the coming massive sectarian conflict. So it's -- it's the kind of thing we got to think very carefully about, and I'm extremely cautious in ever putting that out on the table. I find that what I kind of need to do on a day-to-day basis is first try to understand, and that's why I spent some time in my statement on how things got to be the way they are in Iraq. That doesn't mean saying, well, you're an abused child so it's okay to do whatever you want, but it does help to understand why these things are difficult; with that understanding, then figuring out where some pressure works, what kinds of pressure, where encouragement works, where some fresh thinking works. And we employ all of that on a fairly regular basis. And one example of a small success was our encouragement for the Anbar forum that took place just last Thursday that brought federal and provincial leaders together in Anbar. REP. SKELTON: Before I -- the gentleman's time has expired. I thank the gentleman. Before I call Mr. Manzullo, the gentleman from Illinois, let me add a footnote. That we speak about benchmarks, and we've had testimony in the Armed Services Committee that the benchmarks are really commitments made by the Maliki government. Mr. Manzullo. Five minutes. REP. DONALD MANZULLO (R-IL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, media reports refer to U.S. plans to build a military base near the Iran-Iraq border to curtail the flow of weapons into Iraq. Could you please elaborate on these plans? And is Iran the greatest threat to Iraqi security or is al Qaeda the greatest threat? And is the U.S. presence, and thus our massive resources in Iraq, hindering our ability to eradicate al Qaeda worldwide? GEN. PETRAEUS: First of all, Congressman, there is already a base in the area that I think -- I haven't seen that article, but there is a base southeast of Baghdad in Kut, which is where, in fact, the new contribution from the country of Georgia, a brigade, is going to be based. And that is probably what that was referring to. There is an effort to work with the Iraqis to try to interdict the flow, as I mentioned earlier, of these arms, ammunition and other assistance -- lethal assistance coming from Iran that are being funneled to these breakaway rogue militias/special groups associated with the Jaish al-Mahdi, the Sadr militia. You've asked a great question about which is the biggest threat, if you will. We tend to see al Qaeda-Iraq the wolf closest to the sled, because it is the threat that carries out the most horrific attacks in Iraq that cause the very high casualties, that attempt to reignite ethno-sectarian violence, as they did in fact with the February 2006 bombing of the gold dome mosque. And you saw how the security incidents just climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed, and really all the way until just the last several months, before they started to come down. They are still dangerous. They're off-balance. They have lost the initiative in a number of areas. We have taken away sanctuaries in a number of important areas. But they still remain very, very lethal and very dangerous, and they will certainly try to reconstitute. So that is, in a sense, what we see as the immediate and most pressing threat, and we've put great emphasis on that, with our Iraqi counterparts, because they are very much in this. It was the Iraqi army that killed the emir of Mosul, as an example, and has actually had a number of other successes recently against al Qaeda elements. The long-term threat may well be the Iranian-supported militia extremists in Iraq. If these could become a surrogate in the form of a Hezbollah-like element, these are very worrisome. We have learned a great about Iran since we captured the head of the special groups and the deputy commander of Lebanese Hezbollah, Department 2800. They have shared with us. They have explained, as have a number of others that we have captured -- explained the level of assistance, training, equipping, funding and so forth. And we captured documents with them that documented the attacks that they had carried out and clearly were so detailed because they were in fact giving those to prove what they had done to justify the further expenditure of funds from Iran. Prime Minister Maliki, I think, sees that as perhaps THE biggest threat, and a number of the Iraqi leaders, just as we have learned a great deal more in recent months, have also learned a great deal more. And they have been very worried about what they have seen, despite the fact, as was mentioned earlier, that a number of them have quite a long history with Iran, and in some cases many years in exile in Iran. REP. MANZULLO: The last question was, is our presence in Iraq hindering our ability to fight al Qaeda worldwide? GEN. PETRAEUS: Again, I think that's probably a better question for the commander who is charged with the overall counterterrorist effort of the United States, Lieutenant General Stan McChrystal, who spends a great deal of time in Iran, has very sizable assets -- in Iraq -- has very sizable aspects -- assets in Iraq as well. And I think he would be the one who would best be able to answer whether the relative mix against Iraq or Afghanistan or elsewhere, because there are certainly al Qaeda affiliates. And we do track this with him every week. In fact, we get together and discuss not just al Qaeda in Iraq, but al Qaeda in the Levant and in other areas, the Horn of Africa and so forth as well. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman from Illinois. Mr. Taylor, gentleman from Mississippi. REP. GENE TAYLOR (D-MS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General and Mr. Ambassador, for being here. General, we hear a lot of talk about there being a partnership with the Iraqis and building up Iraqi capabilities. When I looked around your headquarters at the Water Palace at Easter, it sure looked like an all-American show to me. In fact, I don't recall the presence of a single Iraqi there. Given the talk of standing them up so that we can create a situation where at some point the Americans can come home, at what point does it become more of a partnership in reality as opposed to a partnership in words? GEN. PETRAEUS: Thanks, Congressman. In fact, right across from our headquarters is the Iraqi ground force headquarters, which is really the equivalent of the Multinational Corps Iraq and which has partnered very closely with Lieutenant General Odierno and his headquarters. We have a substantial number of transition team advisers in that headquarters and, in fact, we have Iraqi liaison in our headquarters as well. Our biggest effort really, certainly from my level, is with the Iraqi joint headquarters, which is in their Ministry of Defense building, which is contiguous, literally, with a door right between the wall, contiguous to the Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq headquarters, General Dubik's headquarters, which is the organization that is charged with supporting the development of the ministry and the joint headquarters. And that is how we work with them. I also provide a substantial number of officers from staff sections in the Multinational Force headquarters, the intelligence operations and others, who are actually partnered with the Iraqis there and also at the Baghdad Operational Command headquarters. REP. TAYLOR: General, in your conversations with the Iraqis, do you ever point at a calendar, whether this year, next year, the following year, the year after that, and say, "We expect you to be an operational force by this date"? What I fail to see, and I'd like you to enlighten me, is a target date. We hear numbers of Iraqis trained; we hear dollars spent on equipment. What I don't hear or see is a target date where you expect them to be able to police their own country and defend their own country. And if I'm missing that, I would certainly like you to point that out. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, in fact, that transition has been going on. And in fact, the dates are usually mutually agreed. There is a joint Multinational Force Iraq/government of Iraq committee that has representation from the different security ministries and in fact determines the dates, for example, for provincial Iraqi control. Even during the surge -- REP. TAYLOR: And those dates are, sir? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, those are always -- they're agreed by province. As an example, a couple of months ago, we did it for Maysan province. The three Iraqi Kurdish provinces were just recently done. Several provinces were done before the surge as well. And Karbala, for example, is coming up right after Ramadan, about a month or so from now. Now, we have dates on a schedule that we work out with this committee, and it lays out the projected time frames for when this process of provincial Iraqi control will go forward, and we have that for each of the different provinces out there. Sometimes the dates have slipped. There's no question about that. In the case of, for example, Diyala province, which experienced real difficulties as Baqubah was on the verge of becoming the new capital of a caliphate of al Qaeda, that slipped. On the other hand, Anbar province, all the sudden, which was not one that we were looking forward to at all, actually now has a date, and I think it's something like January of 2008. So that process has been ongoing. There are numbers of provinces in which there are few if any coalition forces. Several have no coalition forces. Others have a single special forces team or what have you. REP. TAYLOR: General, for the record, could you supply us that timeline by province to this committee? GEN. PETRAEUS: I'd be happy to give you the provincial Iraqi control schedule that we have right now, yes, sir. REP. TAYLOR: Okay, thank you. Thank you again for your service. REP. SKELTON: Let me ask a question. Would that be classified or unclassified? GEN. PETRAEUS: Sir, I think it is classified. Again, whatever it is, we'll get it to you. REP. SKELTON: We would appreciate that. I thank the gentleman from Mississippi. REP. TAYLOR: Thank you again, General Petraeus. GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. The gentleman from American Samoa, Mr. Faleomavaega, please. DEL. ENI FALEOMAVAEGA (D-AS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank both of you gentlemen for your service to our country. I keep hearing that our active duty and Marine forces are overstretched. And I also express the very serious concerns about the capacity of our current (ready ?) Reservists and National Guard organization, and which was confirmed by General Keane, who expressed some real serious concerns about the way we are using our (ready ?) Reservists and National Guardsmen. And gentlemen, with the tremendous strain and shortages in military equipment, preparedness and training of our (ready ?) Reservists and National Guardsmen and women, who are obligated now to serve in Iraq, does our military currently have the capacity to fight two fronts, in Iraq and Afghanistan? And do we have enough added strategic reserves to fight another potential war front like Iran, the Taiwan Straits, or even to have the situation that's now brewing between the Kurds and our ally, Turkey? With the crisis now brewing there in that northern part of the country in Iraq, I wanted to know if we have the capacity -- it seems like we have all the military personnel available to do what everyone wanted to do to perform the military mission. And I'd like to hear your professional judgment on that, General Petraeus. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, thank you. First of all, I very much share the concern over the strain on our military forces, and in particular on our ground forces and other so-called high-demand, low-density assets. As I mentioned, that was one of the factors that informed my recommendations to draw down the five Army brigade combat teams, the Marine expeditionary unit and the two Marine battalions, between now and next summer. I also am on the record as offering the opinion that our ground forces are too small. And I did that before the approval of the expansion of those. And I am gratified to see, frankly, the support that this body has given to the effort to expand our ground forces because of the strain that has put on them and, by the way, of course, on their families. With respect to your question, sir, again, with respect, I'm just not the one to answer that. I am pretty focused on the mission in Iraq and not really equipped to answer whether or not -- what else is out there for other contingencies, although I know in a general sense, obviously, that there is very little else out there. DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Thank you, General. I have the highest respect for our men and women in military uniform. And I could not agree more with my good friend from California when he mentioned statements by General MacArthur about duty, honor and country. And General Petraeus, one of your colleagues, the former chief of staff for the Army, General Eric Shinseki, was vilified and humiliated by civilian authority because he just wanted to offer a professional judgment on the situation there in Iraq. He recommended that we should have at least 250,000 soldiers if we really wanted to do a good job from the very beginning. Now they put him out to dry. General Taguba also was another good soldier vilified and humiliated by civilian authority of what he felt was doing his job and his duty to our country. It's been estimated that because there are 6 million people living in Baghdad that it would require at least 100,000 soldiers to bring security, real security, to the people living in that city. Could I ask for your opinion, General Petraeus, if you think that 160,000 soldiers that you now command is more than sufficient in capacity to do what you need to do right now in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, there's never been a commander in history, I don't think, who would not like to have more forces, more money, more allies and perhaps a variety of other assets. I have what we have in the military, what the military could provide for the surge. Beyond that, we certainly an increasing number of Iraqis, by the way. I might that add that in fact one of Prime Minister Maliki's initiatives has been to expand the number of forces in general and also the manning of each division so that it is at 120 percent of authorized strength so that with their leave policy, which is a must -- and remember, these guys don't ever go home except on leave with their pay. They are in the fight until it is over, and if they don't take their pay home at the end of the four weeks or so or whatever that period is that was worked out for them, they will not get that pay. But I have also again recommended today reductions in our force levels that I believe will be prudent, based on what we have achieved and what I believe we will have achieved together with our Iraqi counterparts. REP./DEL. : Thank you, General. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from American Samoa raises the issue of readiness. We have had in the Armed Services Committee extensive testimony and documentation, particularly in the Readiness Subcommittee under my friend from Texas, Mr. Ortiz, on the strains, particularly on the ground forces of the Army and Marines. And I tell my friend from American Samoa, it's very, very serious. Thank you for raising that issue. Mr. Bartlett. REP. ROSCOE G. BARTLETT (R-MD): Thank you folks very much for your service and your testimony. Remembering all those years I sat in the bottom row and never had a chance to ask my question, I'm going to yield most of my time to the most junior member on our side of the aisle, but first I must ask a very brief question and then make a brief comment. The brief question is, General, in an attempt to discredit your testimony today, The New York Times is quoted as saying that "The Pentagon no longer counts deaths from car bombings." And The Washington Post is reported as saying that we -- that you will only count assassinations if the bullet entered the back of the heard and not the front. Unless you interrupt me to say that I'm wrong, I'm going to assume that both of these allegations are false. GEN. PETRAEUS: They are false, that's correct. REP. BARTLETT: Thank you for confirming my suspicions. GEN. PETRAEUS: We have a formula for ethnosectarian violence. There's a very clear definition about it. It's acts taken by individuals of one ethnic or sectarian grouping against another ethnosectarian grouping in general for an ethnosectarian reason. It is not that complicated, candidly. If al Qaeda bombs a neighborhood that is Shi'a, that is an ethnosectarian incident, and it is adjudged as such. And where this idea of the bullet entering comes into it is not something I'm aware of. REP. BARTLETT: Thank you, sir. I just didn't want those allegations out there without the opportunity to refute them. Mr. Ambassador, on page four of your testimony, you note the tension between deciding whether or not the power ought to be in the center or the periphery. Some see the devolution of power to regions and provinces as being the best insurance against the rise of a future tyrannical figure in Baghdad. Others see Iraq with its complex demographics as in need of a strong authority. I would submit, Mr. Ambassador, this is the essential question, and unless we know which of those roads we ought to be traveling, I think that the probability of success is enormously diminished. If we haven't already, I hope we can decide which of those roads we ought to be traveling on because they are very different processes, sir. Let me yield the balance of my time now, I believe, (to) our most junior member, Mr. Geoff Davis from Kentucky. (Short pause.) (Cross talk off mike.) REP. GEOFF DAVIS (R-KY): With the chairman's indulgence, I'll ask that the time for the power failure not be counted against -- REP. SKELTON: Please proceed. REP. DAVIS: Thank you very much. Yes, it is somewhat ironic with our challenges today that we provide the criticism to our Arabic partners. I find it ironic that the Iraqi national assembly has been more legislatively effective this year than the United States Congress in passing laws, so our criticism should also measure ourselves. First, General Petraeus, I want to commend you on your application of classic counterinsurgency principles, working with the localized social and cultural networks to build from the bottom-up -- or as Speaker Tip O'Neill used to say, all politics is local. I've heard feedback from across the theater from friends of more than 30 years ranging down to young soldiers and their perspectives, and I think the people on both ends of the political spectrum are trying to oversimplify, to define as black-and-white issues that are best measured in shades of gray. You both have inherited a situation in which our instruments of power were initially employed with flawed assumptions and now in which any course of action has potentially significant second-and third- order effects, and there's areas that I would appreciate if you could comment on. First, one closer to home. I have often heard from troops at all levels, ranging from Central Command staff all the way down to platoon members, in Sadr City that the military is at war, but the nation is not. You mentioned the need to fight in cyberspace, and I assume meaning an information campaign explaining both to the world our ideas and also to the people. And I guess the question there would be: What would you tell the American people, not Congress, is the reason that we should support the recommendations of both of you? And then, following on that, given the effects that these decisions will have on the future, do you have some suggestions on key reforms to our national security or interagency process that you'd recommend to better integrate and facilitate our instruments of national power? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first of all, if I could, I do believe that our leaders get it in Iraq more than we ever have before. Part of that is just sheer experience. Just about every battalion or brigade commander, most company commanders have served in Iraq at least one tour before, some more than one. We've made mistakes along the way; we've learned a lot of lessons the hard way. But we've made significant changes in our institutional Army, Marine Corps, in particular, and the other services, in terms of our doctrine, the education of our commissioned, non-commissioned officers, the preparation at the combat training centers, the entire road-to-deployment process. And I think that that has made a change in adopting some of the counterinsurgency practices that we are using. With respect to who is at war and who isn't, I would merely associate myself with the remarks of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Pace, who has said on a number of occasions, I believe, before the House Armed Services Committee among them, that he believes that the military obviously is at war, but that he's not so sure about all of the other agencies. Although I would certainly say that State and AID are very much in the same camp. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. But it's not just the military that's at war. It's their families, General. GEN. PETRAEUS: That is exactly -- REP. SKELTON: And we appreciate their sacrifices. GEN. PETRAEUS: Right. REP. SKELTON: Next on my list I have the gentleman from California, Mr. Royce. REP. EDWARD ROYCE (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, I would just like to ask you your thoughts on al Qaeda in Iraq. You mentioned the reduction of the popular level of support. And I think General Jones's commission bears that out, his finding that that support level in Anbar had decreased dramatically. And it sort of begs the question: Where does al Qaeda in Iraq draw it's support today? And how do those fighters get into the country? And what could we be doing? In theory, what could we be doing? Now, let's say in Saudi Arabia, you have a young man buying a one-way plane ticket into Damascus. It shouldn't be that hard to figure out what might be going on. What could we be doing in these countries, and I ask the ambassador the same question, in order to deter then influx? I'd also like just some stats. I mean, is it 40 percent Saudi, 30 percent North African? If you've taken out 2,500 of their fighters and 100 of their officer corps recently, then clearly focusing on how they get into the country would be a question that I'd be interested in. And lastly when you look at your plan to draw down the force of five brigades here over the ensuing months, and then as you step down to a few brigades left in Iraq for the purpose of overwatch, all of that is based upon how well the Iraqi military performs. The numbers you've given us would indicate now that there soon will be a half-million soldiers or security people in Iraq under the Iraqi military. But what type of progress -- give us your unvarnished opinion of the progress that's being made or not being made by these Iraqi military units, because the success of your plan to reach a position where you draw down to a few brigades left for overwatch is dependent upon their success. Thank you, General. Thank you, Ambassador Crocker. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, by the way, the reduction for -- of support for al Qaeda extends well beyond Anbar as well. It now is manifested, as we mentioned, both in Abu Ghraib, other areas that used to be sanctuaries for Iraq, three important neighborhoods in particular: Amiriyah, Ghazalia and Adhamiya. In each one of those at varying stages, the first two in particular, local individuals have stood up, literally generated local forces that have now been tied into our forces. Prime Minister Maliki has directed his army to work with them and coordinate with them, and the next step would be to work to get them into a legitimate Iraqi security force institution. Al Qaeda continues to get its support from a variety of means. Certainly it gets direction, money and expertise from the outside. It does send in from the outside foreigners to try to help rejuvenate areas. In fact, we killed the three -- we call them the al-Turki brothers. These were individuals who had spent time in Afghanistan in the past, who had come into Iraq. We missed them. They came in again. And that time we were able to -- literally to kill them. And so they were not able to do what they were supposed to do, which was to help in northern Iraq, which was under big pressure. So there is outside support, and there's also this flow of these foreign fighters, a number of whom do end up being suicide bombers. We still estimate that -- and it's very hard to tell, but somewhere -- 80 percent or so of the suicide bombers are from outside Iraq. And that was what we were talking about earlier, the importance of the diplomatic offensive, to work with source countries, to work with the countries through whom these fighters can transit to make it more difficult, as you say. And there's a variety of mechanisms. We believe, for example, that Saudi Arabia has taken steps in fact to make it tougher. The last Saudi foreign fighter we captured had actually had to take a bus to Damascus and then got into the network that eventually brought him into the country. We believe that Saudi Arabia is still probably the largest country in terms of the foreign fighters, although that again may be diminishing somewhat. And there are certainly others that come from North Africa, Jordan, Syria and so forth into Iraq. The Iraqi security forces range in quality from exceptionally good, at the very high end, with the Iraqi counterterrorist force, which is a true special mission unit in its capability, equipment, training, and is probably more active, undoubtedly more active than any other such unit in the region; the Iraqi commando battalion, which is expanding substantially and now has forces positioned outside Baghdad as well; and other elements of the Iraqi special operations force brigade; the national police emergency response unit, also very, very active; and the special tactics unit. It then ranges all the way down through units that are variously good and aggressive, including special units typically in most of the provinces with whom we partner special forces teams, who do an absolutely superb job, and Prime Minister Maliki, in fact, personally has come to place greater importance on those because it was these high-end units and special units that he literally took with him. Actually we moved some of them down by air, others by ground, and then he took a column of about 40 vehicles personally to go to Karbala and to restore peace and stability to that situation after the confrontation between the militia of Sadr and the shrine security guards. But this runs all the way down -- it runs the gamut to -- and I have to be up front and say there are still some units, particularly in the national police, but also a handful in the Iraqi army, that were formed literally out of sectarian militias or were hijacked, in the case of some of the national police units, during the height of the sectarian violence. And those still have issues that have to be addressed. And again, especially in the wake of this militia -- the militia problems, where Sadr's militia is very clearly linked to the assassination of one, and likely two, governors in southern provinces, they have become a huge concern to him and to the government of Iraq. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Hawaii, Mr. Abercrombie. REP. NEIL ABERCROMBIE (D-HI): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, thank you for being here. Aloha to both of you. Mr. Chairman, in the course of the questioning so far, I think I have some answers that I was seeking. I would like to just make two observations based on that and yield what time I have left to Representative Castor as the junior-most member. REP. SKELTON: Certainly. REP. ABERCROMBIE: Very quickly, two points. I'll submit for the record statements from General Petraeus starting in 2004 through General Casey in 2005, General Abizaid in 2006, and looping back to General Petraeus today. Not with the idea of trying to say this is what you said then, this is what you say now. On the contrary. I think that what it shows is is that the general remarks concern from the military point of view is that we were making steady progress but the Iraqis are not ready to take over, and this was true in '04, '05, '06 and '07. Our problem is, is what do we do under those circumstances? The problem is, Mr. Chairman, that four years later, the number of U.S. troops being killed continues to climb, thousands more Iraqis are dead and the cost of the war continues to escalate and the refugees continue to stream out of Iraq. My concern is is that lost in all the statistics is the question of a very simple yet heartbreaking fact: The rate and overall number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq has gone up, not down, from 2006 to 2007. From January to August 2006, 462 U.S. troops; from January to August 2007, 740. The problem, I think, Mr. Chairman, is that we are in a situation in which in effect we are saying is is that there's only one plan for Iraq, militarily speaking -- indefinite occupation by U.S. troops. That's not a comment on the military; it's a comment on the politics, which leaves me, Ambassador, to my second statement, quickly. In your very statement today, events have caught up with your and are riding you. Your statements about oil, your statements about the oil revenues, of central government and the regional government -- today we find out the Hunt Corporation of Texas has signed an oil exploration agreement with Kurdistan. The central government is cut out. At the same time, we read that the Commerce Department is seeking an international legal adviser to draft laws and regulations that will govern Iran's oil -- Iraq's oil and gas sector. We are going to be doing the drafting of the oil protocols. Iraq is not a sovereign country. This adviser that's being sought by the Commerce Department has a contract that'll run through 2008 with an option extension to 2010. We're occupying that country politically and militarily and are going to suffer the results. I will yield the rest of my time to Representative Castor. (Light Applause.) REP. SKELTON: (Sounds gavel.) REP. KATHY CASTOR (D-FL): And I thank my colleague. Thank you, Mr. Abercrombie, and thank you, gentlemen, for your service. Gentlemen, Admiral Michael Mullen, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress last month that unless Iraq has achieved political unity, no amount of troops and no amount of time will make much of a difference. He also warned that the United States risks breaking the Army if the Pentagon decided to maintain its present troop level in Iraq beyond next spring. Add onto that last week's report by a commission of retired senior U.S. military officers, where they said that Iraq's army, despite some progress, will be unable to take over internal security from the U.S. forces in the next 12 to 18 months. The report also said that the 25,000-member Iraqi national police force is dysfunctional and so riddled with sectarianism and corruption that it should be disbanded. And the latest NIE -- the consensus view of all U.S. intelligence agencies said that the modest military gains achieved by the troop surge will mean little or nothing unless there is a fundamental shift in the factors driving Iraqi political and security developments. Gentlemen, while the American people have great confidence in the troops and our brave men and women in uniform, they have totally lost confidence at the top of our national government. There's a complete lack of credibility coming from the White House. The latest -- you know, it first justified the war by claiming that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, none were found. Then the war was about establishing a model democracy in the Arab world, some model. After that, it was necessary to fight on to defeat al Qaeda, which sprouted a local branch in Iraq. The troop surge was supposed to give Iraqi leaders the security and time to bring about national reconciliation, it didn't happen. Now the president's latest spin is a withdrawal could result in another Vietnam. I think the American people want to know, as we're in the fifth year of this war, how much longer, how many billions of dollars more, while we are growing a global strategic risk? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congresswoman, if I could, one reason that I did recommend the reduction of forces is because of the recognition of the strain on our ground forces. Again, that was an important operational -- strategic consideration that did inform the recommendations that I made. I might point out, by the way, that we could have literally run this surge all the way until April. That's the first time that a surge brigade hits 15 months. But because of a variety of considerations and also, frankly, the battlefield geometry of figuring out how to most efficiently and with minimal release in place and so forth get to where we need to be by mid-July, we recommended the reduction of the brigade combat teams in addition to the Marine Expeditionary Unit that will come out later this month without replacement, but that the reduction of the brigade combat teams begin in mid-December. I could -- if I could also point out again that Iraqis are taking over considerable responsibility. The recent celebration of the death of the Seventh Imam, which results in the convergence of about typically approaching a million pilgrims to a(n) important shrine in North-Central Baghdad, the Kadhimiya Shrine, this year was planned and executed by Iraqi forces in a true interagency effort, overseen by the Baghdad Operational Center and its commander, but also involving not just army and police but also emergency services, other transportation assets, medical assets and so forth. Two years ago, there were nearly a thousand pilgrims who were stampeded to death when rumors of enemy action or perhaps actual activities resulted in that particular event. Every other year, there have been dozens of individuals killed by terrorist activities. This year, we are not aware of any deaths due to extremist activity. And the only deaths at all were from accidents, just normal accidents that took place on that day. So again there is progress. There are locations where Iraqis are exclusively maintaining security in their areas. Although you rightly note, and I share it frankly, the frustration particularly during -- what happened during the period of ethnosectarian violence, the sectarian violence of 2006, when some units literally took steps backward, and the effort took steps backward. And that was a tragedy and it is something that we are helping the Iraqis deal with now. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentlelady. To follow through on a thought that the gentlelady raised, your recommendations for cutting back the numbers, General, do they go below the number of troops that we had prior to the so-called surge? GEN. PETRAEUS: They do not right now, Mr. Chairman, and that is something that we are working on, and let me explain why that is. There have been other forces that have come into Iraq for a variety of other tasks. One is connected with an improvised explosive device effort. Others provide additional intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets. These are assets that we would have wanted regardless of whether we were surging or not. And then the largest is probably the additional military police for the growing detainee population, so that we do not run a catch- and-release program and just turn around and have a revolving door where we're taking in terrorists and then letting them back into society without having gone through a rehabilitation or pledge process. Which, by the way, we are now doing and is one thing that I mentioned that I thanked the Congress for the resources for. Because this is a very, very important effort, that we not just have the clock run out on these individuals, and the they go back to their neighborhoods and resume what they were doing before, but that they have gone through some process that prepares them to re-enter society. And by the way, we have about 800 juveniles as well and we recently created a school that will help them as well. And then we have a pledge-and-guarantor process that tries to tie tribes and sheikhs and other civic leaders into this, so that there is a sense of responsibility at the local level for individuals who have been returned who are their family or tribal members. REP. SKELTON: The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Payne. REP. DONALD PAYNE (D-NJ): Thank you very much. And let me thank both of you for this very important report. I simply have a couple of quick questions. I wonder, General Petraeus, if the support of the tribal leaders against al Qaeda -- is that irreversible, or is it that that may change possibly in the future? The second thing that does disturbance me about the GAO report and the vast difference in the calculation of the sectarian violence. And I just wonder -- I know you answered a question by one of my colleagues that The Times was just wrong, but is there any way that reconciling can be, since the two of you seem to be so far apart on that? And further, I just wonder why it has taken the Iraqi army so long to try to become proficient? Now I understand the war with Iraq and Iran -- they say that a(n) estimated million Iranians were killed. Now was it -- I know we were assisting Iraq. Was it our military's superiority or our weaponry that was sort of the dark force that made the appearance of Iraqi competence? Because it seems to be confusing that after year after year after year, the police -- they'd say that the entire police department in one area needs to be reconstructed, but that's the national police, not the local police. The soldiers have performed poorly. And so what -- why is there such a disconnect between their Iraq-Iran conflict and the fact that they can't seem to put a sustainable offensive together to weed out Qaeda and these bandits that have come in, who were not there, of course, before we went in. Therefore, I guess Iraq is worse off than it was before al Qaeda came in. So I just get confused at -- why is it taking so long? Do they -- have they just gone on strike or let somebody else do the fighting because it's easier to let someone else do it and keep your powder dry and your head down? And you know, what's missing in this picture? GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, Congressman. Sir, the -- first of all, on the tribal leaders, they want to be part of the new Iraq. The Sunni Arabs in Anbar province, as an example, went through various stages of post-liberation, feeling disrespected, unemployed, disgusted and even boycotting the elections and then realizing that they had made a huge mistake and were left out, in many respects, of the new Iraq. A number of them were resistance fighters during that time, as they like to use the term, and tacitly or actively supported al Qaeda, until they came to really come to grips with the Taliban-like ideology of al Qaeda. The ambassador talked about some of the practices that al Qaeda inflicted on the people. And they recognized the indiscriminate violence that was a part of what al Qaeda was doing, and they said, "No more." And then they realized that, okay, we're not going to run Iraq again, but it wouldn't be a bad thing if the Euphrates River Valley were a decent place in which we could live, work, and raise a family. And that seems to be their objective, in addition to certainly having their place at the table in Baghdad and getting their share of the resources. And although there is not a revenue-sharing law agreed, interestingly, there is revenue sharing; oil revenue sharing is taking place. And the ambassador mentioned now they've even learned the term "supplemental," because Anbar province got a supplemental for its provincial budget. With respect to the GAO report, their data cutoff, the answer is the data cutoff. At the very least, their data cutoff was five weeks ago and in some cases, I think -- we might check this, but in some cases I think it was nine weeks ago. But at the very least, these last five weeks, as we showed you on the slides, have actually been very significant. Remembering that we launched the surge of offensives in mid-June, it took a couple weeks to start seeing the results, and that's why I mentioned that eight of the last 12 weeks, in fact, the level of security incidents has come down. And that's -- we don't -- I don't know how far you have to go back to see that kind of trend; it is certainly a couple of years. And as I mentioned, the level of attacks, sort of a sub-set of incidents, is actually the lowest -- lowest last week that it's been since April. With respect to the Iraqi army that defeated Iran, or held their own against Iran, there are some remnants of that army still around, and there actually are some very highly professional Iraqi army and air force and naval officers who have been taken from the old army, the old air force, and so forth. But that's 15 years ago, and during that time, of course, they were defeated by the United States and coalition forces in Desert Storm, suffered years of sanctions, of course, then were disestablished and, of course, literally had to start from the bottom. In fact, there was no ministry of defense, literally. No building, in fact, when I took over as the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq commander in the summer of 2004. It was being rebuilt, but it was not even reoccupied for a number of months later. There were no battalions at that -- or maybe one battalion operational, despite heroic efforts by Major Paul Eaton, whose effort had been largely inadequately resourced up to that time as well. This has been building, you know, the world's largest aircraft while in flight and while being shot at. And it takes us a year just to reconstitute a brigade that has actually already been in the fight, keep some 40 (percent) to 50 percent of its members. But just to get it ready to go back, the road to deployment is we want to get at least to a year and, ideally, more. And they are starting, as I said, very much from scratch and just don't have a sufficient number of commissioned and noncommissioned officers who are out there from that old army, again, given the number of years. And even just since the army was disestablished in the summer of 2003, that in itself is a number of years, and these individuals are not necessarily fighting fit, shall we say, if they have been on the sidelines for most of the time since then. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. We will take a five-minute break and return, call upon Mr. McKeon and Mr. Chabot. (Raps gavel.) (Recess.) REP. SKELTON: We will come to order. We were told previously that the witnesses had a hard stop at 6:30. I have just spoken with General Petraeus and I hope that the ambassador will agree with his decision to extend the time for an additional 20 minutes -- wherever the ambassador is. (Pause.) Will somebody find the ambassador, please? Mr. McKeon will be next. (Pause.) Mr. McKeon and Mr. Chabot, in that order. Now the gentleman from California, Mr. McKeon. REP. HOWARD P. "BUCK" MCKEON (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, I'd like to join with my colleagues in thanking you for your exemplary service. At the outset, I'd like to associate myself with the remarks of Mr. Hunter and Ms. Ros-Lehtinen in their opening comments. Specifically, I've been deeply saddened by the attacks that have been made on General Petraeus for the last week or two -- citing what he was going to say, and how he was going to say it, and what his recommendations were going to be. I have here General Petraeus' statement that he gave us after the meeting started. If I might quote, "Although I have briefed my assessment and recommendations to my chain of command, I wrote this testimony myself. It has not been cleared by, or shared with anyone in the Pentagon, the White House, or Congress." It just, I think, indicates how some would like to politicize this war on terror and our war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I'm sorry that you've become a target for things. I read in a report that you have a 63 percent rating with the American people, and I guess this is an attempt to tear you down to our level. And I'm sure that will not work. Anybody that's had a chance to see you here today will know of your integrity and your devotion to duty, and that you're giving us your best assessment of the situation. General, I've heard the comment that the Army is broken. You talked about how the enlistment is going among the troops. Would you care to talk a little bit about the Army, and is it broken? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, sir, the part of the Army that I can talk about knowledgably at this point is, of course, that which is in Iraq. And that is an Army that has sacrificed great deal, and whose family members have sacrificed a great deal. A number of those great soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen -- and so in addition to our soldiers, certainly, are on a second or perhaps third tour -- some of them shorter tours and are on even more over time. We have asked an enormous amount of these individuals and, candidly, what impresses me so enormously in return is that they do continue to raise their right hand and to serve additional tours, to volunteer for additional tours in uniform. That is not just because of the tax-free bonuses, I can assure you. There's no compensation that can make up for some of the sacrifices that some of our soldiers and their families have endured. On July 4th, in fact, we had a large reenlistment ceremony -- 588 members of different services raised their right hand, and it was a pretty inspiring sight. As I mentioned, it far exceeded the goals for the units that are under the Multi-National core, Iraq already with several weeks to go. And as you know when reenlistment times often the last few weeks of the fiscal year are a pretty frantic affair as soldiers have sorted out all the options and then finally make their choice. Our soldiers are not starry-eyed idealists. In fact, at this point, I prefer not to be a pessimist or an optimist, but to be a realist. And I think a lot of our soldiers are that way. Morale is solid. But candidly morale is an individual thing, so is the view on what's going on in Iraq sometimes. You know, there's 165,000 different American views of Iraq right now and a lot of it depends on where you are and how things are going where you are. And the perspective of someone again in Anbar province where there has been success that we did not expect or someone who's in one of the very tough ethno-sectarian fault line areas -- say, in West Rasheed of Baghdad or East Rasheed -- has a very different perspective. 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. But with all of that -- with the heat, with this really challenging, barbaric, difficult enemy who is allusive and hard to find and employs sniper tactics, improvised explosive devices, suicide bombs against us, our Iraqi colleagues and innocent civilians -- against all of that, our soldiers continue to ruck up and go out each day from their patrol basis, combat outpost, joint security stations and they do it ready for a hand grenade or a handshake. And if they get the handshake, they'll take it. If they get the hand grenade, they know what to do in that case as well. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank you very much. The gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Chabot. REP. STEVE CHABOT (R-OH): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, first of all, thank you very much for your service to our country. We first met in Iraq a few years back. One of the more memorable incidents for me was when we were in a Blackhawk over Mosul and you pointed out the house where Saddam's murderous sons had met their end, Uday and Qusay. And Qusay, let's not forget was directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of Shi'a, and hundreds of them at this own hand. And Uday's -- one of his favorite pastimes was abducting young women off the streets of Baghdad, many of whom were never seen alive again. And these were to be Iraq's future leaders. They learned well from their father. General, my question is this -- in July of 2007, you told the New York Post that troop morale had remained high because soldiers understood they're, quote, "engaged in a critical endeavor," unquote. Many of those supporting a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq have regarded low troop morale as a reason for leaving. Could you comment on the current morale of our troops in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, again, as I mentioned, Congressman, I believe that morale is solid. But it is an individual thing and it depends on the kind of day that that individual has had. Our soldiers are determined. They know how important this task is, and that is a crucial factor in what they're doing. When they raise their right hand again, as so many have, they do it knowing that they may be called upon to serve again in Iraq or Afghanistan, for them and their family to make further sacrifices in addition to those that they have already made. I'm going to be up front. You know, none of us want to stay in Iraq forever. We all want to come home. We all have days of frustration and all the rest of that. But what we want to do is come home the right way, having added, I guess, to the heritage of our services, accomplished the mission that our country has laid out for us. And again, I think that that's a very important factor in what our soldiers are doing, in addition to the fact that, frankly, they also just respect the individuals with whom they are carrying out this important mission, the men and women on their right and left who share very important values, among them selfless service and devotion to duty. And that, indeed, is a huge factor in why many of us continue to serve and to stay in uniform, because the privilege of serving with such individuals is truly enormous. MR. CHABOT: Thank you, General. And finally, could you comment on the significance of Shi'ite militia leader Maqtada al-Sadr's decision from his hideaway in Iran to suspend the operations of the Mahdi Army for six months? Does this indicate that he clearly feels threatened, is on the run? And what should U.S.-Iraqi military and political response be? And given its involvement in brutal crimes against civilians and its pronounced support for violence against the U.S., should the Mahdi Army be declared a foreign terrorist organization? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, first of all, we think that the action by Maqtada al-Sadr, his declaration from Iran, is because of a sense of embarrassment over what happened in the Shi'a holy city of Karballa, where in the -- one of the most holy celebrations of the year, individuals associated with his militia confronted shrine guards and the result was a shootout and, eventually, loss of life. That, again, was an enormous embarrassment for all of Iraq, but in particular for his militia and for the Shi'a Arabs in Iraq. And it was one reason that Prime Minister Maliki personally went to Karballa the next morning, after having deployed Iraqi special operations forces in the middle of the night by helicopter and others by ground. In response to that, frankly, we have applauded that. Again, we are not going to kill our way out of all these problems in Iraq. You're not going to kill or capture all of the Sadr militia anymore than we are going to kill or capture all the insurgents in Iraq. And in fact, what we have tried very hard to do is to identify who the irreconcilables are, if you will, on either end of the spectrum, Sunni and Shi'a, and then to figure out where do the reconcilables begin and try to reach out to the reconcilables. Some of this is a little bit distasteful. It's not easy sitting across the table, let's say, or drinking tea with someone whose tribal members may have shot at our forces or in fact drawn the blood -- killed our forces. We learned a bit, in fact, about this from my former deputy commander, Lieutenant General Graham Lamb (sp), former head of 22 SAS and the director of Special Forces in the United Kingdom, and he reminded us that you reconcile with your enemies, not with your friends. That's why it's called reconciliation. And he talked about how he sat across the table from individuals who were former IRA members who had been swinging pipes at his lads, as he put it, just a few years earlier. That was quite instructive for us. He in fact headed some of the early efforts that we had in the early part of this year and into the spring, and then it was one of -- part of his initiative that the ambassador and I established this engagement -- strategic engagement cell of a senior diplomat -- senior United Kingdom two-star again and others supporting them who have reached out to individuals that could be reconciled and then helped connect them with the Iraqi government. Some of that will have to be done with members of the Jaish al-Mahdi, with the -- Sadr's militia. The question is: Who are the irreconcilables? And so on the one hand, we have applauded; we have said we look forward to the opportunity to confirm the excellence of your militia in observing your pledge of honor, and that has enormous meaning in the Iraqi culture. And indeed a number of them have in fact obeyed what he said. However, there are a number of others who have not, and those are now regarded as criminal. We're not taking on Jaish al- Mahdi; we are with the Iraqi counterparts going after criminals who have violated Sadr's order and have carried out attacks on our forces, innocent civilians or Iraqi forces. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. We are trying to get as many members as possible under the five- minute rule. The ambassador and the general have agreed for additional 20 minutes. I might point out that I'm told there will be a vote called shortly after 6:30. I have also requested the -- will be held open a few moments longer for us, and also remind the members of the two committees that there is a ceremony that's supposed to begin at 7:00. Mr. Reyes? REP. SILVESTRE REYES (D-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and General and Ambassador, thank you both for your service to our country. I was curious in your statement, General Petraeus, you made mention that the Iraqis have taken the lead in many areas, that many operate with minimal coalition support, so -- which is contrary to what General Jones' observations were last week, when he said that they're probably 12 to 18 months away from being able to operate independently. Can you give us your opinion or your assessment of that -- GEN. PETRAEUS: I can indeed. REP. REYES: -- particularly in relation to General Jones' statement? GEN. PETRAEUS: I sure can. And in fact, he and I had a lot of conversations during his time in Iraq, and he, by the way, did a superb assessment and spent the time in Iraq, I might add, that is needed to do that type of assessment with his commissioners. What he is talking about is something different from what I was talking about in the statement. What he's talking about is the institutions of the Iraqi security forces being able to truly support their forces throughout the country -- REP. REYES: So it's to be able to spend alone on their own? GEN. PETRAEUS: But we're talking about the institutions doing that as opposed to what I was talking about, is the fact that there are many Iraqi force units who are operating on their own. In Samawa, for example, in Muthanna province in the south, there are no coalition forces whatsoever. They're on their own. Now, occasionally they will call our Special Forces team that is actually in an adjacent province and ask for some assistance. The same is largely true in Nasiriyah. There's a superb Australian unit there, largely focused on civil military operations. And again, when the Iraqi units in that area have been challenged with something they couldn't handle, they just call our Special Forces team, and we bring some enablers to bear, if you will -- close air support, attack helicopters or what have you. The same is true in Najaf. There's only a single U.S. Special Forces team in Najaf. Karbala has no forces. A very small contingent -- and so forth -- REP. REYES: So -- because -- GEN. PETRAEUS: So there are a number of places where Iraqi forces are operating on their own -- and by the way, they may not -- those battalions in those areas may not be operational readiness assessment number one. In other words, they may not be rated as meeting the readiness requirements for operating on their own, but de facto -- the fact is they are operating on their own, but they might be short equipment, leaders, maintenance standards or what have you. REP. REYES: So just the -- of the total force -- GEN. PETRAEUS: What General Jones was getting at was the institutional support. What he's talking about is the ability to support these forces with a logistical system, with depots, with maintenance, with administrative and all the rest of that. That is the challenge. Again, we have found that it's challenging to build battalions, but it's really hard to rebuild an entire army and all of its institutions that go into supporting that battalion or -- you know, way over a hundred battalions, the brigades, the divisions and all the rest of that with command and control communications, intelligence systems, combat enablers, medevac and all the rest of that makes up a force as we know it, as opposed to forces that are unable to do that. REP. REYES: Well, thank you, General. Ambassador, you made mention about the Provincial Reconstruction Teams and the fact that we went from 10 to 25. As I think all of us know, we're having a very tough time recruiting people from the different agencies that make up these teams. Can you briefly tell us -- going from 10 to 25 in a country the size of California, that's not as good news as it seems, is it? AMB. CROCKER: Well, it is a very substantial increase, and a lot of that has been in the areas of greatest population and greatest challenges, like Baghdad itself. So the surge of Provincial Reconstruction Teams into the Baghdad area -- and incidentally, all of those teams are embedded with brigade combat teams and -- REP. REYES: It's because of the security situation. AMB. CROCKER: Exactly -- although what we've discovered is that it makes for a tremendous unity of effort, and it's actually a force multiplier to have them together, so we're taking a look at the rest of the landscape and basically seeking to replicate kind of the embedded concepts for almost all of the PRTs, because that fusion really works. And it helps to coordinate objectives so that we don't have a military unit kind of working in the same area as a PRT without the kind of coordination you need. So that's been tremendously effective. Now, in terms of staffing these up, that's something I've given my particular personal focus to. The surge in PRT personnel that this operation is requiring is to be an additional 283 people in place by the end of the year. And to the annoyance of my staff, I check this three times a week, and also back with Washington, and I am firmly assured that we are on track to meet that requirement by December 31st. Now this includes a lot of military personnel, which will then be backfilled as we move into 2008. But as a report delivered by the special inspector general for Iraq just last week indicated, the PRT program is one of the most valuable programs the U.S. runs in Iraq. Now, that was the special inspector general's comment, so we're clearly on to a good thing here, and we will continue to expand the limits of this endeavor to deliver the most effective response we can to capacity-building needs, particularly on budget execution. I'd make one final comment because I do think that it's important: that as drawdowns and redeployments take place, a challenge we both have is being sure that PRTs continue to be able to do their mission where required, even as the military footprint changes. So we don't have all the answers to that. It's a work in progress, but something we're very much focused on. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Sherman. REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D-CA): Thank you. Mr. Chairman, the ultimate question for our country is how much of the resources available to fight the global war on terror should be deployed in Iraq. That decision cannot be made in Baghdad, because our fine gentlemen from Baghdad don't receive reports on what's going on in Afghanistan, Somalia, the Tri-Borders area of Paraguay, or Sudan. It's a shame that those with global perspectives, the leaders here in Washington, so lack credibility that they're unwilling to really step forward in front of the cameras and say that Iraq is the central front in the war on the terror. So instead they imply that Iraq is the central front by telling us that the decision of how much of our resources to put into Iraq should be dependent upon a report drafted in Baghdad. In effect, we've substituted global perspective for battlefield valor. Now, General Petraeus, when I -- as a general, you're always planning for possible contingencies. The counterinsurgency manual is filled with hypothetical situations and possible responses. And General, you're sworn to defend our Constitution, and you've carried out that oath with honor. Your duty to defend the Constitution would become more complex if we had a constitutional crisis here in Washington. Assume that Congress passes a law stating that no government funds should be used after March of next year, except for certain limited purposes, such as force protection, or for training. The president of the United States instead orders you to conduct U.S.- led offensive military operations, a purpose for which Congress has said we have appropriated no funds. Under those circumstances, what do you do? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, and not trying to be flip, what I would do is consult my lawyer. And again, I'm not trying to make light of this at all, but I would literally have to talk to my lawyer, and obviously talk to my chain of command and get some advice and counsel on what in fact to do. And if I could mention, perhaps, Congressman, on -- REP. SHERMAN: So General, you're saying you might very well disobey an order from the president of the United States on the advice of your legal counsel? GEN. PETRAEUS: I did not say that, Congressman. What I said is I'd have to figure out what I was going to do. If I could just follow up on one item you did say, Congressman -- REP. SHERMAN: General, I did have one -- GEN. PETRAEUS: For what it's worth, al Qaeda believes that Iraq is the central front in the global war on terrorism. REP. SHERMAN: Well, al Qaeda is telling us that they think it's the central front. They might be lying. GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, and also -- REP. SHERMAN: They've been known to do so, General. And if we allow Ahmadinejad and bin Laden to tell us where to fight them, they may not give us their best advice. But I do have one more question and very limited time. GEN. PETRAEUS: Yes, sir. REP. SHERMAN: On about September 15th, this nation's going to get a long, detailed report, well over 100 pages, I would guess. And the press is going to call it the Petraeus report. Now you know and I know that the White House has exercised editorial control over the report that will be released later this week. The country wants the Petraeus report. They want a long, detailed report, written in Baghdad, without edits from the Pentagon or the White House. Are you willing to give to these committees your detailed report, the documents you gave to the White House for them to create the report that they plan to release later this week? And -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Can I answer that so I can -- First of all, on the benchmarks report, my understanding is that the law states that that report is submitted by the president with the input from the ambassador and myself. So at least it is the Petraeus- Crocker report. REP. SHERMAN: General, if you -- my question was carefully couched. I realize months ago, Congress may have asked for a report from the White House, and we'll be happy to get it and read it. But what I said was what the country really wants right now, not months ago but right now -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Right. REP. SHERMAN: -- is the Petraeus report. We want hundreds of pages written in Baghdad, edited by you, without edits from the Pentagon and the White House. Can you get it to us? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, first of all, what I've tried to do today, Congressman, with respect, is to give the Petraeus report. And then I would add to that that Ambassador Crocker and I did submit extensive input for the benchmarks report. The draft that I saw most recently -- because like any of these reports, it does go up and it is then provided back to us for comment, is that it is essentially unchanged. REP. SHERMAN: But in any case, you are warning us that if 100 pages or so is released by the White House later this week, they've done the final edit, and it may or may not be your report as written. GEN. PETRAEUS: I don't think that there is any substantive change in that report, according to the draft that I saw the other day. My guys had a copy, checked it against what we submitted, that the ambassador and I collaborated on. And there was nothing substantive whatsoever that was different in that report. You may want to mention, Ambassador. AMB. CROCKER: No, that's -- that is my understanding of it as well. The September 15th benchmark report will be an update of the July report. And the procedure for drafting it is exactly the same as it was in July. We provide input, but it is a White House report. So it is going to be again procedurally exactly the same as the July report. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Thornberry, please. REP. MAC THORNBERRY (R-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I appreciate both of your service and your professionalism, especially in the light of personal attacks against you. Ambassador Crocker, how do you make elected representatives of the people to compromise with each other and reach agreement? We seem to have some difficulty with that. How do you make that happen in Baghdad? AMB. CROCKER: I will very carefully restrict myself to commenting about the situation in Baghdad, because it is a serious issue. It is at the core ultimately of what kind of future Iraq is going to have, whether its representatives, elected and otherwise, are able to come together and reconcile. Process in this is as important, in some ways, as actual results. And the -- one of the elements out of this summer's activity that does give me some cautious encouragement is that representatives, mainly from the parliament, from the Council of Representatives, of the five major political blocs showed an ability to come together and night after night and work their way through a lot of the major issues. The issues they were able to get close to agreement on, they teed up to their leaders, and that's what was embodied in that August 26th declaration that, in addition to the points I've already mentioned, also included commitments on reforms regarding detainees, how they're held, what the conditions are, when they see a judge, when they're released, as well as how to deal with armed groups. The five got agreement on those points as well. But it's the way they did it. Each evening for weeks, representatives -- Sunni, Shi'a and Kurds -- came together and showed an ability to work quite productively together. And that is what I am hoping is going to carry forward in the months ahead as they deal with other issues. The real answer, of course, is, you can't compel it. People have to see their interests served by a process of accommodation. And that's what we're seeing, I think, at least the hopeful beginnings of. REP. THORNBERRY: Thank you. General Petraeus, what do we do about Iran? You -- in answer to previous questions, you said the last time Ambassador Crocker went and talked to them, then the flow of arms accelerated. So some people suggest we need to have a diplomatic surge and go talk to them intensely. I'm a little skeptical that that's going to make a difference. What do we do about the arms, the training, the money that comes from Iran and undermines our efforts? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, inside Iraq, which is where my responsibility lies, we obviously are trying to interdict the flow of the arms, the training network, the money and so forth, and also to disrupt the networks that carry that out. It was very substantial, for example, to capture the head of the special groups in all of Iraq and that deputy commander of the Lebanese Hezbollah department that I talked about earlier that exists to support the Qods Force effort in supporting these special groups inside Iraq that are offshoots of the Sadr militia. Beyond that, it does obviously become a regional problem. It is something that I have discussed extensively with Admiral Fallon and with others in the chain of command. And there certainly is examination of various contingencies, depending on what does happen in terms of Iranian activity in Iraq. But our focus is on interdicting the flow and on disrupting, killing or capturing those individuals who are engaged in it. We also in fact killed the head of the network that carried out the attacks on our soldiers in Karbala, where five of our soldiers were killed back in January. That was yet another effort in that overall offensive against those individuals. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Pence from Indiana. REP. MIKE PENCE (R-IN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to thank General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker for your service to the nation. The old book tells us if you owe debts, pay debts; if honor, than honor; if respect, then respect. And having met with both of you on several occasions downrange in different assignments, I know this nation owes you a debt of honor and a debt of respect. And I want to appreciate the way my colleagues have addressed this hearing today. General Petraeus, just for clarification sake, it seems to me you opened your testimony today with a very emphatic declarative. I think your words were, "This is my testimony." I think you added that it had not been cleared by the White House or the Department of Defense. And I just -- again, we're getting the Petraeus report. GEN. PETRAEUS: That is correct. As I stated, I obviously have given recommendations, and I gave an assessment of the situation as part of those recommendations during a week of video teleconferences, consultations with Admiral Fallon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the secretary of Defense and then ultimately the president. But the testimony that I provided today, this statement, is one that I eventually took control of the electrons about two weeks ago and, as I mentioned, has not been shared with anybody outside of my inner circle. REP. PENCE: Well, thank you. Thanks for clarifying that. I think it's important. Two quick points. First on the subject of joint security stations. When I was there in April in Baghdad with you, General Petraeus, we visited a joint security station downtown. I think your testimony today suggests that now the joint security stations are, to use your phrase, are across Iraq. I wondered if you might comment for these committees about the extent to which embedding, if you will, American and Iraqi forces together -- living together, deploying together -- in neighborhood areas has expanded beyond the scope of Baghdad the impact that it's having. And for Ambassador Crocker, just for the sake of efficiency, when I was in Ramadi in that same trick, we met with Sheikh Sattar, some of the leaders of the Iraqi Awakening Movement. It was at that time, I think, 20 of the 22 sheikhs in Al Anbar province had organized that effort. The transformation of Al Anbar has been extraordinary. You made a provocative comment today, saying that that movement is, quote, "unfolding" in other parts of Iraq, and I think you mentioned Diyala and Nineveh provinces. I wonder if you might -- each of you severally -- touch on that. I saw those things in their nascent form this spring, and it seems like both of them have expanded well beyond expectations, to the good of U.S. interests and stability in Iraq. General? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, the concept, again, is that if you're going to secure the population, you have to live with the population. You can't commute to this fight. And the idea is that, wherever possible, to do it together with our Iraqi counterparts, in some cases police, some cases army, sometimes all of the above. The idea of the joint security stations is to be really command and control hubs typically for areas in which there are coalition forces, Iraqi army and Iraqi police, and sometimes now even these local volunteers, who -- again, by directive of Prime Minister Maliki -- are individuals with whom the Iraqi army is supposed to deal as well. There are a number of other outposts, patrol bases and other small bits of infrastructure, if you will, that have also been established to apply this idea that is so central to counterinsurgency operations of again positioning in and among the population. And you see it in Ramadi. For example, in Ramadi there are a couple of dozen, I think, is the last count of police stations, patrol bases, combat outposts, you name it, many of which have both coalition, either U.S. Army or U.S. Marines together, with Iraqi police or Iraqi soldiers, or in some cases still local volunteers who are in the process of being transitioned into one of the security ministries. We see the same in Fallujah. In Fallujah, though it is police stations and there are 10 precincts now established in Fallujah -- the last one was just completed -- in each of those there's typically a Marine squad or a force of about that size, and over time we've been able to move -- (Chairman Skelton sounds gavel) -- our main force elements out of Fallujah and also now to move two of the three battalions in the Iraqi army that were in that area, which frees them up to actually go up and replace the Marine Expeditionary Unit that's coming out and continue the pressure on al Qaeda-Iraq up in the Lake Tharthar area. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. Try and move along -- next, we have Dr. Snyder, Mr. Wexler, Mr. Jones, Mr. Flake -- REP. PENCE: Mr. Chairman? With your indulgence, I had posed a question to Ambassador Crocker. I don't think he had a chance to respond. REP. SKELTON: I'm sorry. I didn't catch that. Ambassador, please answer as quickly as possible. AMB. CROCKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We're seeing the phenomenon of Anbar repeated elsewhere of Iraqis deciding they've had enough of terrorists. Anbar itself, the whole way it unfolded there is unique to Anbar, and we've got to have the, again, the area smarts and the tactical flexibility to perceive what opportunities are with their regional differences. So Diyala, for example, is much more complicated than Anbar because instead of being just Sunni, that Sunni, Shi'a, Kurd intermixed and has required much more careful handling which, I must say, the military has done an absolutely brilliant job of in an incredibly complex political- military context. But you know, again, in Anbar and Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, in Baghdad, the three neighborhoods that General Petraeus mentioned in Diyala, which is a little bit to the northeast and also in Nineveh to the north and in Salahuddin, a process under way that is conceptually similar to what happened in Anbar but has in each case its particular differences that have to be taken into account by us and by the Iraqis. REP. SKELTON: Thank you very much. Dr. Snyder. REP. VIC SNYDER (D-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, I have a question for each of you if you will each answer briefly. I then want to brag on you. So if you -- the quicker you all answer my questions, the quicker I can get to bragging on the two of you. First, General Petraeus, on the chart that you passed out here earlier, the one that talks about the recommended force reduction mission shift, does it go out the timeline here at the end, General Petraeus? We have a straight line at the end. How far out does that line go? The specific question is: How many years do you anticipate U.S. troops will be in Iraq if you had Ambassador Crocker's crystal ball? GEN. PETRAEUS: And I'm afraid that I do not. In fact, that is an illustrative document with respect to both the mission mix and the stair step there. As I mentioned, there is every intention and recognition that forces will continue to be reduced after the mid-July time frame when we have reached the 15 Army Brigade Combat Team level and Marine RCT level. What we need to do is get a bit closer to that time to where, with some degree of confidence, we can make an assessment and make recommendations on that. REP. SNYDER: Thank you. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned the Provincial Reconstruction Teams, and I appreciate you bringing them up. I had a different recollection, though, of the testimony last week of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. One of the staff people was Ginger Cruze. When she testified, she actually testified that by the end of this year, State Department will have identified 68 percent of the State Department personnel to be on board. So they will not necessarily be on board; they will have just identified two-thirds of their staff requirements. So while I appreciate your attentiveness to this, I think we still -- I think the State Department is letting you down, and that somehow we've got to grapple with this issue of how to get the other agencies to step forward and assist the work that General Petraeus and his people are doing, the work that you want to do. So you may need to have another meeting with them and talk about now what exactly are we going to be having at the end of December, because they said that there was only identified two-thirds of them by the end of this year. The reason I want to brag on the two of you, I think you-all have done a good job here today and have done a great job throughout your careers. I don't know if the two of you are going to be able to solve these problems, the challenges you have before you, but you are the all-star team. And if anybody can do it, you can do it. I think that's why some of us find some of the stuff that's been said the last week or so pretty offensive. But we talk about reconciliation. You know, both in the Congress and in the country, we've been going through kind of a soft partition into D's and R's, the soft partition, the red state and the blue state. I think you-all can be part of this reconciliation because our country will do better in foreign policy if we're more united. I put Secretary Gates in that category, too. And what I like about Secretary Gates is, reports that I get back from the Pentagon is that more junior generals actually feel like they can tell him when they think he's wrong or when they have other ideas. And I don't want you to respond to this, but I know that has not been the case for the first -- for the last six years. And so I think there is some process stuff going on that may help get some of this reconciliation. An example of this has been this report that General Jones' group put out last week, that's been referred to several times. Now, it's like everything else in life, we pick and choose. And several people that are critical of what's going on have brought out some of the criticisms of the police and the Iraqi army. But the very -- the last paragraphs, the concluding thoughts -- and I'm going to quote from the report -- quote: "While much remains to be done before success can be confidently declared, the strategic consequences of failure or even perceived failure for the United States and the coalition are enormous. We approach a truly strategic moment in this still-young century. Iraq's regional geostrategic position, the balance of power in the Middle East, the economic stability made possible by a flow of energy in many parts of the world, and the ability to defeat and contain terrorism where it is most manifest are issues that do not lend themselves to easy or quick solution. How we respond to them, however, could well define our nation in the eyes of the world for years to come." And that's the end of the quote. And so those of us who, on whatever side we come down to now or in the last several years on what you-all are about, we've got to start looking at this, I think, this bigger picture. And I would -- my one question for you, Ambassador Crocker. There's a lot of criticism that we do not have the right strategic diplomatic picture that helps you do the work that you're doing. In fact, maybe I won't even put that as a question but just leave that as a comment. I think we've got a lot of work to do in the Congress and the administration to give you that kind of strategic diplomacy for that whole region. Thank you for your service. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. Mr. Wexler. REP. ROBERT WEXLER (D-FL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker, I vehemently opposed the surge when the president announced it last winter, and instead I called for our troops to be withdrawn. In your testimony today, you claim that the surge is working and that you need more time. With all due respect, General, among unbiased, nonpartisan experts, the consensus is stark; the surge has failed based on most parameters. In truth, war-related deaths have doubled in Iraq in 2007 compared to last year. Tragically, it is my understanding that seven more American troops have died while we've been talking today. Cherry- picking statistics or selectively massaging information will not change the basic truth. Please understand, General Petraeus, I do not question your credibility. You are a true patriot. I admire your service to our nation. But I do question your facts. And it is my patriotic duty to represent my constituents and ask you, question you about your argument that the surge in troops be extended until next year, next summer, especially when your testimony stating that the dramatic reduction in sectarian deaths is opposite from the National Intelligence Estimate, the Government Accounting Office and several other non-biased, nonpartisan reports. I am skeptical, General. More importantly, the American people are skeptical because four years ago very credible people both in uniform and not in uniform came before this Congress and sold us a bill of goods that turned out to be false. And that's why we went to war based on false pretense to begin with. This testimony today is eerily similar to the testimony the American people heard on April 28th, 1967, from General William Westmoreland, when he told the American people America was making progress in Vietnam. General, you say we're making progress in Iraq, but the Iraqi parliament simply left Baghdad and shut down operations last month. You say we're making progress, but the nonpartisan GAO office concluded that the Iraqi government has failed to meet 15 of the 18 political, economic and security benchmarks that Congress mandated. You say we're making progress, but war-related deaths have doubled. And an ABC-BBC poll recently said that 70 percent of Iraqis say the surge has worsened their lives. Iraqis say the surge is not working. I will conclude my comments, General, and give you a chance to respond, but just one more thing, if I may. We've heard a lot today about America's credibility. President Bush recently stated we should not have withdrawn our troops from Vietnam, because of the great damage to America's credibility. General, there are 58,195 names etched into the Vietnam War Memorial. Twenty years from now, when we build the Iraq war memorial on the National Mall, how many more men and women will have been sacrificed to protect our so-called credibility? How many more names will be added to the wall before we admit it is time to leave? How many more names, General? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first of all, I have not said that the surge should be extended. In fact, my recommendations are that the surge be curtailed earlier than it would have been. The forces of the surge could have run all the way till April before we began pulling them out, and that would be if we did not recommend its continuation beyond that. My recommendations, in fact, include the withdrawal of the Marine expeditionary unit this month without replacement and then a brigade starting in mid-December and then another one about every 45 days. And that's a considerable amount prior to, in fact, how far the surge could have run if we'd just pushed everybody for 15 months. REP. WEXLER: Respectfully, General -- GEN. PETRAEUS: In fact, I am -- and with respect to the facts that I have laid out today, I very much stand by those. As I mentioned, the GAO report actually did cut off data at least five weeks and in some cases longer than that in the assessment that it made. And in fact those subsequent five weeks have been important in establishing a trend that security incidents have gone down, as they have, and have reached, as I mentioned, the lowest level since June 2006, with respect to incidents, and with April 2006, in terms of attacks. I stand by the explanation of the reduction in ethno-sectarian deaths and so forth. And lastly, I would say, Congressman, that no one is more conscious of the loss of life than the commander of the forces. That is something I take and feel very deeply. And if I did not think that this was a hugely important endeavor and if I did not think that it was an endeavor in which we could succeed, I would not have testified as I did to you all here today. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. Before I call on Mr. Jones, the gentleman from California, Mr. Hunter, has a unanimous consent. REP. HUNTER: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just -- I'm requesting unanimous consent that the questions of Mr. Graves of Missouri be submitted to General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. Without objection. Mr. Jones. REP. WALTER JONES (R-NC): Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. And General Petraeus, thank you. And Ambassador Crocker, thank you as well. And let me just say that many of the comments you've heard today about our troops and thank you again for your leadership. But we had General Barry McCaffrey before the oversight committee chaired by Chairman Snyder about five or six weeks ago. And I have Camp Lejeune down in my district, and from time to time I have a chance to see some of the Marines who are, you know, out of uniform at certain locations and have conversations. What Barry McCaffrey said was that by April or May of 2008, that the Marine Corps, the Army, the Reserves and the National Guard will start to unravel; that they are absolutely stressed and worn out. And General, you have acknowledged that, so let me make that clear. My question primarily is going to be for Ambassador Crocker. I want to start by reading a quote by Army Lieutenant General Jay Garner, first U.S. official in charge of postwar Baghdad. This is his quote: "I don't know that the Iraqi government has ever demonstrated ability to lead the country, and we should not be surprised. You will never find in my lifetime one man that all Iraqis will coalesce around. Iraqis are too divided among sectarian, ethnic and tribal loyalties, and their loyalties are regional, not national." Mr. Ambassador, I know you have over 20-some years in foreign service with the State Department, and I respect that very much. You made mention of Lebanon, where we had Marines killed there at the barracks. You are dealing with a country that is not national; it is regional. It is a tribal system that has been part of that history of what is now Iraq. And I listened to you carefully and appreciated your comments. You made some statements like "we see some signs of," "we're encouraged," and, you know, those kind of statements which sound good in your written testimony. But my question is, for the American people, I mean, this is a huge investment. And I realize that it is a war on terrorism; I mean, many of us questioned whether we should have gone into Afghanistan, stayed in Afghanistan, gone after bin Laden and al Qaeda instead of diverting to Iraq, but that damage is done. As Colin Powell said, if you break it, you own it. Well, we own it -- sadly, mainly, with blood. My question is to you is, where -- how can you say or how can you hope to encourage a national government when, in this testimony today and in the days before, people have talked about the great successes in Anbar, and that's not because of the national government? How can you take a country that has never had nationalism and believe that we can bring these people together when, as someone said before -- I've spoke -- I mean, they broke and decided not to meet with some of their responsibilities for 30 days. And that sent a bad signal to many people, maybe to our troops, maybe not to our troops. But how do you see this coming together, and how long will it take it to come together? AMB. CROCKER: Congressman, you pose, I think, the critical question. And that's why in my written testimony I focused a lot of attention on that. What kind of state is ultimately going to emerge in Iraq? Because that is still very much an issue under discussion, a work in progress, with some elements of the population, mainly the Sunnis, still focused on a strong central authority; and others, mainly but not exclusively Kurds and Shi'as, saying it needs to be a decentralized federalism. So you have those differences. And even within those two camps, often not a lot of detailed thought as to what either strong central authority or decentralized federalism would actually look like. So, you know, that is part of the challenge. Iraqis will have to work through this. Among the encouraging things I noted that I'd seen is that now among Sunnis there is a discussion that maybe federalism is the way this country needs to go. That has in part been conditioned by the experience in Anbar, but not exclusively. That is why I say this is going to take time, and it's going to take further strategic patience on our part and further commitment. There simply are no easy, quick answers. There are no switches to flip that are going to cause the politics to come magically together. It's going to have to be worked through. I believe that it can. I believe that the things that we have seen over the last six months and that I've described, General Petraeus has described, do hold out cause for hope. But it's going to take their resolve and our backing to actually make that happen. Now, you mention Anbar. I think that that can be a very interesting illustration in this process, where something got started out in Anbar that the central government certainly didn't precipitate, but then the central government found ways to connect to it, both by hiring police and by providing additional resources to the provincial budget. So, you know, this is going to be something that Iraqis are going to have to work through. I'd like to be able to say that we can get this done in six months or nine months or by next July; I can't sit here and do that. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. Mr. Flake. AMB. CROCKER: I can say that I think it's possible. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Flake. REP. JEFF FLAKE (R-AZ): I thank you both for your very enlightening testimony. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned there's abundant evidence that the security gains have opened the door for meaningful politics. I think we all agree that the purpose of the surge was to create the space necessary for the politicians to do their work. Where -- how do you strike a balance between giving them space and providing a convenient excuse not to reach conclusion on some of these debates? They're talking about federalism, for example. I mean, we can have debates here on the topic, and we do have such debates. But where -- how do you respond to the criticism or the assumption that they would move faster if we had a more precipitous withdrawal or drawdown? AMB. CROCKER: I'd make two comments, sir. First, we are engaged in this process. I spend a lot of my time, as does my staff, working with political figures, sorting through issues, offering advice, twisting some arms from time to time, to help them get done what in many cases they've laid out as their own objectives, but find it a little hard to actually get it over the finish line. So we are involved in that and will continue to be. With respect to the point on using leverage -- using troops as leverage, to say we're going to start backing out of here regardless of whether you've got it done or not, as I said in a slightly different context earlier, I think we have to be very careful with that because if the notion takes hold among Iraqis that what we really do intend to do is just execute a non-conditions-based withdrawal -- say, the famous precipitous withdrawal -- I think it pushes them actually in the wrong direction. I think it creates a climate in which they are much less likely to compromise, because they'll be looking over our heads, concluding that the U.S. is about to pull, so they had better be getting ready for what comes next. And what comes next will be a giant street fight. It's not a climate, I think, that lends itself to compromise. REP. FLAKE: If I might, then, without us putting troops aside, then, what other leverage do we have? Is it aid that is contingent on them moving forward? Some of the -- you know, with regard to some of the benchmarks? What else is effective? Is there something that has been used in other scenarios, say, the peace process in Northern Ireland, or other -- anything that you've used in prior diplomatic efforts that would be more useful here? AMB. CROCKER: Again, like so much else in Iraq, the political dynamic there is probably not unique in world history, but it is pretty special. And while we're always looking for good lessons from outside, in the case of Northern Ireland, for example, where an international commission was formed to help the people work through issues, we've gotten the documentation on that, and we've made it available to Iraqi political figures as something that we and they might work with. They're -- they've got that under consideration. Clearly we do have leverage, and we do use it. I mean, the presence of 160,000 troops is a lot of leverage. And you know, we are using those troops for their security. That gives us, again, not only the opportunity but the obligation to tell them they've got to use the space they're getting to move forward. REP. FLAKE: In the remaining time I have, quickly, for the general, some argue that the presence of U.S. troops gives al Qaeda simply a target. Is there a difference between their attacks on U.S. troops as opposed to attacks on other coalition forces? I know there are different regions, but in Basra, for example, where the British have been, is there -- GEN. PETRAEUS: There are virtually no al Qaeda, really, in the southern part of Iraq because, of course, it's a Shi'a area and much less hospitable to them. REP. FLAKE: Right. GEN. PETRAEUS: They -- we think there have been attacks over time, occasionally, but nothing at all recently in the southern part of Iraq. REP. FLAKE: In other areas, is there any evidence that -- and I know we've performed different roles, the different coalition forces, but is there any evidence that they are more likely to attack Americans than other coalition forces? GEN. PETRAEUS: No. In fact, they're probably more likely to attack Iraqi forces right now. In fact, they're very concerned by the rise of particularly these local volunteers who have been assimilated into the Iraqi forces, because that represents a very, very significant challenge to them. It means that locals are invested in security, and of course they have an incentive that folks from the outside can never have. They are going to fight and die for their neighborhood, again, in a way that -- others who might come in from elsewhere would not be willing to do the same. So in fact we've seen a very substantial number of attacks on these forces as they have become more effective, trying to take out their checkpoints, attack their bases and so forth. REP. FLAKE: Thank you. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. Mr. Smith from Washington. REP. ADAM SMITH (D-WA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, General, Ambassador, for your service and for your testimony today. I want to explore something we haven't talked that much about, and that is to some degree -- Iraq, to a very large degree, is dividing along sectarian lines and has been for some time. I mean, if we're not there yet, we're pretty -- we pretty soon will be to the point where there's no such thing as a mixed Shi'a-Sunni neighborhood. So even while we're surging forward, this -- (inaudible) -- ethnic cleansing, division, whatever you want to call it, is going on. And I think there's a number of implications of that. You know, one is, it sort of underscores the difficulty of reaching a solution. You know, I, I guess, will be a minority among some of my colleagues here. I don't really so much blame the Iraqis for the situation. It's an intractable situation. It's not like if they stuck around in August in parliament they would have solved this. They, you know, have a deep division between Shi'a and Sunni that I think everybody in this room understands, and it's not a problem that leverage or anything is really going to solve. It is what it is, and it's a reality on the ground. And I'm concerned that we don't seem to be reacting very much to that reality, or as much as we should be. We still have this fantasy of a, you know, unity government in Iraq that we are supposedly fighting to create the space to come about. And I think most people would have to acknowledge at this point it is not going to happen. More on that in a second. I just want to -- one quick question for General Petraeus. So when you figure out what ethno-sectarian violence is, you don't count Shi'a on Shi'a and Sunni on Sunni. And that's a little troubling, in the sense that since this ethnic cleansing is going on and the neighbors have divided, a lot of the violence then comes down to once they've divided it that way, then it's, okay, which Shi'a are going to be in charge and which Sunni are going to be in charge? I mean, to some degree that's part of what's going on in Anbar. Sunnis -- GEN. PETRAEUS: First of all, Congressman, we count in the -- civilian deaths include all deaths, as I mentioned. REP. A. SMITH: Okay. But in the sectarian -- GEN. PETRAEUS: They are in there. REP. A. SMITH: In the sectarian violence. GEN. PETRAEUS: We are focused on sectarian violence, ethno- sectarian violence -- REP. A. SMITH: Right. GEN. PETRAEUS: -- because in some cases it's Arabs and Kurds as well -- because that is what eats at the fabric of Iraqi society. That is what tore the fabric of Iraqi society in the -- REP. A. SMITH: That could be, General, but if I may for just one minute -- GEN. PETRAEUS: -- latter part of 2006. If I could finish, sir. And it does not stop. It never stops until it is stopped by something else. And what we wanted to -- want to have happen is to have it stopped because there is a sustainable security situation. In some cases we help it stop by cement walls. REP. A. SMITH: That could well be, but what I said is essentially accurate, that you don't count -- in the chart that we showed, you weren't showing us civilian deaths, you were showing -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Oh, I did show you civilian deaths. That is -- REP. A. SMITH: Ethno-sectarian -- GEN. PETRAEUS: -- in the chart. There are civilian deaths. REP. A. SMITH: Okay. GEN. PETRAEUS: I showed that slide. And that has come down substantially. REP. A. SMITH: But for the purpose -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Now, it has not come down as much outside Baghdad because of the mass casualty attacks carried out by al Qaeda. And we count all of those, all civilian deaths. That's why I showed that slide and then showed the subset of that slide, which is the ethno- sectarian deaths REP. A. SMITH: Okay. GEN PETRAEUS: We focus on that because of the damage that ethno- sectarian violence does to neighborhoods, particularly, again, in Baghdad. And the problem with the discussion is that Baghdad is a mixed province, still, as are Babil, Wasat, Diyala and other areas of Iraq. REP. A. SMITH: If I could have -- GEN. PETRAEUS: And beyond that, beyond that, the resources are provided by a central government. So with the mechanism that exists now under the Iraqi constitution, there has to be representation of and responsiveness to all Iraqis in that government to ensure that all do get. Now -- REP. A. SMITH: My time is very limited. I wanted to ask Ambassador Crocker a question, if I may. I appreciate that -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you for letting me answer that anyway. REP. A. SMITH: The question, then, is, what is the political solution that we are moving toward? And that's what is most concerning to us. And the bottom line is, even under General Petraeus's description, in July of 2007 we will have roughly the same number of troops in Iraq that we had in January of 2007. Now, a lot of progress has happened, but that is obviously a problem for us. What is the political solution that we are working towards where the conditions are in place that we can begin to end our occupation, keeping in mind the fact that this ethnic division is happening? And maybe, Ambassador Crocker, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but Baghdad is separating along ethnic lines, is it not? And how does that -- what are the implications for where we're headed with all of this? If you could take a stab at that. AMB. CROCKER: Baghdad, like so many other parts of Iraq, in spite of the sectarian violence that occurred, remains a very mixed area. And that is why, again, abruptly changing course now could have some extremely nasty humanitarian consequences. Iraq is still, to a large degree, an intermixed society. Now, that puts special weight on the question you ask. So, what kind of political society is it going to be? According to the constitution, Iraq is a federal state. The debate is over what kind of federal state. Iraqis are going to need to work through this. The encouraging news I see is that now all communities increasingly are ready to talk about translating federalism down to a practical level. And that's a conversation that very much does need to take place. As I tried to lay out in my testimony, there is a tremendous amount of unfinished business here. There is that debate. There is within that debate the whole question of how the center and the periphery relate. For example, a hot debate that I had a chance to witness among Iraq's leaders was over can a provincial governor under certain circumstances -- emergency circumstances -- command federal forces. That's a pretty big issue, and it's an unresolved issue. So that's why -- and everything I said, I tried to lay out that I see reasons to believe that Iraq can stabilize as a secure democratic federal state at peace with its neighbors, under the rule of law, an ally in the war on terrorism. But it's going to take a lot of work, and it's going to take time. REP. SKELTON: The chair recognizes the gentleman from New York, Mr. Engel. REP. ENGEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to say at the outset, gentlemen, that I respect both of you and I thank you for your service to the nation. I am respectful of our troops who put their lives on the line for us every day. But I really must disagree with a lot of what I've heard here today. The American people are fed up -- I'm fed up -- and essentially what I'm hearing from both of you today is essentially "stay the course in Iraq." How long can we put up with staying the course? Young Americans are dying in someone else's civil war, as far as I'm concerned. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned that Iraq will slip into civil war if we leave. I mean, we're in civil war now. It's become apparent to me that the Iraqis will not step up until we step out, and as long as we have what seems to be an open-ended commitment, the Iraqis will never step up. So we have an open-ended commitment with many, many troops. At some point you have to ask, is this the best way to keep the U.S. safe? General Petraeus, you said that the Iraqi politicians were understanding more and more about the threat from Iran. Mr. Maliki is supported by a pro-Iranian parliamentarians in the parliament. That keeps his coalition in power, so how much can he really go against Iran? He's a product of Iran. His people that back him are supporters of Iran. You know, for years we keep hearing rosy, upbeat pictures about Iraq -- "Victory is right around the corner; things are going well" -- and it never seems to materialize. General Petraeus, I have an article here called "Battling for Iraq." It's an op-ed piece that you wrote three years ago in The Washington Post -- today -- three years ago, and I want to just quote some of the things you said. You said, "Now, however, 18 months after entering Iraq, I see tangible progress. Iraqi security elements are being rebuilt from the ground up." You wrote that -- you said, "The institutions that oversee them are being reestablished from the top down, and Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously in the face of an enemy that has shown a willingness to do anything to disrupt the establishment of a new Iraq." You talk about Iraqi police and soldiers, and you say they're "performing a wide variety of security missions. Training is on track and increasing in capacity." And finally, you said in this article -- op-ed piece three years ago, "I meet with Iraqi security forces every day. I have seen the determination and their desire to assume the full burden of security tasks for Iraq. Iraqi security forces are developing steadily, and they are in the fight. Momentum has gathered in recent months." So today you said -- and I'll just quote a few things -- "Coalition and Iraqi security forces have achieved progress in the security area. Iraqi security forces have also continued to grow and to shoulder more of the load." And finally you said, "The progress our forces have achieved with our Iraqi counterparts, as I noted at the outset, has been substantial." So I guess my question really is that, you know, why should we believe that your assessment today is any more accurate than it was three years ago in September 2004? Three years ago I was able to listen to the optimism, but frankly I find it hard to listen now, four years-plus into this war with no end in sight. Optimism is great, but reality is what we really need. GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, Congressman. I actually appreciate the opportunity to talk about that op-ed piece because I stand by it. I think what I said there was accurate. You -- there are also a number of items in there that talk about the challenges that Iraq faced, about hardships that lay ahead, and a number of other items that are included in that piece. And what I would note, by the way, is that Iraqis are dying in combat, are taking losses that are typically two to three -- closer to three -- times ours in an average month. They are stepping up to the plate. What did happen between that time and the progress that we started -- all I was doing was saying that we were getting our act together with the train and equip program and that we were beginning -- "Training is on track." That's what it was. It was on track and it was moving along. And over the course of the next six, eight, 12 months, in fact it generally continued to progress. And then along came sectarian violence and certainly the February bombing of the gold dome mosque in Samara, and you saw what that did to the country of Iraq. It literally tore the fabric of Baghdad society, Iraqi society at large between Sunni and Shi'a, and literally some of those forces that we were proud of in the beginning took enormous steps backward and were hijacked by sectarian forces and influences at that time. What I have tried to provide today is not a rosy picture. I have tried to provide an accurate picture. As I said, I have long since gone from being a pessimist or an optimist about Iraq. I'm a realist. We have learned lessons very much the hard way, and again the damage done by sectarian violence in particular has been a huge setback for the overall effort, and it resulted in the change that had to be carried out as a result of General Casey and Ambassador Khalilzad assessing in December of 2006 that the effort was failing to achieve its objectives. That's where we were. And as I mentioned, we have then made changes to that that have enabled the military progress that I have talked about. And that is military progress indeed that has emerged certainly most in the last three months, since the mid-June surge of offensives, but is something that we certainly are going to do all that we can to build on and to continue in the weeks and months ahead. Thank you -- (inaudible). REP. ENGEL: But General, that was three years ago, and this is three years later. REP. SKELTON: Whoa, whoa -- (inaudible). REP. ENGEL: Will we be saying the same thing three years from now? REP. SKELTON: Mr. Engel -- Mr. Engel, you're over a minute over your time. The chair recognizes the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Akin. REP. AKIN: I wanted to say, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, thank you for your service. I thank you, and I know that my son who's had a little free time over in Fallujah would also thank you for your good service, as well. I also would like to compliment you on your testimony today. It is professional and credible, as we anticipated that it would be. But some of us sitting here were guessing, trying to figure out what you were going to say today, and one of the things that did surprise me a little bit was that you seem to be a little gentler on the Iraqi parliament and maybe not quite as aggressive on federalism, which seems to be working well and working with the local level. So I guess my question is this: instead of threatening, well, we're going to take our troops and go home, does it not make sense to a certain degree to say, look, if the national legislature can't figure out when to have elections in Anbar province, we'll help -- we'll take care of that for you; we'll go ahead and schedule those. And by the way, you need to understand that Anbar and the different provinces are going to be able to take care of their own garbage collection and police and all this, the type of things we think of as local government functions. And can we not be building at the local level at the same time as at the federal level, both in terms of political leverage to encourage and spur each one on, but also just because of the -- the local progress seems to be working pretty well? And my last question. It kind of goes -- if you comment on that, but the next piece would be, if we wanted to elect the equivalent of a mayor of a city or people to a city council that are not working at the -- you know, at the federal level, do we have the authority to do that, and can that process take place? And is that happening? AMB. CROCKER: That's a series of good questions. Let me start by saying that we are very much focused on how we can help in the provinces. In Anbar, for example, we've got three embedded PRTs as well as the main PRT out there, been working very closely with the Marines in just these kind of issues. Okay, you've got a municipality now. And by the way, of course, Iraq is now at the stage where Iraqis are forming their own municipal governments. REP. AKIN: Are they doing that right now? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, they -- REP. AKIN: Forming their own? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, sir. They -- REP. AKIN: Do they elect people to run those -- so that's going on right now? AMB. CROCKER: They do indeed, and that's been one of the other elements of the Anbar phenomenon that I think now every town of significance in Anbar has an elected mayor and municipal council. And the mission we've got is doing everything we can, military and civilians, to try to help these new councils learn to act like they're councils; to, you know, deliver services, to pick up the trash. That is a major priority, and it's important. At the same time, we do encourage, as I said, the linkages up and down the line so that the municipal councils are tied into the provincial council because that's where the provincial budget is executed, not just in Anbar but everywhere in the country, so that the municipalities are getting their share as well. And this is not as easy as it may sound in a country that at least since the '60s -- and you can argue all the way back to the creation of Iraq as a modern state -- has never had that kind of contract between its government and its people. So, again, it's part of the revolution and progress, if you will. But we have seen that as conditions -- as security conditions stabilize, a lot of things start happening like these municipal councils, like a focus on services, like linkages from top to bottom. And again, we've -- Iraqis talk about federalism, but what does that mean in a case where resources all flow from the center? You know, the budget for Anbar comes from Baghdad. They don't have the capacity to develop a revenue base independently. So all of those things are in play, and they have been in play, basically, just since security started to improve out there. A tremendous amount has happened in a fairly short time, which gives me, again, some encouragement that as security conditions stabilize in other parts of the country, you can see not the same process -- because, as I said earlier, each place has its own unique characteristics -- but, you know, roughly similar processes start to catch hold. REP. AKIN: Thank you very much. REP. JOHN BOOZMAN (R-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. REP. TAYLOR: The gentleman from Arkansas, Mr. Boozman. REP. BOOZMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, when I was over and visiting not too long ago with you, two or three weeks ago, one of the real concerns that I had after I left was that, in visiting with the guys that had been there for a while, what I would call the backbone of the military, many of those guys were on their third deployment. And I'm pleased to hear that, because we are making progress, that we are going to be able to withdraw. Occasionally we'll have votes here that maybe mandate that you have to go over -- you know, you've got to come back for the same amount of time that you've gone. Besides the argument of not wanting to micro-manage the war from Congress, which I believe very strongly that we shouldn't do, what does that do to your flexibility if we were to actually pass something like that? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, that's not really a question that I can answer. That would have to be one that the chief of staff of the Army or the commandant of the Marine Corps would have to address. My job, as you know, is to request forces and then try to make the best possible use of them, and I'm not really sufficiently knowledgeable in what the status is at this point in time of reaching a point where we can start extending the time that forces are at home and so forth. REP. BOOZMAN: Let me ask very quickly, Mr. Crocker, one of the frustrations I've had in traveling the area has been that the -- our efforts to try -- our Voice of America-type efforts that was so successful against the Soviet Union, sometimes the people in the region have not spoken very well of that through the years. Is that better, or can you tell us a little bit about what we're trying to do to get the hearts and minds through the media? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, sir, that has, of course, been something that we've been engaged in since 2003, and as you suggest with some fairly mixed results in trying to get this right. We've got a couple of vehicles out there for it. One of them is Al Hurra, which has, quite frankly, as I understand it, been involved in a few controversies and has gone through some high-level personnel changes. As well as, of course, VOA, which has been a stalwart all along, as you point out. It is a complex media environment in Iraq and in the region, and it requires having people in place who know how messages resonate and know how to put them together. I was in Iraq in 2003 for several months as we put together the Governing Council and our first media efforts, and coming back a little over four years later I've been impressed by the progress we have made. But to be completely frank with you, I think we still have a way to go both in Iraq and in the region in articulating an effective message to Arab audiences. REP. BOOZMAN: General Petraeus, I've got tremendous respect for you, tremendous respect for General Jones. A lot -- you know, people have alluded to that report. Well, it would be helpful, I think, to me and others if at some point that perhaps you could maybe respond through writing or whatever some of the ideas that he's got that differ than the ideas that you -- I would just encourage you -- again, that would be very helpful to me if at some point you could delineate the differences that you have and then why. I yield back. REP. SKELTON: The chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California, Ms. Sanchez. REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ (D-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, gentlemen, for being before us today. It's good to see you both again. As usual, I have tons of questions, General and Ambassador, but let me limit it to this one. The BBC released the results of a poll conducted in August that indicates that Iraqi opinion is at the gloomiest state ever since the BBC and ABC News polls began in February of 2004. According to the latest poll, between 67 and 70 percent of Iraqis say that the surge has made things worse in some key areas, including security and the conditions for political dialogue, reconstruction and economic development. Since the last BBC/ABC News poll in February, the number of Iraqis who think that the U.S.-led coalition forces should leave immediately has risen sharply, from 35 to 47 percent. And 85 percent of Iraqis say they have little or no confidence in the U.S. and U.K. forces. So I know a lot of politicians live by polls, and I realize that the U.S. policy in Iraq shouldn't simply follow the polls, because, you know, there can be a wide range of influence on some of this. Nevertheless, it's a fundamental principle of the U.S. Army counterinsurgency doctrine that the attitudes of the population are an important center of gravity in such a conflict. I think that was stated in our counterinsurgency manual. First -- I have three questions for you -- were you aware of the poll? Do you have your own polling? And why -- and what are your findings versus the attitude of the Iraqi public that we find in the BBC poll? Secondly, how do you explain the sharply negative perception of Iraqis regarding security conditions in Iraq since the surge began? If your data so indicates that dramatic and sharp declines in violence have happened in the last three months, then why isn't it reflected in the attitudes of the Iraqi citizens who are living this hell day by day? And third, one of the cornerstones of your counterinsurgency strategy is to deploy U.S. forces into the areas where they conduct operations, and the BBC poll indicates a dramatic increase in the percentage of Iraqis who want U.S.-led forces to leave Iraq. And that supports the finding of the independent commission by General Jones, that said massive troop presence and U.S. military facilities creates a negative perception among Iraqis that U.S. forces are a long-term occupying force. So, how concerned are you that this apparent decline in public confidence is happening due to that, and how do we address it? Is it a public relations problem or is there a substantive strategy issue that we need to face? And I'll start with the ambassador. AMB. CROCKER: Thank you very much, Congresswoman. No, I have not seen this particular poll. As you know, there are a lot of polls out there. And to say the least, I think polling in Iraq at this point is probably a fairly inexact science -- which is not to call into question, you know, this particular poll. I simply don't know. I know that I have seen -- REP. SANCHEZ: It's a BBC/ABC poll. They usually know how to conduct surveys quite well, I would say. AMB. CROCKER: Yeah. What -- REP. SANCHEZ: They certainly find that they count better than most of our generals count in Iraq. And General Petraeus will know what I mean by that. AMB. CROCKER: I have seen other national polling data that shows, for example, that the number of Iraqis who now feel secure in their own neighborhoods and indeed feel secure moving around the city has gone up significantly. I don't know whether that is accurate either. What I do know, since Iraq, with all of its problems and imperfections, is now an open political society where political figures do have a sense of where their constituencies are, that all of Iraq's principal leaders have registered the sense they have that there has been an improvement of security in the course of the surge. And they've also been very clear that they credit multi-national forces with much of that improvement, and that they don't want to see any marked precipitous reduction in how those forces are deployed until conditions sustain it. Another example I would give you is the communique of the leaders on the 26th of August, in which these five individuals, who have some pretty substantial differences among them, were all prepared to sign on to language that called for a long-term strategic relationship with the U.S. So, again -- REP. SANCHEZ: Well, sure. They want our money, and they want our -- you know, I mean, we're pumping lots of -- we're about the only thing going on in the economy. AMB. CROCKER: Well, actually, there's a lot starting to go on in the economy, and we've talked about what we're seeing in terms of provincial development; that's -- that's mainly coming from -- REP. SANCHEZ: Potential development. AMB. CROCKER: Provincial. REP. SANCHEZ: Provincial. AMB. CROCKER: Provincial development. That's coming out of the central treasury. And it is generating economic activity. We support that. We have a number of programs of our own that we work in coordination with Iraqi government. But there is economic activity. Again, it's anecdotal, but what I have noticed going around Baghdad is people, because they're feeling relatively better about their security conditions, are now asking, "Okay, so where are the services?" REP. SANCHEZ: Again, why is the poll so far off from your anecdotal? AMB. CROCKER: Ma'am, I -- you know, I haven't seen the poll. I don't know what the margin of error is or how it was conducted. REP. SANCHEZ: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. We have an ongoing vote. We're told they will hold the vote open for an extra two or three minutes for us. I don't believe we have time to call on an additional member, which I regret, and I thank you for staying the additional 20 minutes, Mr. Ambassador and General. I appreciate -- we all appreciate your being with us -- REP. ORTIZ: I was ready. REP. SKELTON: -- your professionalism and your duty to our country. With that, we'll adjourn the hearing. (Sounds gavel.) END.
Status of Iraq War Hearing SWITCHED 1800 - 1900
Joint hearings of the House Armed Services and House Foreign Affairs committee with General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. CLEAN HEARING TRANSCRIPT OF THE 18:00-19:00 HOUR WITHOUT TIME CODE GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first, if I could just start out and note that there is no question that al Qaeda Iraq is part of the greater al Qaeda movement. We have intercepted numerous communications between al Qaeda senior leadership, AQSL as they're called, and the -- REP. ACKERMAN: Isn't it true, General, that al Qaeda in Iraq formed in 2005, two years after we first got there? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, I'm not saying when it started. I'm saying merely that al Qaeda Iraq clearly is part of the overall greater al Qaeda network. REP. ACKERMAN: But they didn't exist until we -- (inaudible). GEN. PETRAEUS: We have intercepted numerous communications, and there is no question also but that al Qaeda Iraq is a key element in igniting the ethnosectarian violence. They have been in effect an element that has poured gas on burning embers with the bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque, for example, and with efforts that they have tried recently, for example, bombing the poor Yazidi villages in northwestern Iraq and so forth. REP. ACKERMAN: Are they a threat to us? GEN. PETRAEUS: Al Qaeda Central is a threat to us. I don't know what the result would be if we left Iraq and left al Qaeda Iraq in place. That is very, very hard to say. REP. ACKERMAN: Then how could you -- GEN. PETRAEUS: I don't know where they would go from here. Again, I'm not trying to -- REP. ACKERMAN: Then how could you suggest that we leave after the sectarian violence stops? REP. SKELTON: (Sounds gavel.) Go ahead and answer the question. GEN. PETRAEUS: I'm not sure I understand that question, Congressman. REP. ACKERMAN: The question is, your testimony appears to indicate that our mission is to end the sectarian violence. If we end the sectarian violence, how can we leave without killing everybody who we've identified as part of a terrorist organization such as al Qaeda in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, al Qaeda again, as I mentioned, Congressman, is part of the sectarian violence. They really are the fuel -- important, most important fuel on the Sunni Arab side of this ethnosectarian conflict -- REP. ACKERMAN: Question again is, how do we leave? GEN. PETRAEUS: The way to leave is to stabilize the situations in each area, and each area will require a slightly different solution. The solution in Anbar province, as an example, has been one that is quite different from what -- one that might be used in a mixed sectarian area. But stabilizing the area, trying to get the violence down, in some cases literally using cement T-walls to secure neighborhoods and then to establish a sustainable security arrangement that increasingly is one that Iraqis can take over by themselves. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from New York, Mr. McHugh. REP. JOHN MCHUGH (R-NY): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, let me add my words of deep appreciation and respect for the amazing job you've done. Whether one agrees with our current circumstances in the Middle East or not, I would hope no one of any thinking, responsible mind would question your devotion to country and dedication to duty. I appreciate it. General, I enjoyed that back and forth with my fellow New Yorker, but let me put it a little bit more simply. Is Iraq an important part on the global war on terror in your mind? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, I think that defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq would be a huge step forward in the global war on terror, and I think that failing to do that would be a shot of adrenaline to the global Islamic extremist movement. REP. MCHUGH: Then I assume you agree with the conclusions of the National Intelligence Estimate, that if we were to leave Iraq precipitously from a military perspective, that the likelihood would be of a return to effectiveness, if you will, of AQI, al Qaeda in Iraq. Is that something you agree with? GEN. PETRAEUS: I do. If we were to leave before we and Iraqi forces had a better handle on al Qaeda-Iraq, that likely would be the outcome. We've made substantial progress against al Qaeda, as I mentioned in my opening statement, but as I also mentioned, al Qaeda remains very dangerous and certainly still capable of horrific mass- casualty sensational attacks. REP. MCHUGH: A lot of good people believe that -- and you've heard a little bit, and I suspect you'll hear more today -- good people believe that we have an opportunity by abandoning the mission in, they would argue, a thoughtful way, in Iraq and redirecting our attention entirely against Afghanistan would be the best thing to do in the war on terror. From what you know on the circumstances for the moment, would taking that step, abandoning the current conditions in Iraq for a total commitment to Afghanistan -- (inaudible) -- plus or minus in the war on terror? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, as I mentioned, allowing al Qaeda-Iraq to really rejuvenate, to regain its sanctuaries would certainly lead to a resumption of the kinds of ethnosectarian-fueling attacks that they were conducting on a much more regular basis than they have been able to conduct since the surge of offensives that we have launched in particular. I'm not sure what, you know, a huge injection of assets would do in the Afghanistan portion -- the portion of Afghanistan that is directed against al Qaeda, and I think in fairness that's probably a better question for General McChrystal, the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, or Admiral Fallon, the combatant commander. REP. MCHUGH: Thank you, sir. Ambassador Crocker, you've said it, I think everyone on this panel feels it, probably most if not all Americans feel a great deal of frustration toward the Iraqi government and the slowness in which they've taken steps that are commensurate with the military side of this equation, and I certainly share those. Folks talk about sending a message to the Iraqi government. There's few things we can see an effect, such as military reductions, that we perceive as perhaps being helpful in turning the screws, encouraging them to make those hard decisions. Advise us, sir. What can we do effectively to send a message to facilitate positive steps by Maliki and the government that's currently in power? AMB. CROCKER: It's a great question, and certainly it's one that General Petraeus and I wrestle with almost every day. First, on the issue of troop reductions as a lever. I think we have to be very careful about this. If the Iraqis develop the sense that we're prepared for a non-conditions-based withdrawal of substantial numbers of our troops, my view is that it would make them less inclined to compromise and not more. And the reason for that is that if they see us coming out, they're still going to be there. And they are then going to be looking over -- increasingly over the tops of our heads, over the horizon to figure out how they're going to survive and how they're going to get through the coming massive sectarian conflict. So it's -- it's the kind of thing we got to think very carefully about, and I'm extremely cautious in ever putting that out on the table. I find that what I kind of need to do on a day-to-day basis is first try to understand, and that's why I spent some time in my statement on how things got to be the way they are in Iraq. That doesn't mean saying, well, you're an abused child so it's okay to do whatever you want, but it does help to understand why these things are difficult; with that understanding, then figuring out where some pressure works, what kinds of pressure, where encouragement works, where some fresh thinking works. And we employ all of that on a fairly regular basis. And one example of a small success was our encouragement for the Anbar forum that took place just last Thursday that brought federal and provincial leaders together in Anbar. REP. SKELTON: Before I -- the gentleman's time has expired. I thank the gentleman. Before I call Mr. Manzullo, the gentleman from Illinois, let me add a footnote. That we speak about benchmarks, and we've had testimony in the Armed Services Committee that the benchmarks are really commitments made by the Maliki government. Mr. Manzullo. Five minutes. REP. DONALD MANZULLO (R-IL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, media reports refer to U.S. plans to build a military base near the Iran-Iraq border to curtail the flow of weapons into Iraq. Could you please elaborate on these plans? And is Iran the greatest threat to Iraqi security or is al Qaeda the greatest threat? And is the U.S. presence, and thus our massive resources in Iraq, hindering our ability to eradicate al Qaeda worldwide? GEN. PETRAEUS: First of all, Congressman, there is already a base in the area that I think -- I haven't seen that article, but there is a base southeast of Baghdad in Kut, which is where, in fact, the new contribution from the country of Georgia, a brigade, is going to be based. And that is probably what that was referring to. There is an effort to work with the Iraqis to try to interdict the flow, as I mentioned earlier, of these arms, ammunition and other assistance -- lethal assistance coming from Iran that are being funneled to these breakaway rogue militias/special groups associated with the Jaish al-Mahdi, the Sadr militia. You've asked a great question about which is the biggest threat, if you will. We tend to see al Qaeda-Iraq the wolf closest to the sled, because it is the threat that carries out the most horrific attacks in Iraq that cause the very high casualties, that attempt to reignite ethno-sectarian violence, as they did in fact with the February 2006 bombing of the gold dome mosque. And you saw how the security incidents just climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed, and really all the way until just the last several months, before they started to come down. They are still dangerous. They're off-balance. They have lost the initiative in a number of areas. We have taken away sanctuaries in a number of important areas. But they still remain very, very lethal and very dangerous, and they will certainly try to reconstitute. So that is, in a sense, what we see as the immediate and most pressing threat, and we've put great emphasis on that, with our Iraqi counterparts, because they are very much in this. It was the Iraqi army that killed the emir of Mosul, as an example, and has actually had a number of other successes recently against al Qaeda elements. The long-term threat may well be the Iranian-supported militia extremists in Iraq. If these could become a surrogate in the form of a Hezbollah-like element, these are very worrisome. We have learned a great about Iran since we captured the head of the special groups and the deputy commander of Lebanese Hezbollah, Department 2800. They have shared with us. They have explained, as have a number of others that we have captured -- explained the level of assistance, training, equipping, funding and so forth. And we captured documents with them that documented the attacks that they had carried out and clearly were so detailed because they were in fact giving those to prove what they had done to justify the further expenditure of funds from Iran. Prime Minister Maliki, I think, sees that as perhaps THE biggest threat, and a number of the Iraqi leaders, just as we have learned a great deal more in recent months, have also learned a great deal more. And they have been very worried about what they have seen, despite the fact, as was mentioned earlier, that a number of them have quite a long history with Iran, and in some cases many years in exile in Iran. REP. MANZULLO: The last question was, is our presence in Iraq hindering our ability to fight al Qaeda worldwide? GEN. PETRAEUS: Again, I think that's probably a better question for the commander who is charged with the overall counterterrorist effort of the United States, Lieutenant General Stan McChrystal, who spends a great deal of time in Iran, has very sizable assets -- in Iraq -- has very sizable aspects -- assets in Iraq as well. And I think he would be the one who would best be able to answer whether the relative mix against Iraq or Afghanistan or elsewhere, because there are certainly al Qaeda affiliates. And we do track this with him every week. In fact, we get together and discuss not just al Qaeda in Iraq, but al Qaeda in the Levant and in other areas, the Horn of Africa and so forth as well. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman from Illinois. Mr. Taylor, gentleman from Mississippi. REP. GENE TAYLOR (D-MS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General and Mr. Ambassador, for being here. General, we hear a lot of talk about there being a partnership with the Iraqis and building up Iraqi capabilities. When I looked around your headquarters at the Water Palace at Easter, it sure looked like an all-American show to me. In fact, I don't recall the presence of a single Iraqi there. Given the talk of standing them up so that we can create a situation where at some point the Americans can come home, at what point does it become more of a partnership in reality as opposed to a partnership in words? GEN. PETRAEUS: Thanks, Congressman. In fact, right across from our headquarters is the Iraqi ground force headquarters, which is really the equivalent of the Multinational Corps Iraq and which has partnered very closely with Lieutenant General Odierno and his headquarters. We have a substantial number of transition team advisers in that headquarters and, in fact, we have Iraqi liaison in our headquarters as well. Our biggest effort really, certainly from my level, is with the Iraqi joint headquarters, which is in their Ministry of Defense building, which is contiguous, literally, with a door right between the wall, contiguous to the Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq headquarters, General Dubik's headquarters, which is the organization that is charged with supporting the development of the ministry and the joint headquarters. And that is how we work with them. I also provide a substantial number of officers from staff sections in the Multinational Force headquarters, the intelligence operations and others, who are actually partnered with the Iraqis there and also at the Baghdad Operational Command headquarters. REP. TAYLOR: General, in your conversations with the Iraqis, do you ever point at a calendar, whether this year, next year, the following year, the year after that, and say, "We expect you to be an operational force by this date"? What I fail to see, and I'd like you to enlighten me, is a target date. We hear numbers of Iraqis trained; we hear dollars spent on equipment. What I don't hear or see is a target date where you expect them to be able to police their own country and defend their own country. And if I'm missing that, I would certainly like you to point that out. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, in fact, that transition has been going on. And in fact, the dates are usually mutually agreed. There is a joint Multinational Force Iraq/government of Iraq committee that has representation from the different security ministries and in fact determines the dates, for example, for provincial Iraqi control. Even during the surge -- REP. TAYLOR: And those dates are, sir? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, those are always -- they're agreed by province. As an example, a couple of months ago, we did it for Maysan province. The three Iraqi Kurdish provinces were just recently done. Several provinces were done before the surge as well. And Karbala, for example, is coming up right after Ramadan, about a month or so from now. Now, we have dates on a schedule that we work out with this committee, and it lays out the projected time frames for when this process of provincial Iraqi control will go forward, and we have that for each of the different provinces out there. Sometimes the dates have slipped. There's no question about that. In the case of, for example, Diyala province, which experienced real difficulties as Baqubah was on the verge of becoming the new capital of a caliphate of al Qaeda, that slipped. On the other hand, Anbar province, all the sudden, which was not one that we were looking forward to at all, actually now has a date, and I think it's something like January of 2008. So that process has been ongoing. There are numbers of provinces in which there are few if any coalition forces. Several have no coalition forces. Others have a single special forces team or what have you. REP. TAYLOR: General, for the record, could you supply us that timeline by province to this committee? GEN. PETRAEUS: I'd be happy to give you the provincial Iraqi control schedule that we have right now, yes, sir. REP. TAYLOR: Okay, thank you. Thank you again for your service. REP. SKELTON: Let me ask a question. Would that be classified or unclassified? GEN. PETRAEUS: Sir, I think it is classified. Again, whatever it is, we'll get it to you. REP. SKELTON: We would appreciate that. I thank the gentleman from Mississippi. REP. TAYLOR: Thank you again, General Petraeus. GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. The gentleman from American Samoa, Mr. Faleomavaega, please. DEL. ENI FALEOMAVAEGA (D-AS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank both of you gentlemen for your service to our country. I keep hearing that our active duty and Marine forces are overstretched. And I also express the very serious concerns about the capacity of our current (ready ?) Reservists and National Guard organization, and which was confirmed by General Keane, who expressed some real serious concerns about the way we are using our (ready ?) Reservists and National Guardsmen. And gentlemen, with the tremendous strain and shortages in military equipment, preparedness and training of our (ready ?) Reservists and National Guardsmen and women, who are obligated now to serve in Iraq, does our military currently have the capacity to fight two fronts, in Iraq and Afghanistan? And do we have enough added strategic reserves to fight another potential war front like Iran, the Taiwan Straits, or even to have the situation that's now brewing between the Kurds and our ally, Turkey? With the crisis now brewing there in that northern part of the country in Iraq, I wanted to know if we have the capacity -- it seems like we have all the military personnel available to do what everyone wanted to do to perform the military mission. And I'd like to hear your professional judgment on that, General Petraeus. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, thank you. First of all, I very much share the concern over the strain on our military forces, and in particular on our ground forces and other so-called high-demand, low-density assets. As I mentioned, that was one of the factors that informed my recommendations to draw down the five Army brigade combat teams, the Marine expeditionary unit and the two Marine battalions, between now and next summer. I also am on the record as offering the opinion that our ground forces are too small. And I did that before the approval of the expansion of those. And I am gratified to see, frankly, the support that this body has given to the effort to expand our ground forces because of the strain that has put on them and, by the way, of course, on their families. With respect to your question, sir, again, with respect, I'm just not the one to answer that. I am pretty focused on the mission in Iraq and not really equipped to answer whether or not -- what else is out there for other contingencies, although I know in a general sense, obviously, that there is very little else out there. DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Thank you, General. I have the highest respect for our men and women in military uniform. And I could not agree more with my good friend from California when he mentioned statements by General MacArthur about duty, honor and country. And General Petraeus, one of your colleagues, the former chief of staff for the Army, General Eric Shinseki, was vilified and humiliated by civilian authority because he just wanted to offer a professional judgment on the situation there in Iraq. He recommended that we should have at least 250,000 soldiers if we really wanted to do a good job from the very beginning. Now they put him out to dry. General Taguba also was another good soldier vilified and humiliated by civilian authority of what he felt was doing his job and his duty to our country. It's been estimated that because there are 6 million people living in Baghdad that it would require at least 100,000 soldiers to bring security, real security, to the people living in that city. Could I ask for your opinion, General Petraeus, if you think that 160,000 soldiers that you now command is more than sufficient in capacity to do what you need to do right now in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, there's never been a commander in history, I don't think, who would not like to have more forces, more money, more allies and perhaps a variety of other assets. I have what we have in the military, what the military could provide for the surge. Beyond that, we certainly an increasing number of Iraqis, by the way. I might that add that in fact one of Prime Minister Maliki's initiatives has been to expand the number of forces in general and also the manning of each division so that it is at 120 percent of authorized strength so that with their leave policy, which is a must -- and remember, these guys don't ever go home except on leave with their pay. They are in the fight until it is over, and if they don't take their pay home at the end of the four weeks or so or whatever that period is that was worked out for them, they will not get that pay. But I have also again recommended today reductions in our force levels that I believe will be prudent, based on what we have achieved and what I believe we will have achieved together with our Iraqi counterparts. REP./DEL. : Thank you, General. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from American Samoa raises the issue of readiness. We have had in the Armed Services Committee extensive testimony and documentation, particularly in the Readiness Subcommittee under my friend from Texas, Mr. Ortiz, on the strains, particularly on the ground forces of the Army and Marines. And I tell my friend from American Samoa, it's very, very serious. Thank you for raising that issue. Mr. Bartlett. REP. ROSCOE G. BARTLETT (R-MD): Thank you folks very much for your service and your testimony. Remembering all those years I sat in the bottom row and never had a chance to ask my question, I'm going to yield most of my time to the most junior member on our side of the aisle, but first I must ask a very brief question and then make a brief comment. The brief question is, General, in an attempt to discredit your testimony today, The New York Times is quoted as saying that "The Pentagon no longer counts deaths from car bombings." And The Washington Post is reported as saying that we -- that you will only count assassinations if the bullet entered the back of the heard and not the front. Unless you interrupt me to say that I'm wrong, I'm going to assume that both of these allegations are false. GEN. PETRAEUS: They are false, that's correct. REP. BARTLETT: Thank you for confirming my suspicions. GEN. PETRAEUS: We have a formula for ethnosectarian violence. There's a very clear definition about it. It's acts taken by individuals of one ethnic or sectarian grouping against another ethnosectarian grouping in general for an ethnosectarian reason. It is not that complicated, candidly. If al Qaeda bombs a neighborhood that is Shi'a, that is an ethnosectarian incident, and it is adjudged as such. And where this idea of the bullet entering comes into it is not something I'm aware of. REP. BARTLETT: Thank you, sir. I just didn't want those allegations out there without the opportunity to refute them. Mr. Ambassador, on page four of your testimony, you note the tension between deciding whether or not the power ought to be in the center or the periphery. Some see the devolution of power to regions and provinces as being the best insurance against the rise of a future tyrannical figure in Baghdad. Others see Iraq with its complex demographics as in need of a strong authority. I would submit, Mr. Ambassador, this is the essential question, and unless we know which of those roads we ought to be traveling, I think that the probability of success is enormously diminished. If we haven't already, I hope we can decide which of those roads we ought to be traveling on because they are very different processes, sir. Let me yield the balance of my time now, I believe, (to) our most junior member, Mr. Geoff Davis from Kentucky. (Short pause.) (Cross talk off mike.) REP. GEOFF DAVIS (R-KY): With the chairman's indulgence, I'll ask that the time for the power failure not be counted against -- REP. SKELTON: Please proceed. REP. DAVIS: Thank you very much. Yes, it is somewhat ironic with our challenges today that we provide the criticism to our Arabic partners. I find it ironic that the Iraqi national assembly has been more legislatively effective this year than the United States Congress in passing laws, so our criticism should also measure ourselves. First, General Petraeus, I want to commend you on your application of classic counterinsurgency principles, working with the localized social and cultural networks to build from the bottom-up -- or as Speaker Tip O'Neill used to say, all politics is local. I've heard feedback from across the theater from friends of more than 30 years ranging down to young soldiers and their perspectives, and I think the people on both ends of the political spectrum are trying to oversimplify, to define as black-and-white issues that are best measured in shades of gray. You both have inherited a situation in which our instruments of power were initially employed with flawed assumptions and now in which any course of action has potentially significant second-and third- order effects, and there's areas that I would appreciate if you could comment on. First, one closer to home. I have often heard from troops at all levels, ranging from Central Command staff all the way down to platoon members, in Sadr City that the military is at war, but the nation is not. You mentioned the need to fight in cyberspace, and I assume meaning an information campaign explaining both to the world our ideas and also to the people. And I guess the question there would be: What would you tell the American people, not Congress, is the reason that we should support the recommendations of both of you? And then, following on that, given the effects that these decisions will have on the future, do you have some suggestions on key reforms to our national security or interagency process that you'd recommend to better integrate and facilitate our instruments of national power? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first of all, if I could, I do believe that our leaders get it in Iraq more than we ever have before. Part of that is just sheer experience. Just about every battalion or brigade commander, most company commanders have served in Iraq at least one tour before, some more than one. We've made mistakes along the way; we've learned a lot of lessons the hard way. But we've made significant changes in our institutional Army, Marine Corps, in particular, and the other services, in terms of our doctrine, the education of our commissioned, non-commissioned officers, the preparation at the combat training centers, the entire road-to-deployment process. And I think that that has made a change in adopting some of the counterinsurgency practices that we are using. With respect to who is at war and who isn't, I would merely associate myself with the remarks of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Pace, who has said on a number of occasions, I believe, before the House Armed Services Committee among them, that he believes that the military obviously is at war, but that he's not so sure about all of the other agencies. Although I would certainly say that State and AID are very much in the same camp. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. But it's not just the military that's at war. It's their families, General. GEN. PETRAEUS: That is exactly -- REP. SKELTON: And we appreciate their sacrifices. GEN. PETRAEUS: Right. REP. SKELTON: Next on my list I have the gentleman from California, Mr. Royce. REP. EDWARD ROYCE (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, I would just like to ask you your thoughts on al Qaeda in Iraq. You mentioned the reduction of the popular level of support. And I think General Jones's commission bears that out, his finding that that support level in Anbar had decreased dramatically. And it sort of begs the question: Where does al Qaeda in Iraq draw it's support today? And how do those fighters get into the country? And what could we be doing? In theory, what could we be doing? Now, let's say in Saudi Arabia, you have a young man buying a one-way plane ticket into Damascus. It shouldn't be that hard to figure out what might be going on. What could we be doing in these countries, and I ask the ambassador the same question, in order to deter then influx? I'd also like just some stats. I mean, is it 40 percent Saudi, 30 percent North African? If you've taken out 2,500 of their fighters and 100 of their officer corps recently, then clearly focusing on how they get into the country would be a question that I'd be interested in. And lastly when you look at your plan to draw down the force of five brigades here over the ensuing months, and then as you step down to a few brigades left in Iraq for the purpose of overwatch, all of that is based upon how well the Iraqi military performs. The numbers you've given us would indicate now that there soon will be a half-million soldiers or security people in Iraq under the Iraqi military. But what type of progress -- give us your unvarnished opinion of the progress that's being made or not being made by these Iraqi military units, because the success of your plan to reach a position where you draw down to a few brigades left for overwatch is dependent upon their success. Thank you, General. Thank you, Ambassador Crocker. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, by the way, the reduction for -- of support for al Qaeda extends well beyond Anbar as well. It now is manifested, as we mentioned, both in Abu Ghraib, other areas that used to be sanctuaries for Iraq, three important neighborhoods in particular: Amiriyah, Ghazalia and Adhamiya. In each one of those at varying stages, the first two in particular, local individuals have stood up, literally generated local forces that have now been tied into our forces. Prime Minister Maliki has directed his army to work with them and coordinate with them, and the next step would be to work to get them into a legitimate Iraqi security force institution. Al Qaeda continues to get its support from a variety of means. Certainly it gets direction, money and expertise from the outside. It does send in from the outside foreigners to try to help rejuvenate areas. In fact, we killed the three -- we call them the al-Turki brothers. These were individuals who had spent time in Afghanistan in the past, who had come into Iraq. We missed them. They came in again. And that time we were able to -- literally to kill them. And so they were not able to do what they were supposed to do, which was to help in northern Iraq, which was under big pressure. So there is outside support, and there's also this flow of these foreign fighters, a number of whom do end up being suicide bombers. We still estimate that -- and it's very hard to tell, but somewhere -- 80 percent or so of the suicide bombers are from outside Iraq. And that was what we were talking about earlier, the importance of the diplomatic offensive, to work with source countries, to work with the countries through whom these fighters can transit to make it more difficult, as you say. And there's a variety of mechanisms. We believe, for example, that Saudi Arabia has taken steps in fact to make it tougher. The last Saudi foreign fighter we captured had actually had to take a bus to Damascus and then got into the network that eventually brought him into the country. We believe that Saudi Arabia is still probably the largest country in terms of the foreign fighters, although that again may be diminishing somewhat. And there are certainly others that come from North Africa, Jordan, Syria and so forth into Iraq. The Iraqi security forces range in quality from exceptionally good, at the very high end, with the Iraqi counterterrorist force, which is a true special mission unit in its capability, equipment, training, and is probably more active, undoubtedly more active than any other such unit in the region; the Iraqi commando battalion, which is expanding substantially and now has forces positioned outside Baghdad as well; and other elements of the Iraqi special operations force brigade; the national police emergency response unit, also very, very active; and the special tactics unit. It then ranges all the way down through units that are variously good and aggressive, including special units typically in most of the provinces with whom we partner special forces teams, who do an absolutely superb job, and Prime Minister Maliki, in fact, personally has come to place greater importance on those because it was these high-end units and special units that he literally took with him. Actually we moved some of them down by air, others by ground, and then he took a column of about 40 vehicles personally to go to Karbala and to restore peace and stability to that situation after the confrontation between the militia of Sadr and the shrine security guards. But this runs all the way down -- it runs the gamut to -- and I have to be up front and say there are still some units, particularly in the national police, but also a handful in the Iraqi army, that were formed literally out of sectarian militias or were hijacked, in the case of some of the national police units, during the height of the sectarian violence. And those still have issues that have to be addressed. And again, especially in the wake of this militia -- the militia problems, where Sadr's militia is very clearly linked to the assassination of one, and likely two, governors in southern provinces, they have become a huge concern to him and to the government of Iraq. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Hawaii, Mr. Abercrombie. REP. NEIL ABERCROMBIE (D-HI): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, thank you for being here. Aloha to both of you. Mr. Chairman, in the course of the questioning so far, I think I have some answers that I was seeking. I would like to just make two observations based on that and yield what time I have left to Representative Castor as the junior-most member. REP. SKELTON: Certainly. REP. ABERCROMBIE: Very quickly, two points. I'll submit for the record statements from General Petraeus starting in 2004 through General Casey in 2005, General Abizaid in 2006, and looping back to General Petraeus today. Not with the idea of trying to say this is what you said then, this is what you say now. On the contrary. I think that what it shows is is that the general remarks concern from the military point of view is that we were making steady progress but the Iraqis are not ready to take over, and this was true in '04, '05, '06 and '07. Our problem is, is what do we do under those circumstances? The problem is, Mr. Chairman, that four years later, the number of U.S. troops being killed continues to climb, thousands more Iraqis are dead and the cost of the war continues to escalate and the refugees continue to stream out of Iraq. My concern is is that lost in all the statistics is the question of a very simple yet heartbreaking fact: The rate and overall number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq has gone up, not down, from 2006 to 2007. From January to August 2006, 462 U.S. troops; from January to August 2007, 740. The problem, I think, Mr. Chairman, is that we are in a situation in which in effect we are saying is is that there's only one plan for Iraq, militarily speaking -- indefinite occupation by U.S. troops. That's not a comment on the military; it's a comment on the politics, which leaves me, Ambassador, to my second statement, quickly. In your very statement today, events have caught up with your and are riding you. Your statements about oil, your statements about the oil revenues, of central government and the regional government -- today we find out the Hunt Corporation of Texas has signed an oil exploration agreement with Kurdistan. The central government is cut out. At the same time, we read that the Commerce Department is seeking an international legal adviser to draft laws and regulations that will govern Iran's oil -- Iraq's oil and gas sector. We are going to be doing the drafting of the oil protocols. Iraq is not a sovereign country. This adviser that's being sought by the Commerce Department has a contract that'll run through 2008 with an option extension to 2010. We're occupying that country politically and militarily and are going to suffer the results. I will yield the rest of my time to Representative Castor. (Light Applause.) REP. SKELTON: (Sounds gavel.) REP. KATHY CASTOR (D-FL): And I thank my colleague. Thank you, Mr. Abercrombie, and thank you, gentlemen, for your service. Gentlemen, Admiral Michael Mullen, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress last month that unless Iraq has achieved political unity, no amount of troops and no amount of time will make much of a difference. He also warned that the United States risks breaking the Army if the Pentagon decided to maintain its present troop level in Iraq beyond next spring. Add onto that last week's report by a commission of retired senior U.S. military officers, where they said that Iraq's army, despite some progress, will be unable to take over internal security from the U.S. forces in the next 12 to 18 months. The report also said that the 25,000-member Iraqi national police force is dysfunctional and so riddled with sectarianism and corruption that it should be disbanded. And the latest NIE -- the consensus view of all U.S. intelligence agencies said that the modest military gains achieved by the troop surge will mean little or nothing unless there is a fundamental shift in the factors driving Iraqi political and security developments. Gentlemen, while the American people have great confidence in the troops and our brave men and women in uniform, they have totally lost confidence at the top of our national government. There's a complete lack of credibility coming from the White House. The latest -- you know, it first justified the war by claiming that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, none were found. Then the war was about establishing a model democracy in the Arab world, some model. After that, it was necessary to fight on to defeat al Qaeda, which sprouted a local branch in Iraq. The troop surge was supposed to give Iraqi leaders the security and time to bring about national reconciliation, it didn't happen. Now the president's latest spin is a withdrawal could result in another Vietnam. I think the American people want to know, as we're in the fifth year of this war, how much longer, how many billions of dollars more, while we are growing a global strategic risk? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congresswoman, if I could, one reason that I did recommend the reduction of forces is because of the recognition of the strain on our ground forces. Again, that was an important operational -- strategic consideration that did inform the recommendations that I made. I might point out, by the way, that we could have literally run this surge all the way until April. That's the first time that a surge brigade hits 15 months. But because of a variety of considerations and also, frankly, the battlefield geometry of figuring out how to most efficiently and with minimal release in place and so forth get to where we need to be by mid-July, we recommended the reduction of the brigade combat teams in addition to the Marine Expeditionary Unit that will come out later this month without replacement, but that the reduction of the brigade combat teams begin in mid-December. I could -- if I could also point out again that Iraqis are taking over considerable responsibility. The recent celebration of the death of the Seventh Imam, which results in the convergence of about typically approaching a million pilgrims to a(n) important shrine in North-Central Baghdad, the Kadhimiya Shrine, this year was planned and executed by Iraqi forces in a true interagency effort, overseen by the Baghdad Operational Center and its commander, but also involving not just army and police but also emergency services, other transportation assets, medical assets and so forth. Two years ago, there were nearly a thousand pilgrims who were stampeded to death when rumors of enemy action or perhaps actual activities resulted in that particular event. Every other year, there have been dozens of individuals killed by terrorist activities. This year, we are not aware of any deaths due to extremist activity. And the only deaths at all were from accidents, just normal accidents that took place on that day. So again there is progress. There are locations where Iraqis are exclusively maintaining security in their areas. Although you rightly note, and I share it frankly, the frustration particularly during -- what happened during the period of ethnosectarian violence, the sectarian violence of 2006, when some units literally took steps backward, and the effort took steps backward. And that was a tragedy and it is something that we are helping the Iraqis deal with now. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentlelady. To follow through on a thought that the gentlelady raised, your recommendations for cutting back the numbers, General, do they go below the number of troops that we had prior to the so-called surge? GEN. PETRAEUS: They do not right now, Mr. Chairman, and that is something that we are working on, and let me explain why that is. There have been other forces that have come into Iraq for a variety of other tasks. One is connected with an improvised explosive device effort. Others provide additional intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets. These are assets that we would have wanted regardless of whether we were surging or not. And then the largest is probably the additional military police for the growing detainee population, so that we do not run a catch- and-release program and just turn around and have a revolving door where we're taking in terrorists and then letting them back into society without having gone through a rehabilitation or pledge process. Which, by the way, we are now doing and is one thing that I mentioned that I thanked the Congress for the resources for. Because this is a very, very important effort, that we not just have the clock run out on these individuals, and the they go back to their neighborhoods and resume what they were doing before, but that they have gone through some process that prepares them to re-enter society. And by the way, we have about 800 juveniles as well and we recently created a school that will help them as well. And then we have a pledge-and-guarantor process that tries to tie tribes and sheikhs and other civic leaders into this, so that there is a sense of responsibility at the local level for individuals who have been returned who are their family or tribal members. REP. SKELTON: The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Payne. REP. DONALD PAYNE (D-NJ): Thank you very much. And let me thank both of you for this very important report. I simply have a couple of quick questions. I wonder, General Petraeus, if the support of the tribal leaders against al Qaeda -- is that irreversible, or is it that that may change possibly in the future? The second thing that does disturbance me about the GAO report and the vast difference in the calculation of the sectarian violence. And I just wonder -- I know you answered a question by one of my colleagues that The Times was just wrong, but is there any way that reconciling can be, since the two of you seem to be so far apart on that? And further, I just wonder why it has taken the Iraqi army so long to try to become proficient? Now I understand the war with Iraq and Iran -- they say that a(n) estimated million Iranians were killed. Now was it -- I know we were assisting Iraq. Was it our military's superiority or our weaponry that was sort of the dark force that made the appearance of Iraqi competence? Because it seems to be confusing that after year after year after year, the police -- they'd say that the entire police department in one area needs to be reconstructed, but that's the national police, not the local police. The soldiers have performed poorly. And so what -- why is there such a disconnect between their Iraq-Iran conflict and the fact that they can't seem to put a sustainable offensive together to weed out Qaeda and these bandits that have come in, who were not there, of course, before we went in. Therefore, I guess Iraq is worse off than it was before al Qaeda came in. So I just get confused at -- why is it taking so long? Do they -- have they just gone on strike or let somebody else do the fighting because it's easier to let someone else do it and keep your powder dry and your head down? And you know, what's missing in this picture? GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, Congressman. Sir, the -- first of all, on the tribal leaders, they want to be part of the new Iraq. The Sunni Arabs in Anbar province, as an example, went through various stages of post-liberation, feeling disrespected, unemployed, disgusted and even boycotting the elections and then realizing that they had made a huge mistake and were left out, in many respects, of the new Iraq. A number of them were resistance fighters during that time, as they like to use the term, and tacitly or actively supported al Qaeda, until they came to really come to grips with the Taliban-like ideology of al Qaeda. The ambassador talked about some of the practices that al Qaeda inflicted on the people. And they recognized the indiscriminate violence that was a part of what al Qaeda was doing, and they said, "No more." And then they realized that, okay, we're not going to run Iraq again, but it wouldn't be a bad thing if the Euphrates River Valley were a decent place in which we could live, work, and raise a family. And that seems to be their objective, in addition to certainly having their place at the table in Baghdad and getting their share of the resources. And although there is not a revenue-sharing law agreed, interestingly, there is revenue sharing; oil revenue sharing is taking place. And the ambassador mentioned now they've even learned the term "supplemental," because Anbar province got a supplemental for its provincial budget. With respect to the GAO report, their data cutoff, the answer is the data cutoff. At the very least, their data cutoff was five weeks ago and in some cases, I think -- we might check this, but in some cases I think it was nine weeks ago. But at the very least, these last five weeks, as we showed you on the slides, have actually been very significant. Remembering that we launched the surge of offensives in mid-June, it took a couple weeks to start seeing the results, and that's why I mentioned that eight of the last 12 weeks, in fact, the level of security incidents has come down. And that's -- we don't -- I don't know how far you have to go back to see that kind of trend; it is certainly a couple of years. And as I mentioned, the level of attacks, sort of a sub-set of incidents, is actually the lowest -- lowest last week that it's been since April. With respect to the Iraqi army that defeated Iran, or held their own against Iran, there are some remnants of that army still around, and there actually are some very highly professional Iraqi army and air force and naval officers who have been taken from the old army, the old air force, and so forth. But that's 15 years ago, and during that time, of course, they were defeated by the United States and coalition forces in Desert Storm, suffered years of sanctions, of course, then were disestablished and, of course, literally had to start from the bottom. In fact, there was no ministry of defense, literally. No building, in fact, when I took over as the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq commander in the summer of 2004. It was being rebuilt, but it was not even reoccupied for a number of months later. There were no battalions at that -- or maybe one battalion operational, despite heroic efforts by Major Paul Eaton, whose effort had been largely inadequately resourced up to that time as well. This has been building, you know, the world's largest aircraft while in flight and while being shot at. And it takes us a year just to reconstitute a brigade that has actually already been in the fight, keep some 40 (percent) to 50 percent of its members. But just to get it ready to go back, the road to deployment is we want to get at least to a year and, ideally, more. And they are starting, as I said, very much from scratch and just don't have a sufficient number of commissioned and noncommissioned officers who are out there from that old army, again, given the number of years. And even just since the army was disestablished in the summer of 2003, that in itself is a number of years, and these individuals are not necessarily fighting fit, shall we say, if they have been on the sidelines for most of the time since then. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. We will take a five-minute break and return, call upon Mr. McKeon and Mr. Chabot. (Raps gavel.) (Recess.) REP. SKELTON: We will come to order. We were told previously that the witnesses had a hard stop at 6:30. I have just spoken with General Petraeus and I hope that the ambassador will agree with his decision to extend the time for an additional 20 minutes -- wherever the ambassador is. (Pause.) Will somebody find the ambassador, please? Mr. McKeon will be next. (Pause.) Mr. McKeon and Mr. Chabot, in that order. Now the gentleman from California, Mr. McKeon. REP. HOWARD P. "BUCK" MCKEON (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, I'd like to join with my colleagues in thanking you for your exemplary service. At the outset, I'd like to associate myself with the remarks of Mr. Hunter and Ms. Ros-Lehtinen in their opening comments. Specifically, I've been deeply saddened by the attacks that have been made on General Petraeus for the last week or two -- citing what he was going to say, and how he was going to say it, and what his recommendations were going to be. I have here General Petraeus' statement that he gave us after the meeting started. If I might quote, "Although I have briefed my assessment and recommendations to my chain of command, I wrote this testimony myself. It has not been cleared by, or shared with anyone in the Pentagon, the White House, or Congress." It just, I think, indicates how some would like to politicize this war on terror and our war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I'm sorry that you've become a target for things. I read in a report that you have a 63 percent rating with the American people, and I guess this is an attempt to tear you down to our level. And I'm sure that will not work. Anybody that's had a chance to see you here today will know of your integrity and your devotion to duty, and that you're giving us your best assessment of the situation. General, I've heard the comment that the Army is broken. You talked about how the enlistment is going among the troops. Would you care to talk a little bit about the Army, and is it broken? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, sir, the part of the Army that I can talk about knowledgably at this point is, of course, that which is in Iraq. And that is an Army that has sacrificed great deal, and whose family members have sacrificed a great deal. A number of those great soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen -- and so in addition to our soldiers, certainly, are on a second or perhaps third tour -- some of them shorter tours and are on even more over time. We have asked an enormous amount of these individuals and, candidly, what impresses me so enormously in return is that they do continue to raise their right hand and to serve additional tours, to volunteer for additional tours in uniform. That is not just because of the tax-free bonuses, I can assure you. There's no compensation that can make up for some of the sacrifices that some of our soldiers and their families have endured. On July 4th, in fact, we had a large reenlistment ceremony -- 588 members of different services raised their right hand, and it was a pretty inspiring sight. As I mentioned, it far exceeded the goals for the units that are under the Multi-National core, Iraq already with several weeks to go. And as you know when reenlistment times often the last few weeks of the fiscal year are a pretty frantic affair as soldiers have sorted out all the options and then finally make their choice. Our soldiers are not starry-eyed idealists. In fact, at this point, I prefer not to be a pessimist or an optimist, but to be a realist. And I think a lot of our soldiers are that way. Morale is solid. But candidly morale is an individual thing, so is the view on what's going on in Iraq sometimes. You know, there's 165,000 different American views of Iraq right now and a lot of it depends on where you are and how things are going where you are. And the perspective of someone again in Anbar province where there has been success that we did not expect or someone who's in one of the very tough ethno-sectarian fault line areas -- say, in West Rasheed of Baghdad or East Rasheed -- has a very different perspective. 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. But with all of that -- with the heat, with this really challenging, barbaric, difficult enemy who is allusive and hard to find and employs sniper tactics, improvised explosive devices, suicide bombs against us, our Iraqi colleagues and innocent civilians -- against all of that, our soldiers continue to ruck up and go out each day from their patrol basis, combat outpost, joint security stations and they do it ready for a hand grenade or a handshake. And if they get the handshake, they'll take it. If they get the hand grenade, they know what to do in that case as well. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank you very much. The gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Chabot. REP. STEVE CHABOT (R-OH): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, first of all, thank you very much for your service to our country. We first met in Iraq a few years back. One of the more memorable incidents for me was when we were in a Blackhawk over Mosul and you pointed out the house where Saddam's murderous sons had met their end, Uday and Qusay. And Qusay, let's not forget was directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of Shi'a, and hundreds of them at this own hand. And Uday's -- one of his favorite pastimes was abducting young women off the streets of Baghdad, many of whom were never seen alive again. And these were to be Iraq's future leaders. They learned well from their father. General, my question is this -- in July of 2007, you told the New York Post that troop morale had remained high because soldiers understood they're, quote, "engaged in a critical endeavor," unquote. Many of those supporting a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq have regarded low troop morale as a reason for leaving. Could you comment on the current morale of our troops in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, again, as I mentioned, Congressman, I believe that morale is solid. But it is an individual thing and it depends on the kind of day that that individual has had. Our soldiers are determined. They know how important this task is, and that is a crucial factor in what they're doing. When they raise their right hand again, as so many have, they do it knowing that they may be called upon to serve again in Iraq or Afghanistan, for them and their family to make further sacrifices in addition to those that they have already made. I'm going to be up front. You know, none of us want to stay in Iraq forever. We all want to come home. We all have days of frustration and all the rest of that. But what we want to do is come home the right way, having added, I guess, to the heritage of our services, accomplished the mission that our country has laid out for us. And again, I think that that's a very important factor in what our soldiers are doing, in addition to the fact that, frankly, they also just respect the individuals with whom they are carrying out this important mission, the men and women on their right and left who share very important values, among them selfless service and devotion to duty. And that, indeed, is a huge factor in why many of us continue to serve and to stay in uniform, because the privilege of serving with such individuals is truly enormous. MR. CHABOT: Thank you, General. And finally, could you comment on the significance of Shi'ite militia leader Maqtada al-Sadr's decision from his hideaway in Iran to suspend the operations of the Mahdi Army for six months? Does this indicate that he clearly feels threatened, is on the run? And what should U.S.-Iraqi military and political response be? And given its involvement in brutal crimes against civilians and its pronounced support for violence against the U.S., should the Mahdi Army be declared a foreign terrorist organization? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, first of all, we think that the action by Maqtada al-Sadr, his declaration from Iran, is because of a sense of embarrassment over what happened in the Shi'a holy city of Karballa, where in the -- one of the most holy celebrations of the year, individuals associated with his militia confronted shrine guards and the result was a shootout and, eventually, loss of life. That, again, was an enormous embarrassment for all of Iraq, but in particular for his militia and for the Shi'a Arabs in Iraq. And it was one reason that Prime Minister Maliki personally went to Karballa the next morning, after having deployed Iraqi special operations forces in the middle of the night by helicopter and others by ground. In response to that, frankly, we have applauded that. Again, we are not going to kill our way out of all these problems in Iraq. You're not going to kill or capture all of the Sadr militia anymore than we are going to kill or capture all the insurgents in Iraq. And in fact, what we have tried very hard to do is to identify who the irreconcilables are, if you will, on either end of the spectrum, Sunni and Shi'a, and then to figure out where do the reconcilables begin and try to reach out to the reconcilables. Some of this is a little bit distasteful. It's not easy sitting across the table, let's say, or drinking tea with someone whose tribal members may have shot at our forces or in fact drawn the blood -- killed our forces. We learned a bit, in fact, about this from my former deputy commander, Lieutenant General Graham Lamb (sp), former head of 22 SAS and the director of Special Forces in the United Kingdom, and he reminded us that you reconcile with your enemies, not with your friends. That's why it's called reconciliation. And he talked about how he sat across the table from individuals who were former IRA members who had been swinging pipes at his lads, as he put it, just a few years earlier. That was quite instructive for us. He in fact headed some of the early efforts that we had in the early part of this year and into the spring, and then it was one of -- part of his initiative that the ambassador and I established this engagement -- strategic engagement cell of a senior diplomat -- senior United Kingdom two-star again and others supporting them who have reached out to individuals that could be reconciled and then helped connect them with the Iraqi government. Some of that will have to be done with members of the Jaish al-Mahdi, with the -- Sadr's militia. The question is: Who are the irreconcilables? And so on the one hand, we have applauded; we have said we look forward to the opportunity to confirm the excellence of your militia in observing your pledge of honor, and that has enormous meaning in the Iraqi culture. And indeed a number of them have in fact obeyed what he said. However, there are a number of others who have not, and those are now regarded as criminal. We're not taking on Jaish al- Mahdi; we are with the Iraqi counterparts going after criminals who have violated Sadr's order and have carried out attacks on our forces, innocent civilians or Iraqi forces. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. We are trying to get as many members as possible under the five- minute rule. The ambassador and the general have agreed for additional 20 minutes. I might point out that I'm told there will be a vote called shortly after 6:30. I have also requested the -- will be held open a few moments longer for us, and also remind the members of the two committees that there is a ceremony that's supposed to begin at 7:00. Mr. Reyes? REP. SILVESTRE REYES (D-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and General and Ambassador, thank you both for your service to our country. I was curious in your statement, General Petraeus, you made mention that the Iraqis have taken the lead in many areas, that many operate with minimal coalition support, so -- which is contrary to what General Jones' observations were last week, when he said that they're probably 12 to 18 months away from being able to operate independently. Can you give us your opinion or your assessment of that -- GEN. PETRAEUS: I can indeed. REP. REYES: -- particularly in relation to General Jones' statement? GEN. PETRAEUS: I sure can. And in fact, he and I had a lot of conversations during his time in Iraq, and he, by the way, did a superb assessment and spent the time in Iraq, I might add, that is needed to do that type of assessment with his commissioners. What he is talking about is something different from what I was talking about in the statement. What he's talking about is the institutions of the Iraqi security forces being able to truly support their forces throughout the country -- REP. REYES: So it's to be able to spend alone on their own? GEN. PETRAEUS: But we're talking about the institutions doing that as opposed to what I was talking about, is the fact that there are many Iraqi force units who are operating on their own. In Samawa, for example, in Muthanna province in the south, there are no coalition forces whatsoever. They're on their own. Now, occasionally they will call our Special Forces team that is actually in an adjacent province and ask for some assistance. The same is largely true in Nasiriyah. There's a superb Australian unit there, largely focused on civil military operations. And again, when the Iraqi units in that area have been challenged with something they couldn't handle, they just call our Special Forces team, and we bring some enablers to bear, if you will -- close air support, attack helicopters or what have you. The same is true in Najaf. There's only a single U.S. Special Forces team in Najaf. Karbala has no forces. A very small contingent -- and so forth -- REP. REYES: So -- because -- GEN. PETRAEUS: So there are a number of places where Iraqi forces are operating on their own -- and by the way, they may not -- those battalions in those areas may not be operational readiness assessment number one. In other words, they may not be rated as meeting the readiness requirements for operating on their own, but de facto -- the fact is they are operating on their own, but they might be short equipment, leaders, maintenance standards or what have you. REP. REYES: So just the -- of the total force -- GEN. PETRAEUS: What General Jones was getting at was the institutional support. What he's talking about is the ability to support these forces with a logistical system, with depots, with maintenance, with administrative and all the rest of that. That is the challenge. Again, we have found that it's challenging to build battalions, but it's really hard to rebuild an entire army and all of its institutions that go into supporting that battalion or -- you know, way over a hundred battalions, the brigades, the divisions and all the rest of that with command and control communications, intelligence systems, combat enablers, medevac and all the rest of that makes up a force as we know it, as opposed to forces that are unable to do that. REP. REYES: Well, thank you, General. Ambassador, you made mention about the Provincial Reconstruction Teams and the fact that we went from 10 to 25. As I think all of us know, we're having a very tough time recruiting people from the different agencies that make up these teams. Can you briefly tell us -- going from 10 to 25 in a country the size of California, that's not as good news as it seems, is it? AMB. CROCKER: Well, it is a very substantial increase, and a lot of that has been in the areas of greatest population and greatest challenges, like Baghdad itself. So the surge of Provincial Reconstruction Teams into the Baghdad area -- and incidentally, all of those teams are embedded with brigade combat teams and -- REP. REYES: It's because of the security situation. AMB. CROCKER: Exactly -- although what we've discovered is that it makes for a tremendous unity of effort, and it's actually a force multiplier to have them together, so we're taking a look at the rest of the landscape and basically seeking to replicate kind of the embedded concepts for almost all of the PRTs, because that fusion really works. And it helps to coordinate objectives so that we don't have a military unit kind of working in the same area as a PRT without the kind of coordination you need. So that's been tremendously effective. Now, in terms of staffing these up, that's something I've given my particular personal focus to. The surge in PRT personnel that this operation is requiring is to be an additional 283 people in place by the end of the year. And to the annoyance of my staff, I check this three times a week, and also back with Washington, and I am firmly assured that we are on track to meet that requirement by December 31st. Now this includes a lot of military personnel, which will then be backfilled as we move into 2008. But as a report delivered by the special inspector general for Iraq just last week indicated, the PRT program is one of the most valuable programs the U.S. runs in Iraq. Now, that was the special inspector general's comment, so we're clearly on to a good thing here, and we will continue to expand the limits of this endeavor to deliver the most effective response we can to capacity-building needs, particularly on budget execution. I'd make one final comment because I do think that it's important: that as drawdowns and redeployments take place, a challenge we both have is being sure that PRTs continue to be able to do their mission where required, even as the military footprint changes. So we don't have all the answers to that. It's a work in progress, but something we're very much focused on. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Sherman. REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D-CA): Thank you. Mr. Chairman, the ultimate question for our country is how much of the resources available to fight the global war on terror should be deployed in Iraq. That decision cannot be made in Baghdad, because our fine gentlemen from Baghdad don't receive reports on what's going on in Afghanistan, Somalia, the Tri-Borders area of Paraguay, or Sudan. It's a shame that those with global perspectives, the leaders here in Washington, so lack credibility that they're unwilling to really step forward in front of the cameras and say that Iraq is the central front in the war on the terror. So instead they imply that Iraq is the central front by telling us that the decision of how much of our resources to put into Iraq should be dependent upon a report drafted in Baghdad. In effect, we've substituted global perspective for battlefield valor. Now, General Petraeus, when I -- as a general, you're always planning for possible contingencies. The counterinsurgency manual is filled with hypothetical situations and possible responses. And General, you're sworn to defend our Constitution, and you've carried out that oath with honor. Your duty to defend the Constitution would become more complex if we had a constitutional crisis here in Washington. Assume that Congress passes a law stating that no government funds should be used after March of next year, except for certain limited purposes, such as force protection, or for training. The president of the United States instead orders you to conduct U.S.- led offensive military operations, a purpose for which Congress has said we have appropriated no funds. Under those circumstances, what do you do? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, and not trying to be flip, what I would do is consult my lawyer. And again, I'm not trying to make light of this at all, but I would literally have to talk to my lawyer, and obviously talk to my chain of command and get some advice and counsel on what in fact to do. And if I could mention, perhaps, Congressman, on -- REP. SHERMAN: So General, you're saying you might very well disobey an order from the president of the United States on the advice of your legal counsel? GEN. PETRAEUS: I did not say that, Congressman. What I said is I'd have to figure out what I was going to do. If I could just follow up on one item you did say, Congressman -- REP. SHERMAN: General, I did have one -- GEN. PETRAEUS: For what it's worth, al Qaeda believes that Iraq is the central front in the global war on terrorism. REP. SHERMAN: Well, al Qaeda is telling us that they think it's the central front. They might be lying. GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, and also -- REP. SHERMAN: They've been known to do so, General. And if we allow Ahmadinejad and bin Laden to tell us where to fight them, they may not give us their best advice. But I do have one more question and very limited time. GEN. PETRAEUS: Yes, sir. REP. SHERMAN: On about September 15th, this nation's going to get a long, detailed report, well over 100 pages, I would guess. And the press is going to call it the Petraeus report. Now you know and I know that the White House has exercised editorial control over the report that will be released later this week. The country wants the Petraeus report. They want a long, detailed report, written in Baghdad, without edits from the Pentagon or the White House. Are you willing to give to these committees your detailed report, the documents you gave to the White House for them to create the report that they plan to release later this week? And -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Can I answer that so I can -- First of all, on the benchmarks report, my understanding is that the law states that that report is submitted by the president with the input from the ambassador and myself. So at least it is the Petraeus- Crocker report. REP. SHERMAN: General, if you -- my question was carefully couched. I realize months ago, Congress may have asked for a report from the White House, and we'll be happy to get it and read it. But what I said was what the country really wants right now, not months ago but right now -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Right. REP. SHERMAN: -- is the Petraeus report. We want hundreds of pages written in Baghdad, edited by you, without edits from the Pentagon and the White House. Can you get it to us? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, first of all, what I've tried to do today, Congressman, with respect, is to give the Petraeus report. And then I would add to that that Ambassador Crocker and I did submit extensive input for the benchmarks report. The draft that I saw most recently -- because like any of these reports, it does go up and it is then provided back to us for comment, is that it is essentially unchanged. REP. SHERMAN: But in any case, you are warning us that if 100 pages or so is released by the White House later this week, they've done the final edit, and it may or may not be your report as written. GEN. PETRAEUS: I don't think that there is any substantive change in that report, according to the draft that I saw the other day. My guys had a copy, checked it against what we submitted, that the ambassador and I collaborated on. And there was nothing substantive whatsoever that was different in that report. You may want to mention, Ambassador. AMB. CROCKER: No, that's -- that is my understanding of it as well. The September 15th benchmark report will be an update of the July report. And the procedure for drafting it is exactly the same as it was in July. We provide input, but it is a White House report. So it is going to be again procedurally exactly the same as the July report. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Thornberry, please. REP. MAC THORNBERRY (R-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I appreciate both of your service and your professionalism, especially in the light of personal attacks against you. Ambassador Crocker, how do you make elected representatives of the people to compromise with each other and reach agreement? We seem to have some difficulty with that. How do you make that happen in Baghdad? AMB. CROCKER: I will very carefully restrict myself to commenting about the situation in Baghdad, because it is a serious issue. It is at the core ultimately of what kind of future Iraq is going to have, whether its representatives, elected and otherwise, are able to come together and reconcile. Process in this is as important, in some ways, as actual results. And the -- one of the elements out of this summer's activity that does give me some cautious encouragement is that representatives, mainly from the parliament, from the Council of Representatives, of the five major political blocs showed an ability to come together and night after night and work their way through a lot of the major issues. The issues they were able to get close to agreement on, they teed up to their leaders, and that's what was embodied in that August 26th declaration that, in addition to the points I've already mentioned, also included commitments on reforms regarding detainees, how they're held, what the conditions are, when they see a judge, when they're released, as well as how to deal with armed groups. The five got agreement on those points as well. But it's the way they did it. Each evening for weeks, representatives -- Sunni, Shi'a and Kurds -- came together and showed an ability to work quite productively together. And that is what I am hoping is going to carry forward in the months ahead as they deal with other issues. The real answer, of course, is, you can't compel it. People have to see their interests served by a process of accommodation. And that's what we're seeing, I think, at least the hopeful beginnings of. REP. THORNBERRY: Thank you. General Petraeus, what do we do about Iran? You -- in answer to previous questions, you said the last time Ambassador Crocker went and talked to them, then the flow of arms accelerated. So some people suggest we need to have a diplomatic surge and go talk to them intensely. I'm a little skeptical that that's going to make a difference. What do we do about the arms, the training, the money that comes from Iran and undermines our efforts? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, inside Iraq, which is where my responsibility lies, we obviously are trying to interdict the flow of the arms, the training network, the money and so forth, and also to disrupt the networks that carry that out. It was very substantial, for example, to capture the head of the special groups in all of Iraq and that deputy commander of the Lebanese Hezbollah department that I talked about earlier that exists to support the Qods Force effort in supporting these special groups inside Iraq that are offshoots of the Sadr militia. Beyond that, it does obviously become a regional problem. It is something that I have discussed extensively with Admiral Fallon and with others in the chain of command. And there certainly is examination of various contingencies, depending on what does happen in terms of Iranian activity in Iraq. But our focus is on interdicting the flow and on disrupting, killing or capturing those individuals who are engaged in it. We also in fact killed the head of the network that carried out the attacks on our soldiers in Karbala, where five of our soldiers were killed back in January. That was yet another effort in that overall offensive against those individuals. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Pence from Indiana. REP. MIKE PENCE (R-IN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to thank General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker for your service to the nation. The old book tells us if you owe debts, pay debts; if honor, than honor; if respect, then respect. And having met with both of you on several occasions downrange in different assignments, I know this nation owes you a debt of honor and a debt of respect. And I want to appreciate the way my colleagues have addressed this hearing today. General Petraeus, just for clarification sake, it seems to me you opened your testimony today with a very emphatic declarative. I think your words were, "This is my testimony." I think you added that it had not been cleared by the White House or the Department of Defense. And I just -- again, we're getting the Petraeus report. GEN. PETRAEUS: That is correct. As I stated, I obviously have given recommendations, and I gave an assessment of the situation as part of those recommendations during a week of video teleconferences, consultations with Admiral Fallon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the secretary of Defense and then ultimately the president. But the testimony that I provided today, this statement, is one that I eventually took control of the electrons about two weeks ago and, as I mentioned, has not been shared with anybody outside of my inner circle. REP. PENCE: Well, thank you. Thanks for clarifying that. I think it's important. Two quick points. First on the subject of joint security stations. When I was there in April in Baghdad with you, General Petraeus, we visited a joint security station downtown. I think your testimony today suggests that now the joint security stations are, to use your phrase, are across Iraq. I wondered if you might comment for these committees about the extent to which embedding, if you will, American and Iraqi forces together -- living together, deploying together -- in neighborhood areas has expanded beyond the scope of Baghdad the impact that it's having. And for Ambassador Crocker, just for the sake of efficiency, when I was in Ramadi in that same trick, we met with Sheikh Sattar, some of the leaders of the Iraqi Awakening Movement. It was at that time, I think, 20 of the 22 sheikhs in Al Anbar province had organized that effort. The transformation of Al Anbar has been extraordinary. You made a provocative comment today, saying that that movement is, quote, "unfolding" in other parts of Iraq, and I think you mentioned Diyala and Nineveh provinces. I wonder if you might -- each of you severally -- touch on that. I saw those things in their nascent form this spring, and it seems like both of them have expanded well beyond expectations, to the good of U.S. interests and stability in Iraq. General? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, the concept, again, is that if you're going to secure the population, you have to live with the population. You can't commute to this fight. And the idea is that, wherever possible, to do it together with our Iraqi counterparts, in some cases police, some cases army, sometimes all of the above. The idea of the joint security stations is to be really command and control hubs typically for areas in which there are coalition forces, Iraqi army and Iraqi police, and sometimes now even these local volunteers, who -- again, by directive of Prime Minister Maliki -- are individuals with whom the Iraqi army is supposed to deal as well. There are a number of other outposts, patrol bases and other small bits of infrastructure, if you will, that have also been established to apply this idea that is so central to counterinsurgency operations of again positioning in and among the population. And you see it in Ramadi. For example, in Ramadi there are a couple of dozen, I think, is the last count of police stations, patrol bases, combat outposts, you name it, many of which have both coalition, either U.S. Army or U.S. Marines together, with Iraqi police or Iraqi soldiers, or in some cases still local volunteers who are in the process of being transitioned into one of the security ministries. We see the same in Fallujah. In Fallujah, though it is police stations and there are 10 precincts now established in Fallujah -- the last one was just completed -- in each of those there's typically a Marine squad or a force of about that size, and over time we've been able to move -- (Chairman Skelton sounds gavel) -- our main force elements out of Fallujah and also now to move two of the three battalions in the Iraqi army that were in that area, which frees them up to actually go up and replace the Marine Expeditionary Unit that's coming out and continue the pressure on al Qaeda-Iraq up in the Lake Tharthar area. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. Try and move along -- next, we have Dr. Snyder, Mr. Wexler, Mr. Jones, Mr. Flake -- REP. PENCE: Mr. Chairman? With your indulgence, I had posed a question to Ambassador Crocker. I don't think he had a chance to respond. REP. SKELTON: I'm sorry. I didn't catch that. Ambassador, please answer as quickly as possible. AMB. CROCKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We're seeing the phenomenon of Anbar repeated elsewhere of Iraqis deciding they've had enough of terrorists. Anbar itself, the whole way it unfolded there is unique to Anbar, and we've got to have the, again, the area smarts and the tactical flexibility to perceive what opportunities are with their regional differences. So Diyala, for example, is much more complicated than Anbar because instead of being just Sunni, that Sunni, Shi'a, Kurd intermixed and has required much more careful handling which, I must say, the military has done an absolutely brilliant job of in an incredibly complex political- military context. But you know, again, in Anbar and Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, in Baghdad, the three neighborhoods that General Petraeus mentioned in Diyala, which is a little bit to the northeast and also in Nineveh to the north and in Salahuddin, a process under way that is conceptually similar to what happened in Anbar but has in each case its particular differences that have to be taken into account by us and by the Iraqis. REP. SKELTON: Thank you very much. Dr. Snyder. REP. VIC SNYDER (D-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, I have a question for each of you if you will each answer briefly. I then want to brag on you. So if you -- the quicker you all answer my questions, the quicker I can get to bragging on the two of you. First, General Petraeus, on the chart that you passed out here earlier, the one that talks about the recommended force reduction mission shift, does it go out the timeline here at the end, General Petraeus? We have a straight line at the end. How far out does that line go? The specific question is: How many years do you anticipate U.S. troops will be in Iraq if you had Ambassador Crocker's crystal ball? GEN. PETRAEUS: And I'm afraid that I do not. In fact, that is an illustrative document with respect to both the mission mix and the stair step there. As I mentioned, there is every intention and recognition that forces will continue to be reduced after the mid-July time frame when we have reached the 15 Army Brigade Combat Team level and Marine RCT level. What we need to do is get a bit closer to that time to where, with some degree of confidence, we can make an assessment and make recommendations on that. REP. SNYDER: Thank you. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned the Provincial Reconstruction Teams, and I appreciate you bringing them up. I had a different recollection, though, of the testimony last week of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. One of the staff people was Ginger Cruze. When she testified, she actually testified that by the end of this year, State Department will have identified 68 percent of the State Department personnel to be on board. So they will not necessarily be on board; they will have just identified two-thirds of their staff requirements. So while I appreciate your attentiveness to this, I think we still -- I think the State Department is letting you down, and that somehow we've got to grapple with this issue of how to get the other agencies to step forward and assist the work that General Petraeus and his people are doing, the work that you want to do. So you may need to have another meeting with them and talk about now what exactly are we going to be having at the end of December, because they said that there was only identified two-thirds of them by the end of this year. The reason I want to brag on the two of you, I think you-all have done a good job here today and have done a great job throughout your careers. I don't know if the two of you are going to be able to solve these problems, the challenges you have before you, but you are the all-star team. And if anybody can do it, you can do it. I think that's why some of us find some of the stuff that's been said the last week or so pretty offensive. But we talk about reconciliation. You know, both in the Congress and in the country, we've been going through kind of a soft partition into D's and R's, the soft partition, the red state and the blue state. I think you-all can be part of this reconciliation because our country will do better in foreign policy if we're more united. I put Secretary Gates in that category, too. And what I like about Secretary Gates is, reports that I get back from the Pentagon is that more junior generals actually feel like they can tell him when they think he's wrong or when they have other ideas. And I don't want you to respond to this, but I know that has not been the case for the first -- for the last six years. And so I think there is some process stuff going on that may help get some of this reconciliation. An example of this has been this report that General Jones' group put out last week, that's been referred to several times. Now, it's like everything else in life, we pick and choose. And several people that are critical of what's going on have brought out some of the criticisms of the police and the Iraqi army. But the very -- the last paragraphs, the concluding thoughts -- and I'm going to quote from the report -- quote: "While much remains to be done before success can be confidently declared, the strategic consequences of failure or even perceived failure for the United States and the coalition are enormous. We approach a truly strategic moment in this still-young century. Iraq's regional geostrategic position, the balance of power in the Middle East, the economic stability made possible by a flow of energy in many parts of the world, and the ability to defeat and contain terrorism where it is most manifest are issues that do not lend themselves to easy or quick solution. How we respond to them, however, could well define our nation in the eyes of the world for years to come." And that's the end of the quote. And so those of us who, on whatever side we come down to now or in the last several years on what you-all are about, we've got to start looking at this, I think, this bigger picture. And I would -- my one question for you, Ambassador Crocker. There's a lot of criticism that we do not have the right strategic diplomatic picture that helps you do the work that you're doing. In fact, maybe I won't even put that as a question but just leave that as a comment. I think we've got a lot of work to do in the Congress and the administration to give you that kind of strategic diplomacy for that whole region. Thank you for your service. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. Mr. Wexler. REP. ROBERT WEXLER (D-FL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker, I vehemently opposed the surge when the president announced it last winter, and instead I called for our troops to be withdrawn. In your testimony today, you claim that the surge is working and that you need more time. With all due respect, General, among unbiased, nonpartisan experts, the consensus is stark; the surge has failed based on most parameters. In truth, war-related deaths have doubled in Iraq in 2007 compared to last year. Tragically, it is my understanding that seven more American troops have died while we've been talking today. Cherry- picking statistics or selectively massaging information will not change the basic truth. Please understand, General Petraeus, I do not question your credibility. You are a true patriot. I admire your service to our nation. But I do question your facts. And it is my patriotic duty to represent my constituents and ask you, question you about your argument that the surge in troops be extended until next year, next summer, especially when your testimony stating that the dramatic reduction in sectarian deaths is opposite from the National Intelligence Estimate, the Government Accounting Office and several other non-biased, nonpartisan reports. I am skeptical, General. More importantly, the American people are skeptical because four years ago very credible people both in uniform and not in uniform came before this Congress and sold us a bill of goods that turned out to be false. And that's why we went to war based on false pretense to begin with. This testimony today is eerily similar to the testimony the American people heard on April 28th, 1967, from General William Westmoreland, when he told the American people America was making progress in Vietnam. General, you say we're making progress in Iraq, but the Iraqi parliament simply left Baghdad and shut down operations last month. You say we're making progress, but the nonpartisan GAO office concluded that the Iraqi government has failed to meet 15 of the 18 political, economic and security benchmarks that Congress mandated. You say we're making progress, but war-related deaths have doubled. And an ABC-BBC poll recently said that 70 percent of Iraqis say the surge has worsened their lives. Iraqis say the surge is not working. I will conclude my comments, General, and give you a chance to respond, but just one more thing, if I may. We've heard a lot today about America's credibility. President Bush recently stated we should not have withdrawn our troops from Vietnam, because of the great damage to America's credibility. General, there are 58,195 names etched into the Vietnam War Memorial. Twenty years from now, when we build the Iraq war memorial on the National Mall, how many more men and women will have been sacrificed to protect our so-called credibility? How many more names will be added to the wall before we admit it is time to leave? How many more names, General? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first of all, I have not said that the surge should be extended. In fact, my recommendations are that the surge be curtailed earlier than it would have been. The forces of the surge could have run all the way till April before we began pulling them out, and that would be if we did not recommend its continuation beyond that. My recommendations, in fact, include the withdrawal of the Marine expeditionary unit this month without replacement and then a brigade starting in mid-December and then another one about every 45 days. And that's a considerable amount prior to, in fact, how far the surge could have run if we'd just pushed everybody for 15 months. REP. WEXLER: Respectfully, General -- GEN. PETRAEUS: In fact, I am -- and with respect to the facts that I have laid out today, I very much stand by those. As I mentioned, the GAO report actually did cut off data at least five weeks and in some cases longer than that in the assessment that it made. And in fact those subsequent five weeks have been important in establishing a trend that security incidents have gone down, as they have, and have reached, as I mentioned, the lowest level since June 2006, with respect to incidents, and with April 2006, in terms of attacks. I stand by the explanation of the reduction in ethno-sectarian deaths and so forth. And lastly, I would say, Congressman, that no one is more conscious of the loss of life than the commander of the forces. That is something I take and feel very deeply. And if I did not think that this was a hugely important endeavor and if I did not think that it was an endeavor in which we could succeed, I would not have testified as I did to you all here today. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. Before I call on Mr. Jones, the gentleman from California, Mr. Hunter, has a unanimous consent. REP. HUNTER: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just -- I'm requesting unanimous consent that the questions of Mr. Graves of Missouri be submitted to General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. Without objection. Mr. Jones. REP. WALTER JONES (R-NC): Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. And General Petraeus, thank you. And Ambassador Crocker, thank you as well. And let me just say that many of the comments you've heard today about our troops and thank you again for your leadership. But we had General Barry McCaffrey before the oversight committee chaired by Chairman Snyder about five or six weeks ago. And I have Camp Lejeune down in my district, and from time to time I have a chance to see some of the Marines who are, you know, out of uniform at certain locations and have conversations. What Barry McCaffrey said was that by April or May of 2008, that the Marine Corps, the Army, the Reserves and the National Guard will start to unravel; that they are absolutely stressed and worn out. And General, you have acknowledged that, so let me make that clear. My question primarily is going to be for Ambassador Crocker. I want to start by reading a quote by Army Lieutenant General Jay Garner, first U.S. official in charge of postwar Baghdad. This is his quote: "I don't know that the Iraqi government has ever demonstrated ability to lead the country, and we should not be surprised. You will never find in my lifetime one man that all Iraqis will coalesce around. Iraqis are too divided among sectarian, ethnic and tribal loyalties, and their loyalties are regional, not national." Mr. Ambassador, I know you have over 20-some years in foreign service with the State Department, and I respect that very much. You made mention of Lebanon, where we had Marines killed there at the barracks. You are dealing with a country that is not national; it is regional. It is a tribal system that has been part of that history of what is now Iraq. And I listened to you carefully and appreciated your comments. You made some statements like "we see some signs of," "we're encouraged," and, you know, those kind of statements which sound good in your written testimony. But my question is, for the American people, I mean, this is a huge investment. And I realize that it is a war on terrorism; I mean, many of us questioned whether we should have gone into Afghanistan, stayed in Afghanistan, gone after bin Laden and al Qaeda instead of diverting to Iraq, but that damage is done. As Colin Powell said, if you break it, you own it. Well, we own it -- sadly, mainly, with blood. My question is to you is, where -- how can you say or how can you hope to encourage a national government when, in this testimony today and in the days before, people have talked about the great successes in Anbar, and that's not because of the national government? How can you take a country that has never had nationalism and believe that we can bring these people together when, as someone said before -- I've spoke -- I mean, they broke and decided not to meet with some of their responsibilities for 30 days. And that sent a bad signal to many people, maybe to our troops, maybe not to our troops. But how do you see this coming together, and how long will it take it to come together? AMB. CROCKER: Congressman, you pose, I think, the critical question. And that's why in my written testimony I focused a lot of attention on that. What kind of state is ultimately going to emerge in Iraq? Because that is still very much an issue under discussion, a work in progress, with some elements of the population, mainly the Sunnis, still focused on a strong central authority; and others, mainly but not exclusively Kurds and Shi'as, saying it needs to be a decentralized federalism. So you have those differences. And even within those two camps, often not a lot of detailed thought as to what either strong central authority or decentralized federalism would actually look like. So, you know, that is part of the challenge. Iraqis will have to work through this. Among the encouraging things I noted that I'd seen is that now among Sunnis there is a discussion that maybe federalism is the way this country needs to go. That has in part been conditioned by the experience in Anbar, but not exclusively. That is why I say this is going to take time, and it's going to take further strategic patience on our part and further commitment. There simply are no easy, quick answers. There are no switches to flip that are going to cause the politics to come magically together. It's going to have to be worked through. I believe that it can. I believe that the things that we have seen over the last six months and that I've described, General Petraeus has described, do hold out cause for hope. But it's going to take their resolve and our backing to actually make that happen. Now, you mention Anbar. I think that that can be a very interesting illustration in this process, where something got started out in Anbar that the central government certainly didn't precipitate, but then the central government found ways to connect to it, both by hiring police and by providing additional resources to the provincial budget. So, you know, this is going to be something that Iraqis are going to have to work through. I'd like to be able to say that we can get this done in six months or nine months or by next July; I can't sit here and do that. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. Mr. Flake. AMB. CROCKER: I can say that I think it's possible. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Flake. REP. JEFF FLAKE (R-AZ): I thank you both for your very enlightening testimony. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned there's abundant evidence that the security gains have opened the door for meaningful politics. I think we all agree that the purpose of the surge was to create the space necessary for the politicians to do their work. Where -- how do you strike a balance between giving them space and providing a convenient excuse not to reach conclusion on some of these debates? They're talking about federalism, for example. I mean, we can have debates here on the topic, and we do have such debates. But where -- how do you respond to the criticism or the assumption that they would move faster if we had a more precipitous withdrawal or drawdown? AMB. CROCKER: I'd make two comments, sir. First, we are engaged in this process. I spend a lot of my time, as does my staff, working with political figures, sorting through issues, offering advice, twisting some arms from time to time, to help them get done what in many cases they've laid out as their own objectives, but find it a little hard to actually get it over the finish line. So we are involved in that and will continue to be. With respect to the point on using leverage -- using troops as leverage, to say we're going to start backing out of here regardless of whether you've got it done or not, as I said in a slightly different context earlier, I think we have to be very careful with that because if the notion takes hold among Iraqis that what we really do intend to do is just execute a non-conditions-based withdrawal -- say, the famous precipitous withdrawal -- I think it pushes them actually in the wrong direction. I think it creates a climate in which they are much less likely to compromise, because they'll be looking over our heads, concluding that the U.S. is about to pull, so they had better be getting ready for what comes next. And what comes next will be a giant street fight. It's not a climate, I think, that lends itself to compromise. REP. FLAKE: If I might, then, without us putting troops aside, then, what other leverage do we have? Is it aid that is contingent on them moving forward? Some of the -- you know, with regard to some of the benchmarks? What else is effective? Is there something that has been used in other scenarios, say, the peace process in Northern Ireland, or other -- anything that you've used in prior diplomatic efforts that would be more useful here? AMB. CROCKER: Again, like so much else in Iraq, the political dynamic there is probably not unique in world history, but it is pretty special. And while we're always looking for good lessons from outside, in the case of Northern Ireland, for example, where an international commission was formed to help the people work through issues, we've gotten the documentation on that, and we've made it available to Iraqi political figures as something that we and they might work with. They're -- they've got that under consideration. Clearly we do have leverage, and we do use it. I mean, the presence of 160,000 troops is a lot of leverage. And you know, we are using those troops for their security. That gives us, again, not only the opportunity but the obligation to tell them they've got to use the space they're getting to move forward. REP. FLAKE: In the remaining time I have, quickly, for the general, some argue that the presence of U.S. troops gives al Qaeda simply a target. Is there a difference between their attacks on U.S. troops as opposed to attacks on other coalition forces? I know there are different regions, but in Basra, for example, where the British have been, is there -- GEN. PETRAEUS: There are virtually no al Qaeda, really, in the southern part of Iraq because, of course, it's a Shi'a area and much less hospitable to them. REP. FLAKE: Right. GEN. PETRAEUS: They -- we think there have been attacks over time, occasionally, but nothing at all recently in the southern part of Iraq. REP. FLAKE: In other areas, is there any evidence that -- and I know we've performed different roles, the different coalition forces, but is there any evidence that they are more likely to attack Americans than other coalition forces? GEN. PETRAEUS: No. In fact, they're probably more likely to attack Iraqi forces right now. In fact, they're very concerned by the rise of particularly these local volunteers who have been assimilated into the Iraqi forces, because that represents a very, very significant challenge to them. It means that locals are invested in security, and of course they have an incentive that folks from the outside can never have. They are going to fight and die for their neighborhood, again, in a way that -- others who might come in from elsewhere would not be willing to do the same. So in fact we've seen a very substantial number of attacks on these forces as they have become more effective, trying to take out their checkpoints, attack their bases and so forth. REP. FLAKE: Thank you. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. Mr. Smith from Washington. REP. ADAM SMITH (D-WA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, General, Ambassador, for your service and for your testimony today. I want to explore something we haven't talked that much about, and that is to some degree -- Iraq, to a very large degree, is dividing along sectarian lines and has been for some time. I mean, if we're not there yet, we're pretty -- we pretty soon will be to the point where there's no such thing as a mixed Shi'a-Sunni neighborhood. So even while we're surging forward, this -- (inaudible) -- ethnic cleansing, division, whatever you want to call it, is going on. And I think there's a number of implications of that. You know, one is, it sort of underscores the difficulty of reaching a solution. You know, I, I guess, will be a minority among some of my colleagues here. I don't really so much blame the Iraqis for the situation. It's an intractable situation. It's not like if they stuck around in August in parliament they would have solved this. They, you know, have a deep division between Shi'a and Sunni that I think everybody in this room understands, and it's not a problem that leverage or anything is really going to solve. It is what it is, and it's a reality on the ground. And I'm concerned that we don't seem to be reacting very much to that reality, or as much as we should be. We still have this fantasy of a, you know, unity government in Iraq that we are supposedly fighting to create the space to come about. And I think most people would have to acknowledge at this point it is not going to happen. More on that in a second. I just want to -- one quick question for General Petraeus. So when you figure out what ethno-sectarian violence is, you don't count Shi'a on Shi'a and Sunni on Sunni. And that's a little troubling, in the sense that since this ethnic cleansing is going on and the neighbors have divided, a lot of the violence then comes down to once they've divided it that way, then it's, okay, which Shi'a are going to be in charge and which Sunni are going to be in charge? I mean, to some degree that's part of what's going on in Anbar. Sunnis -- GEN. PETRAEUS: First of all, Congressman, we count in the -- civilian deaths include all deaths, as I mentioned. REP. A. SMITH: Okay. But in the sectarian -- GEN. PETRAEUS: They are in there. REP. A. SMITH: In the sectarian violence. GEN. PETRAEUS: We are focused on sectarian violence, ethno- sectarian violence -- REP. A. SMITH: Right. GEN. PETRAEUS: -- because in some cases it's Arabs and Kurds as well -- because that is what eats at the fabric of Iraqi society. That is what tore the fabric of Iraqi society in the -- REP. A. SMITH: That could be, General, but if I may for just one minute -- GEN. PETRAEUS: -- latter part of 2006. If I could finish, sir. And it does not stop. It never stops until it is stopped by something else. And what we wanted to -- want to have happen is to have it stopped because there is a sustainable security situation. In some cases we help it stop by cement walls. REP. A. SMITH: That could well be, but what I said is essentially accurate, that you don't count -- in the chart that we showed, you weren't showing us civilian deaths, you were showing -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Oh, I did show you civilian deaths. That is -- REP. A. SMITH: Ethno-sectarian -- GEN. PETRAEUS: -- in the chart. There are civilian deaths. REP. A. SMITH: Okay. GEN. PETRAEUS: I showed that slide. And that has come down substantially. REP. A. SMITH: But for the purpose -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Now, it has not come down as much outside Baghdad because of the mass casualty attacks carried out by al Qaeda. And we count all of those, all civilian deaths. That's why I showed that slide and then showed the subset of that slide, which is the ethno- sectarian deaths REP. A. SMITH: Okay. GEN PETRAEUS: We focus on that because of the damage that ethno- sectarian violence does to neighborhoods, particularly, again, in Baghdad. And the problem with the discussion is that Baghdad is a mixed province, still, as are Babil, Wasat, Diyala and other areas of Iraq. REP. A. SMITH: If I could have -- GEN. PETRAEUS: And beyond that, beyond that, the resources are provided by a central government. So with the mechanism that exists now under the Iraqi constitution, there has to be representation of and responsiveness to all Iraqis in that government to ensure that all do get. Now -- REP. A. SMITH: My time is very limited. I wanted to ask Ambassador Crocker a question, if I may. I appreciate that -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you for letting me answer that anyway. REP. A. SMITH: The question, then, is, what is the political solution that we are moving toward? And that's what is most concerning to us. And the bottom line is, even under General Petraeus's description, in July of 2007 we will have roughly the same number of troops in Iraq that we had in January of 2007. Now, a lot of progress has happened, but that is obviously a problem for us. What is the political solution that we are working towards where the conditions are in place that we can begin to end our occupation, keeping in mind the fact that this ethnic division is happening? And maybe, Ambassador Crocker, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but Baghdad is separating along ethnic lines, is it not? And how does that -- what are the implications for where we're headed with all of this? If you could take a stab at that. AMB. CROCKER: Baghdad, like so many other parts of Iraq, in spite of the sectarian violence that occurred, remains a very mixed area. And that is why, again, abruptly changing course now could have some extremely nasty humanitarian consequences. Iraq is still, to a large degree, an intermixed society. Now, that puts special weight on the question you ask. So, what kind of political society is it going to be? According to the constitution, Iraq is a federal state. The debate is over what kind of federal state. Iraqis are going to need to work through this. The encouraging news I see is that now all communities increasingly are ready to talk about translating federalism down to a practical level. And that's a conversation that very much does need to take place. As I tried to lay out in my testimony, there is a tremendous amount of unfinished business here. There is that debate. There is within that debate the whole question of how the center and the periphery relate. For example, a hot debate that I had a chance to witness among Iraq's leaders was over can a provincial governor under certain circumstances -- emergency circumstances -- command federal forces. That's a pretty big issue, and it's an unresolved issue. So that's why -- and everything I said, I tried to lay out that I see reasons to believe that Iraq can stabilize as a secure democratic federal state at peace with its neighbors, under the rule of law, an ally in the war on terrorism. But it's going to take a lot of work, and it's going to take time. REP. SKELTON: The chair recognizes the gentleman from New York, Mr. Engel. REP. ENGEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to say at the outset, gentlemen, that I respect both of you and I thank you for your service to the nation. I am respectful of our troops who put their lives on the line for us every day. But I really must disagree with a lot of what I've heard here today. The American people are fed up -- I'm fed up -- and essentially what I'm hearing from both of you today is essentially "stay the course in Iraq." How long can we put up with staying the course? Young Americans are dying in someone else's civil war, as far as I'm concerned. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned that Iraq will slip into civil war if we leave. I mean, we're in civil war now. It's become apparent to me that the Iraqis will not step up until we step out, and as long as we have what seems to be an open-ended commitment, the Iraqis will never step up. So we have an open-ended commitment with many, many troops. At some point you have to ask, is this the best way to keep the U.S. safe? General Petraeus, you said that the Iraqi politicians were understanding more and more about the threat from Iran. Mr. Maliki is supported by a pro-Iranian parliamentarians in the parliament. That keeps his coalition in power, so how much can he really go against Iran? He's a product of Iran. His people that back him are supporters of Iran. You know, for years we keep hearing rosy, upbeat pictures about Iraq -- "Victory is right around the corner; things are going well" -- and it never seems to materialize. General Petraeus, I have an article here called "Battling for Iraq." It's an op-ed piece that you wrote three years ago in The Washington Post -- today -- three years ago, and I want to just quote some of the things you said. You said, "Now, however, 18 months after entering Iraq, I see tangible progress. Iraqi security elements are being rebuilt from the ground up." You wrote that -- you said, "The institutions that oversee them are being reestablished from the top down, and Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously in the face of an enemy that has shown a willingness to do anything to disrupt the establishment of a new Iraq." You talk about Iraqi police and soldiers, and you say they're "performing a wide variety of security missions. Training is on track and increasing in capacity." And finally, you said in this article -- op-ed piece three years ago, "I meet with Iraqi security forces every day. I have seen the determination and their desire to assume the full burden of security tasks for Iraq. Iraqi security forces are developing steadily, and they are in the fight. Momentum has gathered in recent months." So today you said -- and I'll just quote a few things -- "Coalition and Iraqi security forces have achieved progress in the security area. Iraqi security forces have also continued to grow and to shoulder more of the load." And finally you said, "The progress our forces have achieved with our Iraqi counterparts, as I noted at the outset, has been substantial." So I guess my question really is that, you know, why should we believe that your assessment today is any more accurate than it was three years ago in September 2004? Three years ago I was able to listen to the optimism, but frankly I find it hard to listen now, four years-plus into this war with no end in sight. Optimism is great, but reality is what we really need. GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, Congressman. I actually appreciate the opportunity to talk about that op-ed piece because I stand by it. I think what I said there was accurate. You -- there are also a number of items in there that talk about the challenges that Iraq faced, about hardships that lay ahead, and a number of other items that are included in that piece. And what I would note, by the way, is that Iraqis are dying in combat, are taking losses that are typically two to three -- closer to three -- times ours in an average month. They are stepping up to the plate. What did happen between that time and the progress that we started -- all I was doing was saying that we were getting our act together with the train and equip program and that we were beginning -- "Training is on track." That's what it was. It was on track and it was moving along. And over the course of the next six, eight, 12 months, in fact it generally continued to progress. And then along came sectarian violence and certainly the February bombing of the gold dome mosque in Samara, and you saw what that did to the country of Iraq. It literally tore the fabric of Baghdad society, Iraqi society at large between Sunni and Shi'a, and literally some of those forces that we were proud of in the beginning took enormous steps backward and were hijacked by sectarian forces and influences at that time. What I have tried to provide today is not a rosy picture. I have tried to provide an accurate picture. As I said, I have long since gone from being a pessimist or an optimist about Iraq. I'm a realist. We have learned lessons very much the hard way, and again the damage done by sectarian violence in particular has been a huge setback for the overall effort, and it resulted in the change that had to be carried out as a result of General Casey and Ambassador Khalilzad assessing in December of 2006 that the effort was failing to achieve its objectives. That's where we were. And as I mentioned, we have then made changes to that that have enabled the military progress that I have talked about. And that is military progress indeed that has emerged certainly most in the last three months, since the mid-June surge of offensives, but is something that we certainly are going to do all that we can to build on and to continue in the weeks and months ahead. Thank you -- (inaudible). REP. ENGEL: But General, that was three years ago, and this is three years later. REP. SKELTON: Whoa, whoa -- (inaudible). REP. ENGEL: Will we be saying the same thing three years from now? REP. SKELTON: Mr. Engel -- Mr. Engel, you're over a minute over your time. The chair recognizes the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Akin. REP. AKIN: I wanted to say, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, thank you for your service. I thank you, and I know that my son who's had a little free time over in Fallujah would also thank you for your good service, as well. I also would like to compliment you on your testimony today. It is professional and credible, as we anticipated that it would be. But some of us sitting here were guessing, trying to figure out what you were going to say today, and one of the things that did surprise me a little bit was that you seem to be a little gentler on the Iraqi parliament and maybe not quite as aggressive on federalism, which seems to be working well and working with the local level. So I guess my question is this: instead of threatening, well, we're going to take our troops and go home, does it not make sense to a certain degree to say, look, if the national legislature can't figure out when to have elections in Anbar province, we'll help -- we'll take care of that for you; we'll go ahead and schedule those. And by the way, you need to understand that Anbar and the different provinces are going to be able to take care of their own garbage collection and police and all this, the type of things we think of as local government functions. And can we not be building at the local level at the same time as at the federal level, both in terms of political leverage to encourage and spur each one on, but also just because of the -- the local progress seems to be working pretty well? And my last question. It kind of goes -- if you comment on that, but the next piece would be, if we wanted to elect the equivalent of a mayor of a city or people to a city council that are not working at the -- you know, at the federal level, do we have the authority to do that, and can that process take place? And is that happening? AMB. CROCKER: That's a series of good questions. Let me start by saying that we are very much focused on how we can help in the provinces. In Anbar, for example, we've got three embedded PRTs as well as the main PRT out there, been working very closely with the Marines in just these kind of issues. Okay, you've got a municipality now. And by the way, of course, Iraq is now at the stage where Iraqis are forming their own municipal governments. REP. AKIN: Are they doing that right now? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, they -- REP. AKIN: Forming their own? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, sir. They -- REP. AKIN: Do they elect people to run those -- so that's going on right now? AMB. CROCKER: They do indeed, and that's been one of the other elements of the Anbar phenomenon that I think now every town of significance in Anbar has an elected mayor and municipal council. And the mission we've got is doing everything we can, military and civilians, to try to help these new councils learn to act like they're councils; to, you know, deliver services, to pick up the trash. That is a major priority, and it's important. At the same time, we do encourage, as I said, the linkages up and down the line so that the municipal councils are tied into the provincial council because that's where the provincial budget is executed, not just in Anbar but everywhere in the country, so that the municipalities are getting their share as well. And this is not as easy as it may sound in a country that at least since the '60s -- and you can argue all the way back to the creation of Iraq as a modern state -- has never had that kind of contract between its government and its people. So, again, it's part of the revolution and progress, if you will. But we have seen that as conditions -- as security conditions stabilize, a lot of things start happening like these municipal councils, like a focus on services, like linkages from top to bottom. And again, we've -- Iraqis talk about federalism, but what does that mean in a case where resources all flow from the center? You know, the budget for Anbar comes from Baghdad. They don't have the capacity to develop a revenue base independently. So all of those things are in play, and they have been in play, basically, just since security started to improve out there. A tremendous amount has happened in a fairly short time, which gives me, again, some encouragement that as security conditions stabilize in other parts of the country, you can see not the same process -- because, as I said earlier, each place has its own unique characteristics -- but, you know, roughly similar processes start to catch hold. REP. AKIN: Thank you very much. REP. JOHN BOOZMAN (R-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. REP. TAYLOR: The gentleman from Arkansas, Mr. Boozman. REP. BOOZMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, when I was over and visiting not too long ago with you, two or three weeks ago, one of the real concerns that I had after I left was that, in visiting with the guys that had been there for a while, what I would call the backbone of the military, many of those guys were on their third deployment. And I'm pleased to hear that, because we are making progress, that we are going to be able to withdraw. Occasionally we'll have votes here that maybe mandate that you have to go over -- you know, you've got to come back for the same amount of time that you've gone. Besides the argument of not wanting to micro-manage the war from Congress, which I believe very strongly that we shouldn't do, what does that do to your flexibility if we were to actually pass something like that? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, that's not really a question that I can answer. That would have to be one that the chief of staff of the Army or the commandant of the Marine Corps would have to address. My job, as you know, is to request forces and then try to make the best possible use of them, and I'm not really sufficiently knowledgeable in what the status is at this point in time of reaching a point where we can start extending the time that forces are at home and so forth. REP. BOOZMAN: Let me ask very quickly, Mr. Crocker, one of the frustrations I've had in traveling the area has been that the -- our efforts to try -- our Voice of America-type efforts that was so successful against the Soviet Union, sometimes the people in the region have not spoken very well of that through the years. Is that better, or can you tell us a little bit about what we're trying to do to get the hearts and minds through the media? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, sir, that has, of course, been something that we've been engaged in since 2003, and as you suggest with some fairly mixed results in trying to get this right. We've got a couple of vehicles out there for it. One of them is Al Hurra, which has, quite frankly, as I understand it, been involved in a few controversies and has gone through some high-level personnel changes. As well as, of course, VOA, which has been a stalwart all along, as you point out. It is a complex media environment in Iraq and in the region, and it requires having people in place who know how messages resonate and know how to put them together. I was in Iraq in 2003 for several months as we put together the Governing Council and our first media efforts, and coming back a little over four years later I've been impressed by the progress we have made. But to be completely frank with you, I think we still have a way to go both in Iraq and in the region in articulating an effective message to Arab audiences. REP. BOOZMAN: General Petraeus, I've got tremendous respect for you, tremendous respect for General Jones. A lot -- you know, people have alluded to that report. Well, it would be helpful, I think, to me and others if at some point that perhaps you could maybe respond through writing or whatever some of the ideas that he's got that differ than the ideas that you -- I would just encourage you -- again, that would be very helpful to me if at some point you could delineate the differences that you have and then why. I yield back. REP. SKELTON: The chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California, Ms. Sanchez. REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ (D-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, gentlemen, for being before us today. It's good to see you both again. As usual, I have tons of questions, General and Ambassador, but let me limit it to this one. The BBC released the results of a poll conducted in August that indicates that Iraqi opinion is at the gloomiest state ever since the BBC and ABC News polls began in February of 2004. According to the latest poll, between 67 and 70 percent of Iraqis say that the surge has made things worse in some key areas, including security and the conditions for political dialogue, reconstruction and economic development. Since the last BBC/ABC News poll in February, the number of Iraqis who think that the U.S.-led coalition forces should leave immediately has risen sharply, from 35 to 47 percent. And 85 percent of Iraqis say they have little or no confidence in the U.S. and U.K. forces. So I know a lot of politicians live by polls, and I realize that the U.S. policy in Iraq shouldn't simply follow the polls, because, you know, there can be a wide range of influence on some of this. Nevertheless, it's a fundamental principle of the U.S. Army counterinsurgency doctrine that the attitudes of the population are an important center of gravity in such a conflict. I think that was stated in our counterinsurgency manual. First -- I have three questions for you -- were you aware of the poll? Do you have your own polling? And why -- and what are your findings versus the attitude of the Iraqi public that we find in the BBC poll? Secondly, how do you explain the sharply negative perception of Iraqis regarding security conditions in Iraq since the surge began? If your data so indicates that dramatic and sharp declines in violence have happened in the last three months, then why isn't it reflected in the attitudes of the Iraqi citizens who are living this hell day by day? And third, one of the cornerstones of your counterinsurgency strategy is to deploy U.S. forces into the areas where they conduct operations, and the BBC poll indicates a dramatic increase in the percentage of Iraqis who want U.S.-led forces to leave Iraq. And that supports the finding of the independent commission by General Jones, that said massive troop presence and U.S. military facilities creates a negative perception among Iraqis that U.S. forces are a long-term occupying force. So, how concerned are you that this apparent decline in public confidence is happening due to that, and how do we address it? Is it a public relations problem or is there a substantive strategy issue that we need to face? And I'll start with the ambassador. AMB. CROCKER: Thank you very much, Congresswoman. No, I have not seen this particular poll. As you know, there are a lot of polls out there. And to say the least, I think polling in Iraq at this point is probably a fairly inexact science -- which is not to call into question, you know, this particular poll. I simply don't know. I know that I have seen -- REP. SANCHEZ: It's a BBC/ABC poll. They usually know how to conduct surveys quite well, I would say. AMB. CROCKER: Yeah. What -- REP. SANCHEZ: They certainly find that they count better than most of our generals count in Iraq. And General Petraeus will know what I mean by that. AMB. CROCKER: I have seen other national polling data that shows, for example, that the number of Iraqis who now feel secure in their own neighborhoods and indeed feel secure moving around the city has gone up significantly. I don't know whether that is accurate either. What I do know, since Iraq, with all of its problems and imperfections, is now an open political society where political figures do have a sense of where their constituencies are, that all of Iraq's principal leaders have registered the sense they have that there has been an improvement of security in the course of the surge. And they've also been very clear that they credit multi-national forces with much of that improvement, and that they don't want to see any marked precipitous reduction in how those forces are deployed until conditions sustain it. Another example I would give you is the communique of the leaders on the 26th of August, in which these five individuals, who have some pretty substantial differences among them, were all prepared to sign on to language that called for a long-term strategic relationship with the U.S. So, again -- REP. SANCHEZ: Well, sure. They want our money, and they want our -- you know, I mean, we're pumping lots of -- we're about the only thing going on in the economy. AMB. CROCKER: Well, actually, there's a lot starting to go on in the economy, and we've talked about what we're seeing in terms of provincial development; that's -- that's mainly coming from -- REP. SANCHEZ: Potential development. AMB. CROCKER: Provincial. REP. SANCHEZ: Provincial. AMB. CROCKER: Provincial development. That's coming out of the central treasury. And it is generating economic activity. We support that. We have a number of programs of our own that we work in coordination with Iraqi government. But there is economic activity. Again, it's anecdotal, but what I have noticed going around Baghdad is people, because they're feeling relatively better about their security conditions, are now asking, "Okay, so where are the services?" REP. SANCHEZ: Again, why is the poll so far off from your anecdotal? AMB. CROCKER: Ma'am, I -- you know, I haven't seen the poll. I don't know what the margin of error is or how it was conducted. REP. SANCHEZ: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. We have an ongoing vote. We're told they will hold the vote open for an extra two or three minutes for us. I don't believe we have time to call on an additional member, which I regret, and I thank you for staying the additional 20 minutes, Mr. Ambassador and General. I appreciate -- we all appreciate your being with us -- REP. ORTIZ: I was ready. REP. SKELTON: -- your professionalism and your duty to our country. With that, we'll adjourn the hearing. (Sounds gavel.) END.
Status of Iraq War Hearing SWITCHED 1800 - 1900
Joint hearings of the House Armed Services and House Foreign Affairs committee with General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. CLEAN HEARING TRANSCRIPT OF THE 18:00-19:00 HOUR WITHOUT TIME CODE GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first, if I could just start out and note that there is no question that al Qaeda Iraq is part of the greater al Qaeda movement. We have intercepted numerous communications between al Qaeda senior leadership, AQSL as they're called, and the -- REP. ACKERMAN: Isn't it true, General, that al Qaeda in Iraq formed in 2005, two years after we first got there? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, I'm not saying when it started. I'm saying merely that al Qaeda Iraq clearly is part of the overall greater al Qaeda network. REP. ACKERMAN: But they didn't exist until we -- (inaudible). GEN. PETRAEUS: We have intercepted numerous communications, and there is no question also but that al Qaeda Iraq is a key element in igniting the ethnosectarian violence. They have been in effect an element that has poured gas on burning embers with the bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque, for example, and with efforts that they have tried recently, for example, bombing the poor Yazidi villages in northwestern Iraq and so forth. REP. ACKERMAN: Are they a threat to us? GEN. PETRAEUS: Al Qaeda Central is a threat to us. I don't know what the result would be if we left Iraq and left al Qaeda Iraq in place. That is very, very hard to say. REP. ACKERMAN: Then how could you -- GEN. PETRAEUS: I don't know where they would go from here. Again, I'm not trying to -- REP. ACKERMAN: Then how could you suggest that we leave after the sectarian violence stops? REP. SKELTON: (Sounds gavel.) Go ahead and answer the question. GEN. PETRAEUS: I'm not sure I understand that question, Congressman. REP. ACKERMAN: The question is, your testimony appears to indicate that our mission is to end the sectarian violence. If we end the sectarian violence, how can we leave without killing everybody who we've identified as part of a terrorist organization such as al Qaeda in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, al Qaeda again, as I mentioned, Congressman, is part of the sectarian violence. They really are the fuel -- important, most important fuel on the Sunni Arab side of this ethnosectarian conflict -- REP. ACKERMAN: Question again is, how do we leave? GEN. PETRAEUS: The way to leave is to stabilize the situations in each area, and each area will require a slightly different solution. The solution in Anbar province, as an example, has been one that is quite different from what -- one that might be used in a mixed sectarian area. But stabilizing the area, trying to get the violence down, in some cases literally using cement T-walls to secure neighborhoods and then to establish a sustainable security arrangement that increasingly is one that Iraqis can take over by themselves. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from New York, Mr. McHugh. REP. JOHN MCHUGH (R-NY): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, let me add my words of deep appreciation and respect for the amazing job you've done. Whether one agrees with our current circumstances in the Middle East or not, I would hope no one of any thinking, responsible mind would question your devotion to country and dedication to duty. I appreciate it. General, I enjoyed that back and forth with my fellow New Yorker, but let me put it a little bit more simply. Is Iraq an important part on the global war on terror in your mind? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, I think that defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq would be a huge step forward in the global war on terror, and I think that failing to do that would be a shot of adrenaline to the global Islamic extremist movement. REP. MCHUGH: Then I assume you agree with the conclusions of the National Intelligence Estimate, that if we were to leave Iraq precipitously from a military perspective, that the likelihood would be of a return to effectiveness, if you will, of AQI, al Qaeda in Iraq. Is that something you agree with? GEN. PETRAEUS: I do. If we were to leave before we and Iraqi forces had a better handle on al Qaeda-Iraq, that likely would be the outcome. We've made substantial progress against al Qaeda, as I mentioned in my opening statement, but as I also mentioned, al Qaeda remains very dangerous and certainly still capable of horrific mass- casualty sensational attacks. REP. MCHUGH: A lot of good people believe that -- and you've heard a little bit, and I suspect you'll hear more today -- good people believe that we have an opportunity by abandoning the mission in, they would argue, a thoughtful way, in Iraq and redirecting our attention entirely against Afghanistan would be the best thing to do in the war on terror. From what you know on the circumstances for the moment, would taking that step, abandoning the current conditions in Iraq for a total commitment to Afghanistan -- (inaudible) -- plus or minus in the war on terror? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, as I mentioned, allowing al Qaeda-Iraq to really rejuvenate, to regain its sanctuaries would certainly lead to a resumption of the kinds of ethnosectarian-fueling attacks that they were conducting on a much more regular basis than they have been able to conduct since the surge of offensives that we have launched in particular. I'm not sure what, you know, a huge injection of assets would do in the Afghanistan portion -- the portion of Afghanistan that is directed against al Qaeda, and I think in fairness that's probably a better question for General McChrystal, the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, or Admiral Fallon, the combatant commander. REP. MCHUGH: Thank you, sir. Ambassador Crocker, you've said it, I think everyone on this panel feels it, probably most if not all Americans feel a great deal of frustration toward the Iraqi government and the slowness in which they've taken steps that are commensurate with the military side of this equation, and I certainly share those. Folks talk about sending a message to the Iraqi government. There's few things we can see an effect, such as military reductions, that we perceive as perhaps being helpful in turning the screws, encouraging them to make those hard decisions. Advise us, sir. What can we do effectively to send a message to facilitate positive steps by Maliki and the government that's currently in power? AMB. CROCKER: It's a great question, and certainly it's one that General Petraeus and I wrestle with almost every day. First, on the issue of troop reductions as a lever. I think we have to be very careful about this. If the Iraqis develop the sense that we're prepared for a non-conditions-based withdrawal of substantial numbers of our troops, my view is that it would make them less inclined to compromise and not more. And the reason for that is that if they see us coming out, they're still going to be there. And they are then going to be looking over -- increasingly over the tops of our heads, over the horizon to figure out how they're going to survive and how they're going to get through the coming massive sectarian conflict. So it's -- it's the kind of thing we got to think very carefully about, and I'm extremely cautious in ever putting that out on the table. I find that what I kind of need to do on a day-to-day basis is first try to understand, and that's why I spent some time in my statement on how things got to be the way they are in Iraq. That doesn't mean saying, well, you're an abused child so it's okay to do whatever you want, but it does help to understand why these things are difficult; with that understanding, then figuring out where some pressure works, what kinds of pressure, where encouragement works, where some fresh thinking works. And we employ all of that on a fairly regular basis. And one example of a small success was our encouragement for the Anbar forum that took place just last Thursday that brought federal and provincial leaders together in Anbar. REP. SKELTON: Before I -- the gentleman's time has expired. I thank the gentleman. Before I call Mr. Manzullo, the gentleman from Illinois, let me add a footnote. That we speak about benchmarks, and we've had testimony in the Armed Services Committee that the benchmarks are really commitments made by the Maliki government. Mr. Manzullo. Five minutes. REP. DONALD MANZULLO (R-IL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, media reports refer to U.S. plans to build a military base near the Iran-Iraq border to curtail the flow of weapons into Iraq. Could you please elaborate on these plans? And is Iran the greatest threat to Iraqi security or is al Qaeda the greatest threat? And is the U.S. presence, and thus our massive resources in Iraq, hindering our ability to eradicate al Qaeda worldwide? GEN. PETRAEUS: First of all, Congressman, there is already a base in the area that I think -- I haven't seen that article, but there is a base southeast of Baghdad in Kut, which is where, in fact, the new contribution from the country of Georgia, a brigade, is going to be based. And that is probably what that was referring to. There is an effort to work with the Iraqis to try to interdict the flow, as I mentioned earlier, of these arms, ammunition and other assistance -- lethal assistance coming from Iran that are being funneled to these breakaway rogue militias/special groups associated with the Jaish al-Mahdi, the Sadr militia. You've asked a great question about which is the biggest threat, if you will. We tend to see al Qaeda-Iraq the wolf closest to the sled, because it is the threat that carries out the most horrific attacks in Iraq that cause the very high casualties, that attempt to reignite ethno-sectarian violence, as they did in fact with the February 2006 bombing of the gold dome mosque. And you saw how the security incidents just climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed, and really all the way until just the last several months, before they started to come down. They are still dangerous. They're off-balance. They have lost the initiative in a number of areas. We have taken away sanctuaries in a number of important areas. But they still remain very, very lethal and very dangerous, and they will certainly try to reconstitute. So that is, in a sense, what we see as the immediate and most pressing threat, and we've put great emphasis on that, with our Iraqi counterparts, because they are very much in this. It was the Iraqi army that killed the emir of Mosul, as an example, and has actually had a number of other successes recently against al Qaeda elements. The long-term threat may well be the Iranian-supported militia extremists in Iraq. If these could become a surrogate in the form of a Hezbollah-like element, these are very worrisome. We have learned a great about Iran since we captured the head of the special groups and the deputy commander of Lebanese Hezbollah, Department 2800. They have shared with us. They have explained, as have a number of others that we have captured -- explained the level of assistance, training, equipping, funding and so forth. And we captured documents with them that documented the attacks that they had carried out and clearly were so detailed because they were in fact giving those to prove what they had done to justify the further expenditure of funds from Iran. Prime Minister Maliki, I think, sees that as perhaps THE biggest threat, and a number of the Iraqi leaders, just as we have learned a great deal more in recent months, have also learned a great deal more. And they have been very worried about what they have seen, despite the fact, as was mentioned earlier, that a number of them have quite a long history with Iran, and in some cases many years in exile in Iran. REP. MANZULLO: The last question was, is our presence in Iraq hindering our ability to fight al Qaeda worldwide? GEN. PETRAEUS: Again, I think that's probably a better question for the commander who is charged with the overall counterterrorist effort of the United States, Lieutenant General Stan McChrystal, who spends a great deal of time in Iran, has very sizable assets -- in Iraq -- has very sizable aspects -- assets in Iraq as well. And I think he would be the one who would best be able to answer whether the relative mix against Iraq or Afghanistan or elsewhere, because there are certainly al Qaeda affiliates. And we do track this with him every week. In fact, we get together and discuss not just al Qaeda in Iraq, but al Qaeda in the Levant and in other areas, the Horn of Africa and so forth as well. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman from Illinois. Mr. Taylor, gentleman from Mississippi. REP. GENE TAYLOR (D-MS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General and Mr. Ambassador, for being here. General, we hear a lot of talk about there being a partnership with the Iraqis and building up Iraqi capabilities. When I looked around your headquarters at the Water Palace at Easter, it sure looked like an all-American show to me. In fact, I don't recall the presence of a single Iraqi there. Given the talk of standing them up so that we can create a situation where at some point the Americans can come home, at what point does it become more of a partnership in reality as opposed to a partnership in words? GEN. PETRAEUS: Thanks, Congressman. In fact, right across from our headquarters is the Iraqi ground force headquarters, which is really the equivalent of the Multinational Corps Iraq and which has partnered very closely with Lieutenant General Odierno and his headquarters. We have a substantial number of transition team advisers in that headquarters and, in fact, we have Iraqi liaison in our headquarters as well. Our biggest effort really, certainly from my level, is with the Iraqi joint headquarters, which is in their Ministry of Defense building, which is contiguous, literally, with a door right between the wall, contiguous to the Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq headquarters, General Dubik's headquarters, which is the organization that is charged with supporting the development of the ministry and the joint headquarters. And that is how we work with them. I also provide a substantial number of officers from staff sections in the Multinational Force headquarters, the intelligence operations and others, who are actually partnered with the Iraqis there and also at the Baghdad Operational Command headquarters. REP. TAYLOR: General, in your conversations with the Iraqis, do you ever point at a calendar, whether this year, next year, the following year, the year after that, and say, "We expect you to be an operational force by this date"? What I fail to see, and I'd like you to enlighten me, is a target date. We hear numbers of Iraqis trained; we hear dollars spent on equipment. What I don't hear or see is a target date where you expect them to be able to police their own country and defend their own country. And if I'm missing that, I would certainly like you to point that out. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, in fact, that transition has been going on. And in fact, the dates are usually mutually agreed. There is a joint Multinational Force Iraq/government of Iraq committee that has representation from the different security ministries and in fact determines the dates, for example, for provincial Iraqi control. Even during the surge -- REP. TAYLOR: And those dates are, sir? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, those are always -- they're agreed by province. As an example, a couple of months ago, we did it for Maysan province. The three Iraqi Kurdish provinces were just recently done. Several provinces were done before the surge as well. And Karbala, for example, is coming up right after Ramadan, about a month or so from now. Now, we have dates on a schedule that we work out with this committee, and it lays out the projected time frames for when this process of provincial Iraqi control will go forward, and we have that for each of the different provinces out there. Sometimes the dates have slipped. There's no question about that. In the case of, for example, Diyala province, which experienced real difficulties as Baqubah was on the verge of becoming the new capital of a caliphate of al Qaeda, that slipped. On the other hand, Anbar province, all the sudden, which was not one that we were looking forward to at all, actually now has a date, and I think it's something like January of 2008. So that process has been ongoing. There are numbers of provinces in which there are few if any coalition forces. Several have no coalition forces. Others have a single special forces team or what have you. REP. TAYLOR: General, for the record, could you supply us that timeline by province to this committee? GEN. PETRAEUS: I'd be happy to give you the provincial Iraqi control schedule that we have right now, yes, sir. REP. TAYLOR: Okay, thank you. Thank you again for your service. REP. SKELTON: Let me ask a question. Would that be classified or unclassified? GEN. PETRAEUS: Sir, I think it is classified. Again, whatever it is, we'll get it to you. REP. SKELTON: We would appreciate that. I thank the gentleman from Mississippi. REP. TAYLOR: Thank you again, General Petraeus. GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. The gentleman from American Samoa, Mr. Faleomavaega, please. DEL. ENI FALEOMAVAEGA (D-AS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank both of you gentlemen for your service to our country. I keep hearing that our active duty and Marine forces are overstretched. And I also express the very serious concerns about the capacity of our current (ready ?) Reservists and National Guard organization, and which was confirmed by General Keane, who expressed some real serious concerns about the way we are using our (ready ?) Reservists and National Guardsmen. And gentlemen, with the tremendous strain and shortages in military equipment, preparedness and training of our (ready ?) Reservists and National Guardsmen and women, who are obligated now to serve in Iraq, does our military currently have the capacity to fight two fronts, in Iraq and Afghanistan? And do we have enough added strategic reserves to fight another potential war front like Iran, the Taiwan Straits, or even to have the situation that's now brewing between the Kurds and our ally, Turkey? With the crisis now brewing there in that northern part of the country in Iraq, I wanted to know if we have the capacity -- it seems like we have all the military personnel available to do what everyone wanted to do to perform the military mission. And I'd like to hear your professional judgment on that, General Petraeus. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, thank you. First of all, I very much share the concern over the strain on our military forces, and in particular on our ground forces and other so-called high-demand, low-density assets. As I mentioned, that was one of the factors that informed my recommendations to draw down the five Army brigade combat teams, the Marine expeditionary unit and the two Marine battalions, between now and next summer. I also am on the record as offering the opinion that our ground forces are too small. And I did that before the approval of the expansion of those. And I am gratified to see, frankly, the support that this body has given to the effort to expand our ground forces because of the strain that has put on them and, by the way, of course, on their families. With respect to your question, sir, again, with respect, I'm just not the one to answer that. I am pretty focused on the mission in Iraq and not really equipped to answer whether or not -- what else is out there for other contingencies, although I know in a general sense, obviously, that there is very little else out there. DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Thank you, General. I have the highest respect for our men and women in military uniform. And I could not agree more with my good friend from California when he mentioned statements by General MacArthur about duty, honor and country. And General Petraeus, one of your colleagues, the former chief of staff for the Army, General Eric Shinseki, was vilified and humiliated by civilian authority because he just wanted to offer a professional judgment on the situation there in Iraq. He recommended that we should have at least 250,000 soldiers if we really wanted to do a good job from the very beginning. Now they put him out to dry. General Taguba also was another good soldier vilified and humiliated by civilian authority of what he felt was doing his job and his duty to our country. It's been estimated that because there are 6 million people living in Baghdad that it would require at least 100,000 soldiers to bring security, real security, to the people living in that city. Could I ask for your opinion, General Petraeus, if you think that 160,000 soldiers that you now command is more than sufficient in capacity to do what you need to do right now in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, there's never been a commander in history, I don't think, who would not like to have more forces, more money, more allies and perhaps a variety of other assets. I have what we have in the military, what the military could provide for the surge. Beyond that, we certainly an increasing number of Iraqis, by the way. I might that add that in fact one of Prime Minister Maliki's initiatives has been to expand the number of forces in general and also the manning of each division so that it is at 120 percent of authorized strength so that with their leave policy, which is a must -- and remember, these guys don't ever go home except on leave with their pay. They are in the fight until it is over, and if they don't take their pay home at the end of the four weeks or so or whatever that period is that was worked out for them, they will not get that pay. But I have also again recommended today reductions in our force levels that I believe will be prudent, based on what we have achieved and what I believe we will have achieved together with our Iraqi counterparts. REP./DEL. : Thank you, General. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from American Samoa raises the issue of readiness. We have had in the Armed Services Committee extensive testimony and documentation, particularly in the Readiness Subcommittee under my friend from Texas, Mr. Ortiz, on the strains, particularly on the ground forces of the Army and Marines. And I tell my friend from American Samoa, it's very, very serious. Thank you for raising that issue. Mr. Bartlett. REP. ROSCOE G. BARTLETT (R-MD): Thank you folks very much for your service and your testimony. Remembering all those years I sat in the bottom row and never had a chance to ask my question, I'm going to yield most of my time to the most junior member on our side of the aisle, but first I must ask a very brief question and then make a brief comment. The brief question is, General, in an attempt to discredit your testimony today, The New York Times is quoted as saying that "The Pentagon no longer counts deaths from car bombings." And The Washington Post is reported as saying that we -- that you will only count assassinations if the bullet entered the back of the heard and not the front. Unless you interrupt me to say that I'm wrong, I'm going to assume that both of these allegations are false. GEN. PETRAEUS: They are false, that's correct. REP. BARTLETT: Thank you for confirming my suspicions. GEN. PETRAEUS: We have a formula for ethnosectarian violence. There's a very clear definition about it. It's acts taken by individuals of one ethnic or sectarian grouping against another ethnosectarian grouping in general for an ethnosectarian reason. It is not that complicated, candidly. If al Qaeda bombs a neighborhood that is Shi'a, that is an ethnosectarian incident, and it is adjudged as such. And where this idea of the bullet entering comes into it is not something I'm aware of. REP. BARTLETT: Thank you, sir. I just didn't want those allegations out there without the opportunity to refute them. Mr. Ambassador, on page four of your testimony, you note the tension between deciding whether or not the power ought to be in the center or the periphery. Some see the devolution of power to regions and provinces as being the best insurance against the rise of a future tyrannical figure in Baghdad. Others see Iraq with its complex demographics as in need of a strong authority. I would submit, Mr. Ambassador, this is the essential question, and unless we know which of those roads we ought to be traveling, I think that the probability of success is enormously diminished. If we haven't already, I hope we can decide which of those roads we ought to be traveling on because they are very different processes, sir. Let me yield the balance of my time now, I believe, (to) our most junior member, Mr. Geoff Davis from Kentucky. (Short pause.) (Cross talk off mike.) REP. GEOFF DAVIS (R-KY): With the chairman's indulgence, I'll ask that the time for the power failure not be counted against -- REP. SKELTON: Please proceed. REP. DAVIS: Thank you very much. Yes, it is somewhat ironic with our challenges today that we provide the criticism to our Arabic partners. I find it ironic that the Iraqi national assembly has been more legislatively effective this year than the United States Congress in passing laws, so our criticism should also measure ourselves. First, General Petraeus, I want to commend you on your application of classic counterinsurgency principles, working with the localized social and cultural networks to build from the bottom-up -- or as Speaker Tip O'Neill used to say, all politics is local. I've heard feedback from across the theater from friends of more than 30 years ranging down to young soldiers and their perspectives, and I think the people on both ends of the political spectrum are trying to oversimplify, to define as black-and-white issues that are best measured in shades of gray. You both have inherited a situation in which our instruments of power were initially employed with flawed assumptions and now in which any course of action has potentially significant second-and third- order effects, and there's areas that I would appreciate if you could comment on. First, one closer to home. I have often heard from troops at all levels, ranging from Central Command staff all the way down to platoon members, in Sadr City that the military is at war, but the nation is not. You mentioned the need to fight in cyberspace, and I assume meaning an information campaign explaining both to the world our ideas and also to the people. And I guess the question there would be: What would you tell the American people, not Congress, is the reason that we should support the recommendations of both of you? And then, following on that, given the effects that these decisions will have on the future, do you have some suggestions on key reforms to our national security or interagency process that you'd recommend to better integrate and facilitate our instruments of national power? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first of all, if I could, I do believe that our leaders get it in Iraq more than we ever have before. Part of that is just sheer experience. Just about every battalion or brigade commander, most company commanders have served in Iraq at least one tour before, some more than one. We've made mistakes along the way; we've learned a lot of lessons the hard way. But we've made significant changes in our institutional Army, Marine Corps, in particular, and the other services, in terms of our doctrine, the education of our commissioned, non-commissioned officers, the preparation at the combat training centers, the entire road-to-deployment process. And I think that that has made a change in adopting some of the counterinsurgency practices that we are using. With respect to who is at war and who isn't, I would merely associate myself with the remarks of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Pace, who has said on a number of occasions, I believe, before the House Armed Services Committee among them, that he believes that the military obviously is at war, but that he's not so sure about all of the other agencies. Although I would certainly say that State and AID are very much in the same camp. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. But it's not just the military that's at war. It's their families, General. GEN. PETRAEUS: That is exactly -- REP. SKELTON: And we appreciate their sacrifices. GEN. PETRAEUS: Right. REP. SKELTON: Next on my list I have the gentleman from California, Mr. Royce. REP. EDWARD ROYCE (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, I would just like to ask you your thoughts on al Qaeda in Iraq. You mentioned the reduction of the popular level of support. And I think General Jones's commission bears that out, his finding that that support level in Anbar had decreased dramatically. And it sort of begs the question: Where does al Qaeda in Iraq draw it's support today? And how do those fighters get into the country? And what could we be doing? In theory, what could we be doing? Now, let's say in Saudi Arabia, you have a young man buying a one-way plane ticket into Damascus. It shouldn't be that hard to figure out what might be going on. What could we be doing in these countries, and I ask the ambassador the same question, in order to deter then influx? I'd also like just some stats. I mean, is it 40 percent Saudi, 30 percent North African? If you've taken out 2,500 of their fighters and 100 of their officer corps recently, then clearly focusing on how they get into the country would be a question that I'd be interested in. And lastly when you look at your plan to draw down the force of five brigades here over the ensuing months, and then as you step down to a few brigades left in Iraq for the purpose of overwatch, all of that is based upon how well the Iraqi military performs. The numbers you've given us would indicate now that there soon will be a half-million soldiers or security people in Iraq under the Iraqi military. But what type of progress -- give us your unvarnished opinion of the progress that's being made or not being made by these Iraqi military units, because the success of your plan to reach a position where you draw down to a few brigades left for overwatch is dependent upon their success. Thank you, General. Thank you, Ambassador Crocker. GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, by the way, the reduction for -- of support for al Qaeda extends well beyond Anbar as well. It now is manifested, as we mentioned, both in Abu Ghraib, other areas that used to be sanctuaries for Iraq, three important neighborhoods in particular: Amiriyah, Ghazalia and Adhamiya. In each one of those at varying stages, the first two in particular, local individuals have stood up, literally generated local forces that have now been tied into our forces. Prime Minister Maliki has directed his army to work with them and coordinate with them, and the next step would be to work to get them into a legitimate Iraqi security force institution. Al Qaeda continues to get its support from a variety of means. Certainly it gets direction, money and expertise from the outside. It does send in from the outside foreigners to try to help rejuvenate areas. In fact, we killed the three -- we call them the al-Turki brothers. These were individuals who had spent time in Afghanistan in the past, who had come into Iraq. We missed them. They came in again. And that time we were able to -- literally to kill them. And so they were not able to do what they were supposed to do, which was to help in northern Iraq, which was under big pressure. So there is outside support, and there's also this flow of these foreign fighters, a number of whom do end up being suicide bombers. We still estimate that -- and it's very hard to tell, but somewhere -- 80 percent or so of the suicide bombers are from outside Iraq. And that was what we were talking about earlier, the importance of the diplomatic offensive, to work with source countries, to work with the countries through whom these fighters can transit to make it more difficult, as you say. And there's a variety of mechanisms. We believe, for example, that Saudi Arabia has taken steps in fact to make it tougher. The last Saudi foreign fighter we captured had actually had to take a bus to Damascus and then got into the network that eventually brought him into the country. We believe that Saudi Arabia is still probably the largest country in terms of the foreign fighters, although that again may be diminishing somewhat. And there are certainly others that come from North Africa, Jordan, Syria and so forth into Iraq. The Iraqi security forces range in quality from exceptionally good, at the very high end, with the Iraqi counterterrorist force, which is a true special mission unit in its capability, equipment, training, and is probably more active, undoubtedly more active than any other such unit in the region; the Iraqi commando battalion, which is expanding substantially and now has forces positioned outside Baghdad as well; and other elements of the Iraqi special operations force brigade; the national police emergency response unit, also very, very active; and the special tactics unit. It then ranges all the way down through units that are variously good and aggressive, including special units typically in most of the provinces with whom we partner special forces teams, who do an absolutely superb job, and Prime Minister Maliki, in fact, personally has come to place greater importance on those because it was these high-end units and special units that he literally took with him. Actually we moved some of them down by air, others by ground, and then he took a column of about 40 vehicles personally to go to Karbala and to restore peace and stability to that situation after the confrontation between the militia of Sadr and the shrine security guards. But this runs all the way down -- it runs the gamut to -- and I have to be up front and say there are still some units, particularly in the national police, but also a handful in the Iraqi army, that were formed literally out of sectarian militias or were hijacked, in the case of some of the national police units, during the height of the sectarian violence. And those still have issues that have to be addressed. And again, especially in the wake of this militia -- the militia problems, where Sadr's militia is very clearly linked to the assassination of one, and likely two, governors in southern provinces, they have become a huge concern to him and to the government of Iraq. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Hawaii, Mr. Abercrombie. REP. NEIL ABERCROMBIE (D-HI): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, thank you for being here. Aloha to both of you. Mr. Chairman, in the course of the questioning so far, I think I have some answers that I was seeking. I would like to just make two observations based on that and yield what time I have left to Representative Castor as the junior-most member. REP. SKELTON: Certainly. REP. ABERCROMBIE: Very quickly, two points. I'll submit for the record statements from General Petraeus starting in 2004 through General Casey in 2005, General Abizaid in 2006, and looping back to General Petraeus today. Not with the idea of trying to say this is what you said then, this is what you say now. On the contrary. I think that what it shows is is that the general remarks concern from the military point of view is that we were making steady progress but the Iraqis are not ready to take over, and this was true in '04, '05, '06 and '07. Our problem is, is what do we do under those circumstances? The problem is, Mr. Chairman, that four years later, the number of U.S. troops being killed continues to climb, thousands more Iraqis are dead and the cost of the war continues to escalate and the refugees continue to stream out of Iraq. My concern is is that lost in all the statistics is the question of a very simple yet heartbreaking fact: The rate and overall number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq has gone up, not down, from 2006 to 2007. From January to August 2006, 462 U.S. troops; from January to August 2007, 740. The problem, I think, Mr. Chairman, is that we are in a situation in which in effect we are saying is is that there's only one plan for Iraq, militarily speaking -- indefinite occupation by U.S. troops. That's not a comment on the military; it's a comment on the politics, which leaves me, Ambassador, to my second statement, quickly. In your very statement today, events have caught up with your and are riding you. Your statements about oil, your statements about the oil revenues, of central government and the regional government -- today we find out the Hunt Corporation of Texas has signed an oil exploration agreement with Kurdistan. The central government is cut out. At the same time, we read that the Commerce Department is seeking an international legal adviser to draft laws and regulations that will govern Iran's oil -- Iraq's oil and gas sector. We are going to be doing the drafting of the oil protocols. Iraq is not a sovereign country. This adviser that's being sought by the Commerce Department has a contract that'll run through 2008 with an option extension to 2010. We're occupying that country politically and militarily and are going to suffer the results. I will yield the rest of my time to Representative Castor. (Light Applause.) REP. SKELTON: (Sounds gavel.) REP. KATHY CASTOR (D-FL): And I thank my colleague. Thank you, Mr. Abercrombie, and thank you, gentlemen, for your service. Gentlemen, Admiral Michael Mullen, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress last month that unless Iraq has achieved political unity, no amount of troops and no amount of time will make much of a difference. He also warned that the United States risks breaking the Army if the Pentagon decided to maintain its present troop level in Iraq beyond next spring. Add onto that last week's report by a commission of retired senior U.S. military officers, where they said that Iraq's army, despite some progress, will be unable to take over internal security from the U.S. forces in the next 12 to 18 months. The report also said that the 25,000-member Iraqi national police force is dysfunctional and so riddled with sectarianism and corruption that it should be disbanded. And the latest NIE -- the consensus view of all U.S. intelligence agencies said that the modest military gains achieved by the troop surge will mean little or nothing unless there is a fundamental shift in the factors driving Iraqi political and security developments. Gentlemen, while the American people have great confidence in the troops and our brave men and women in uniform, they have totally lost confidence at the top of our national government. There's a complete lack of credibility coming from the White House. The latest -- you know, it first justified the war by claiming that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, none were found. Then the war was about establishing a model democracy in the Arab world, some model. After that, it was necessary to fight on to defeat al Qaeda, which sprouted a local branch in Iraq. The troop surge was supposed to give Iraqi leaders the security and time to bring about national reconciliation, it didn't happen. Now the president's latest spin is a withdrawal could result in another Vietnam. I think the American people want to know, as we're in the fifth year of this war, how much longer, how many billions of dollars more, while we are growing a global strategic risk? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congresswoman, if I could, one reason that I did recommend the reduction of forces is because of the recognition of the strain on our ground forces. Again, that was an important operational -- strategic consideration that did inform the recommendations that I made. I might point out, by the way, that we could have literally run this surge all the way until April. That's the first time that a surge brigade hits 15 months. But because of a variety of considerations and also, frankly, the battlefield geometry of figuring out how to most efficiently and with minimal release in place and so forth get to where we need to be by mid-July, we recommended the reduction of the brigade combat teams in addition to the Marine Expeditionary Unit that will come out later this month without replacement, but that the reduction of the brigade combat teams begin in mid-December. I could -- if I could also point out again that Iraqis are taking over considerable responsibility. The recent celebration of the death of the Seventh Imam, which results in the convergence of about typically approaching a million pilgrims to a(n) important shrine in North-Central Baghdad, the Kadhimiya Shrine, this year was planned and executed by Iraqi forces in a true interagency effort, overseen by the Baghdad Operational Center and its commander, but also involving not just army and police but also emergency services, other transportation assets, medical assets and so forth. Two years ago, there were nearly a thousand pilgrims who were stampeded to death when rumors of enemy action or perhaps actual activities resulted in that particular event. Every other year, there have been dozens of individuals killed by terrorist activities. This year, we are not aware of any deaths due to extremist activity. And the only deaths at all were from accidents, just normal accidents that took place on that day. So again there is progress. There are locations where Iraqis are exclusively maintaining security in their areas. Although you rightly note, and I share it frankly, the frustration particularly during -- what happened during the period of ethnosectarian violence, the sectarian violence of 2006, when some units literally took steps backward, and the effort took steps backward. And that was a tragedy and it is something that we are helping the Iraqis deal with now. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentlelady. To follow through on a thought that the gentlelady raised, your recommendations for cutting back the numbers, General, do they go below the number of troops that we had prior to the so-called surge? GEN. PETRAEUS: They do not right now, Mr. Chairman, and that is something that we are working on, and let me explain why that is. There have been other forces that have come into Iraq for a variety of other tasks. One is connected with an improvised explosive device effort. Others provide additional intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets. These are assets that we would have wanted regardless of whether we were surging or not. And then the largest is probably the additional military police for the growing detainee population, so that we do not run a catch- and-release program and just turn around and have a revolving door where we're taking in terrorists and then letting them back into society without having gone through a rehabilitation or pledge process. Which, by the way, we are now doing and is one thing that I mentioned that I thanked the Congress for the resources for. Because this is a very, very important effort, that we not just have the clock run out on these individuals, and the they go back to their neighborhoods and resume what they were doing before, but that they have gone through some process that prepares them to re-enter society. And by the way, we have about 800 juveniles as well and we recently created a school that will help them as well. And then we have a pledge-and-guarantor process that tries to tie tribes and sheikhs and other civic leaders into this, so that there is a sense of responsibility at the local level for individuals who have been returned who are their family or tribal members. REP. SKELTON: The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Payne. REP. DONALD PAYNE (D-NJ): Thank you very much. And let me thank both of you for this very important report. I simply have a couple of quick questions. I wonder, General Petraeus, if the support of the tribal leaders against al Qaeda -- is that irreversible, or is it that that may change possibly in the future? The second thing that does disturbance me about the GAO report and the vast difference in the calculation of the sectarian violence. And I just wonder -- I know you answered a question by one of my colleagues that The Times was just wrong, but is there any way that reconciling can be, since the two of you seem to be so far apart on that? And further, I just wonder why it has taken the Iraqi army so long to try to become proficient? Now I understand the war with Iraq and Iran -- they say that a(n) estimated million Iranians were killed. Now was it -- I know we were assisting Iraq. Was it our military's superiority or our weaponry that was sort of the dark force that made the appearance of Iraqi competence? Because it seems to be confusing that after year after year after year, the police -- they'd say that the entire police department in one area needs to be reconstructed, but that's the national police, not the local police. The soldiers have performed poorly. And so what -- why is there such a disconnect between their Iraq-Iran conflict and the fact that they can't seem to put a sustainable offensive together to weed out Qaeda and these bandits that have come in, who were not there, of course, before we went in. Therefore, I guess Iraq is worse off than it was before al Qaeda came in. So I just get confused at -- why is it taking so long? Do they -- have they just gone on strike or let somebody else do the fighting because it's easier to let someone else do it and keep your powder dry and your head down? And you know, what's missing in this picture? GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, Congressman. Sir, the -- first of all, on the tribal leaders, they want to be part of the new Iraq. The Sunni Arabs in Anbar province, as an example, went through various stages of post-liberation, feeling disrespected, unemployed, disgusted and even boycotting the elections and then realizing that they had made a huge mistake and were left out, in many respects, of the new Iraq. A number of them were resistance fighters during that time, as they like to use the term, and tacitly or actively supported al Qaeda, until they came to really come to grips with the Taliban-like ideology of al Qaeda. The ambassador talked about some of the practices that al Qaeda inflicted on the people. And they recognized the indiscriminate violence that was a part of what al Qaeda was doing, and they said, "No more." And then they realized that, okay, we're not going to run Iraq again, but it wouldn't be a bad thing if the Euphrates River Valley were a decent place in which we could live, work, and raise a family. And that seems to be their objective, in addition to certainly having their place at the table in Baghdad and getting their share of the resources. And although there is not a revenue-sharing law agreed, interestingly, there is revenue sharing; oil revenue sharing is taking place. And the ambassador mentioned now they've even learned the term "supplemental," because Anbar province got a supplemental for its provincial budget. With respect to the GAO report, their data cutoff, the answer is the data cutoff. At the very least, their data cutoff was five weeks ago and in some cases, I think -- we might check this, but in some cases I think it was nine weeks ago. But at the very least, these last five weeks, as we showed you on the slides, have actually been very significant. Remembering that we launched the surge of offensives in mid-June, it took a couple weeks to start seeing the results, and that's why I mentioned that eight of the last 12 weeks, in fact, the level of security incidents has come down. And that's -- we don't -- I don't know how far you have to go back to see that kind of trend; it is certainly a couple of years. And as I mentioned, the level of attacks, sort of a sub-set of incidents, is actually the lowest -- lowest last week that it's been since April. With respect to the Iraqi army that defeated Iran, or held their own against Iran, there are some remnants of that army still around, and there actually are some very highly professional Iraqi army and air force and naval officers who have been taken from the old army, the old air force, and so forth. But that's 15 years ago, and during that time, of course, they were defeated by the United States and coalition forces in Desert Storm, suffered years of sanctions, of course, then were disestablished and, of course, literally had to start from the bottom. In fact, there was no ministry of defense, literally. No building, in fact, when I took over as the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq commander in the summer of 2004. It was being rebuilt, but it was not even reoccupied for a number of months later. There were no battalions at that -- or maybe one battalion operational, despite heroic efforts by Major Paul Eaton, whose effort had been largely inadequately resourced up to that time as well. This has been building, you know, the world's largest aircraft while in flight and while being shot at. And it takes us a year just to reconstitute a brigade that has actually already been in the fight, keep some 40 (percent) to 50 percent of its members. But just to get it ready to go back, the road to deployment is we want to get at least to a year and, ideally, more. And they are starting, as I said, very much from scratch and just don't have a sufficient number of commissioned and noncommissioned officers who are out there from that old army, again, given the number of years. And even just since the army was disestablished in the summer of 2003, that in itself is a number of years, and these individuals are not necessarily fighting fit, shall we say, if they have been on the sidelines for most of the time since then. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. We will take a five-minute break and return, call upon Mr. McKeon and Mr. Chabot. (Raps gavel.) (Recess.) REP. SKELTON: We will come to order. We were told previously that the witnesses had a hard stop at 6:30. I have just spoken with General Petraeus and I hope that the ambassador will agree with his decision to extend the time for an additional 20 minutes -- wherever the ambassador is. (Pause.) Will somebody find the ambassador, please? Mr. McKeon will be next. (Pause.) Mr. McKeon and Mr. Chabot, in that order. Now the gentleman from California, Mr. McKeon. REP. HOWARD P. "BUCK" MCKEON (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, I'd like to join with my colleagues in thanking you for your exemplary service. At the outset, I'd like to associate myself with the remarks of Mr. Hunter and Ms. Ros-Lehtinen in their opening comments. Specifically, I've been deeply saddened by the attacks that have been made on General Petraeus for the last week or two -- citing what he was going to say, and how he was going to say it, and what his recommendations were going to be. I have here General Petraeus' statement that he gave us after the meeting started. If I might quote, "Although I have briefed my assessment and recommendations to my chain of command, I wrote this testimony myself. It has not been cleared by, or shared with anyone in the Pentagon, the White House, or Congress." It just, I think, indicates how some would like to politicize this war on terror and our war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I'm sorry that you've become a target for things. I read in a report that you have a 63 percent rating with the American people, and I guess this is an attempt to tear you down to our level. And I'm sure that will not work. Anybody that's had a chance to see you here today will know of your integrity and your devotion to duty, and that you're giving us your best assessment of the situation. General, I've heard the comment that the Army is broken. You talked about how the enlistment is going among the troops. Would you care to talk a little bit about the Army, and is it broken? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, sir, the part of the Army that I can talk about knowledgably at this point is, of course, that which is in Iraq. And that is an Army that has sacrificed great deal, and whose family members have sacrificed a great deal. A number of those great soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen -- and so in addition to our soldiers, certainly, are on a second or perhaps third tour -- some of them shorter tours and are on even more over time. We have asked an enormous amount of these individuals and, candidly, what impresses me so enormously in return is that they do continue to raise their right hand and to serve additional tours, to volunteer for additional tours in uniform. That is not just because of the tax-free bonuses, I can assure you. There's no compensation that can make up for some of the sacrifices that some of our soldiers and their families have endured. On July 4th, in fact, we had a large reenlistment ceremony -- 588 members of different services raised their right hand, and it was a pretty inspiring sight. As I mentioned, it far exceeded the goals for the units that are under the Multi-National core, Iraq already with several weeks to go. And as you know when reenlistment times often the last few weeks of the fiscal year are a pretty frantic affair as soldiers have sorted out all the options and then finally make their choice. Our soldiers are not starry-eyed idealists. In fact, at this point, I prefer not to be a pessimist or an optimist, but to be a realist. And I think a lot of our soldiers are that way. Morale is solid. But candidly morale is an individual thing, so is the view on what's going on in Iraq sometimes. You know, there's 165,000 different American views of Iraq right now and a lot of it depends on where you are and how things are going where you are. And the perspective of someone again in Anbar province where there has been success that we did not expect or someone who's in one of the very tough ethno-sectarian fault line areas -- say, in West Rasheed of Baghdad or East Rasheed -- has a very different perspective. 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. But with all of that -- with the heat, with this really challenging, barbaric, difficult enemy who is allusive and hard to find and employs sniper tactics, improvised explosive devices, suicide bombs against us, our Iraqi colleagues and innocent civilians -- against all of that, our soldiers continue to ruck up and go out each day from their patrol basis, combat outpost, joint security stations and they do it ready for a hand grenade or a handshake. And if they get the handshake, they'll take it. If they get the hand grenade, they know what to do in that case as well. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: Thank you very much. The gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Chabot. REP. STEVE CHABOT (R-OH): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, first of all, thank you very much for your service to our country. We first met in Iraq a few years back. One of the more memorable incidents for me was when we were in a Blackhawk over Mosul and you pointed out the house where Saddam's murderous sons had met their end, Uday and Qusay. And Qusay, let's not forget was directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of Shi'a, and hundreds of them at this own hand. And Uday's -- one of his favorite pastimes was abducting young women off the streets of Baghdad, many of whom were never seen alive again. And these were to be Iraq's future leaders. They learned well from their father. General, my question is this -- in July of 2007, you told the New York Post that troop morale had remained high because soldiers understood they're, quote, "engaged in a critical endeavor," unquote. Many of those supporting a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq have regarded low troop morale as a reason for leaving. Could you comment on the current morale of our troops in Iraq? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, again, as I mentioned, Congressman, I believe that morale is solid. But it is an individual thing and it depends on the kind of day that that individual has had. Our soldiers are determined. They know how important this task is, and that is a crucial factor in what they're doing. When they raise their right hand again, as so many have, they do it knowing that they may be called upon to serve again in Iraq or Afghanistan, for them and their family to make further sacrifices in addition to those that they have already made. I'm going to be up front. You know, none of us want to stay in Iraq forever. We all want to come home. We all have days of frustration and all the rest of that. But what we want to do is come home the right way, having added, I guess, to the heritage of our services, accomplished the mission that our country has laid out for us. And again, I think that that's a very important factor in what our soldiers are doing, in addition to the fact that, frankly, they also just respect the individuals with whom they are carrying out this important mission, the men and women on their right and left who share very important values, among them selfless service and devotion to duty. And that, indeed, is a huge factor in why many of us continue to serve and to stay in uniform, because the privilege of serving with such individuals is truly enormous. MR. CHABOT: Thank you, General. And finally, could you comment on the significance of Shi'ite militia leader Maqtada al-Sadr's decision from his hideaway in Iran to suspend the operations of the Mahdi Army for six months? Does this indicate that he clearly feels threatened, is on the run? And what should U.S.-Iraqi military and political response be? And given its involvement in brutal crimes against civilians and its pronounced support for violence against the U.S., should the Mahdi Army be declared a foreign terrorist organization? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, first of all, we think that the action by Maqtada al-Sadr, his declaration from Iran, is because of a sense of embarrassment over what happened in the Shi'a holy city of Karballa, where in the -- one of the most holy celebrations of the year, individuals associated with his militia confronted shrine guards and the result was a shootout and, eventually, loss of life. That, again, was an enormous embarrassment for all of Iraq, but in particular for his militia and for the Shi'a Arabs in Iraq. And it was one reason that Prime Minister Maliki personally went to Karballa the next morning, after having deployed Iraqi special operations forces in the middle of the night by helicopter and others by ground. In response to that, frankly, we have applauded that. Again, we are not going to kill our way out of all these problems in Iraq. You're not going to kill or capture all of the Sadr militia anymore than we are going to kill or capture all the insurgents in Iraq. And in fact, what we have tried very hard to do is to identify who the irreconcilables are, if you will, on either end of the spectrum, Sunni and Shi'a, and then to figure out where do the reconcilables begin and try to reach out to the reconcilables. Some of this is a little bit distasteful. It's not easy sitting across the table, let's say, or drinking tea with someone whose tribal members may have shot at our forces or in fact drawn the blood -- killed our forces. We learned a bit, in fact, about this from my former deputy commander, Lieutenant General Graham Lamb (sp), former head of 22 SAS and the director of Special Forces in the United Kingdom, and he reminded us that you reconcile with your enemies, not with your friends. That's why it's called reconciliation. And he talked about how he sat across the table from individuals who were former IRA members who had been swinging pipes at his lads, as he put it, just a few years earlier. That was quite instructive for us. He in fact headed some of the early efforts that we had in the early part of this year and into the spring, and then it was one of -- part of his initiative that the ambassador and I established this engagement -- strategic engagement cell of a senior diplomat -- senior United Kingdom two-star again and others supporting them who have reached out to individuals that could be reconciled and then helped connect them with the Iraqi government. Some of that will have to be done with members of the Jaish al-Mahdi, with the -- Sadr's militia. The question is: Who are the irreconcilables? And so on the one hand, we have applauded; we have said we look forward to the opportunity to confirm the excellence of your militia in observing your pledge of honor, and that has enormous meaning in the Iraqi culture. And indeed a number of them have in fact obeyed what he said. However, there are a number of others who have not, and those are now regarded as criminal. We're not taking on Jaish al- Mahdi; we are with the Iraqi counterparts going after criminals who have violated Sadr's order and have carried out attacks on our forces, innocent civilians or Iraqi forces. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. We are trying to get as many members as possible under the five- minute rule. The ambassador and the general have agreed for additional 20 minutes. I might point out that I'm told there will be a vote called shortly after 6:30. I have also requested the -- will be held open a few moments longer for us, and also remind the members of the two committees that there is a ceremony that's supposed to begin at 7:00. Mr. Reyes? REP. SILVESTRE REYES (D-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and General and Ambassador, thank you both for your service to our country. I was curious in your statement, General Petraeus, you made mention that the Iraqis have taken the lead in many areas, that many operate with minimal coalition support, so -- which is contrary to what General Jones' observations were last week, when he said that they're probably 12 to 18 months away from being able to operate independently. Can you give us your opinion or your assessment of that -- GEN. PETRAEUS: I can indeed. REP. REYES: -- particularly in relation to General Jones' statement? GEN. PETRAEUS: I sure can. And in fact, he and I had a lot of conversations during his time in Iraq, and he, by the way, did a superb assessment and spent the time in Iraq, I might add, that is needed to do that type of assessment with his commissioners. What he is talking about is something different from what I was talking about in the statement. What he's talking about is the institutions of the Iraqi security forces being able to truly support their forces throughout the country -- REP. REYES: So it's to be able to spend alone on their own? GEN. PETRAEUS: But we're talking about the institutions doing that as opposed to what I was talking about, is the fact that there are many Iraqi force units who are operating on their own. In Samawa, for example, in Muthanna province in the south, there are no coalition forces whatsoever. They're on their own. Now, occasionally they will call our Special Forces team that is actually in an adjacent province and ask for some assistance. The same is largely true in Nasiriyah. There's a superb Australian unit there, largely focused on civil military operations. And again, when the Iraqi units in that area have been challenged with something they couldn't handle, they just call our Special Forces team, and we bring some enablers to bear, if you will -- close air support, attack helicopters or what have you. The same is true in Najaf. There's only a single U.S. Special Forces team in Najaf. Karbala has no forces. A very small contingent -- and so forth -- REP. REYES: So -- because -- GEN. PETRAEUS: So there are a number of places where Iraqi forces are operating on their own -- and by the way, they may not -- those battalions in those areas may not be operational readiness assessment number one. In other words, they may not be rated as meeting the readiness requirements for operating on their own, but de facto -- the fact is they are operating on their own, but they might be short equipment, leaders, maintenance standards or what have you. REP. REYES: So just the -- of the total force -- GEN. PETRAEUS: What General Jones was getting at was the institutional support. What he's talking about is the ability to support these forces with a logistical system, with depots, with maintenance, with administrative and all the rest of that. That is the challenge. Again, we have found that it's challenging to build battalions, but it's really hard to rebuild an entire army and all of its institutions that go into supporting that battalion or -- you know, way over a hundred battalions, the brigades, the divisions and all the rest of that with command and control communications, intelligence systems, combat enablers, medevac and all the rest of that makes up a force as we know it, as opposed to forces that are unable to do that. REP. REYES: Well, thank you, General. Ambassador, you made mention about the Provincial Reconstruction Teams and the fact that we went from 10 to 25. As I think all of us know, we're having a very tough time recruiting people from the different agencies that make up these teams. Can you briefly tell us -- going from 10 to 25 in a country the size of California, that's not as good news as it seems, is it? AMB. CROCKER: Well, it is a very substantial increase, and a lot of that has been in the areas of greatest population and greatest challenges, like Baghdad itself. So the surge of Provincial Reconstruction Teams into the Baghdad area -- and incidentally, all of those teams are embedded with brigade combat teams and -- REP. REYES: It's because of the security situation. AMB. CROCKER: Exactly -- although what we've discovered is that it makes for a tremendous unity of effort, and it's actually a force multiplier to have them together, so we're taking a look at the rest of the landscape and basically seeking to replicate kind of the embedded concepts for almost all of the PRTs, because that fusion really works. And it helps to coordinate objectives so that we don't have a military unit kind of working in the same area as a PRT without the kind of coordination you need. So that's been tremendously effective. Now, in terms of staffing these up, that's something I've given my particular personal focus to. The surge in PRT personnel that this operation is requiring is to be an additional 283 people in place by the end of the year. And to the annoyance of my staff, I check this three times a week, and also back with Washington, and I am firmly assured that we are on track to meet that requirement by December 31st. Now this includes a lot of military personnel, which will then be backfilled as we move into 2008. But as a report delivered by the special inspector general for Iraq just last week indicated, the PRT program is one of the most valuable programs the U.S. runs in Iraq. Now, that was the special inspector general's comment, so we're clearly on to a good thing here, and we will continue to expand the limits of this endeavor to deliver the most effective response we can to capacity-building needs, particularly on budget execution. I'd make one final comment because I do think that it's important: that as drawdowns and redeployments take place, a challenge we both have is being sure that PRTs continue to be able to do their mission where required, even as the military footprint changes. So we don't have all the answers to that. It's a work in progress, but something we're very much focused on. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Sherman. REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D-CA): Thank you. Mr. Chairman, the ultimate question for our country is how much of the resources available to fight the global war on terror should be deployed in Iraq. That decision cannot be made in Baghdad, because our fine gentlemen from Baghdad don't receive reports on what's going on in Afghanistan, Somalia, the Tri-Borders area of Paraguay, or Sudan. It's a shame that those with global perspectives, the leaders here in Washington, so lack credibility that they're unwilling to really step forward in front of the cameras and say that Iraq is the central front in the war on the terror. So instead they imply that Iraq is the central front by telling us that the decision of how much of our resources to put into Iraq should be dependent upon a report drafted in Baghdad. In effect, we've substituted global perspective for battlefield valor. Now, General Petraeus, when I -- as a general, you're always planning for possible contingencies. The counterinsurgency manual is filled with hypothetical situations and possible responses. And General, you're sworn to defend our Constitution, and you've carried out that oath with honor. Your duty to defend the Constitution would become more complex if we had a constitutional crisis here in Washington. Assume that Congress passes a law stating that no government funds should be used after March of next year, except for certain limited purposes, such as force protection, or for training. The president of the United States instead orders you to conduct U.S.- led offensive military operations, a purpose for which Congress has said we have appropriated no funds. Under those circumstances, what do you do? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, and not trying to be flip, what I would do is consult my lawyer. And again, I'm not trying to make light of this at all, but I would literally have to talk to my lawyer, and obviously talk to my chain of command and get some advice and counsel on what in fact to do. And if I could mention, perhaps, Congressman, on -- REP. SHERMAN: So General, you're saying you might very well disobey an order from the president of the United States on the advice of your legal counsel? GEN. PETRAEUS: I did not say that, Congressman. What I said is I'd have to figure out what I was going to do. If I could just follow up on one item you did say, Congressman -- REP. SHERMAN: General, I did have one -- GEN. PETRAEUS: For what it's worth, al Qaeda believes that Iraq is the central front in the global war on terrorism. REP. SHERMAN: Well, al Qaeda is telling us that they think it's the central front. They might be lying. GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, and also -- REP. SHERMAN: They've been known to do so, General. And if we allow Ahmadinejad and bin Laden to tell us where to fight them, they may not give us their best advice. But I do have one more question and very limited time. GEN. PETRAEUS: Yes, sir. REP. SHERMAN: On about September 15th, this nation's going to get a long, detailed report, well over 100 pages, I would guess. And the press is going to call it the Petraeus report. Now you know and I know that the White House has exercised editorial control over the report that will be released later this week. The country wants the Petraeus report. They want a long, detailed report, written in Baghdad, without edits from the Pentagon or the White House. Are you willing to give to these committees your detailed report, the documents you gave to the White House for them to create the report that they plan to release later this week? And -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Can I answer that so I can -- First of all, on the benchmarks report, my understanding is that the law states that that report is submitted by the president with the input from the ambassador and myself. So at least it is the Petraeus- Crocker report. REP. SHERMAN: General, if you -- my question was carefully couched. I realize months ago, Congress may have asked for a report from the White House, and we'll be happy to get it and read it. But what I said was what the country really wants right now, not months ago but right now -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Right. REP. SHERMAN: -- is the Petraeus report. We want hundreds of pages written in Baghdad, edited by you, without edits from the Pentagon and the White House. Can you get it to us? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, first of all, what I've tried to do today, Congressman, with respect, is to give the Petraeus report. And then I would add to that that Ambassador Crocker and I did submit extensive input for the benchmarks report. The draft that I saw most recently -- because like any of these reports, it does go up and it is then provided back to us for comment, is that it is essentially unchanged. REP. SHERMAN: But in any case, you are warning us that if 100 pages or so is released by the White House later this week, they've done the final edit, and it may or may not be your report as written. GEN. PETRAEUS: I don't think that there is any substantive change in that report, according to the draft that I saw the other day. My guys had a copy, checked it against what we submitted, that the ambassador and I collaborated on. And there was nothing substantive whatsoever that was different in that report. You may want to mention, Ambassador. AMB. CROCKER: No, that's -- that is my understanding of it as well. The September 15th benchmark report will be an update of the July report. And the procedure for drafting it is exactly the same as it was in July. We provide input, but it is a White House report. So it is going to be again procedurally exactly the same as the July report. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Thornberry, please. REP. MAC THORNBERRY (R-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I appreciate both of your service and your professionalism, especially in the light of personal attacks against you. Ambassador Crocker, how do you make elected representatives of the people to compromise with each other and reach agreement? We seem to have some difficulty with that. How do you make that happen in Baghdad? AMB. CROCKER: I will very carefully restrict myself to commenting about the situation in Baghdad, because it is a serious issue. It is at the core ultimately of what kind of future Iraq is going to have, whether its representatives, elected and otherwise, are able to come together and reconcile. Process in this is as important, in some ways, as actual results. And the -- one of the elements out of this summer's activity that does give me some cautious encouragement is that representatives, mainly from the parliament, from the Council of Representatives, of the five major political blocs showed an ability to come together and night after night and work their way through a lot of the major issues. The issues they were able to get close to agreement on, they teed up to their leaders, and that's what was embodied in that August 26th declaration that, in addition to the points I've already mentioned, also included commitments on reforms regarding detainees, how they're held, what the conditions are, when they see a judge, when they're released, as well as how to deal with armed groups. The five got agreement on those points as well. But it's the way they did it. Each evening for weeks, representatives -- Sunni, Shi'a and Kurds -- came together and showed an ability to work quite productively together. And that is what I am hoping is going to carry forward in the months ahead as they deal with other issues. The real answer, of course, is, you can't compel it. People have to see their interests served by a process of accommodation. And that's what we're seeing, I think, at least the hopeful beginnings of. REP. THORNBERRY: Thank you. General Petraeus, what do we do about Iran? You -- in answer to previous questions, you said the last time Ambassador Crocker went and talked to them, then the flow of arms accelerated. So some people suggest we need to have a diplomatic surge and go talk to them intensely. I'm a little skeptical that that's going to make a difference. What do we do about the arms, the training, the money that comes from Iran and undermines our efforts? GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, inside Iraq, which is where my responsibility lies, we obviously are trying to interdict the flow of the arms, the training network, the money and so forth, and also to disrupt the networks that carry that out. It was very substantial, for example, to capture the head of the special groups in all of Iraq and that deputy commander of the Lebanese Hezbollah department that I talked about earlier that exists to support the Qods Force effort in supporting these special groups inside Iraq that are offshoots of the Sadr militia. Beyond that, it does obviously become a regional problem. It is something that I have discussed extensively with Admiral Fallon and with others in the chain of command. And there certainly is examination of various contingencies, depending on what does happen in terms of Iranian activity in Iraq. But our focus is on interdicting the flow and on disrupting, killing or capturing those individuals who are engaged in it. We also in fact killed the head of the network that carried out the attacks on our soldiers in Karbala, where five of our soldiers were killed back in January. That was yet another effort in that overall offensive against those individuals. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Pence from Indiana. REP. MIKE PENCE (R-IN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to thank General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker for your service to the nation. The old book tells us if you owe debts, pay debts; if honor, than honor; if respect, then respect. And having met with both of you on several occasions downrange in different assignments, I know this nation owes you a debt of honor and a debt of respect. And I want to appreciate the way my colleagues have addressed this hearing today. General Petraeus, just for clarification sake, it seems to me you opened your testimony today with a very emphatic declarative. I think your words were, "This is my testimony." I think you added that it had not been cleared by the White House or the Department of Defense. And I just -- again, we're getting the Petraeus report. GEN. PETRAEUS: That is correct. As I stated, I obviously have given recommendations, and I gave an assessment of the situation as part of those recommendations during a week of video teleconferences, consultations with Admiral Fallon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the secretary of Defense and then ultimately the president. But the testimony that I provided today, this statement, is one that I eventually took control of the electrons about two weeks ago and, as I mentioned, has not been shared with anybody outside of my inner circle. REP. PENCE: Well, thank you. Thanks for clarifying that. I think it's important. Two quick points. First on the subject of joint security stations. When I was there in April in Baghdad with you, General Petraeus, we visited a joint security station downtown. I think your testimony today suggests that now the joint security stations are, to use your phrase, are across Iraq. I wondered if you might comment for these committees about the extent to which embedding, if you will, American and Iraqi forces together -- living together, deploying together -- in neighborhood areas has expanded beyond the scope of Baghdad the impact that it's having. And for Ambassador Crocker, just for the sake of efficiency, when I was in Ramadi in that same trick, we met with Sheikh Sattar, some of the leaders of the Iraqi Awakening Movement. It was at that time, I think, 20 of the 22 sheikhs in Al Anbar province had organized that effort. The transformation of Al Anbar has been extraordinary. You made a provocative comment today, saying that that movement is, quote, "unfolding" in other parts of Iraq, and I think you mentioned Diyala and Nineveh provinces. I wonder if you might -- each of you severally -- touch on that. I saw those things in their nascent form this spring, and it seems like both of them have expanded well beyond expectations, to the good of U.S. interests and stability in Iraq. General? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, the concept, again, is that if you're going to secure the population, you have to live with the population. You can't commute to this fight. And the idea is that, wherever possible, to do it together with our Iraqi counterparts, in some cases police, some cases army, sometimes all of the above. The idea of the joint security stations is to be really command and control hubs typically for areas in which there are coalition forces, Iraqi army and Iraqi police, and sometimes now even these local volunteers, who -- again, by directive of Prime Minister Maliki -- are individuals with whom the Iraqi army is supposed to deal as well. There are a number of other outposts, patrol bases and other small bits of infrastructure, if you will, that have also been established to apply this idea that is so central to counterinsurgency operations of again positioning in and among the population. And you see it in Ramadi. For example, in Ramadi there are a couple of dozen, I think, is the last count of police stations, patrol bases, combat outposts, you name it, many of which have both coalition, either U.S. Army or U.S. Marines together, with Iraqi police or Iraqi soldiers, or in some cases still local volunteers who are in the process of being transitioned into one of the security ministries. We see the same in Fallujah. In Fallujah, though it is police stations and there are 10 precincts now established in Fallujah -- the last one was just completed -- in each of those there's typically a Marine squad or a force of about that size, and over time we've been able to move -- (Chairman Skelton sounds gavel) -- our main force elements out of Fallujah and also now to move two of the three battalions in the Iraqi army that were in that area, which frees them up to actually go up and replace the Marine Expeditionary Unit that's coming out and continue the pressure on al Qaeda-Iraq up in the Lake Tharthar area. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. Try and move along -- next, we have Dr. Snyder, Mr. Wexler, Mr. Jones, Mr. Flake -- REP. PENCE: Mr. Chairman? With your indulgence, I had posed a question to Ambassador Crocker. I don't think he had a chance to respond. REP. SKELTON: I'm sorry. I didn't catch that. Ambassador, please answer as quickly as possible. AMB. CROCKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We're seeing the phenomenon of Anbar repeated elsewhere of Iraqis deciding they've had enough of terrorists. Anbar itself, the whole way it unfolded there is unique to Anbar, and we've got to have the, again, the area smarts and the tactical flexibility to perceive what opportunities are with their regional differences. So Diyala, for example, is much more complicated than Anbar because instead of being just Sunni, that Sunni, Shi'a, Kurd intermixed and has required much more careful handling which, I must say, the military has done an absolutely brilliant job of in an incredibly complex political- military context. But you know, again, in Anbar and Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, in Baghdad, the three neighborhoods that General Petraeus mentioned in Diyala, which is a little bit to the northeast and also in Nineveh to the north and in Salahuddin, a process under way that is conceptually similar to what happened in Anbar but has in each case its particular differences that have to be taken into account by us and by the Iraqis. REP. SKELTON: Thank you very much. Dr. Snyder. REP. VIC SNYDER (D-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, I have a question for each of you if you will each answer briefly. I then want to brag on you. So if you -- the quicker you all answer my questions, the quicker I can get to bragging on the two of you. First, General Petraeus, on the chart that you passed out here earlier, the one that talks about the recommended force reduction mission shift, does it go out the timeline here at the end, General Petraeus? We have a straight line at the end. How far out does that line go? The specific question is: How many years do you anticipate U.S. troops will be in Iraq if you had Ambassador Crocker's crystal ball? GEN. PETRAEUS: And I'm afraid that I do not. In fact, that is an illustrative document with respect to both the mission mix and the stair step there. As I mentioned, there is every intention and recognition that forces will continue to be reduced after the mid-July time frame when we have reached the 15 Army Brigade Combat Team level and Marine RCT level. What we need to do is get a bit closer to that time to where, with some degree of confidence, we can make an assessment and make recommendations on that. REP. SNYDER: Thank you. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned the Provincial Reconstruction Teams, and I appreciate you bringing them up. I had a different recollection, though, of the testimony last week of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. One of the staff people was Ginger Cruze. When she testified, she actually testified that by the end of this year, State Department will have identified 68 percent of the State Department personnel to be on board. So they will not necessarily be on board; they will have just identified two-thirds of their staff requirements. So while I appreciate your attentiveness to this, I think we still -- I think the State Department is letting you down, and that somehow we've got to grapple with this issue of how to get the other agencies to step forward and assist the work that General Petraeus and his people are doing, the work that you want to do. So you may need to have another meeting with them and talk about now what exactly are we going to be having at the end of December, because they said that there was only identified two-thirds of them by the end of this year. The reason I want to brag on the two of you, I think you-all have done a good job here today and have done a great job throughout your careers. I don't know if the two of you are going to be able to solve these problems, the challenges you have before you, but you are the all-star team. And if anybody can do it, you can do it. I think that's why some of us find some of the stuff that's been said the last week or so pretty offensive. But we talk about reconciliation. You know, both in the Congress and in the country, we've been going through kind of a soft partition into D's and R's, the soft partition, the red state and the blue state. I think you-all can be part of this reconciliation because our country will do better in foreign policy if we're more united. I put Secretary Gates in that category, too. And what I like about Secretary Gates is, reports that I get back from the Pentagon is that more junior generals actually feel like they can tell him when they think he's wrong or when they have other ideas. And I don't want you to respond to this, but I know that has not been the case for the first -- for the last six years. And so I think there is some process stuff going on that may help get some of this reconciliation. An example of this has been this report that General Jones' group put out last week, that's been referred to several times. Now, it's like everything else in life, we pick and choose. And several people that are critical of what's going on have brought out some of the criticisms of the police and the Iraqi army. But the very -- the last paragraphs, the concluding thoughts -- and I'm going to quote from the report -- quote: "While much remains to be done before success can be confidently declared, the strategic consequences of failure or even perceived failure for the United States and the coalition are enormous. We approach a truly strategic moment in this still-young century. Iraq's regional geostrategic position, the balance of power in the Middle East, the economic stability made possible by a flow of energy in many parts of the world, and the ability to defeat and contain terrorism where it is most manifest are issues that do not lend themselves to easy or quick solution. How we respond to them, however, could well define our nation in the eyes of the world for years to come." And that's the end of the quote. And so those of us who, on whatever side we come down to now or in the last several years on what you-all are about, we've got to start looking at this, I think, this bigger picture. And I would -- my one question for you, Ambassador Crocker. There's a lot of criticism that we do not have the right strategic diplomatic picture that helps you do the work that you're doing. In fact, maybe I won't even put that as a question but just leave that as a comment. I think we've got a lot of work to do in the Congress and the administration to give you that kind of strategic diplomacy for that whole region. Thank you for your service. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. Mr. Wexler. REP. ROBERT WEXLER (D-FL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker, I vehemently opposed the surge when the president announced it last winter, and instead I called for our troops to be withdrawn. In your testimony today, you claim that the surge is working and that you need more time. With all due respect, General, among unbiased, nonpartisan experts, the consensus is stark; the surge has failed based on most parameters. In truth, war-related deaths have doubled in Iraq in 2007 compared to last year. Tragically, it is my understanding that seven more American troops have died while we've been talking today. Cherry- picking statistics or selectively massaging information will not change the basic truth. Please understand, General Petraeus, I do not question your credibility. You are a true patriot. I admire your service to our nation. But I do question your facts. And it is my patriotic duty to represent my constituents and ask you, question you about your argument that the surge in troops be extended until next year, next summer, especially when your testimony stating that the dramatic reduction in sectarian deaths is opposite from the National Intelligence Estimate, the Government Accounting Office and several other non-biased, nonpartisan reports. I am skeptical, General. More importantly, the American people are skeptical because four years ago very credible people both in uniform and not in uniform came before this Congress and sold us a bill of goods that turned out to be false. And that's why we went to war based on false pretense to begin with. This testimony today is eerily similar to the testimony the American people heard on April 28th, 1967, from General William Westmoreland, when he told the American people America was making progress in Vietnam. General, you say we're making progress in Iraq, but the Iraqi parliament simply left Baghdad and shut down operations last month. You say we're making progress, but the nonpartisan GAO office concluded that the Iraqi government has failed to meet 15 of the 18 political, economic and security benchmarks that Congress mandated. You say we're making progress, but war-related deaths have doubled. And an ABC-BBC poll recently said that 70 percent of Iraqis say the surge has worsened their lives. Iraqis say the surge is not working. I will conclude my comments, General, and give you a chance to respond, but just one more thing, if I may. We've heard a lot today about America's credibility. President Bush recently stated we should not have withdrawn our troops from Vietnam, because of the great damage to America's credibility. General, there are 58,195 names etched into the Vietnam War Memorial. Twenty years from now, when we build the Iraq war memorial on the National Mall, how many more men and women will have been sacrificed to protect our so-called credibility? How many more names will be added to the wall before we admit it is time to leave? How many more names, General? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, first of all, I have not said that the surge should be extended. In fact, my recommendations are that the surge be curtailed earlier than it would have been. The forces of the surge could have run all the way till April before we began pulling them out, and that would be if we did not recommend its continuation beyond that. My recommendations, in fact, include the withdrawal of the Marine expeditionary unit this month without replacement and then a brigade starting in mid-December and then another one about every 45 days. And that's a considerable amount prior to, in fact, how far the surge could have run if we'd just pushed everybody for 15 months. REP. WEXLER: Respectfully, General -- GEN. PETRAEUS: In fact, I am -- and with respect to the facts that I have laid out today, I very much stand by those. As I mentioned, the GAO report actually did cut off data at least five weeks and in some cases longer than that in the assessment that it made. And in fact those subsequent five weeks have been important in establishing a trend that security incidents have gone down, as they have, and have reached, as I mentioned, the lowest level since June 2006, with respect to incidents, and with April 2006, in terms of attacks. I stand by the explanation of the reduction in ethno-sectarian deaths and so forth. And lastly, I would say, Congressman, that no one is more conscious of the loss of life than the commander of the forces. That is something I take and feel very deeply. And if I did not think that this was a hugely important endeavor and if I did not think that it was an endeavor in which we could succeed, I would not have testified as I did to you all here today. Thank you, sir. REP. SKELTON: I thank the gentleman. Before I call on Mr. Jones, the gentleman from California, Mr. Hunter, has a unanimous consent. REP. HUNTER: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just -- I'm requesting unanimous consent that the questions of Mr. Graves of Missouri be submitted to General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. Without objection. Mr. Jones. REP. WALTER JONES (R-NC): Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. And General Petraeus, thank you. And Ambassador Crocker, thank you as well. And let me just say that many of the comments you've heard today about our troops and thank you again for your leadership. But we had General Barry McCaffrey before the oversight committee chaired by Chairman Snyder about five or six weeks ago. And I have Camp Lejeune down in my district, and from time to time I have a chance to see some of the Marines who are, you know, out of uniform at certain locations and have conversations. What Barry McCaffrey said was that by April or May of 2008, that the Marine Corps, the Army, the Reserves and the National Guard will start to unravel; that they are absolutely stressed and worn out. And General, you have acknowledged that, so let me make that clear. My question primarily is going to be for Ambassador Crocker. I want to start by reading a quote by Army Lieutenant General Jay Garner, first U.S. official in charge of postwar Baghdad. This is his quote: "I don't know that the Iraqi government has ever demonstrated ability to lead the country, and we should not be surprised. You will never find in my lifetime one man that all Iraqis will coalesce around. Iraqis are too divided among sectarian, ethnic and tribal loyalties, and their loyalties are regional, not national." Mr. Ambassador, I know you have over 20-some years in foreign service with the State Department, and I respect that very much. You made mention of Lebanon, where we had Marines killed there at the barracks. You are dealing with a country that is not national; it is regional. It is a tribal system that has been part of that history of what is now Iraq. And I listened to you carefully and appreciated your comments. You made some statements like "we see some signs of," "we're encouraged," and, you know, those kind of statements which sound good in your written testimony. But my question is, for the American people, I mean, this is a huge investment. And I realize that it is a war on terrorism; I mean, many of us questioned whether we should have gone into Afghanistan, stayed in Afghanistan, gone after bin Laden and al Qaeda instead of diverting to Iraq, but that damage is done. As Colin Powell said, if you break it, you own it. Well, we own it -- sadly, mainly, with blood. My question is to you is, where -- how can you say or how can you hope to encourage a national government when, in this testimony today and in the days before, people have talked about the great successes in Anbar, and that's not because of the national government? How can you take a country that has never had nationalism and believe that we can bring these people together when, as someone said before -- I've spoke -- I mean, they broke and decided not to meet with some of their responsibilities for 30 days. And that sent a bad signal to many people, maybe to our troops, maybe not to our troops. But how do you see this coming together, and how long will it take it to come together? AMB. CROCKER: Congressman, you pose, I think, the critical question. And that's why in my written testimony I focused a lot of attention on that. What kind of state is ultimately going to emerge in Iraq? Because that is still very much an issue under discussion, a work in progress, with some elements of the population, mainly the Sunnis, still focused on a strong central authority; and others, mainly but not exclusively Kurds and Shi'as, saying it needs to be a decentralized federalism. So you have those differences. And even within those two camps, often not a lot of detailed thought as to what either strong central authority or decentralized federalism would actually look like. So, you know, that is part of the challenge. Iraqis will have to work through this. Among the encouraging things I noted that I'd seen is that now among Sunnis there is a discussion that maybe federalism is the way this country needs to go. That has in part been conditioned by the experience in Anbar, but not exclusively. That is why I say this is going to take time, and it's going to take further strategic patience on our part and further commitment. There simply are no easy, quick answers. There are no switches to flip that are going to cause the politics to come magically together. It's going to have to be worked through. I believe that it can. I believe that the things that we have seen over the last six months and that I've described, General Petraeus has described, do hold out cause for hope. But it's going to take their resolve and our backing to actually make that happen. Now, you mention Anbar. I think that that can be a very interesting illustration in this process, where something got started out in Anbar that the central government certainly didn't precipitate, but then the central government found ways to connect to it, both by hiring police and by providing additional resources to the provincial budget. So, you know, this is going to be something that Iraqis are going to have to work through. I'd like to be able to say that we can get this done in six months or nine months or by next July; I can't sit here and do that. REP. SKELTON: Thank you. Mr. Flake. AMB. CROCKER: I can say that I think it's possible. REP. SKELTON: Mr. Flake. REP. JEFF FLAKE (R-AZ): I thank you both for your very enlightening testimony. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned there's abundant evidence that the security gains have opened the door for meaningful politics. I think we all agree that the purpose of the surge was to create the space necessary for the politicians to do their work. Where -- how do you strike a balance between giving them space and providing a convenient excuse not to reach conclusion on some of these debates? They're talking about federalism, for example. I mean, we can have debates here on the topic, and we do have such debates. But where -- how do you respond to the criticism or the assumption that they would move faster if we had a more precipitous withdrawal or drawdown? AMB. CROCKER: I'd make two comments, sir. First, we are engaged in this process. I spend a lot of my time, as does my staff, working with political figures, sorting through issues, offering advice, twisting some arms from time to time, to help them get done what in many cases they've laid out as their own objectives, but find it a little hard to actually get it over the finish line. So we are involved in that and will continue to be. With respect to the point on using leverage -- using troops as leverage, to say we're going to start backing out of here regardless of whether you've got it done or not, as I said in a slightly different context earlier, I think we have to be very careful with that because if the notion takes hold among Iraqis that what we really do intend to do is just execute a non-conditions-based withdrawal -- say, the famous precipitous withdrawal -- I think it pushes them actually in the wrong direction. I think it creates a climate in which they are much less likely to compromise, because they'll be looking over our heads, concluding that the U.S. is about to pull, so they had better be getting ready for what comes next. And what comes next will be a giant street fight. It's not a climate, I think, that lends itself to compromise. REP. FLAKE: If I might, then, without us putting troops aside, then, what other leverage do we have? Is it aid that is contingent on them moving forward? Some of the -- you know, with regard to some of the benchmarks? What else is effective? Is there something that has been used in other scenarios, say, the peace process in Northern Ireland, or other -- anything that you've used in prior diplomatic efforts that would be more useful here? AMB. CROCKER: Again, like so much else in Iraq, the political dynamic there is probably not unique in world history, but it is pretty special. And while we're always looking for good lessons from outside, in the case of Northern Ireland, for example, where an international commission was formed to help the people work through issues, we've gotten the documentation on that, and we've made it available to Iraqi political figures as something that we and they might work with. They're -- they've got that under consideration. Clearly we do have leverage, and we do use it. I mean, the presence of 160,000 troops is a lot of leverage. And you know, we are using those troops for their security. That gives us, again, not only the opportunity but the obligation to tell them they've got to use the space they're getting to move forward. REP. FLAKE: In the remaining time I have, quickly, for the general, some argue that the presence of U.S. troops gives al Qaeda simply a target. Is there a difference between their attacks on U.S. troops as opposed to attacks on other coalition forces? I know there are different regions, but in Basra, for example, where the British have been, is there -- GEN. PETRAEUS: There are virtually no al Qaeda, really, in the southern part of Iraq because, of course, it's a Shi'a area and much less hospitable to them. REP. FLAKE: Right. GEN. PETRAEUS: They -- we think there have been attacks over time, occasionally, but nothing at all recently in the southern part of Iraq. REP. FLAKE: In other areas, is there any evidence that -- and I know we've performed different roles, the different coalition forces, but is there any evidence that they are more likely to attack Americans than other coalition forces? GEN. PETRAEUS: No. In fact, they're probably more likely to attack Iraqi forces right now. In fact, they're very concerned by the rise of particularly these local volunteers who have been assimilated into the Iraqi forces, because that represents a very, very significant challenge to them. It means that locals are invested in security, and of course they have an incentive that folks from the outside can never have. They are going to fight and die for their neighborhood, again, in a way that -- others who might come in from elsewhere would not be willing to do the same. So in fact we've seen a very substantial number of attacks on these forces as they have become more effective, trying to take out their checkpoints, attack their bases and so forth. REP. FLAKE: Thank you. REP. SKELTON: Thank the gentleman. Mr. Smith from Washington. REP. ADAM SMITH (D-WA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, General, Ambassador, for your service and for your testimony today. I want to explore something we haven't talked that much about, and that is to some degree -- Iraq, to a very large degree, is dividing along sectarian lines and has been for some time. I mean, if we're not there yet, we're pretty -- we pretty soon will be to the point where there's no such thing as a mixed Shi'a-Sunni neighborhood. So even while we're surging forward, this -- (inaudible) -- ethnic cleansing, division, whatever you want to call it, is going on. And I think there's a number of implications of that. You know, one is, it sort of underscores the difficulty of reaching a solution. You know, I, I guess, will be a minority among some of my colleagues here. I don't really so much blame the Iraqis for the situation. It's an intractable situation. It's not like if they stuck around in August in parliament they would have solved this. They, you know, have a deep division between Shi'a and Sunni that I think everybody in this room understands, and it's not a problem that leverage or anything is really going to solve. It is what it is, and it's a reality on the ground. And I'm concerned that we don't seem to be reacting very much to that reality, or as much as we should be. We still have this fantasy of a, you know, unity government in Iraq that we are supposedly fighting to create the space to come about. And I think most people would have to acknowledge at this point it is not going to happen. More on that in a second. I just want to -- one quick question for General Petraeus. So when you figure out what ethno-sectarian violence is, you don't count Shi'a on Shi'a and Sunni on Sunni. And that's a little troubling, in the sense that since this ethnic cleansing is going on and the neighbors have divided, a lot of the violence then comes down to once they've divided it that way, then it's, okay, which Shi'a are going to be in charge and which Sunni are going to be in charge? I mean, to some degree that's part of what's going on in Anbar. Sunnis -- GEN. PETRAEUS: First of all, Congressman, we count in the -- civilian deaths include all deaths, as I mentioned. REP. A. SMITH: Okay. But in the sectarian -- GEN. PETRAEUS: They are in there. REP. A. SMITH: In the sectarian violence. GEN. PETRAEUS: We are focused on sectarian violence, ethno- sectarian violence -- REP. A. SMITH: Right. GEN. PETRAEUS: -- because in some cases it's Arabs and Kurds as well -- because that is what eats at the fabric of Iraqi society. That is what tore the fabric of Iraqi society in the -- REP. A. SMITH: That could be, General, but if I may for just one minute -- GEN. PETRAEUS: -- latter part of 2006. If I could finish, sir. And it does not stop. It never stops until it is stopped by something else. And what we wanted to -- want to have happen is to have it stopped because there is a sustainable security situation. In some cases we help it stop by cement walls. REP. A. SMITH: That could well be, but what I said is essentially accurate, that you don't count -- in the chart that we showed, you weren't showing us civilian deaths, you were showing -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Oh, I did show you civilian deaths. That is -- REP. A. SMITH: Ethno-sectarian -- GEN. PETRAEUS: -- in the chart. There are civilian deaths. REP. A. SMITH: Okay. GEN. PETRAEUS: I showed that slide. And that has come down substantially. REP. A. SMITH: But for the purpose -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Now, it has not come down as much outside Baghdad because of the mass casualty attacks carried out by al Qaeda. And we count all of those, all civilian deaths. That's why I showed that slide and then showed the subset of that slide, which is the ethno- sectarian deaths REP. A. SMITH: Okay. GEN PETRAEUS: We focus on that because of the damage that ethno- sectarian violence does to neighborhoods, particularly, again, in Baghdad. And the problem with the discussion is that Baghdad is a mixed province, still, as are Babil, Wasat, Diyala and other areas of Iraq. REP. A. SMITH: If I could have -- GEN. PETRAEUS: And beyond that, beyond that, the resources are provided by a central government. So with the mechanism that exists now under the Iraqi constitution, there has to be representation of and responsiveness to all Iraqis in that government to ensure that all do get. Now -- REP. A. SMITH: My time is very limited. I wanted to ask Ambassador Crocker a question, if I may. I appreciate that -- GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you for letting me answer that anyway. REP. A. SMITH: The question, then, is, what is the political solution that we are moving toward? And that's what is most concerning to us. And the bottom line is, even under General Petraeus's description, in July of 2007 we will have roughly the same number of troops in Iraq that we had in January of 2007. Now, a lot of progress has happened, but that is obviously a problem for us. What is the political solution that we are working towards where the conditions are in place that we can begin to end our occupation, keeping in mind the fact that this ethnic division is happening? And maybe, Ambassador Crocker, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but Baghdad is separating along ethnic lines, is it not? And how does that -- what are the implications for where we're headed with all of this? If you could take a stab at that. AMB. CROCKER: Baghdad, like so many other parts of Iraq, in spite of the sectarian violence that occurred, remains a very mixed area. And that is why, again, abruptly changing course now could have some extremely nasty humanitarian consequences. Iraq is still, to a large degree, an intermixed society. Now, that puts special weight on the question you ask. So, what kind of political society is it going to be? According to the constitution, Iraq is a federal state. The debate is over what kind of federal state. Iraqis are going to need to work through this. The encouraging news I see is that now all communities increasingly are ready to talk about translating federalism down to a practical level. And that's a conversation that very much does need to take place. As I tried to lay out in my testimony, there is a tremendous amount of unfinished business here. There is that debate. There is within that debate the whole question of how the center and the periphery relate. For example, a hot debate that I had a chance to witness among Iraq's leaders was over can a provincial governor under certain circumstances -- emergency circumstances -- command federal forces. That's a pretty big issue, and it's an unresolved issue. So that's why -- and everything I said, I tried to lay out that I see reasons to believe that Iraq can stabilize as a secure democratic federal state at peace with its neighbors, under the rule of law, an ally in the war on terrorism. But it's going to take a lot of work, and it's going to take time. REP. SKELTON: The chair recognizes the gentleman from New York, Mr. Engel. REP. ENGEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to say at the outset, gentlemen, that I respect both of you and I thank you for your service to the nation. I am respectful of our troops who put their lives on the line for us every day. But I really must disagree with a lot of what I've heard here today. The American people are fed up -- I'm fed up -- and essentially what I'm hearing from both of you today is essentially "stay the course in Iraq." How long can we put up with staying the course? Young Americans are dying in someone else's civil war, as far as I'm concerned. Ambassador Crocker, you mentioned that Iraq will slip into civil war if we leave. I mean, we're in civil war now. It's become apparent to me that the Iraqis will not step up until we step out, and as long as we have what seems to be an open-ended commitment, the Iraqis will never step up. So we have an open-ended commitment with many, many troops. At some point you have to ask, is this the best way to keep the U.S. safe? General Petraeus, you said that the Iraqi politicians were understanding more and more about the threat from Iran. Mr. Maliki is supported by a pro-Iranian parliamentarians in the parliament. That keeps his coalition in power, so how much can he really go against Iran? He's a product of Iran. His people that back him are supporters of Iran. You know, for years we keep hearing rosy, upbeat pictures about Iraq -- "Victory is right around the corner; things are going well" -- and it never seems to materialize. General Petraeus, I have an article here called "Battling for Iraq." It's an op-ed piece that you wrote three years ago in The Washington Post -- today -- three years ago, and I want to just quote some of the things you said. You said, "Now, however, 18 months after entering Iraq, I see tangible progress. Iraqi security elements are being rebuilt from the ground up." You wrote that -- you said, "The institutions that oversee them are being reestablished from the top down, and Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously in the face of an enemy that has shown a willingness to do anything to disrupt the establishment of a new Iraq." You talk about Iraqi police and soldiers, and you say they're "performing a wide variety of security missions. Training is on track and increasing in capacity." And finally, you said in this article -- op-ed piece three years ago, "I meet with Iraqi security forces every day. I have seen the determination and their desire to assume the full burden of security tasks for Iraq. Iraqi security forces are developing steadily, and they are in the fight. Momentum has gathered in recent months." So today you said -- and I'll just quote a few things -- "Coalition and Iraqi security forces have achieved progress in the security area. Iraqi security forces have also continued to grow and to shoulder more of the load." And finally you said, "The progress our forces have achieved with our Iraqi counterparts, as I noted at the outset, has been substantial." So I guess my question really is that, you know, why should we believe that your assessment today is any more accurate than it was three years ago in September 2004? Three years ago I was able to listen to the optimism, but frankly I find it hard to listen now, four years-plus into this war with no end in sight. Optimism is great, but reality is what we really need. GEN. PETRAEUS: Thank you, Congressman. I actually appreciate the opportunity to talk about that op-ed piece because I stand by it. I think what I said there was accurate. You -- there are also a number of items in there that talk about the challenges that Iraq faced, about hardships that lay ahead, and a number of other items that are included in that piece. And what I would note, by the way, is that Iraqis are dying in combat, are taking losses that are typically two to three -- closer to three -- times ours in an average month. They are stepping up to the plate. What did happen between that time and the progress that we started -- all I was doing was saying that we were getting our act together with the train and equip program and that we were beginning -- "Training is on track." That's what it was. It was on track and it was moving along. And over the course of the next six, eight, 12 months, in fact it generally continued to progress. And then along came sectarian violence and certainly the February bombing of the gold dome mosque in Samara, and you saw what that did to the country of Iraq. It literally tore the fabric of Baghdad society, Iraqi society at large between Sunni and Shi'a, and literally some of those forces that we were proud of in the beginning took enormous steps backward and were hijacked by sectarian forces and influences at that time. What I have tried to provide today is not a rosy picture. I have tried to provide an accurate picture. As I said, I have long since gone from being a pessimist or an optimist about Iraq. I'm a realist. We have learned lessons very much the hard way, and again the damage done by sectarian violence in particular has been a huge setback for the overall effort, and it resulted in the change that had to be carried out as a result of General Casey and Ambassador Khalilzad assessing in December of 2006 that the effort was failing to achieve its objectives. That's where we were. And as I mentioned, we have then made changes to that that have enabled the military progress that I have talked about. And that is military progress indeed that has emerged certainly most in the last three months, since the mid-June surge of offensives, but is something that we certainly are going to do all that we can to build on and to continue in the weeks and months ahead. Thank you -- (inaudible). REP. ENGEL: But General, that was three years ago, and this is three years later. REP. SKELTON: Whoa, whoa -- (inaudible). REP. ENGEL: Will we be saying the same thing three years from now? REP. SKELTON: Mr. Engel -- Mr. Engel, you're over a minute over your time. The chair recognizes the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Akin. REP. AKIN: I wanted to say, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, thank you for your service. I thank you, and I know that my son who's had a little free time over in Fallujah would also thank you for your good service, as well. I also would like to compliment you on your testimony today. It is professional and credible, as we anticipated that it would be. But some of us sitting here were guessing, trying to figure out what you were going to say today, and one of the things that did surprise me a little bit was that you seem to be a little gentler on the Iraqi parliament and maybe not quite as aggressive on federalism, which seems to be working well and working with the local level. So I guess my question is this: instead of threatening, well, we're going to take our troops and go home, does it not make sense to a certain degree to say, look, if the national legislature can't figure out when to have elections in Anbar province, we'll help -- we'll take care of that for you; we'll go ahead and schedule those. And by the way, you need to understand that Anbar and the different provinces are going to be able to take care of their own garbage collection and police and all this, the type of things we think of as local government functions. And can we not be building at the local level at the same time as at the federal level, both in terms of political leverage to encourage and spur each one on, but also just because of the -- the local progress seems to be working pretty well? And my last question. It kind of goes -- if you comment on that, but the next piece would be, if we wanted to elect the equivalent of a mayor of a city or people to a city council that are not working at the -- you know, at the federal level, do we have the authority to do that, and can that process take place? And is that happening? AMB. CROCKER: That's a series of good questions. Let me start by saying that we are very much focused on how we can help in the provinces. In Anbar, for example, we've got three embedded PRTs as well as the main PRT out there, been working very closely with the Marines in just these kind of issues. Okay, you've got a municipality now. And by the way, of course, Iraq is now at the stage where Iraqis are forming their own municipal governments. REP. AKIN: Are they doing that right now? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, they -- REP. AKIN: Forming their own? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, sir. They -- REP. AKIN: Do they elect people to run those -- so that's going on right now? AMB. CROCKER: They do indeed, and that's been one of the other elements of the Anbar phenomenon that I think now every town of significance in Anbar has an elected mayor and municipal council. And the mission we've got is doing everything we can, military and civilians, to try to help these new councils learn to act like they're councils; to, you know, deliver services, to pick up the trash. That is a major priority, and it's important. At the same time, we do encourage, as I said, the linkages up and down the line so that the municipal councils are tied into the provincial council because that's where the provincial budget is executed, not just in Anbar but everywhere in the country, so that the municipalities are getting their share as well. And this is not as easy as it may sound in a country that at least since the '60s -- and you can argue all the way back to the creation of Iraq as a modern state -- has never had that kind of contract between its government and its people. So, again, it's part of the revolution and progress, if you will. But we have seen that as conditions -- as security conditions stabilize, a lot of things start happening like these municipal councils, like a focus on services, like linkages from top to bottom. And again, we've -- Iraqis talk about federalism, but what does that mean in a case where resources all flow from the center? You know, the budget for Anbar comes from Baghdad. They don't have the capacity to develop a revenue base independently. So all of those things are in play, and they have been in play, basically, just since security started to improve out there. A tremendous amount has happened in a fairly short time, which gives me, again, some encouragement that as security conditions stabilize in other parts of the country, you can see not the same process -- because, as I said earlier, each place has its own unique characteristics -- but, you know, roughly similar processes start to catch hold. REP. AKIN: Thank you very much. REP. JOHN BOOZMAN (R-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. REP. TAYLOR: The gentleman from Arkansas, Mr. Boozman. REP. BOOZMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, when I was over and visiting not too long ago with you, two or three weeks ago, one of the real concerns that I had after I left was that, in visiting with the guys that had been there for a while, what I would call the backbone of the military, many of those guys were on their third deployment. And I'm pleased to hear that, because we are making progress, that we are going to be able to withdraw. Occasionally we'll have votes here that maybe mandate that you have to go over -- you know, you've got to come back for the same amount of time that you've gone. Besides the argument of not wanting to micro-manage the war from Congress, which I believe very strongly that we shouldn't do, what does that do to your flexibility if we were to actually pass something like that? GEN. PETRAEUS: Congressman, that's not really a question that I can answer. That would have to be one that the chief of staff of the Army or the commandant of the Marine Corps would have to address. My job, as you know, is to request forces and then try to make the best possible use of them, and I'm not really sufficiently knowledgeable in what the status is at this point in time of reaching a point where we can start extending the time that forces are at home and so forth. REP. BOOZMAN: Let me ask very quickly, Mr. Crocker, one of the frustrations I've had in traveling the area has been that the -- our efforts to try -- our Voice of America-type efforts that was so successful against the Soviet Union, sometimes the people in the region have not spoken very well of that through the years. Is that better, or can you tell us a little bit about what we're trying to do to get the hearts and minds through the media? AMB. CROCKER: Yes, sir, that has, of course, been something that we've been engaged in since 2003, and as you suggest with some fairly mixed results in trying to get this right. We've got a couple of vehicles out there for it. One of them is Al Hurra, which has, quite frankly, as I understand it, been involved in a few controversies and has gone through some high-level personnel changes. As well as, of course, VOA, which has been a stalwart all along, as you point out. It is a complex media environment in Iraq and in the region, and it requires having people in place who know how messages resonate and know how to put them together. I was in Iraq in 2003 for several months as we put together the Governing Council and our first media efforts, and coming back a little over four years later I've been impressed by the progress we have made. But to be completely frank with you, I think we still have a way to go both in Iraq and in the region in articulating an effective message to Arab audiences. REP. BOOZMAN: General Petraeus, I've got tremendous respect for you, tremendous respect for General Jones. A lot -- you know, people have alluded to that report. Well, it would be helpful, I think, to me and others if at some point that perhaps you could maybe respond through writing or whatever some of the ideas that he's got that differ than the ideas that you -- I would just encourage you -- again, that would be very helpful to me if at some point you could delineate the differences that you have and then why. I yield back. REP. SKELTON: The chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California, Ms. Sanchez. REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ (D-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, gentlemen, for being before us today. It's good to see you both again. As usual, I have tons of questions, General and Ambassador, but let me limit it to this one. The BBC released the results of a poll conducted in August that indicates that Iraqi opinion is at the gloomiest state ever since the BBC and ABC News polls began in February of 2004. According to the latest poll, between 67 and 70 percent of Iraqis say that the surge has made things worse in some key areas, including security and the conditions for political dialogue, reconstruction and economic development. Since the last BBC/ABC News poll in February, the number of Iraqis who think that the U.S.-led coalition forces should leave immediately has risen sharply, from 35 to 47 percent. And 85 percent of Iraqis say they have little or no confidence in the U.S. and U.K. forces. So I know a lot of politicians live by polls, and I realize that the U.S. policy in Iraq shouldn't simply follow the polls, because, you know, there can be a wide range of influence on some of this. Nevertheless, it's a fundamental principle of the U.S. Army counterinsurgency doctrine that the attitudes of the population are an important center of gravity in such a conflict. I think that was stated in our counterinsurgency manual. First -- I have three questions for you -- were you aware of the poll? Do you have your own polling? And why -- and what are your findings versus the attitude of the Iraqi public that we find in the BBC poll? Secondly, how do you explain the sharply negative perception of Iraqis regarding security conditions in Iraq since the surge began? If your data so indicates that dramatic and sharp declines in violence have happened in the last three months, then why isn't it reflected in the attitudes of the Iraqi citizens who are living this hell day by day? And third, one of the cornerstones of your counterinsurgency strategy is to deploy U.S. forces into the areas where they conduct operations, and the BBC poll indicates a dramatic increase in the percentage of Iraqis who want U.S.-led forces to leave Iraq. And that supports the finding of the independent commission by General Jones, that said massive troop presence and U.S. military facilities creates a negative perception among Iraqis that U.S. forces are a long-term occupying force. So, how concerned are you that this apparent decline in public confidence is happening due to that, and how do we address it? Is it a public relations problem or is there a substantive strategy issue that we need to face? And I'll start with the ambassador. AMB. CROCKER: Thank you very much, Congresswoman. No, I have not seen this particular poll. As you know, there are a lot of polls out there. And to say the least, I think polling in Iraq at this point is probably a fairly inexact science -- which is not to call into question, you know, this particular poll. I simply don't know. I know that I have seen -- REP. SANCHEZ: It's a BBC/ABC poll. They usually know how to conduct surveys quite well, I would say. AMB. CROCKER: Yeah. What -- REP. SANCHEZ: They certainly find that they count better than most of our generals count in Iraq. And General Petraeus will know what I mean by that. AMB. CROCKER: I have seen other national polling data that shows, for example, that the number of Iraqis who now feel secure in their own neighborhoods and indeed feel secure moving around the city has gone up significantly. I don't know whether that is accurate either. What I do know, since Iraq, with all of its problems and imperfections, is now an open political society where political figures do have a sense of where their constituencies are, that all of Iraq's principal leaders have registered the sense they have that there has been an improvement of security in the course of the surge. And they've also been very clear that they credit multi-national forces with much of that improvement, and that they don't want to see any marked precipitous reduction in how those forces are deployed until conditions sustain it. Another example I would give you is the communique of the leaders on the 26th of August, in which these five individuals, who have some pretty substantia