SMASH AND GRAB (1/23/1998)
A man smashes a truck into a metro Atlanta Macy's Department Store and grabs merchandise.
US Car - Man caught on camera driving vehicle through shopping mall
NAME: US CAR 20070310I TAPE: EF07/0294 IN_TIME: 10:53:29:00 DURATION: 00:01:23:18 SOURCES: Police Handout DATELINE: Augusta, 9 March 2007 RESTRICTIONS: SHOTLIST Surveillance Video Released By Richmond County, Georgia, Sheriff's Office - AP Clients Only 1. Surveillance video showing SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) crashing through mall entrance 2. Various of SUV driving through mall 3. SUV driving through mall food court 4. SUV crashes through doors, exiting mall STORYLINE A mall in Augusta, Georgia turned into a driving course for a man who drove his Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) straight through the building's glass doors. The incident, which was captured on surveillance, shows the driver ramming his vehicle through the mall's entrance and then casually driving around the mall, past closed shops and through the food court. Attempts made by security guards to stop the driver were unsuccessful. Fortunately the mall was empty as the incident occurred after closing hours. Authorities have identified the driver as 47-year old Stephen Lowe. Investigators said Lowe smashed his vehicle into the building following an argument with his wife.
CONTEMPORARY STOCK FOOTAGE
NEWSFEED: SEPT. 19-20, 2002, RUSSIAN AMBASSADORS. AERIAL WHITTIER HS HURRICANE AFTERMATH. MADELINE TOOGOOD IRISH GYPSY TRAVELER, BABY BEATING VIDEO ; DX CALIFORNIA: Dentist at work. Receptionist at work. VAR CU advertisments. Gray Davis speaking, signing ; DX US: UN Russian ambassador giving speech thru translator. Another Russian. They are discussing Georgia, Iraq. Ambassador again ; DX US: White house press conference on Bush meeting with Russians ; DX US: Aerial: School w/ no peds outside. Sign: 'Whittier Cardinals'. LS Cops walking thru school ; DX US: EST 'Shoe Carnival' in rain. INT ransacked. Hurricane damage ; DX US: Dark clouds over power lines, behind US flag. Cars in rain. Fire truck in rain. Down power lines. Hurricane damage ; DX CONT'D: Interviews. Pile of wreckage includes car. INT blown out car. Broken strip mall. Downed street sign ; DX US: Line of cars in rain. Power lines on ground. Apt bldg w/ no roof. Houses and lawns post storm. Hurricane damage; DX CONT'D: House/Garage w/ tree in it. VAR trees on road, on houses ; DX US: Madeline Toogood video: Accused Gypsy, woman caught on video surveillance tape beating her baby in car seat ; NX ISRAEL/PALESTINE: Overlooking Ramallah, searchlight moves ;
MALL IT OFF COCKTAILS 2007
NOTHING LIKE A CASUAL STROLL THROUGH THE MALL WHEN YOU ARE BORED. BUT THIS VIDEO IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT. SURVEILLANCE TAPE SHOWS A DRUNK MAN, SUSPECT STEPHEN LOWE, CRASHING HIS LARGE SUV THROUGH THE MALL DOORS AFTER HOURS AND TAKING A LITTLE TOUR OF THE NEW FOOD COURT AND THEN BUSTING HIS WAY OUT OF THE MALL THROUGH ANOTHER SET OF LOCKED DOORS! POLICE SAY THEY’VE SEEN PEOPLE USE VEHICLES TO CRASH THROUGH DOORS BEFORE DURING ROBBERIES, BUT THEY ARE STUMPED AS TO WHY THIS GUY DECIDED TO DRIVE THROUGH THE SHOPPING CENTER IN THIS MANNER. SECURITY GUARDS CORNER THE MAN AFTER HIS RAMPAGE, BUT HE RESISTS ARREST AND EVENTUALLY GETS A FACE FULL OF PEPPER SPRAY FOR HIS TROUBLE. Stephen Scott Lowe , 48, of the 1100 block of Sadie Drive, first-degree criminal damage to property and misdemeanor counts of obstruction of a law enforcement officer and driving under the influence of alcohol; sentenced under the First Offender Act to 10 years in prison, fined $455 and ordered to pay restitution, take medications and seek mental health treatment
US Quake
AP-APTN-0930: US Quake Wednesday, 24 August 2011 STORY:US Quake- REPLAY Earthquake rattles US north east coast LENGTH: 02:09 FIRST RUN: 0330 RESTRICTIONS: See Script TYPE: English/Nats SOURCE: Various STORY NUMBER: 702543 DATELINE: Various - 23 Aug 2011 LENGTH: 02:09 ABC - NO ACCESS NORTH AMERICA/INTERNET AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY HANDOUT (CONVENIENCE STORE) - AP CLIENTS ONLY PAUL DONOVAN - AP CLIENTS ONLY EXPRESS TIRE AND AUTO SERVICE - AP CLIENTS ONLY SHOTLIST: ++NEW (FIRST RUN 0330 - 24 AUGUST 2011) HANDOUT (CONVENIENCE STORE) - AP CLIENTS ONLY Mineral, Virginia 1. Surveillance video of inside grocery store during earthquake, items falling off shelves ++NEW (FIRST RUN 0330 - 24 AUGUST 2011) EXPRESS TIRE AND AUTO SERVICE - AP CLIENTS ONLY Northern Virginia 2. Mid of man inside office during earthquake (commercial being filmed) (FIRST RUN 1930 - 23 AUGUST 2011) ABC - NO ACCESS NORTH AMERICA/INTERNET Washington 3. Wide of White House, camera shakes as earthquake strikes 4. Security guard directing people on street, UPSOUND (English): "that way, that way" 5. SOUNDBITE: (english) vox pop, Karen Kellibrew: "We were in the restaurant and the whole, it just shook, the ceiling, the floor, everything." ++NEW (FIRST RUN 0330 - 24 AUGUST 2011) AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY Washington 6. Wide of police officers in front of Lincoln memorial 7. SOUNDBITE: (English) Larry and Dianne Puckette, tourists visiting national mall: Larry Puckette: "Just all of the sudden, it just started slowly shaking. I felt like I was standing on a bowl of jelly." Dianne Puckette: "I was on the other side of the building." Larry Puckette: "We could see the people running down from the Lincoln Memorial. I don't know if they had an announcement or what. Everybody ran out of the, ran down the steps." Dianne Puckette: "Someone said they had been inside and things started crumbling." 8. Wide of National Cathedral 9. Mid spires 10. SOUNDBITE: (English) Sam Lloyd, Dean, National Cathedral: "There are some, some of the, of the, what we call the finials - peak pieces on top of the tower that have sustained some cracking, a little bit of breaking. There is a little stone on the ground." 11. Close-up of police car blocking off street in front of the Embassy of Ecuador 12. Zoom in damaged embassy roof 13. Wide of debris on ground, tilt up ++NEW (FIRST RUN 0330 - 24 AUGUST 2011) PAUL DONOVAN - AP CLIENTS ONLY Tysons Corner, Virginia 14. Mid of brick and debris on damaged car, tilt up to damaged roof 15. Tracking shot of damaged cars ++NEW (FIRST RUN 0330 - 24 AUGUST 2011) AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY Berkeley, California 16. SOUNDBITE: (English) Dr. Peggy Hellweg, Research Seismologist, University of California, Berkeley Seismological Laboratory: "On the East Coast the bedrock is harder and closer to the surface and it's more like hitting a bell. And you know if you hit a bell. It rings. You can feel the vibrations all over the bell. And to a certain extent the East Coast is much more like that than it is in California, where we're more chunked together pieces of this and that. And so if you hit it it goes 'thunk', instead of going 'ring'. 17. Mid of Hellweg working on computer at desk STORYLINE: Tens of millions of people from Georgia to Canada were jolted on Tuesday by the strongest earthquake to strike the US East Coast since World War II. Three weeks before the 10th anniversary of September 11, office workers poured out of New York skyscrapers and the Pentagon, relieved it was nothing more sinister than an act of nature. Windows shattered and grocery stores were wrecked in Virginia, where the quake was centered. Cars were also damaged when bricks and debris fell from damaged buildings. In Washington, the White House and Capitol were evacuated. "Just all of the sudden, it just started slowly shaking," said tourist Larry Puckette, who was visiting the National Mall. "I felt like I was standing on a bowl of jelly." There were no known deaths or serious injuries, but cracks appeared in the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral, which had three capstones break off its tower. The cathedral's Dean said officials have already arranged for a structural engineer to assess the damage. The US Geological Survey said the quake registered magnitude 5.8. By West Coast standards, that is mild. But the East Coast is not accustomed to earthquakes at all, and this one unsettled some of the nation's biggest population centres. California-based research seismologist Peggy Hellweg said an earthquake on the East Coast hits the area like the vibrations of a bell. "You can feel the vibrations all over the bell," Hellweg said. "And to a certain extent the East Coast is much more like that than it is in California, where we're more chunked together pieces of this and that. And so if you hit it it goes 'thunk', instead of going 'ring'." 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 (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) AP-NY-08-24-11 0537EDT
ANOTHER ARREST IN MOA SHOOTING (2023)
A 17-year-old suspect accused of fatally shooting 19-year-old Johntae Hudson at Mall of America last month has been arrested in Georgia, police announced Tuesday. Lavon Semaj Longstreet, who is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, was taken into custody Tuesday in Decatur, Georgia. A U.S. Marshals Service task force, aided by sheriff’s deputies from DeKalb and Fulton counties, made the arrest. At the same address, a 30-year-old woman suspected of aiding an offender and a 31-year-old man with a warrant for an unrelated assault were also arrested. Back in Golden Valley, police arrested Longstreet’s mother, who is accused of driving him down to Georgia the day of the shooting. Bloomington Police Chief Booker Hodges said she is being held on suspicion of aiding and abetting.“And I said, ‘Anybody that helps him is going to get locked up,'” Hodges said during a news conference.Police made five arrests shortly after the Dec. 23 shooting at Nordstrom, and prosecutors have so far filed charges against four total suspects. Longstreet was charged via a warrant and was on the run until Tuesday. TaeShawn Adams-Wright, 18, who investigators say also shot at Hudson, is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree assault. Two 17-year-old juveniles were each charged with one count of second-degree riot. A criminal complaint states a group was arguing inside Nordstrom and that Adams-Wright and Longstreet allegedly brandished handguns with extended magazines. The group chased Hudson, and surveillance video allegedly shows Adams-Wright and Longstreet standing over him at different points as muzzle flashes gleam. Hodges said Tuesday he expects further arrests in the case.
US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 16:00
HOUSE FLOOR DEBATE (Live Web/ Mobile): The House meets at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and noon for legislative business. One Minutes// H.J.Res. 70 - Open Our Nation Parks and Museums Act (Rep. Simpson / Appropriations) // H.J.Res. 71 - Provide Local Funding for the District of Columbia Act (Rep. Crenshaw / Appropriations) // H.J.Res. 72 - Honoring our Promise to America's Veterans Act (Rep. Culberson / Appropriations) // H.J.Res. 73 - Honoring our Promise to America's Veterans Act (Rep. Kingston / Appropriations) // H.R. 3230 - Pay Our Guard and Reserve Act (Rep. Rogers (KY) / Appropriations) / 15:56:11toward providing an enhancement in home rule that would cover this. i want that bill brought up as soon as possible, but this is the equivalent for this crisis period. i saw my friend, eleanor holmes 15:56:25norton, almost in tears yesterday because she couldn't believe her own party wouldn't support her. don't do that today. support the delegate from the district of columbia. support the people of the district of columbia in their ability to spend their own 15:56:39money or you will be damning them to taxation without representation. i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from california yields back. the gentleman from florida reserves. the chair will remind all persons in the gallery that they are here as guests of the house and that any manifestation of approval or 15:56:54disapproval of proceedings is in violation of the house rules. the gentleman from new york is recognized. SERRANO (D-NY):just to a quick point. first of all, the gentleman from california, mr. issa, the bill yesterday passed on a voice vote and then he interrupted that, the speaker, 15:57:10and asked for a vote which extended that to a recorded vote. and secondly, i'd like to yield two minutes to the gentlelady from new york, my colleague, the ranking member on the appropriations committee, ms. lowey. 15:57:24THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentlewoman from new york is recognized for two minutes. LOWEY (D-NY):mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to the republican shutdown. we can't cherry pick our way to funding the government. of course we support funding for the district of columbia. but we also support funding for 800,000 americans who are being 15:57:47furloughed, restoring s.b.a. loans to help small businesses grow, restarting head start centers. mr. speaker, i'd say to my friend, eleanor holmes norton, it really pains me that republicans have brought up 15:58:03this cynical bill yet again today. funding one budget at a time is no way to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities to keep the government running or grow our economy. this bill is nothing more than a republican ploy. 15:58:18it isn't designed to solve problems. it is designed to only to help republicans shift blame to the most evident results of their shutdown. it would not be before us if republicans had not been so irresponsible throughout the 15:58:34budgetary process, forcing us into a shutdown. this bill is wasting critical time that should be spent passing the senate-passed compromised bill that we know the president would sign to end the shutdown for all of 15:58:49government. this bill is irresponsible. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from florida. CRENSHAW (R-FL):mr. speaker, could i inquire as to how much time remains on each side? THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the 15:59:12gentleman from florida has six minutes. the gentleman from new york has 5 1/4. CRENSHAW (R-FL):i reserve. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from new york. SERRANO (D-NY):mr. speaker, i recognize ms. kaptur from ohio for unanimous consent request. 15:59:30KAPTUR (D-OH):i want to thank ranking member serrano and ask unanimous consent that the house bring up the senate amendment to h.j.res. 59, the clean continuing resolution, so we can go to conference on a real budget. 15:59:43let's end this republican government shutdown that is already harming economic recovery and has already slowed -- THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:it is recorded in section 956 of the house rules and we entertain requests unless it's been 15:59:59cleared by the bipartisan floor and committee leadership. the gentleman from new york. SERRANO (D-NY):mr. speaker, i recognize mr. price from north carolina for unanimous consent request. PRICE, D. (D-NC):i ask unanimous 16:00:17consent that the house now consider passing clean continuing resolution so they can pay the frontline personnel who -- THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:as the chair previously advised the request cannot be entertained absent propescleern. the gentleman from new york. SERRANO (D-NY):i recognize the gentleman, mr. farr, for 16:00:35unanimous consent request. FARR (D-CA):i ask unanimous consent to bring up the senate amendment to h.r. 59 and stop this silly game-playing, multiple choice government. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:as the 16:00:49chair previously advied that request cannot be entertained without appropriate cleern. SERRANO (D-NY):i recognize mr. pastor for unanimous consent request. 16:01:04PASTOR (D-AZ):i ask unanimous consent that the house bring to the floor the senate amendment the clean continuing resolution which ends the re-- THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:as the chair previously advised that request cannot be entertained 16:01:24absent propes clearance. the gentleman from new york. SERRANO (D-NY):i recognize mr. langevin of rhode island for unanimous consent request. LANGEVIN (D-RI):mr. speaker -- 16:01:37THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the chair will recognize unanimous consent requests but not for debate purposes. the gentleman is recognized. LANGEVIN (D-RI):i ask unanimous consent that the house bring up the senate amendment to h.j. resolution 59, the clean r.c. -- c.r. aened go to conference 16:01:53on a budget so we end this republican government shutdown that's -- THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:as the chair previously stated the request cannot be entertained absent appropriate clearance. the gentleman from new york. SERRANO (D-NY):i recognize mr. 16:02:11butterfield of north carolina for unanimous consent request. BUTTERFIELD (D-NC):i ask unanimous consent that the house bring up the senate resolution -- THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:as the chair previously advised the request cannot be entertained. 16:02:26the gentleman from new york will be charged. time. SERRANO (D-NY):just checking. just checking what i was being charged with. 16:02:40understandable. the gentleman from new york. SERRANO (D-NY):i recognize for unanimous consent request ms. wasserman schultz from the great state of florida. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL):thank you, mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that the 16:02:56house bring up the senate amendment to h.j.res. 59 to end this reckless republican orchestrated shutdown it is time for the house -- THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:as the chair has previously advised that -- the gentlelady is out of order. 16:03:10the gentleman from new york will be charged, time will be charged. SERRANO (D-NY):mr. speaker, i recognize for unanimous consent request ms. meng from new york. MENG (D-NY):she -- 16:03:27THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentlelady will suspend. the chair would advise members that although a unanimous consent request to insert into the request may only be a short statement of the member's 16:03:56thoughts on the subject. the gentleman from new york. SERRANO (D-NY):does that mean members can't state why we should end this charade? 16:04:09THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the members can state their unanimous consent request but cannot engage in debate thereon. the gentlelady may continue. MENG (D-NY):i ask unanimous 16:04:20consent that the house bring up the senate amendment to h.j.res. 59, the clean c.r. and go to conference on a budget so that we end this republican government shutdown. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the request cannot be entertain the gentlelady is out of order. the gentleman from new york. the gentleman from new york. 16:04:40SERRANO (D-NY):for unanimous consent i recognize mr. kennedy of rhode island. massachusetts. i'm sorry. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman is recognized. KENNEDY (D-MA):thank you to my colleague from new york. 16:04:58mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house and ask that the house bring up the senate amendment to h.j.res. 59, the clean c.r. and go to conference on baunlt so that we can end the republican shutdown. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:as the chair has previously advised that cannot be entertained 16:05:16absent appropriate clearance. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from texas. BARTON, J. (R-TX):how much time does the gentleman from new york 16:05:28control? THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from texas has five minutes the gentleman from new york has six. SERRANO (D-NY):i reck nizz for a unanimous consent request mr. kilmer of washington. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from washington. the gentleman from new york. SERRANO (D-NY):ms. mr. veasey of 16:05:53is recognized for unanimous consent. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from new york. SERRANO (D-NY):unanimous consent request. BISHOP, S. (D-GA):before i state my unanimous consent request, may i ask a point of information? 16:06:06THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman may state your inquiry. TAKANO (D-CA):my inquiry is who is the speaker of this house? is it john bayne ore ted cruz. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman is out of order. TAKANO (D-CA):my unanimous 16:06:22consent request is that the house bring up senate amendment h.j.res. 59, the clean c.r. to go to conference on a budget. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:as the chair previously advised that cannot be entertained absent appropriate clearance. 16:06:39SERRANO (D-NY):i recognize for unanimous consent the gentlelady from ohio. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentlelady is recognized. 16:06:57BEATTY (D-OH):i ask unanimous consent that the house bring up -- THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:as the house has previously advised that request can in the be interteen. the gentleman from new york. SERRANO (D-NY):i recognize for unanimous consent request mr. barber of arizona. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the 16:07:11gentleman from arizona. BARBER (D-AZ):mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that the house bring up the senate amendment to h.j.res. 59 the clean c.r. and go to conference 16:07:30on a budget -- THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:as the chair has previously advised that request cannot be entertained absent appropriate cleernts. the gentleman is out of order. the gentleman from new york. the gentleman is out of order. the gentleman from new york. mr. serrano spick recognize for 16:07:45unanimous consent request mr. holt of new jersey. HOLT (D-NJ):i thank the gentleman. i ask unanimous consent that the house bring up senate amendment to h.j.res. 59, the clean c.r. and go to conference on bauget so we can end this 16:08:00republican government shutdown. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:as the chair previously advised that request cannot be entertained absent appropriate clearance. the gentleman from new york. SERRANO (D-NY):i recognize for unanimous consent request the 16:08:15gentleman from new york, mr. maloney. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman is recognized. MALONEY, S. (D-NY):i ask unanimous consent to help the hundred at west point and stewart air national guard base we bring up the crean c.r. and stop this 16:08:32reckless -- THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:that request cannot be entertained absent propes clearance. SERRANO (D-NY):i yield three minutes to the gentlelady from the district of columbia, the representative, ms. holmes norton. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the 16:08:44gentlelady is recognized for three minutes. NORTON (D-DC):i thank the gentleman for yielding and for his support during his time in congress for the district of columbia, not withstanding the way the d.c. budget is coming to the floor this year, i come to the floor to ask my 16:09:00colleagues for help and i think each and every last one of you would be saying exactly the same thing i'm saying if your own district was on the line. i'm speaking for 16 -- for 668,000 innocent bystanders to 16:09:17this federal problem. they have raised $ billion, more than four states, but they're not able to spend a dime of it as a spie speak because this congress hasn't 16:09:31done its work and they have no authority that spend their own local funds. they are living off of contingency funds that are fast running out. you are holding the local funds as if it was your money. it's our money. 16:09:51the strategy of each side seems to deepen the city's crisis. the republicans cherry pick and cherry pick but the health care bill is still on the table. the democrats see that the public is on its side so they don't have any incentive to move. 16:10:07the goals of each side are known but neither has an exit strategy ands the district of columbia that is hurting. if the game plan is to keep this going until the debt ceiling in the middle of the month, please don't. 16:10:24you will -- each day without an agreement is punishing millions of americans in every sing -- and every single d.c. resident. freeing d.c. leaves every bit of the strategy of each side in place. 16:10:39because all the federal funds are there. the original sin was requiring the local budget to come here in the first place. don't compound that original sin by simply throwing d.c. into the pile with federal 16:10:57appropriations and pretending as if it were the same. you have no right to pull a defenseless city into this federal boxing match. you have no right to use the 16:11:11good name of the people of the district of columbia alongside appropriations no matter how wonderful they are. 16:11:21those appropriations depend upon your funding. the $8 billion is our funding. you have no right to leave our local budget sticking up like a sore thumb among the federal 16:11:36appropriations. it's our money, not yours. do not drive the nation's capital into crisis. pass this bill. free d.c. please. 16:11:49free the people of the district of columbia. and i thank the chairman and yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentlelady's time -- the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from florida. CRENSHAW (R-FL):can i inquire of 16:12:07the gentleman from new york, how many remaining speakers do you have? two? we don't have any additional speakers, i reserve. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from new york. SERRANO (D-NY):mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the 16:12:22gentleman from michigan, mr. kildee. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman is recognized for one minute SERRANO (D-NY):can i find out how much time i have left. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from florida has six. the gentleman from michigan is 16:12:40recognized. KILDEE (D-MI):i thank the gentleman for yielding. i'm new to congress and i knew when i was elected last year that i was coming to a place where i would be in the minority, and where it was a highly partisan environment. 16:12:54i was elected to replace the gentleman mitigating circumstance uncle, who served in this body for 36 year, sat alongside mr. dingell who we heard from earlier. i did not believe, though,s that i was elected to a body where the majority would impose 16:13:10its will and use the rules to prevent a vote on the floor of the house for action that would open government, that the president supports, that the 16:13:26senate has already adopted, and that democrats and republicans in this body have both act knowledged would pass if it were brought to a vote here on the floor of the house. we the how we can get d.c. and the whole rest of the government open again. it's simp throw do what the will of this body would have us 16:13:43do if we were only allowed a vote and that is to bring the senate c.r. to the floor of the house. we will pass it. we'll get government to open again. then we can go to conference -- THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the 16:13:57gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from florida continues to reserve. the gentleman from new york. SERRANO (D-NY):i recognize for a unanimous consent statement mr. bishop of georgia. BISHOP, S. (D-GA):i thank the gentleman, in order to end 16:14:14these childish games and put our american government back to work for the american people i ask unanimous consent that the house bring up senate amendment to h.j.res. 59. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:as the chair has previously advised that request cannot be entertained absent appropriate 16:14:31clearance. the gentleman from new york. SERRANO (D-NY):i yield myself the remaining time. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman is recognized. SERRANO (D-NY):i just wish in the 23 years i have been fighting on behalf of the district of columbia i had heard so much love from the other side for 16:14:47the d.c. k -- for the district of columbia. s that game. this is a ploy. it's such a ploy that even when they had an opportunity get by under the screen yesterday they didn't do it. let me just end briefly by repeating this. 16:15:02there was a vote called on the floor. no one from this side called for a vote. the speaker said that the bill had passed. someone, they're denying now who it was, from that side called for a vote. 16:15:16we had a vote on this bill yesterday which resulted in what it resulted in because that side called for a vote. why? because they wanted to show a vote on the board. they wanted to make this a show, a trick, and a ploy, and a sham. 16:15:31they didn't want that bill to really pass. i'm not sure they want the bill to pass today. i yield back the time. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from new york yield back. the gentleman from florida. CRENSHAW (R-FL):thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself the remaining time. there's been a lot of talk 16:15:46about political games. watch people parade up and down and make speeches urn the guise of a unanimous consent and i'm not sure how serious that is. i'm not sure how much that complies with the rules of the house but be that as it may, and you have folks on the other 16:16:06side that say they really believe the district of columbia ought to be able to spend its own money but yet they vote no on the authorization to do that. we're in the second day of a 16:16:20shutdown of the federal government. a lot of people are upset. i'm upset. i'm disappointed. because it doesn't have to be this way. three separate occasions, this house sent to the senate a 16:16:37continuing resolution, would have kept the government open, kept the government running. three times. and yet three times the democratic-controlled senate said no. not once, not twice, but three times. 16:16:51and then this house sent to the senate a continuing resolution that also said, let's appoint a conference committee. that's a group of individuals from the house and a group of individuals from the senate, they would sit down and they would try to resolve these 16:17:07differences, to try to keep the government open. because how are you going to solve a problem unless you sit down? that's what we call a conference committee. and then you try to move forward. but the senate once again said no. 16:17:22now, we all know that we have conference committees from time to time. the gentleman from new york and i, he's the ranking member of the financial services subcommittee, of appropriations, we have jurisdiction over lots of different agencies. the i.r.s., the department of 16:17:41treasury, the federal court system, the supreme court. the securities and exchange commission, the federal communications commission. and we drafted a spending bill this year and i assume the senate was working on their own 16:17:54spending bill somewhere, somehow, some way. and usually when it all ends up, there's a conference committee and you try to work out your differences. for instance, we oversee the i.r.s. and members might remember the scandal that took 16:18:11place. as we were appropriating money to the i.r.s., we found out that they had been singling out individuals and groups of individuals based on their political philosophy and they had intimidated them, they'd bullied them, they'd held them 16:18:26up and we thought that was wrong. and so when we drafted our appropriations bill, we didn't give the i.r.s. all the money they asked for. but the senate might have done something different and if that was the case, then we would come together and have a conference 16:18:41committee and we would talk about that. and that's all we're saying here. why don't we sit down and have a conference committee about how we're going to fund the federal government? that's the way to get started. that's the way to figure out a 16:18:59final way. that's the way to stop this shutdown. again, we don't have to be here. it's disappointing. i wish we could move ahead. but at least, at least let's pass this continuing resolution, 16:19:13let's say to the district of columbia, we've met our legal responsibility, we have appropriated the -- their own local funds so they can move on with their lives. let's don't punish the citizens of the district of columbia, let's don't punish the people that work in the district of 16:19:27columbia. that try to keep the city open, keep it running, keep it safe, keep it clean. let's pass this resolution and move ahead. with that i urge the adoption of this resolution and i yield back my time. 16:19:42THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. all time for debate has expired. pursuant to house resolution 370, the previous question is ordered. the question is on engrossment and third reading of the resolution. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. third reading. THE CLERK:joint resolution 16:19:59making continuing appropriations for the local funds of the district of columbia for fiscal year 2014. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the question is on passage of the joint resolution. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the resolution is passed. without objection, the motion is 16:20:19laid upon the table. is reconsidered. it shall be reconsidered. for what purpose does the 16:20:36gentleman from maryland rise? VAN HOLLEN (D-MD):mr. speaker, i move to take from the speaker's table h.j.res. 59, with the house amendment to the senate amendment thereto, to recede in the house amendment and concur in the senate amendment. 16:20:54THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:under section 2 of house resolution 368, the motion may be offered only by the majority leader or his designee. VAN HOLLEN (D-MD):mr. speaker, parliamentary inquiry. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:state your inquiry. VAN HOLLEN (D-MD):i am looking at the standing rules of the house, specifically standing rule 22, 16:21:10section 4, which reads, when the stage of disagreement has been reached on a bill or resolution with house or senate amendments, 16:21:19a motion to dispose of any amendment shall be privileged. my question, mr. speaker, is, haven't we now reached that state of disagreement as defined by rule 22, section 4? THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the 16:21:36gentleman is correct. but under section 2, house resolution 386, the motion may be offered only by the majority leader or his designee. VAN HOLLEN (D-MD):parliamentary inquiry, mr. speaker. because you started by saying the gentleman's correct. 16:21:52did you mean that i am correct in saying that the standing house rule 22, section 4, that says that the stage of disagreement has been reached on a bill or resolution with the house or senate amendments, that that would be applicable under 16:22:08the stating -- standing rule if the standing rule was in order? THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman is correct. VAN HOLLEN (D-MD):so, parliamentary inquiry, mr. speaker. what is it that changed the normal rules of the house with respect to the ability of any member, including myself, or any member on the other side to 16:22:25offer a resolution calling up the c.r. passed by the senate and asked that it be sent to the white house immediately? why is that standing rule of the house not in operation right now? THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the 16:22:38house is operating under the terms of house resolution 368 in which the amendment may be offered only by the majority leader or his designee. VAN HOLLEN (D-MD):mr. speaker, parliamentary inquiry. i'm asking why it is that the standing rule of the house, the normal rules of the house that web of been operating under, rule 22-4, what is it that 16:23:00changed that that makes it impossible for me to now offer a motion to send the clean c.r. to the white house where the president could sign it tonight? what is it that has changed the standing rule of the house? 16:23:13THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:a special order has limited that to house resolution 368, which limits that to the majority leader or his designee. VAN HOLLEN (D-MD):parliamentary inquiry. so a special order has changed and modified the standing rule 16:23:31of the house. am i right about that? THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:house resolution 368 has modified that order. VAN HOLLEN (D-MD):i just want to be clear. parliamentary inquiry. under the regular order of the house, would any member of the house, including myself, be able to call up a motion to 16:23:48immediately send the c.r. to fund the government to the president of the united states? to immediately call up and have a vote on that? THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the chair will not respond to a hypothetical. VAN HOLLEN (D-MD):mr. speaker, parliamentary inquiry. 16:24:02let me just finish this line of questioning, mr. speaker. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from maryland, state your inquiry. VAN HOLLEN (D-MD):thank you, mr. speaker. just so i understand the response under the rules of the house, you indicated that the standing rules of the house have been put aside in favor of h.r. -- h.res. 368, is that correct? 16:24:24THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:that is correct. VAN HOLLEN (D-MD):and peril meantry inquiry. am i correct that section 2 of that new rule says that any motion pursuant to the standing rule, clause 4 of rule 22, may 16:24:37now only be offered by the republican leader or the designee of the republican leader, is that correct? THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the 16:24:51chair will state the following response. under section 2 of house resolution 368, the motion may be offered only by the majority leader or his designee. VAN HOLLEN (D-MD):just -- parliamentary inquiry. the rule that has now been placed over the house in 16:25:07substitute for the standing rules of the house gives only the majority leader or his designee the ability to move up and ask for a vote on the clean senate bill that would go to the white house, is that correct? THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the 16:25:22chair will not respond to characterization and will state again, under section 2 of house resolution 368, that motion may be offered only by the majority leader or his designee. VAN HOLLEN (D-MD):parliamentary inquiry. it seems pretty clear that we've taken the normal rules of the house, mr. speaker, parliamentary inquiry, and 16:25:38substituted in its place a provision that says, only the republican leader can -- THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman has not stated a proper parliamentary inquiry. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):i call up the joint resolution h.j.res. 73, a joint resolution making continuing 16:25:56appropriations for the national institute of health, for the fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes. and ask for its immediate consideration. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the clerk will report -- the clerk will report the title of the joint resolution. 16:26:11THE CLERK:joint resolution making continuing appropriations for the national institutes of health for fiscal year 2014, and 16:26:19for other purposes. 16:26:32pursuant to house resolution 370, the joint resolution is considered read. it shall be debatable for 30 minutes, equally divided and controlled by the ranking minority -- by the chair and ranking minority leader. mr. kingston and ms. delauro will each control 15 minutes. the chair recognizes the 16:26:50gentleman from georgia. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.j.res. 73 and that i may include tab lar material on the -- tabular material on the bill. 16:27:08THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:without objection, so ordered. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from texas is recognized for two minutes. BARTON, J. (R-TX):thank you. i would ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:without objection. 16:27:18BARTON, J. (R-TX):mr. speaker, i rise in strong support of this resolution. i'm the chairman emeritus of the energy and commerce committee. back in 2006, passed the re-authorization of the n.i.h. which authorized increased funding, set up some new 16:27:36programs, reformed the agency, and was viewed at that time as a landmark for the n.i.h. the bill before us today would fund the functions of the n.i.h. for the next fiscal year. we all agree with the programs 16:27:54that n.i.h. is engaged in, trying to find curious for cancer, alzheimer's, heart disease, lung disease, autism, you name it. unfortunately yesterday apparently the majority leader in the senate doesn't agree with 16:28:08that. he was asked by a cnn reporter named dana bash about supporting this particular bill and the senator gave a somewhat negative answer. so the reporter came back and i quote directly, but if you can 16:28:25help one child who has cancer, why wouldn't you do it? and the answer from the majority leader was, why would we want to do that? i have 1,100 people at an air force base that are sitting at home, they have a few problems of their own. 16:28:43this is to have someone of your intelligence to suggest such a thing maybe means you're irresponsible and wreckless. and the reporter responded, i'm just asking a question. mr. speaker, we should pass this resolution notwithstanding what 16:28:56the majority leader in the other body says. it's very straightforward. i think in any normal situation there would be bipartisan support for this. ms. delauro and mr. kingston have worked very hard on a bipartisan basis. 16:29:12i'm not aware there are any real concerns about the funding that haven't been worked out in the committee. this is an example of bipartisanship that is working. there's absolutely no reason we can't put our differences aside and pass this resolution. i ask that we support it at the 16:29:28appropriate time. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from georgia reserves. the gentlelady from connecticut. DELAURO (D-CT):i yield myself such time as i may consume. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:without objection. DELAURO (D-CT):i rise in opposition to this cynical and quite frankly offensive n.i.h. funding bill. instead of simply allowing a vote on the budget for the full 16:29:43government, the majority is continuing their hostage crisis approach to governing. let us call nor what it is. it's a desperate attempt by irresponsible lawmakers to play political games with a cray sis they have created. a crisis that is costing the 16:30:00american economy $300 million a day. the number will go up as the shutdown continues. i am an ovarian cancer survivor. i stand here today because of the grace of god and because of the hard work done by the men 16:30:15and women at the n.i.h. so i know firsthand the value and the importance of medical research. and i have been fighting for months, for years, even to get this majority to support the life-saving medical research at 16:30:30the national institutes of health. . if you factor in population growth and inflation, n.i. shmplet 14% below what it was in 2010 when the majority took over they will number of research grants is lower than 16:30:46it has been since 2001 this diminishes the n.i.h.'s ability to fund research, conduct clinical trials and develop new life-saving treatments. this majority has long refused to bring a labor, health, and education funding bill up for 16:31:02consideration though i have asked over and over and over again for them to bring it up. the budget they drafted a few months ago made deep and dangerous cuts to the n.i.h. and the bill before us seeks to make permanent the unacceptable 16:31:18funding cuts caused by sequestration, cuts that are stalling lifesaving buy y medical research across this country. the majority talks out of both sides of their mouths. i find this new attention to n.i.h. funding disingenuous. 16:31:31mr. speaker, while medical research is vitally important, it is also one of the many vitally important things our government does. we also help to feed women and children living on the edge and nine million have been cut off from nutrition support. 16:31:45we also keep track of the spread of infectious diseases and the centers for disease control has been forced to halt those activities. we help students pay for college, protect the nation's food supply, provide meals to low-income seniors, help 16:32:03support food banks for the hungry. we provide job training for the unemployed and returning veterans. we ensure access to mental health service for those who need them, we educate the disadvantage and the disabled. we ensure the nation has clean water to drink an clean air to 16:32:20breathe. we help small businesses start and grow. we help middle class home buyers secure funds. where is the funding for all of these other important activities? the american people are sick of 16:32:34this reckless behavior. it is time to act like responsible adult -- responsible adults instead of letting the extreme wing of the majority shut down the government, instead of wasting time trying to play politics, instead of cherry picking important programs like the n.i.h., we should be working on 16:32:51a -- on a budget for the entire government. one that does right by all of our fundamental priority creerks ates jobs, supports middle class and working families and ensures long-term growth that is what we were elected to do. that is our job. 16:33:06let's stop playing games and get to work and i reserve the balance of my time. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentlelady reserves. the gentleman from georgia. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):i recognize the gentleman from arkansas for two minutes. 16:33:22THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. WOMACK (R-AR):i rise in support of the resolution because it allows the nmple i.h. to continue to operate at f.y. 2013 funding levels until mid december. 16:33:36it mors the clean c.r. that our friend across the aisle and senate democrats said they'll support. it should be supported by all members of congress. the n. inch h.'s goal to invest in restorgee lead to depuresds 16:33:57like pancreatic cancer. it supports 35,000 research grants at over 3,000 institutes and universities across our country in my home state of arkansas, mr. speaker, the university of arkansas for 16:34:09medical sciences is one such institute, and just this morning, uams cancer institute announced a new collaboration with high lappeds oncology. it will undoubtedly bring opportunity arkansas, our 16:34:25research and our cancer patients asms many of my colleagues know, 2/3 of n.i.h.'s staff has been furloughed due to the lapse in appropriations. nmple i.h. has been forced to shut down the pipeline for finding future lifesaving cures and has shut off all systems 16:34:41that support grant review, leaving our researchers with many uncertainties. that's where this resolution comes in. federal funding is esen torble sustaining the mission of improving health for scientific breakthroughs and maintaining 16:34:55international leadership in biomedical research which is why we must allow the n.i.h. to stay open while we can't to work toward regular order and through funding the rest of our federal government. i urge my colleagues to support this critical legislation, legislation on which our 16:35:11scientists, our doctors, our future depends. i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from arkansas yields back. the gentleman from georgia reserves. the gentlelady from connecticut. 16:35:25DELAURO (D-CT):i yield one and a half minutes to mr. miller of california. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from california is recognized for a minute and a half. without objection. MILLER, GEORGE (D-CA):mr. speaker, the house floor is starting to feel like a new episode of "the 16:35:42hunger games," every day the republican leadership tries to find a new way to pit one desperate group of americans against another. today republicans are pitting kids with cancer against kids who are hungry because of the shuttown this bill is designed to release funds to the n.i.h. 16:35:58today so they can reduce funding for kids, programs that keep children with the nutrition they need. far little longer they can go hungry while we take care of the kids with cancer. 16:36:13i don't buy their new concern about n.i.h. funding and the 16:36:17american people aren't buying it either. what did they think would happen when they shut down the n.i.h.? did they have any working knowledge of what takes place at the n.i. snmplet the gentleman from arkansas related the integral nature of n. inch thomplet universities across 16:36:33this country, yet they thought it was free to shut down the n.i.h.? now they discovered that hundreds of children receive treatment at n.i.h., they think that should be kept open but 16:36:50head start should be shut down. some 85,000 kids in arkansas who go without nutritional assistance because of the shutdown what about those? will you come and rescue them? will you rescue the head start children who are losing the 16:37:03opportunity to go to school? what about the active service members who are now facing four-day school weeks in their classrooms, the elimination of summer program because of the shutdown. when will you take care of mill tear services children? 16:37:19what is this, every day we pick a victim of this shutdown against another helpless victim of this shutdown and they think this -- THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman's time has expire. the gentleman is no longer recognized. the gentleman -- the gentlelady from connecticut. 16:37:36DELAURO (D-CT):i yield the gentleman 30 seconds. MILLER, GEORGE (D-CA):this government provides to millions of people across the country, to businesses, to millions of people who have nowhere else to go to get help because of the 16:37:52threats to their lives. i thank the gentlewoman from bringing this opposition to this resolution to the floor. i hope all members of congress and just do what you can do in the next couple of hours, simply have a clean c.r. to open up the government and let the people get the services 16:38:08they need and let the public service -- servants who provide those services go back to work. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman tees i'm -- the wrelt's time has expired. the gentleman from georgia. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):i yield two minutes to the 16:38:25gentleman from michigan, the distinguished chairman of the energy and commerce committee. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:two minutes to the gentleman from michigan. UPTON (R-MI):the failure of not having a c.r. is that both sides have failed to negotiate an agreement to keep the government open. let's hope that the 5:30 16:38:40meeting this afternoon between speaker boehner, leaders pelosi, mcconnel, and reid, and the president is not a finger pointing meeting. it's in the a my way or the highway meeting but a constructive way to get a bill 16:38:55most of us can support. whether that comes tonight or tomorrow or next week or the following week, at some point the sun will come up. it's going to happen. in the meantime, we shouldn't harm the folks in dire need. 16:39:11i support, strongly support the n.i.h. i look at mr. waxman mitigating circumstance colleague, ranking member on the energy and commerce committee, the two of us led the effort to double the money for the n.i.h. a number of years ago. we have folks waiting in the queue to participate in 16:39:31life-saving clinical trials. they have every right to be furious with this body. but we can fix that by passing this bill so that they don't have to wait. come on. let's put policy over politics 16:39:45and do this. not for us, but for them. and i yield back the balance of my time. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from georgia reserves. the gentlelady from connecticut. DELAURO (D-CT):i yield one and a 16:40:00halfmens to the gentleman from california, mr. waxman. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman is recognized for one and a half minutes. WAXMAN (D-CA):let's put policy over politics by funding the government. what this reckless closing of the government has accomplished is to stall a lot of government 16:40:15agencies from doing their mission. and one of the most important agencies that has a mission that is irreplace sble the n.i.h. but if you look at the underlying bill, the republican bill to fund the government 16:40:32which we're willing to accept, puts n.i.h. at a really low amount for appropriations. so it's thoord take this claim they want to help n.i.h. seriously. the republican agenda is reflected in their budget. 16:40:49republicans proposed a 20% cut to health, education, and labor programs and that's a $5 billion loss for n.i.h. what does that mean? it means that n.i.h. clinical center has to turn away 16:41:05hundreds of patients, many of them children, who desperately need care. well, this is singling out n.i.h. but what about the other important work that's done to 16:41:16prevent and cure diseases? what about the efforts for the centers for disease control and prevention? they are not going to be re-opened by this legislation. and they detect and respond to disease outbreaks. the food and drug 16:41:30administration. they're not going to get any money by virtue of this special singling out bill. they won't be able to do their routine inspections of food and drugs to protect the public from abuses. if the republicans were truly interested in n.i.h., they 16:41:47would remove the sequester and restore funding for the n.i.h. and other critical programs. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlelady from connecticut reserves. the gentleman from georgia. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):let me say to my 16:42:03distinguished friend from florida, i would like to move the c.d.c. and i would ask him to co-sponsor that legislation. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):i think it's very important. WAXMAN (D-CA):would the gentleman yield to me? 16:42:19KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):yes. WAXMAN (D-CA):let's fund all the government efforts, including the c.d.c. and n.i.h., not single one out. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):i'll say this to my friend. 16:42:32a long journey begins with small steps. if we could take a few small steps. WAXMAN (D-CA):fuppeding the government is one step we could 16:42:48take. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):i yield one minute to the distinguished gentlewoman, former nurse from north carolina. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentlelady is recognized for one minute from north carolina. ELLMERS (R-NC):i thank the 16:43:04gentleman. i rise in support of the research for lifesaving cures act and i am funding of the n.i.h. and -- to help bring life-saving cures to sick americans. the situation here in washington today should not be standing in the way of this 16:43:20important life-saving work. there is no defensible argument against this legislation. n.i.h. has been in the forefront of biomedical discoveries that have revolutionized the field of medicine. these discoveries have laid the foundation for treatments and 16:43:36cures for many diseases, including cancer. and improving the lives of countless americans. the government shutdown is preventing new patients from entering clinical trials. for those patients, it's a matter of life and is death. 16:43:51it is not a matter of politics. about 200 people register at the n.i.h. every week. about 30 of those are children. 10 of which have cancer. we must ensure that medical care is not suspended for these patients, especially those 16:44:06children. they are faced with difficulty. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentlelady's time has expired. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):how much time do we have remaining? THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from georgia has 7 3/4, the gentleman from texas 16:44:23has eight. ELLMERS (R-NC):i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from georgia reserves. the gentlelady from connecticut. DELAURO (D-CT):there is no defense against keeping this government closed. if the majority was serious about funding the n.i.h. in their 2014 appropriations bill 16:44:38they would have provided it with adequate funds. with that, i yield one and a half minutes to my friend the gentlelady from new york and the ranking member of the appropriations committee, ms. lowey. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the 16:44:54gentlelady is recognized. LOWEY (D-NY):i rise in strong opposition to the reckless republican shutdown. there's no stronger supporter of the national institutes of health, members on both sides of the aisle have long supported the crown jewel of the government. but we didn't have an opportunity to vote on the bill 16:45:11funding this year because republicans didn't have the courage of their convictions to stand behind the 22% cut. funding one budget item at a time, even one as important as the n.i.h., does nothing to help children get 16:45:27immunizations, conduct disease surveillance, provide meals to seniors and poor children who depend on assistance for survival. or continue food inspections to protect the food supply. this bill is nothing more than a republican ploy. 16:45:42it would not be necessary if republicans had not been so irresponsible throughout the budgetary process, forcing us into a shutdown. we could end the shutdown today if the majority would only allow a vote on the senate-passed bill which 16:45:59includes the funding levels republicans support and would be signed by the president. if you really care about biomedical research and public health, you should vote no on this bill and demand that the republican leadership allow the 16:46:15house to vote on the senate bill immediately and end the reckless republican shutdown. . THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the 16:46:28gentleman from georgia. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):mr. speaker, i yield one minute to dr. tim murphy, a distinguished psychiatrist, psychologist, lieutenant commander in the navy, and the chairman of the oversight and investigations committee of the energy and commerce committee. 16:46:43THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for one minute. MURPHY, T. (R-PA):thank you, friends and colleagues and fellow americans. please listen. i'm not here to defend this government shutdown and long after we are gone, people are going to remember the rancor of this house, not the good we've done. i don't defend the decision to shut down the national institute of health. 16:46:58it's too valuable. it funds life-saving research and has a hospital that cares for 200 adults and children waiting for experimental treatments to save their lives. when asked about shutting down the n.i.h., even if it saves one child with cancer, senator reid said, why would i want to do that? instead he has people on an air 16:47:16force base with problems of their own. i don't think the senator is heartless. rather i believe he's an honorable man and it pains him to know the n.i.h. is closed. just because reasonable people cannot sit down and talk. and i believe the president is an honorable man who also doesn't want the n.i.h. closed 16:47:32be, even though with a stroke of his pen he could declare it open. but here is he immersed in a battle because some people refuse to sit down and talk. and i believe our colleagues are honorable, mr. speaker. nobody wants anybody with terminal illness hurt. let's not make the n.i.h. a 16:47:47political battlefield. while some people refuse to sit down and talk, let's do the honorable thing and keep alive the hopes of those who wait for a cure. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from georgia reserves. the gentlelady from connecticut. DELAURO (D-CT):nobody cares much 16:48:03about the nine million women and children who are going to be cut off from through trigs programs or the spread of infectious diseases or people who need to pay for college. with that what i'd like to do is yield 1 1/2 minutes to the 16:48:19gentleman from maryland, the ranking member of the budget committee, mr. van hollen. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from maryland is recognized for 1 1/2 minutes. VAN HOLLEN (D-MD):thank you, mr. speaker. i have the great privilege of representing the congressional district that is home to the national treasure that we call the national institutes of health. where you have scientists doing critically important work. 16:48:35looking for treatments and cures to diseases that playing every american. these are -- plague every american. these are scientists, they're not republican scientists, they're not democratic scientists, they're scientists. they're very smart people. and i've heard from some of them and they say, they are not 16:48:51fooled by this cynical ploy on the house today. because they know that the fastest way to open up the national institutes of health would be to take up the clean senate-passed bill and send it 16:49:09to the president tonight. that's how you help the national institutes of health. and they also have kids in schools. so they'd also like to keep open the department of education and help the department of veterans 16:49:25affairs. and they know that the way to do that is not to cherre-pick little pieces of government and leave the rest of it to die on the vine. but to pass the c.r., the clean c.r., and keep n.i.h. open, the department of veterans affairs 16:49:40open, all the parks open, the defense department open. to keep the government open. why hasn't that happened? the speaker of the house refuses to hold a vote in this people's house. what's he afraid of? the democracy? what's he afraid of, we're going to vote to open the government, 16:49:56because that's exactly what would happen fufment want to help n.i.h., vote for the clean c.r., get it done tonight. quit the game playing. thank you, mr. speaker. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlelady from connecticut reserves. the gentleman from georgia. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):mr. speaker, i 16:50:13yield one minute to the gentleman from mississippi, mr. harper. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from mississippi is recognized for one minute. HARPER (R-MS):i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:without objection. HARPER (R-MS):mr. speaker, i rise today in support of the research for life-saving cures proposal. 16:50:30this vote is about helping some of our country's most vulnerable patients. seniors hoping for cures to long-time illnesses, precious children and their families looking for answers about genetic disorders, and the scientists who are proving -- 16:50:44who are moving ever-so close to discovering america's next medical breakthroughs find themselves asking if they'll be able to continue their life's work. the national institutes of health provide support to promising research, leading to life-saving treatments. innovative clinical trialing 16:51:02aiming to reverse the core symptoms of disorders, such as fragile leg syndrome, autism, spinal musculars a roify, down syndrome, and cystic fibrosis, 16:51:15to name a few. these give families hope, the research that is there. but this is just the beginning. these studies help our nation's most dedicated scientists build promising discoveries. to continue these trials, 16:51:27congress must allow the n.i.h. to stay open while we work on getting the government back up and running. this isn't about scoring political points. it's about principles and as the father of a special needs child, i know the challenges that these families face. 16:51:45vote yes. vote for fairness. and i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from georgia reserves. the gentlelady from connecticut is recognized. DELAURO (D-CT):once again, if the majority had been interested in the n.i.h., it would have moved to introduce its appropriations bill with an increase in funding 16:52:01for the n.i.h., which it didn't. with that, let me just yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from michigan, the distinguished ways and means committee ranking member, mr. levin. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from michigan is recognized for one minute and a half. LEVIN, S. (D-MI):i've listened to the 16:52:17debate. nobody on the republican side has answered this question. why not a vote on a clean c.r.? why not? it would pass. that's why you're not bringing 16:52:33it up. it's politics within your conference. but it's harming the people of this country. piece by piece it's hiding the reality. let me point to a bit of it. 2013 figures compared to 2012 16:52:50for n.i.h., approximately 700 fewer competitive research project grants issued. approximately 750 fewer new patients admitted to the n.i.h. clinical center. 16:53:05cuts to research delaying progress in development of better cancer drugs that zero in on a tumor with fewer side effects. i'm reading from an n.i.h. document. research on a universal flu 16:53:20vaccine that could fight every strain of influenza without needing a yearly shot. come forth and tell us why not a vote on a clean c.r.? don't give us all the other stories. 16:53:35come someone and say, why not? why not a clean vote? it would pass. we can do it. a long journey in one step. right now. 16:53:50i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlelady from connecticut reserves. the gentleman from georgia. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the chairman of the republican study committee, the gentleman from louisiana, mr. scalise. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from louisiana is recognized for one minute. SCALISE (R-LA):thank you, mr. 16:54:05speaker. and i thank the gentleman from georgia for yielding. mr. speaker, i rise in strong support of this bill that funds the n.i.h., and makes sure that cancer patients are able to get the treatments that they need. and that that vital research continues to move forward. clearly we've got some disagreements between the house 16:54:20and senate on other areas of government funding. but shouldn't we at least be able to come together on this area where we all have agreement and make sure we take care of those cancer patients so they're not held hostage to these other negotiations? and in fact we should be able to get that. 16:54:35but, mr. speaker, senator reid, the senate majority leader was earlier asked, if you could help one child who has cancer, why wouldn't do you it? and senate majority leader reid's response was, why would we want to do that? it would be disgraceful, mr. speaker, for senator reid to 16:54:51deny cancer patients the treatment and the research that they deserve just because he wants to score some kind of political point. mr. speaker, it's not too late for senate majority leader reid to have a change of heart. stop holding people hostage. we can come to agreement as 16:55:08republican and democrat, let's do that and then deal with the other areas of disagreement. but let's at least take care of our cancer patients. i yield back the balance of my time. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman's time has expired. members are reminded to refrain from engaging in personalities toward the senate or individual members of the senate. the gentleman from georgia 16:55:24reserves. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):how much time is left, mr. speaker? DELAURO (D-CT):on both sides. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from georgia has 4 3/4. the gentlelady from connecticut has 3 1/2. the gentlelady from connecticut is recognized. DELAURO (D-CT):mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the 16:55:39gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from tennessee is recognized for one minute. COHEN (D-TN):thank you, madam chairman. mr. speaker, i -- thank you, ma'am. mr. speaker, i take umbrage at this whole process. in september of 1954 i came down with polio which effects me to this day. 16:55:54and the vaccine which was helped develop by the national institute of health didn't become available until about six months later. i've asked mr. kingston, i've asked people in this house for six months, i've spoken on this floor, i've written editorials to fund the national institutes of health, to find cures for 16:56:10cancer and heart disease and 16:56:12stroke and diabetes and parkinson's and they can do it and it's cut by the sequester by $1.6 billion. and not once have the republicans said we'll fund it and we'll find cures to disease, we'll use this department of our defense for our human beings and 16:56:27fund it at the level it should be so that other people like me won't get a disease six months earlier than the cure was available. they haven't come forth once. these are crocodile tears, this is politics, it's not trying to cure people. it's not trying to create -- 16:56:42stop illness and create cures. and i really object to this being used politically. i have spoken six months ago to put the money back and find cures and i got nowhere. thank you, madam speaker. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman's time has expired. 16:56:57the gentlelady reserves. the gentleman from georgia. the gentleman from georgia. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):mr. speaker, i want to say that my good friend from tennessee, if you take out the tap funding, which is what the obama cair -- what the obama administration charges the 16:57:16n.i.h. to conduct business, this is level funding. and with that i yield one minute to mr. the gentleman from pennsylvania. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for one minute. ROTHFUS (R-PA):mr. speaker, i rise 16:57:34in strong support on the research for life-saving cures act. to take a minute, you wonder why we're here right now. it's because the n.i.h. has been closed and why is it closed? we passed a bill just the other night to keep the n.i.h. open and the whole government open 16:57:48but we wanted to stop the special treatment that members of congress were getting. as a cancer survivor and somebody who has benefited from work by doctors who have worked at the national cancer institute at n.i.h., it's important that we continue to fund n.i.h. and i 16:58:03rise in strong support of this legislation. it's time to end senator reid's government shutdown, which threatens not only research at the n.i.h. but across -- work across the government. it's very simple to do it. just stop the special treatment 16:58:19for members of congress and stop the special treatment for the friends of the administration. i thank the speaker and i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from georgia reserves. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):i yield one minute and 15 seconds to the gentlewoman from tennessee, ms. 16:58:36black, a nurse. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentlelady from tennessee is recognized for one minute. BLACK (R-TN):thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, as a registered nurse for over 40 years, i am privileged to speak on the importance of funding n.i.h. and the research that is done at this institution has been 16:58:51invaluable to our health care system and fought toture of our medical industry. but most importantly it is important to the people's lives. but i think it's important to remember exactly how we got here today. to the point where we're voting on this important measure on its own measures. 16:59:06my house republican colleagues and i have said from the beginning that the american people didn't want a government shutdown. and they also didn't want obamacare. and so we sent three different measures over to the senate and on all of these occasions, the senate -- three different 16:59:22measures to the senate that would keep the n.i.h. and the rest of the government open. but also to help shield the people from the harmful effects of obamacare, this disastrous law, and also to create fairness for everyone. but it was blocked bihari reid 16:59:43effectively shutting down the -- by harry reid effectively shutting down the government. what we need is democrat-led government shutdown to stop and for senator reid to drop his tactics and to restore these 16:59:56programs. thank you and i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from georgia reserves. the gentlelady from connecticut. DELAURO (D-CT):i quickly say to my colleague from georgia, and i know he knows this, that congress instructs the secretary on how it should be 17:00:12used. with that let me yield one minute to the gentleman from minnesota, mr. ellison. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from minnesota is recognized for one minute. ELLISON (D-MN):you know, mr. speaker, it reminds me of the case where someone stole another person's coat and then 17:00:28came back and offered very pie ousley to help them -- piously to help them find it all the while knowing it was stashed away. we're here for one reason and 17:00:43one reason only and that is the republicans object to the affordable care act and refuse to fund the government unless it is defunded. how many times have we heard delay, defund and all that little jingle they do? that is why we are here. and now we have people coming 17:00:59to the floor piously urging for funding for d.c. and young people and all this kind of stuff. you know, it's as if they didn't know that when they shut down the government that d.c. 17:01:11and young people and n.i.h. were going to be cut. obviously they knew it. did they just find out after they read their bill? no, they knew it. they knew it all the time. they know it now. and we can solve everyone's problem by putting the clean 17:01:26c.r. on this moment. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlelady from connecticut reserves. the gentleman from georgia. CAMP, D. (R-MI):mr. speaker, if i could ask how much time we have left? 17:01:41THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman has 2 3/4. the gentlelady from connecticut has 1 1/2. CAMP, D. (R-MI):mr. speaker, i yield myself 30 seconds. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from georgia is recognized for 30 seconds. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):it scares me to 17:02:00death that america is going bankrupt. our national debt is 100% of the g.d.p. for every dollar we spend, 42 cents is borrowed. obamacare adds to that $1.7 trillion. if we don't get control of our spending, then we are not going 17:02:17to have an america as we know it. that's what this fight is about. now, what we're trying to do today is say, there are tiny steps in which there is an agreement. and the n.i.h. is one of them. we've already done this for military pay. this bill should not be a stretch. 17:02:32it should have widespread bipartisan support. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman reserves. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):if i could say to my friend, we have one more speaker who will close, and so if you'll go ahead and -- DELAURO (D-CT):i'll close and then you close. 17:02:51we got another speaker. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):we'll reserve the right to close. DELAURO (D-CT):yes, you have the right. is it just you? KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):actually, i'm going to yield the balance of 17:03:04the time to dr. harris. DELAURO (D-CT):i see, dr. harris is going to close, is that correct? THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:-- DELAURO (D-CT):it's still in the -- 17:03:19KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):it's still in the family. DELAURO (D-CT):always in the family. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentlelady from connecticut. DELAURO (D-CT):let me say quickly to the gentleman from georgia, the affordable care act has launched, it's the law of the land. 17:03:36i'm sorry to tell you, friends on the other side of the aisle, get over it. it is the law of the land. what we have here is really quite frankly a reckless behavior on the part of the majority, and what you have done is to shut this government down and instead of wasting time trying to play politics and instead of cherrypicking important programs like the 17:03:56n.i.h. to fund, we should be working on a budget for the entire government, open government and move to negotiation. with regard to health care issues, i think it's important to note, and that's why we 17:04:09shouldn't be opening the government on a piecemeal basis. we need a comprehensive short-term continuing resolution that keeps the entire government open and at work. what other activities are engaged in health that we are 17:04:25bypassing or ignoring or don't believe they have any priority? center for the disease control, 2/3 of their personnel are now on furlough. important programs like protecting public health going 17:04:43by. monitoring for flu, other infectious diseases, promoting and coordinating immunizations, assistance to state and local departments and detecting and responding to disease outbreak, better detect chronic disease, diabetes, heart disease, 17:04:59stroke, and, yes, cancer. food and drug administration, you sent the staff home. our food safety is in daunger. first time hiv-aids and other -- mental health services. if you care about health, open the government and negotiate on 17:05:15a long-term c.r. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from georgia. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):mr. speaker, i'll repeat that if i could get a democrat party member to co-sponsor a continuation of the c.d.c. i'd be glad to work together to move that bill. with that i yield the balance 17:05:32of the time to the distinguished committee member, dr. andy harris from maryland. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from maryland is recognized for the balance of the time. HARRIS (R-MD):thank you very much, mr. speaker. when the president and senate shut down the government yesterday, i don't think they realized what was going to 17:05:47happen at the n.i.p. for pediat ric cancer patients. we get to solve the problem today. you see, mr. speaker, during the temporary lapse in funding, 17:06:02the department of justice guidance for continuing government operations includes activities that protect, quote, the safety of human lives. 17:06:12so although over 40% of the office of the secretary were exempt from this furlough, strangely enough some lawyer in the executive branch decided that pediatric cancer patients seeking to enroll in research 17:06:24at n.i.h. don't merit those services necessary to protect, quote, the safety of human life. now, look, i hope everybody here disagrees with that interpretation. having taken care of many 17:06:41pediatric cancer patients in my medical career and being a parent, we know that pediatric cancer deals with the safety of human life. mr. speaker, interestingly enough, to their credit the indian health state stayed open so if you have a cold you get 17:07:08treated. but if you have cancer you don't. the lab animals at n.i.h. are being taken care of but those with pediatric cancer do not. i hope we agree they should be. this bill protects children seeking to enroll in cancer problems at the n.i.h. the president and senate have already accepted a state-by-step approach when 17:07:24they accepted legislation over the weekend to fund our men and women in uniform during this lapse in funding. that bill was signed into law with bipartisan support, and this bill should be signed into law with bipartisan support so that we can help those cancer patients, especially those 30 17:07:41children or so a week. now, look, i admit, because of what the senate majority leader said today that we may have a tough hill to climb with this bill in the senate. but the house has to do what is right. even if for only one child with cancer whose life rests with 17:08:03the n.i.h. i yield back my time. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman's time has expired. all time for debate has expired. pursuant to house resolution 370, the previous question is ordered. the question is on engrossment and third reading of the joint resolution. 17:08:12those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. third reading. THE CLERK:making continuing appropriations for the national institutes of health for fiscal year 2014 and for other purposes. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the question is on passage of the 17:08:29joint resolution. all those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. KINGSTON, J. (R-GA):i request the 17:08:45yeas and nays. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:those favoring a vote by the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this question will be postponed. 17:09:46THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:for 17:09:46what purpose does the gentleman from idaho seek recognition? SIMPSON, M. (R-ID):i call up joint resolution h.j.res. 70, a joint resolution making continuing appropriations for the national park operations, smithsonian institution, national gallery of art and the united states holocaust memorial museum for fiscal year 2014 and for other 17:10:03purposes and ask for its immediate consideration. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the clerk will report the title of the joint resolution. THE CLERK:house joint resolution, joint resolution making continuing appropriations for national park service operations, the smithsonian institution, the national gallery of art, and 17:10:19the united states holocaust memorial museum for fiscal year 2014 and for other purposes. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:pursuant to house resolution 370, the joint resolution is considered as read. the joint resolution shall be debatable for 30 minutes 17:10:35equally divide and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on appropriations. the gentleman from idaho, mr. simpson, and the gentleman from virginia, mr. moran, each will control 15 minutes. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from idaho. SIMPSON, M. (R-ID):mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on 17:10:52 h.j.res. 70 and that i may include tabular material on the same. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:without objection. SIMPSON, M. (R-ID):mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman is recognized. SIMPSON, M. (R-ID):well, here we are again, mr. speaker. we were here yesterday with republicans trying to open the government back up and the 17:11:08democrats opposing opening the government back up. mr. speaker, i rise today in support of this important legislation to fund the operations of the national park service, the smithsonian institution, the u.s. holocaust museum and the national gallery of art. mr. speaker, i spoke yesterday on some of the effects of the 17:11:21government shutdown which began a couple days ago. with each passing day, we hear of more and more impacts resulting from the shutdown across the country and in our nation's capital. i want to remind my friend on the other side of the aisle that all 401 national park service units in the united 17:11:37states, 19 smithsonian museums and galleries, including the national zoo, the holocaust museum and the national gallery of art remain closed to the public. this legislation, if adopted, would reopen these national treasures to the american public. mr. speaker, the government 17:11:51shutdown is having a real impact on real people and on the national economy. i remind my colleagues that it is estimated that the local economy is losing up to $200 million a day with the national 17:12:07zoo, smithsonian museums, holocaust museum and the national gallery of art and other popular attractions closed to the public. this doesn't even begin to measure the national and international impacts of these closures. think of the families, the veterans groups, the group of students who all have saved for months and in some cases years to travel to our nation's 17:12:25capital across the country to visit the aaron space museum, the lincoln memorial, the world war ii memorial, sports theater or the national gallery of art. this government shutdown has a real impact on real people. think of the families who made 17:12:40reservations to visit yosemite or yellowstone or the statue of liberty and now find these national parks shuttered today. this government shutdown has real impacts on real people. think of the impact the government shutdown is having on ford theater, one of the 17:12:56most hallowed national historic sites in our country. not only are tourists denied entrances, but it's forced it to be shut down. 17:13:10think of the young people that have a national park service permit to get married at the jefferson memorial this saturday. their families are arriving from all over the country, over 130 people, for what should be the happiest day of this new couple's life. 17:13:26but because the government shutdown, they are not able to get married at the jefferson memorial and and are scrambling to find an alternate location to get married. let's pass this bill so millions of americans can enjoy 17:13:42our national parks and this couple can get married at the jefferson memorial. there's a photo on the front page of today's "washington post" showing national park service employees putting up barricades around the martin luther king memorial on the national mall. remember, this is an open area, accessible to the public, 24 17:14:00hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and we are putting barriers around it. just down the street, barricades were put up around the world war ii memorial, again, a memorial accessible to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a 17:14:17year. fortunately, these temporary barriers didn't stop members of the greatest generation in their 80's and 90's, many of them in wheelchairs, from storming the barricades so they could witness the memorial built in their honor of courage 17:14:30and sacrifice. tourists visiting washington and many furloughed federal employees are today finding actual physical barriers to prevent them from experiencing our open air national monuments honoring lincoln, jefferson, king and our world war ii 17:14:47heroes. at some point, congress and the president will overcome their differences over federal funding. but isn't it ironic and even cynical that when the government shuts down the president's administration actually builds physical 17:15:02barriers at sites that are otherwise open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year? how cynical is that? now, some people say they put those barriers there to protect them from vandalism. so we use the park police to 17:15:17put up and protect the barriers but not the monuments. that doesn't make a lot of sense to me. the. to my friends on the democratic side of the aisle, if you seek a solution to this government shutdown, if you seek a bipartisan solution, mr. 17:15:34president, you could start by tearing down these barriers. . why are the house and senate democrats denying the american 17:15:50people the right to visit these treasured sites. to my colleagues, i will close with this thought, by opposing this legislation, you are voting to keep our national parks closed, keep yellowstone closed, 17:16:06statue of liberty closed,ford's theater, smithsonian, national zoo, holocaust museum, national gallery of art, all closed. 17:16:20we should not be using our national parks, the smithsonian, national zoo, holocaust museum and national gallery of art as hostages for the democratic my way or the highway shutdown and this is what this is. 17:16:35you either agree with us or we will shut the government down. we just simply wanted to go to conference. but no, that's not good enough. we can't go to conference and talk about these differences, so let's shut it down and that's what the democratic party has 17:16:50done. this is a commonsense bill and i encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and let's reopen these national treasures. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. 17:17:04the gentleman from virginia is recognized. MORAN, JAMES (D-VA):mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman is recognized. MORAN, JAMES (D-VA):mr. speaker, as yogi bera would say it is deja vu all 17:17:27over again. the majority rushed to the floor this very bill to partially open the smithsonian, holocaust museum and national gallery of art. we had a spirited debate and the 17:17:41house failed to pass this bill. but now here we are back again debating the very same bill. it was a bad idea yesterday, and it certainly hasn't improved over the last 24 hours. i'll explain why. 17:17:56because instead of reopening the entire federal government or even the entire interior department, the majority has resorted to sing willing out publicly visible programs for action while leaving thousands 17:18:12of important functions of government shut down and hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed. it's time to stop using federal employees as pawns in this cynical game. mr. speaker, this g.o.p. act of desperation is evidence of how 17:18:31politically bankrupt their position has become. it is degenerating down to picking winners and losers among federal workers. the american public is getting burned and some of the political heat is finally getting to the 17:18:46republican majority. so now they would allow workers at the smithsonian, holocaust museum and the gallery of art and a few of the employees directly involved in the operation of our national park system to return to work. 17:19:01do they really think that this is going to save them from the public's wrath? under this bill, thousands of national park service employees involved in historic preservation and national recreation programs and 17:19:17maintainance and construction still remain furloughed. what about the furloughed employees of the bureau of land management and the furloughed employees at the fish and wildlife service, the 18,800 furloughed employees in the 17:19:34forest service, 16,000 furloughed employees of the social security administration? doesn't the majority support the important programs that they carry out? we should value all of our federal employees. 17:19:48we should value the scientists at the u.s. geological survey and health professionals at the infectious disease control and immunization control, just as the park ranger and museum workers. 17:20:04how do you explain to the library of congress workers they are less important than their smithsonian counterparts. i want to see them opened as do all the democrats on this side of the aisle. we want to open the government and we would vote today to do so 17:20:22if you would let the bill come to the floor. because we want to see all the wildlife refuge system open. 155 national forests, 866 areas of the national landscape conservation system reopened. 17:20:39but are keeping all those closed. does the majority believe that those are not important, that they don't deserve to be opened and the public should be able to use those national assets? 17:20:56this bill is a band-aid and won't staun much the open rage that the public is beginning to 17:21:03feel. the american public depend on the work that federal employees do. this is a quick fix to deflect the political heat the majority is facing. 17:21:15this idea of picking and choosing, which ones are allowed to operate and which ones remain shut down is politically bankrupt. i implore my republican colleagues to abandon the junior senator's from texas' plan. 17:21:37the president has reafffirmed he would veto these cherry picked bills. so this is a waste of time. people are out of work and we 17:21:47are wasting our time on this. we could just have 20 republicans, less than that vote on a clean c.r., it would pass. the government would open today. and you won't do it, because you're afraid of this 17:22:04ideological extremist faction in your party. it's time to stop these guys. the house g.o.p. needs to let our hostages go and go on with the real business of governing and vote on a clean c.r. and 17:22:19reopen the whole government. i reserve the balance of my time. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from idaho. SIMPSON, M. (R-ID):he is unwilling to put his constituents back to work. 17:22:32i would be happy to yield to the chairman of the natural resources committee for two minutes. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. HASTINGS, D. (R-WA):i rise again today in support of this resolution. while it's understandable that during this shutdown, some services would be limited in 17:22:49some parks and visitors' centers. i believe this administration is going out of its way to take unreasonable and unnecessary steps to block public access to parks and monuments. there is absolutely no reason by open-air parks and monuments
Fool's - Gold
INVESTIGATION ENDS EFFORT TO SELL GOLD-PLATED FAKES AS BOUILLON.
WHITE HOUSE TASK FORCE ON CORONAVIRUS BRIEFING POOL HEADON 1700 TO1900
1700 WH COVID BRFG HEADON FS23 73 President Donald Trump and members of the White House Task force on coronavirus daily briefing WASH 3 PRESIDENT TRUMP WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE BRIEFING 200422 PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP 181026 TRUMP>> Thank you very much, appreciate it. Lot of tremendous things are happening. The number of new, positive cases continue to decline nationwide. Recent hot spots appear to be stabilizing. The hot spots are, in some cases, very interesting, what's going on. And they're going down. They're going in the right direction. 181054 Cases in the Boston area are now declining. The Chicago curve appears to have flattened, which is terrific, and Detroit has passed its peak. These trends demonstrate that our aggressive strategy to battle the virus is working and that more states will soon be in a position to gradually and safely reopen. 181113 It's very exciting. It was very exciting even today watching and seeing what's happening and people are getting ready and they're all excited. I do want to mention a man who's done a very good job for us, Dr. Robert Redfield was totally misquoted in the media on a statement about the fall season and the virus. Totally misquoted, I spoke to him, he said it was ridiculous. He was talking about the flu and Corona coming together at the same time. 181145 Corona could be just some little flareups that we will take care of, we will knock it out. We'll knock it out fast, but that's what he was referring to, coming together at the same time. I think rather than waiting, I would ask Dr. Redfield to come up and say a couple of words just to straighten it out because he didn't say it was a big -- big explosion, the headline in "The Washington post" was totally inaccurate. 181208 The statement wasn't bad in the Post but the headline was ridiculous which is, as I say, that's Fake News and CNN is fake news like crazy. And they had just totally the wrong story, which they knew. They were asked to change it, and they wouldn't do that. And it was false, so I'll Dr. Redfield, who is a real professional to come up and explain, please. Thank you, Doc. DR ROBERT REDFIELD 181237 REDFIELD>> Thank you Mr. President. I really do think it's important to clarify this as we build the confidence of the American people. When I commented yesterday that there was a possibility of the fall-winter, next fall-winter could be more difficult, more complicated, when we have two respiratory illnesses circulating at the same time, influenza and the coronavirus 19. But I think it's really important to emphasize what I didn't say. 181307 I didn't say that this was going to be worse. I said it was going to be more difficult and potentially complicated because we'll have flu and coronavirus circulating at the same time. I want to emphasize that we continue to build the nation's public health infrastructure to ensure that we have the capacity to stay in containment mode. Those of you who heard me talk before, I've told you that in January and February, up to February 27th-28th, this nation had 14 cases. 181337 We were in containment mode, and then unfortunately the virus overwhelmed where we got into extreme mitigation. We are building that public health capacity now to make sure that we stay in the containment mode for the upcoming fall and winter season so we will not need to resort to the kind of mitigation that we had to this spring. 181357 I have confidence that our public health response of early case recognition that we've talked about, isolation and contact tracing combined with our plans for increased surveillance, particularly for the most vulnerable, will be an effective public health strategy, so our nation will be able to maintain itself in the containment mode. 181419 Again, that will be supported by the American public's continued cooperation obviously in the areas of personal hygiene and the types of social distancing strategies that may be appropriate. The key to my comments and the reason that I really wanted to stress them was to appeal to the American public to embrace the flu vaccine with confidence. One of the greatest tools we have as we go through the fall-winter season that we're into is to get the American public to embrace the influenza vaccine and thereby minimize the impact of flu to be the co-respiratory disease we confront. Thank you very. Q>> Can I ask a follow up on that Dr. Redfield please? 181508 TRUMP>> [inaud] to follow up. He was misquoted -- totally misquoted. He said they could come together, they didn't talk about that, and his whole purpose in making the statement was to get a flu shot so that next fall, we don't have such a big season of flu and we possibly won't. But -- as you said, this -- it's possible, if the Corona even comes back and he doesn't know that it's going to or -- neither do I. We spoke at great length, and I think the Dr. will speak if you'd like to continue. 181538 But we may have some embers, and we're gonna put them out, of corona, but we may have a big flu season. But that's different. Flu is very different. from Corona. 181545 JON KARL Q>> Can I ask you a follow up question? TRUMP>> Sure. JON KARL Q>> So, Dr. Redfield, "The Washington post," which you did the interview with them, they quoted you as saying "there's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be much -- even more difficult than the one we just went through. And when I've said this to others, they kind of put their head barked, they don't understand what I mean -- we are going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time," is that what you said to "The Washington post"? 181612 REDFIELD>> Yeah, that's what I was trying to say to you just a minute ago, that the issue I was talking about about being more difficult is that we're going to have two viruses circulating at the same time. This spring that we just went through -- February -- we had a benefit of having the flu season ended, so we could use all of our flu surveillance systems to say "Whoops, this is coronavirus. We need to focus." Next fall and -- and winter, we are going to two viruses circulating and we are going to have to distinguish between which is flu and which is the coronavirus. 181646 And so, the comment that I made, "it's more difficult," it doesn't mean it's going to be more impossible, doesn't mean it's going to be more -- as some people have said -- "worse," it's just going to be more difficult because we have to distinguish between the two, and what I was wanting to do and what I want to do again here is appeal to the American public to recognize they can really help, like they did with mitigation, which they really helped. I need them to help now to best prepare us by getting the flu vaccine and taking flu out of the picture. 181719 TRUMP>> Excuse me, but we may not even have Corona coming back. JON KARL Q>> I'm sorry, but that quotes that I just read was accurate, right sir? That's the quote from "The Washington post," you are accurately quoted. Correct? REDFIELD>> I'm accurately quoted in "The Washington post" as difficult, but the headline was inappropriate. TRUMP>> Read the headline. JON KARL>> The headline says CDC director warned second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating. TRUMP>> That's not what he said. JON KARL>> But if you have the two things happening -- 181751 REDFIELD>> No, I actually think it's going to be -- I think the American public is going to heed the request to relook at their vaccine hesitancy, the vaccine with confidence with flu and I'm confident the public health infrastructure that we are putting together now across this country so we can early case diagnose, isolate, contact trace, as i say block and tackle, block and tackle, that system is going to be there and we are going to be able to contain this virus. 181818 Q>> Why did you retweet the article if it was inaccurate, Dr., why did you retweet it? 181823 TRUMP>> You weren't called. 181825 BIRX>> So I just -- We talked about this yesterday when you asked me this question, and someone I think used the word devastating. I want to really again emphasize to the American public that when we first interacted with this virus for the first time in the February and March time frame, we didn't have an understanding of its transmissibility, all of the symptoms. We do now. 181850 And I think what we are building together when we talk about the public health infrastructure, it is very much working on the surveillance piece, but I think we also know the strength of the American people and their ability to immediately understand how to protect themselves with not touching their face, making sure that they're washing their hands. But the other piece I wanted to talk about and we mentioned yesterday also that we have the summer while we have flu surveillance that we can utilize and syndromic management that we can utilize, we have all of that time to prepare clearly the testing algorithm that you would need in a flu potentially if covid came back. 181932 Potentially. And so we are preparing for that potential right now. And I think we spoke to you all about that and talked about how we're not only preparing for today and tomorrow, but we're preparing for six months from now, three months from now and making sure that all of these pieces are in place. I think what Dr. Redfield clearly was asking for, just like we ask for every American to follow the guidelines, he's saying please add to that guidelines getting your flu shot and making sure you're protected. 182002 TRUMP>> And doctor, wouldn't you say there's a good chance that covid will not come back? 182006 BIRX>> We don't know -- TRUMP>> -- or if it comes back, it's in a very small confined area that we put out. BIRX>> Well, the great thing is, we'll be able to find it earlier this time. And I think that's what we're talking about. We'll find those cases earlier. So what Dr. Redfield said, we would be able to stay in containment phase. And what we're also hoping, and we talked about this about four or five weeks ago, that we're hoping that the flu infections also go down, because people are much more aware of respiratory illnesses and how to protect themselves. 182040 We want you to get your vaccine but we also want to also protect individuals from getting the flu, because the vulnerability we know in certain populations to flu and the devastating outcomes to flu, we could prevent and decrease both of those things. So I think we are assured that the CDC is putting in place today what we are going to need in the fall so that we can stay in containment if potentially the virus comes back. 182110 TRUMP>> If it comes back, though, it won't be coming back in the form that it was. It will be coming back in smaller doses that we can contain. But what the doctor was saying, and I spoke to him at great length, he was saying if it should come back together, now you have a flu and you have the embers of corona, but in my opinion from everything I've seen, it can never be like anything that we've witnessed right now. Wouldn't you say that's a correct statement? REDFIELD>> Absolutely. 182138 It's nothing like what we're talking -- What we've just gone through, we will not go through. You could have some embers of Corona and you could have a big flu system, and if they combine and they come together, if they come together, it's not great, but we will not go through what we went through for the last two months. Is that a correct statement? Q>> I understand that the United States will be more prepared in the fall, but how can you say that you know it won't come back at the same level that it has today? 182209 TRUMP>> What -- It is estimated it might not come back at all, Jeff. It may not come back at all. He's talking about a worst-case scenario where you have a big flu and you have some corona. And if it does come back, it's not going to come back, and I've spoken to ten different people, not gonna be like it was. Also, we have much better containment now. Before nobody knew about it. Nobody knew anything about it. We understand it. Now, if we have a little pockets, a little pocket here, then we're going to have it put out. It goes out, and it's going to put it out fast. We're gonna be watching for it. But it's all possible -- It's also possible it doesn't come back at all. Q>> I understand the containment, but I don't understand how you know it won't come back at a big scale. 182245 TRUMP>> I didn't say it's not. I said if it does, it's not going to come back on anything near what we went through. But you could have a mess where they come at the same time. And if they come at the same time, the flu is not the greatest thing in the world, Jeff, it's not the greatest thing either. If they come at the same time, you have them both. But if we have embers of corona coupled with the flu, that's not gonna be pleasant, but it's not going to be what we've gone through in any way, shape, or form. 182315 Q>> If you don't think that it's going to come back at the same severity as right now, why are you still directing taxpayer dollars to be spent on emergency procurement of ventilators? 10s of thousands? TRUMP>> Because we have to have them for other reasons. Something else could come. I mean, we didn't know about Corona. Now we know about Corona. Look at what happened. And now, we had the H1N1 swine flu. We had that, we have other things that have happened. We had various forms of flu but nothing like we've had here, nothing at all like what we've had here with the virus but something could happen. 182351 I think that the stockpiles -- we are making hundreds of thousands of ventilators, nobody writes about that. You know, at the one time, all they talked about was ventilators because you didn't think it was possible for me to solve that problem, and I solved it and nobody can believe it. I just spoke to world leaders today who desperately need ventilators. They said the job you've done -- and we are sending 500 to Mexico, then another 500 to France, we are sending some to Spain, we're sending some to Italy. We have them -- they are being made by the thousands. 182423 And World leaders, I spoke to Prime Minister -- I mean, I went through a lot of different calls today. I won't even tell you, but I went through -- I can give you a list if you want. But I went through a lot of calls to a lot of leaders. I spoke with Pakistan, they would like to have some ventilators. We're going to get them some ventilators, but they all said to me one thing: 182444 It was incredible that you solved the ventilator problem because that was a big problem. The testing problem -- we've done more than any other nation in the world. Go a step further -- if you added up the testing of every nation in the world, put them together, we've done substantially more than that. A few people aren't satisfied. 182503 So let's say we had 350 million people in the United States,right, let's say and if we gave every one of those people a test ten times, so we give 350 people a test, ten times, the fake news media would say where's the 11th time? He didn't do his job. Trump didn't do his job because you have a lot of bad reporting out there, it's very sad. JON KARL>>> That's not true. TRUMP>> You're one of the leaders of the bad reporting. JON KARL>> But it's not true. 182533 TRUMP>> Let's get onto another subject, I wanted that to -- I want that to be cleared up. If you want, we can get it on to it later but I want the vice president to speak. But you want to get the news accurately, you ought to write it -- if you take a look at what you wrote about the ventilators and when we became the king of ventilators, we are making different factories all over, ventilators by the thousands. In fact, Mike got back from Wisconsin, the first thing he did, he called up, I said how's it going? He said, you know, you're not going to believe, he just saw a plant, a factory where they are making ventilators. 182604 I think I can say the words were unbelievable. He said it was unbelievable when he saw the quality of the equipment, the professionalism, a tremendous number -- how many workers would you say there were? PENCE>> Over 550. They doubled production and are about to triple production. TRUMP>> Nobody thought this could be done. The fake news was very unhappy that it was done. But you guys don't ask me about ventilators. 182628 JOHN KARL Q (?) >> Who's unhappy that ventilators are being made, Mr. president? TRUMP>> You never mention it. You never mention it. There's no stories of what a great job we've done with ventilators. We are now supplying ventilators all over the world because no other country could have done what we did. You should say that's a great story, instead you say trump was slow -- slow? We were so fast plus we put the ban on so much earlier when Nancy Pelosi as an example, you don't say this, when she's having her rally in San Francisco in chinatown in San Francisco, nobody wants to say that. 182702 If we didn't, and Dr. Fauci said this, if we didn't close our country to China, we would've been so infected, like nobody has ever seen. When you saw the chart and we were at the top of the list in terms of success, nobody wrote it, I said is anybody going to use that chart, nobody wrote it, in terms of mortality, you saw that. Nobody wrote it. Germany and our country, the most successful in terms of mortality, nobody wrote it. It would be great if you wrote the truth, let's get on with it because I want Mike to speak and then we'll take more questions. 182734 On the assumption you'd like to and I think you probably will. It's been encouraging to watch states begin to open up and it really has been, it's a beautiful thing to see as restrictions are lifted, we must maintain vigilance and continue practicing social distancing. I encouraged governors to follow a careful, phased approach and I want to remind all Americans to adhere to our guidelines, very important. The governors are going to adhere hopefully or they're gonna do what they think is best. 182807 I want them to do what they think is best, but ideal, adhere. Wash your hands, avoid close physical contact as much as possible and wear a face covering when distancing is impractical. There were cases. We have flattened the curve and really made tremendous progress but we must guard against a dangerous rebound. We don't want to rebound. This is what we were just talking about, we don't want a rebound, the doctor doesn't want to rebound, these people definitely don't want a rebound, I think think you want one, huh? You especially. 182838 We don't want rebound's after all of this death -- death that we've suffered. Not work, I don't view work. I view it death that was unnecessary, should have never happened. Should have never left that little area where it started. You know it and I know it and they know it. 182856 In our all-out war against the virus we continue to make great strides on testing, famous testing, doing more than anybody else anywhere in the world, nothing funny about that, Jon. Most of the governors have never faced a situation like this before. We are helping them find unused testing capacity within their states, tremendous testing capacity that the governors in many cases didn't know they had. And additional capabilities are coming online every day, we are coming up with new equipment like the Abbott laboratories equipment on-site, 5 minutes, great success, everybody wants it but you can only make so many of those machines. 182939 So we have many other forms of testing. We have many other machines that do it very quickly, and by the millions -- by the millions. Our task force issued its reopening guidelines earlier than April 30th to give governors the time that they needed to develop testing capability and capacity and customize plans for their states, which many of them did. We have had some governors do a fantastic job on testing and on a lot of other things. 183819 I spoke, as you know Governor Cuomo, he had to, we had a great conversation on testing yesterday. And they're doing a really good job in New York. We're working very closely with each of the states to help them succeed. I spoke earlier today with Governor Newsom, California, and that was all about testing, that conversation. He's been scaling up really well, really good job. 183034 And I agreed to help him get some of the critical supplies that California needs to make use of the tremendous capacity that they found, this is tremendous testing capacity, and I'm going to do it very quickly. He needs certain things. We're gonna get that to him very quickly. Now, could he get it himself? Yes, but I can get it faster. He understands that, and he's done a great job. And we're gonna have it to him, we're gonna have a lot of it to him over the next two days, and we're gonna beef it up the following week. Get him a lot of additional. He's done a really, a terrific job in California. Some of the governors have done a fantastic job working with us. 183109 I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the Phase One guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia -- they're incredible people, I love those people. They are -- they're great. They have been strong, resolute, but at the same time, he must do what he thinks is right. I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he is doing. 183144 But I want to let the governors do -- now, if I see something totally egregious, totally out of line, I'll do. But I think spas and beauty salons and tattoo parlors and barbershops in Phase 1 -- we are going to have faced 2 very soon -- it's just too soon. I think it's too soon and I love the people. I love -- I love those people that use all of those things: the spas, and the beauty parlors and barbershops, tattoo parlors, I love them. 183215 But they can wait a little bit longer, just a little bit -- not much because safety has to predominate. We have to have that. So I told the governor very simply that I disagree with his decision, but he has to do what he thinks is right. I'm excited to announce that, in the coming weeks, the air force thunderbirds -- they're incredible and the Navy blue angels, equally incredible, will be performing airshows over America's major cities and some of the cities that aren't major cities. 183250 They are going to be doing a lot of work, a lot of very dangerous flying. It's dangerous, you know the odds. When you start going at massive speeds and you're 18 inches away from each other, that's dangerous work. Your son is a great pilot and I don't know if he could be -- could he be a thunderbird? I don't know. >> We'll see. TRUMP>> I think he probably could, from what I hear. I don't know if I would want him to be because it is -- it's incredible what they are able to do, and the sacrifice our frontline -- what we are doing is we're paying tribute to our frontline health care workers confronting Covid. 183326 And it's really a signal to all Americans to remain vigilant during the outbreak. This is a tribute to them, to our warriors because they are equal warriors to those incredible pilots and all of the fighters that we have for the more traditional flights that we win. And we win. When we want to win, we always win. Sometimes we don't want to win and so we just go to a standstill. But that's always -- that's not the way this country works. Operation America Strong was the idea of our great military men and women. 183403 The Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels crews who wanted to show support to the American medical workers who, just like military members in a time of war, are fiercely running toward the fight. It's gonna be great. I want to see those shows. I've seen them many times and I can't get enough of them. And on July 4th, we will be doing what we had at the mall, as you know. We're gonna be doing it. Last year was a tremendous success. And I would imagine we'll do it, hopefully I can use the term "forever." 183433 That was a great success, as you remember. even though it was pouring. It was raining so hard, it was raining at -- that's about as hard as I've seen in a while. But it was an amazing success. Didn't bother the pilots, didn't bother the military, didn't bother the crews that we had there. So we're gonna be doing that again on July 4th. Our great military is operating at 100% during this crisis, and thousands of troops are deployed alongside of civilians in Covid the hot spots, as you know. You see them all over. 183505 When I spoke with governor Cuomo and when I spoke with Gavin Newsom and many of the other governors, they wanted to know if we could have some military help with the medical, and we gave it to them. In every case, they said it's fantastic, I mean just fantastic. New York City mayor de Blasio called me to say it was inspiring to watch, he was there when the military came in. He said it gave everybody spirit when he saw the professionalism and the spirit they had, they walked in and they helped a lot -- lot of people. 183540 Doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians and professionals -- it was an incredible thing. But they all -- everybody who saw them going to work said that was something special. We are going to have tremendous airshows all throughout the country, and that's in honor of what we are all going through together, and the people that are helping us so much and, unfortunately, the people who have passed away from something that should never have been allowed to happen. 183612 Following around-the-clock negotiations yesterday, the senate answered my call to replenish the paycheck protection program so that millions of additional American workers can keep getting a paycheck. We just increased it by $310 billion. I urged the House to pass the bill without delay. In our first round of funding we provided nearly $350 billion and it went at record speed to American workers and small businesses. And it's really been incredible, an incredible success. I want to thank the banks, the big banks, the little banks, the commercial banks of all kinds. 183657 We had the community banks were fantastic, by the way, community banks. And as you know, this was an interesting story in recent days. I've called for Harvard -- that's Harvard University -- which has a $40 billion endowment fund to return the money that it was allocated under the CARES act. And I'm pleased to announce that Harvard has announced today that they will not accept the funds, nor will Stanford University or many of the others that were involved both on a university level also on the company level, some of the companies were bigger than people had represented or bigger than people had thought and strong enough that they didn't need the money. 183744 So, there's a certain amount of money that we are not sending. Well as soon as I heard it, I said stop the funds, and for the most part, I guess they stopped it, Mike, right? They stopped it. They're not accepting the money, and that's great. And so I want to thank Harvard, I want to thank Stanford, and I want to thank the other companies. In a case, it's broken differently between the colleges and companies, but I want to thank the companies and the other great universities, and there's some great ones. 183815 The legislation passed by the senate yesterday also reserves $30 billion for small financial institutions that serve minority and distressed communities -- very important. We are determined to protect our African-American, hispanic-american, and minority workers who have been hit so hard by this hidden enemy. My administration is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to address the full spectrum of needs in these communities, supporting both health and economic revitalization. 183848 First, my administration is committed to providing the testing that is needed to fight the virus in distressed communities. In the last month alone, we have already sent over $1.4 billion to our nation's 13,000 community health care centers -- think of that, 13,000 -- to increase testing and treatment in the underserved areas. We are also expanding access to telehealth. Telehealth has become a big deal. I've been reading about it for years and, all of the sudden, because of this, it's become a big -- a big thing. 183919 People can't leave their houses. they didn't want to leave their houses for various reasons including they wanted to follow the guidelines. The legislation passed by the Senate yesterday, and I want to thank everybody, a great great vote -- great -- it's, as you know it was a unanimous vote, how often do you see that? But the legislation passed by the senate yesterday includes an additional $25 billion to further expand the testing and provides even more funding for community health centers and various forms of epidemics and pandemics, and we'll be working on that. 183955 Because, you know, as per a couple of your statements and questions before, we want to work on that for the future. We hope this doesn't happen again for -- again, ever. But last time was -- of this magnitude -- 1917, that's a long time ago. So we want to be prepared and we are prepared. And as I told you, we are building up hospitals -- not only our stockpile which is being up greatly -- being built up great, but also hospitals' stockpiles. We are getting them what they need. 184026 We are working out cost arrangements with them. And we are getting them a lot of the ventilators which is the hardest thing for them to get both from a cost standpoint and a technical standpoint. At the same time, we are also supporting the establishment of new testing sites focused on these communities. 40 sites have launched so far, and there are plans to launch dozens more in the next three weeks. And we are coming up with testing apparatus and testing plans that are incredible when you look at the numbers. 184058 And some people are very, very big on testing. I'm big on testing, but some people are much less big than I am, I will tell you. And they're professionals. But we want to have it so that nobody can talk about "Gee whiz, I wish we had more testing." Nobody has done it like we've done it. And nobody will. And we're getting very much stronger. We have incredible professionals doing it. So many different tests have now evolved. People are finding it even hard to believe. 184128 My administration is working closely with governors to ensure they have the testing infrastructure in place to reduce further spread of the virus. if they are so inclined to use the testing apparatus, including strategies for older individuals, low income Americans, minorities and native Americans. As part of the effort, the white house task force headed up by Mike, who has done an incredible -- I will say it everytime. I will say it to anybody who wants to listen: Mike pence has done an incredible job. Really an incredible job, thank you. 184203 --- is providing technical assistance to all 50 states through one-on-one phone calls as they develop and implement their plans. In addition, my administration is committed to restoring black and hispanic communities to full economic health. They want to be healthy economically and physically. And that's what we are doing. To that end, today, I'm directing the white house opportunity and revitalization council led by secretary Ben Carson to focus its effort on supporting the underserved communities impacted by the coronavirus. 184237 And so, Ben Carson is working on that with Mike and myself and a lot of other people. I'm going to ask Tim Scott, who was so helpful with the opportunity Zones -- that's an economic answer to a lot of problems, and Tim Scott was fantastic. And so I'm going to ask him to get involved with you, and I'm sure he'll be willing to do it -- from South Carolina. I also asked the council to identify what additional funding will be required from Congress beyond what has already been provided. 184308 We are really building ourselves a strong base and we're building ourselves a wall that's very different from the kind of walls that you've been hearing me talking about. But it's, nevertheless, in many ways, it performs the same function and hopefully it's going to perform it equally as well. Furthermore, the council will seek input from the private sector and community leaders on how we can best support minority and distressed communities. As president, I am absolutely determined to deliver a great future for Americans of every race, religion, color and creed. 184343 Before our nation was attacked by this horrible enemy, our African-American and hispanic-american citizens were prospering like never before -- best employment numbers ever. Not only African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American, every American. We were breaking records at every level. We had almost 160 million people employed -- we were never even close to that number. 184413 And we were breaking them economically -- highest stock market numbers, highest numbers of every kind. And I think we are going to be back there and I think it's going to be much sooner, rather than later and I think we will surpass those numbers, including our employment numbers. But I will not rest until that prosperity has been fully restored and again, I really believe that we're going to lift those numbers higher than ever before, and it won't be as long as people might think. A lot of smart people are looking at that, and they're betting. You just have to look at what's going on with the stock market. 184446 In order to protect our great American workers, I've just signed an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the United States. This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens. Crucially, it will also preserve our health care resources for American patients. If we have to take care of our patients, we have to take care of our great American workers, and that's what we're doing. So I've just signed it just before coming into the room, and very important, very important. 184522 And as to amending it or extending it, that we can do at the appropriate time, but it's now signed. Earlier today, the first lady and I planted a tree on the south lawn of the white house in recognition of the 50th annual Earth day. I was glad to announce that we will begin to reopen our national parks and public lands. We want Americans to be able to satisfy and be really safe. We want them to satisfy their family that safety is going to happen, and it will happen. 184553 And maybe even at a level like never before. We've learned so much. But we want them to enjoy these great national treasures as we continue to take reasonable precautions, and hopefully it'll be just reasonable. My administration has directed more than $7 billion in federal funding to support the development of treatments, diagnostics, and therapies. And that's something, doctors, I hope you can really work on, that's something so powerful and so important. 184625 The FDA, the NIH, and industry leaders are establishing master clinical trial protocols to test multiple promising new drugs at the same time. And they're doing a lot of -- We're doing a lot of testing right now. More than 1,600 locations across the country have signed up to administer convalescent plasma to patients, infusing them with antibodies of those who have recovered. And when they recover, I said it last time, practically the first thing they say is, I want to give my blood so I can help other people. They want to give their blood. It's incredible. 184701 They're laying in bed, they're still in pretty weakened conditions. And they say I want to give my blood, and that's happening all the time, isn't it? If you recovered from the coronavirus, I ask you to consider contacting your local blood or plasma donation center to arrange a donation that could potentially save many lives. We'd love for our nation and loyalty for our fellow citizens, we will safeguard our family, care for our neighbors, heal the sick, protect our workers and build a future for a country that is the greatest country anywhere in the world. And we're only going to get greater. Thank you very much, Mike Pence -- please. VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE 184748 PENCE>> Thank you, Mr. President. White House coronavirus task force met today. And despite the fact that there have been more than 843,000 Americans who have contracted the coronavirus and we grieve the loss of more than 47,000 of our countrymen, according to Dr. Birx and her team, we continue to see encouraging signs. Because the American people have been putting into practice the guidance that has been issued by the president and this task force and they have been taking to heart the guidance of state and local officials. 184826 And Mr. President, as we learned today, we are continuing to see declines in all the major metro areas around the country that have been the most impacted. The numbers remain low and steady on the west coast, in Washington State, and in California. The New York metro area, New Jersey, Connecticut all appear to be past their peak. And as our scientists may reflect in a few moments, we also are seeing the positive rate going down, which is actually even as encouraging as the declining cases. 184902 The Detroit metro area appears to be past its peak. The Seattle metro area, as I mentioned, remains stable. New Orleans metro area is the most stable of all the large metro outbreaks. We also are continuing to see stabilization and even declines in Houston and Atlanta and Nashville and Baltimore and Indianapolis and elsewhere. This is a tribute to the American people, to the fact that the American people have taken to heart the guidelines, the social distancing, the personal hygiene, the recommendation that you use the drive through at a restaurant rather than going in a restaurant and avoiding groups of more than ten. 184944 On the president's behalf, on behalf of our entire coronavirus task force, we just want to urge all the American people to continue onward. We all want to reopen America, and we want to reopen our states and our communities as soon as it is safe and responsible to do so. But I want to say to my countrymen, the fastest way to reopen America is to continue to do what you've been doing. That's the fastest way, as President Trump has said many times, to get our country working again, is to put the coronavirus in the past, and we are on our way to doing just that. 185022 You know, from early on, the president called forth not only the full power of the federal government but he called forth the full weight of the American economy. And I had the privilege yesterday to travel to Madison, Wisconsin and see American industry and American workers at their very best. And I want to thank the G.E. health care team in Wisconsin as well as the union machinists that I spent time with all day yesterday. It was extraordinary, Mr. President. And earlier this month, you used the defense production act to ensure that supplies could flow to G.E. and general motors and Ford and other companies that were prepared to repurpose manufacturing lines and hire new workers to construct ventilators. 185108 And at this particular plant, they literally have -- the union sat down, the machinist union sat down, and in less than one week negotiated a new contract with G.E. health care that allowed them to continue to bring in workers from around the country. They doubled, they doubled their work line in one week. They're about to triplet it. They've have been going 24 hours a day, three shifts, seven days a week. 185133 And the president promised that by harnessing the power of the American economy we would have 100,000 ventilators in 100 days. But thanks to the ingenuity and the hardworking Americans that I was with yesterday and other countries, we're actually going to have 110,000 ventilators in 100 days. They were all wearing t-shirts, Mr. President, I brought one back for you, that simply read "Union machinists save lives." And to that great team at GE Health Care, I want to just say, all of America is proud of you and grateful for you. 185209 We're also grateful to all of our health care workers at every level and all the work that they're doing, and we're proud that our National Guard and our American military are at their side. As our task force learned today, more than 31,000 National Guard have been stood up around the country. ANd the president in the last day extended what's called title 32 authorizations for all National Guard personnel through May 31. So we're going to continue to partner with states as the National Guard plays a vital role in testing and in cleaning nursing homes and in standing up state's response. 185243 Military personnel, Mr. President, we have more than 5,500 active duty military personnel, including as of yesterday, 964 medical professionals in the uniform of the United States working in 17 hospitals in seven states around the country. We're also very proud of our team at the VA. The VA has addressed its capacity issues. It's not seeing cases among veterans in its facilities increase, so they're deploying teams to focus on nursing homes. In Massachusetts, the VA personnel had disinfected two different nursing homes. In New Jersey, they literally taken over two state nursing homes and deployed 90 doctors and nurses. 185327 And in Florida, we're sending 16 teams to assist in nursing home operations. As the president also mentioned, in addition to what I saw yesterday in Madison, Wisconsin, we continue, we continue to build our strategic national stockpile. It's growing again with ventilators, nearly 11,000 in supply. 901 new ventilators will be added, transitioned in the near term. And every American, I think, can be confident that should the need arise for your family member facing serious consequences from the coronavirus, to need that equipment to help them breathe, that equipment will be there. 185411 As we said yesterday in Wisconsin, and you've said, Mr. President, I think it should be a great source of comfort to every American that no American who has required a ventilator in the United States has been denied a ventilator. And that's a testament to our health care workers, a testament to every American putting mitigation principles into practice, and it's a testament to all these great companies. Speaking of great companies, American businesses are stepping up. 185439 It was on April 1st that I traveled to a Walmart distribution center. And the president reached out to the president and CEO of Walmart to ask Walmart to get in the gowns business. And Mr. President, I'm glad to report to you that we heard today at the task force that Walmart is producing 8.4 million gowns, and they will be delivered into our commercial supply, to health care facilities around the country by the end of June. They are hardly alone. Honda is producing 500,000 face shields, New Balance is making 100,000 masks a week. 184416 In a very real sense, the American people have stepped up to make the sacrifices and endure the hardship that social distancing has required, but American businesses at every size and every means have come together to respond to the president's call. It really has been a whole of America approach. And our message from the president's White House coronavirus task force is to tell the American people it's working, we're getting there. We can see light at the end of the tunnel. We can see the data, we can reopen and put America back to work, but it's gonna take all of us continuing to make the sacrifices necessary to practice those disciplines to get us to a place where we can reopen safely and confidently. With that, Mr. President, I'll call Dr. Fauci up for his reflections and we'll move on. DR. ANTHONY FAUCI 185611 FAUCI>> Thank you very much, Mr. Vice president. So I'm just going to take off from where I was at this podium a few days ago to kind of reiterate some of things that the vice president said but to kind of connect the dots from where we were, where we are now, and where I think we're gonna be. So if you remember a couple of weeks ago when we talked about the fact that we were going to have a really bad week because the deaths, particularly driven by the situation in New York, were going to get worse and worse. 185640 But yet, as that was happening, we were starting to see some turn around, some flattening, and some coming down. As you've heard from Dr. Birx and will likely hear more, that that is continuing. So what has happened is that the mitigation that we put in with the first 15 days and then the 30 day mitigation program of physical distancing worked. So it got us to where we are today. It is a successful formula. 185711 It is the basis for our being able to say that we can now think seriously about reopening America. And for that reason, we put together a carefully thought out and I believe well delineated and described program for opening up America again. And you know what it is. It's the guidelines that we announced a few days ago. Those very guidelines are based on a version of the successful formula that got us to where we are. 185746 So what I'm trying to say is that the program is not one that is going to be "turn the lights on in America, we are finished." We are not. We have to proceed in a very careful measured way. And if you look at the guidelines, they are careful and they are measured. There are certain checkpoints before you can even think about going into a Phase One. And then things relax a little as you go into phase two. And relax a little and you go into phase three. 185820 We live in a big country, and it is heterogeneous and there are different dynamics of outbreaks in different parts of the country. So the speed with which one can go from one to another, at the point at which you can even begin to think about the phase is going to differ. So the one thing that I know, the urge we all have to get out there and get it over with -- let's get back to normal -- for a lot of good reasons, because there's a lot of suffering, economic and otherwise in this country because of that. 185849 But again, as I pleaded early on, weeks ago, I plead with the American public, with governors, with mayors, for people with responsibility. Although I know one has the need to leapfrog over things, don't do that. Do it in a measured way. This is a successful formula. The problem is if we don't do that, there's a likelihood we will have a rebound. 185916 And the one way not to reopen the economy is to have a rebound that we can't take care of. So please, again, let me just close by pleading with the American public in general and those who are responsible leaders to carefully consider how we get back to normal. Thank you. 185933 Q>> Dr. Fauci, can you talk about your expectations for the fall? We heard from Dr. Redfield and Dr. Birx. What do you see for the fall? Is it going to be embers or possibly no return of the virus at all? 185944 FAUCI>> You know ,as I've said before, when you look at an outbreak, it's two dynamic forces opposing each other. If you leave the virus to its own devices, it will take off if you do nothing to stop it. If you put into place the kinds of things that we talk about -- first, containment and then hopefully you never get to have mitigation, but containment is important. Those two forces are going to determine whether you're going to have a big outbreak. 190017 So what Dr. Redfield was saying, first of all, is that we will have coronavirus in the fall. I am convinced of that because of the degree of transmissibility that it has, the global nature. What happens with that will depend on how we are able to contain it when it occurs. And what we are saying is that in the fall, we will be much, much better prepared to do the kind of containment compared to what happened to us this winter. 190051 Now, the complicating issue is that, unlike the syndromic and influenza-like observances that we have, that you could pick it up by clinically what's happening, it's going to get complicated by the influenza season. I believe that's what Dr. Redfield was saying. That it's going to be complicated. So whether or not it's going to be big or small is going to depend on our response. 190120 And that's what I think people sometimes have misunderstanding. Nobody can predict what is going to happen with an outbreak, but you can predict how you're going to respond to it. And that's really very important. Q>> So you would caution against people thinking that in the fall, there's not going to be coravirus anymore and we won't have to worry about it? FAUCI>> No, no. Q>> Or if it is, it's going to be spotty and it will be a big problem we have to worry about. FAUCI>> There will be coronavirus in the fall. If we do, which we won't, but let's take an imaginary period. 190150 We say, "Okay, coronavirus. Forget about it, we are not going to do anything about it," it will take off. That's what viruses do, but that's not what's going to happen. We are going to respond to it, to not allow it to do that. Q>> What happens when governors like governor Kemp are not following this careful, measured plan, and moving forward without meeting the criteria? 190214 FAUCI>> Well -- well, you know, if I were advising the governor, I would tell him that he should be careful. And I would advise him not to just turn the switch on and go. Because there is a danger of a rebound. And I know that there is a desire to move ahead quickly. That's natural human nature, desire. But going ahead and leapfrogging into phases where you should not be, I would advise him -- as a health official and as a physician -- not to do that. 190249 TRUMP>> Go ahead, please. Q>> Thank you, Mr. President. Can you please give some details about the executive order? I know that the white house has just released a document. I haven't had a chance to review it -- 190259 TRUMP>> Well can talk about that later. It's an executive order on immigration. We want Americans to have jobs. We want Americans to have the health care. We want to take care of our citizens first. We have to. And it's a very powerful order. It's for 60 days. At the end of 60 days or maybe even during 60 days, I'll extend it or not. And I'll maybe change it. I might modify it. Yes. Q>> -- immigrants who are already here, Mr. President? Q>> I wanted to ask you -- TRUMP>> Yeah, go ahead please. 190327 Q>> -- immigrants who are already here in the country or immigrants -- have a green card, trying to get into the country and health care workers? 190335 TRUMP>> We're talking about immigrants that are trying to get in, and we're talking about people, and also by the way, people that are coming illegally. Now as you know, because you've seen the numbers, our border, our southern border is very, very tight. It hasn't been this tight in years. It's being helped by 160, more than that, miles of wall that are going up. I'm trying to get to 450 by the end of the year. 450 miles. And we'll have 530 miles early next year. And that's really great. It's fully funded. 190408 We have all the funds and the army corps of engineers is doing a great job. Same people that did javits center, as you know. They're doing a fantastic job. So our southern border is very, very tight, for good reason, for very good reason. We're also being helped by 27,000 very good soldiers from Mexico. And I want to thank the president of Mexico. He has been terrific in many ways, including on what we're doing with covid. 190434 And as you know, we have a very good trade arrangement with Mexico now, which we didn't have before. So I want to thank the president of Mexico, in particular for the 27,000 soldiers. They're doing a fantastic job. Q>> For health care workers, sir? Do you want to talk about the exemptions for health care workers? 190448 TRUMP>> Well, we want to protect our health care workers. And that's one of the other reasons we're doing this. Yes, Jon? 190451 JON KARL Q>> Mr. President, I wanted to ask you about Rick Bright. He is head of the federal agency in charge of getting a vaccine out to Americans once it's ready. He says he's been pushed out of his job because he raised questions about hydroxychloroquine and some of your directives on that. Was he pushed of that job? TRUMP>> I've never heard of him. You just mentioned a name, I never heard of him. When did this happen? JON KARL>> This happened today. TRUMP>> No, I never heard of him. If a guy says he was pushed out of a job, maybe he was. Maybe he wasn't. You'd have to hear the other side. I don't know who he is. Please. JON KARL Q>> And on the hydroxychloroquine -- TRUMP>> Hold on one second please. 190523 Q>> I just wanted to -- You said by the fourth of July you expect people to be on the national mall and we'll be having a celebration like we did last year. Given what the doctors are just saying that, you know, coronavirus is still going to be out there, might not be as bad as it is now, but it is still going to be circulating. Is that going to be safe to have that many people on the mall? TRUMP>> Probably have 25% of what we had last year. Last year as you know was maxed out. I saw a magnificent picture of Dr. Martin Luther king and I saw a magnificent picture of our event last year and both of them were maxed out. 180559 It was beautiful to see, beautiful, very similar. This year most likely we'll be standing 6 feet apart. We will have to do that in a very, very interesting way. Maybe we will even do it greater. So we'll leave a little extra distance. If we do that, we would certainly do that. I don't see -- maybe the purpose that we can't do that. We have to have people, thousands. We had tens of thousands, most of you were there. Tens of thousands of people last year. It was incredible. To an extent, an air show of all the different aircrafts flying over. 180632 We even had air force one flying over. So ideally it would be wonderful if we could actually have it as it was last year. But -- and eventually we will have that. I think it's important to know that eventually we are going to have that. Stadiums are going to be the way they have been for the last 100 years. Q>> Will you be able to have --- TRUMP>> I know, but your stadiums, as an example. Sports is going to be the way they used to be. I told one of the owners, he said do you think I should take out seats and I said no you shouldn't take out seats. We're going to have it the way it was. We are going to be back. This virus will eventually be gone. If it should show up in the fall we're going to put it out very fast. We have great people who are going to put it out very fast because we have learned a lot. We've learned a lot about how to deal with it. We'll put it out very fast. Please. Nice and easy. 190716 Q>> You talk a lot about testing capacity. And governors agree that that exists. But it's very different from testing implementation. And they are still begging for you to use your full authority to help them get reagents and other things. As you like to say, what do you have to lose by helping them do that -- TRUMP>> Well I am doing that. Q>> -- and becoming the king of testing? 190739 TRUMP>> Let me just say. We are the king of testing already. There's no country in the world that's done more. Not even, not even -- Q>> .2% of the population has been tested. Is that good enough? 190748 TRUMP>> I just said, there's no country in the world that's done more. And we have tests that have already come out that are going to be introduced very shortly that will do it more. My problem is this. It's very much of a media trap. Whether we did 2%, 5%, 50% or 100%, it'll never be enough no matter what. Q>> -- .2%. TRUMP>> Now with the, with the expertise and what we did because of our expertise and tremendous talent at manufacturing, what we did with the ventilators, that wasn't a trap because we got them done, shockingly to everybody, because of the incredible talent like Mike Pence saw yesterday in Wisconsin. But we have numerous of those sites all over the country doing the same thing. 190834 So that when the governors were complaining, some of the governors, I must say, and it was very much along party lines, for the most part, but except for one. When the governors were complaining, we said no, no. How many do you need? We need 50. We need 100. One governor asked for many, many, many thousands, and it turned out they didn't need that, and that's good. Nobody that needed a ventilator, you know this. And we went through this with the governors, that needed a ventilator, didn't get a ventilator. 190903 That was an incredible achievement. With testing it's a little different. It's much easier than ventilators. It's like 2%. But for instance, the swabs are coming in by the millions. They're coming in, literally coming in by the millions. Totally ordered, we wanted the highest quality. We could have gotten a much lesser quality. We didn't want to do that. We got the highest quality. But testing, it's like, no matter how well you do, you can always say more. With the ventilators, they either have them or they don't. In fact, we went to one meeting, who wants a ventilator? One governor said, we'd like 25. 25. You got them. 190940 Who else? Nobody spoke up. That was four weeks ago. So that was great. The problem with the testing is, and I said, if we test, if we test 350 million people, you will say no, we want them to have a second test or a third test or a fourth test. Not everybody believes as strongly as some people in testing. Some people want to do testing because they think it's impossible for us to fulfill that goal. That's easy compared to ventilators, as I've said. But we have a tremendous testing capability, better than anybody in the world right now.
WHITE HOUSE TASK FORCE ON CORONAVIRUS BRIEFING POOL CUTS 1700 TO1900
1700 WH COVID BRFG CUTS FS24 74 President Donald Trump and members of the White House Task force on coronavirus daily briefing WASH 3 PRESIDENT TRUMP WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE BRIEFING 200422 PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP 181026 TRUMP>> Thank you very much, appreciate it. Lot of tremendous things are happening. The number of new, positive cases continue to decline nationwide. Recent hot spots appear to be stabilizing. The hot spots are, in some cases, very interesting, what's going on. And they're going down. They're going in the right direction. 181054 Cases in the Boston area are now declining. The Chicago curve appears to have flattened, which is terrific, and Detroit has passed its peak. These trends demonstrate that our aggressive strategy to battle the virus is working and that more states will soon be in a position to gradually and safely reopen. 181113 It's very exciting. It was very exciting even today watching and seeing what's happening and people are getting ready and they're all excited. I do want to mention a man who's done a very good job for us, Dr. Robert Redfield was totally misquoted in the media on a statement about the fall season and the virus. Totally misquoted, I spoke to him, he said it was ridiculous. He was talking about the flu and Corona coming together at the same time. 181145 Corona could be just some little flareups that we will take care of, we will knock it out. We'll knock it out fast, but that's what he was referring to, coming together at the same time. I think rather than waiting, I would ask Dr. Redfield to come up and say a couple of words just to straighten it out because he didn't say it was a big -- big explosion, the headline in "The Washington post" was totally inaccurate. 181208 The statement wasn't bad in the Post but the headline was ridiculous which is, as I say, that's Fake News and CNN is fake news like crazy. And they had just totally the wrong story, which they knew. They were asked to change it, and they wouldn't do that. And it was false, so I'll Dr. Redfield, who is a real professional to come up and explain, please. Thank you, Doc. DR ROBERT REDFIELD 181237 REDFIELD>> Thank you Mr. President. I really do think it's important to clarify this as we build the confidence of the American people. When I commented yesterday that there was a possibility of the fall-winter, next fall-winter could be more difficult, more complicated, when we have two respiratory illnesses circulating at the same time, influenza and the coronavirus 19. But I think it's really important to emphasize what I didn't say. 181307 I didn't say that this was going to be worse. I said it was going to be more difficult and potentially complicated because we'll have flu and coronavirus circulating at the same time. I want to emphasize that we continue to build the nation's public health infrastructure to ensure that we have the capacity to stay in containment mode. Those of you who heard me talk before, I've told you that in January and February, up to February 27th-28th, this nation had 14 cases. 181337 We were in containment mode, and then unfortunately the virus overwhelmed where we got into extreme mitigation. We are building that public health capacity now to make sure that we stay in the containment mode for the upcoming fall and winter season so we will not need to resort to the kind of mitigation that we had to this spring. 181357 I have confidence that our public health response of early case recognition that we've talked about, isolation and contact tracing combined with our plans for increased surveillance, particularly for the most vulnerable, will be an effective public health strategy, so our nation will be able to maintain itself in the containment mode. 181419 Again, that will be supported by the American public's continued cooperation obviously in the areas of personal hygiene and the types of social distancing strategies that may be appropriate. The key to my comments and the reason that I really wanted to stress them was to appeal to the American public to embrace the flu vaccine with confidence. One of the greatest tools we have as we go through the fall-winter season that we're into is to get the American public to embrace the influenza vaccine and thereby minimize the impact of flu to be the co-respiratory disease we confront. Thank you very. Q>> Can I ask a follow up on that Dr. Redfield please? 181508 TRUMP>> [inaud] to follow up. He was misquoted -- totally misquoted. He said they could come together, they didn't talk about that, and his whole purpose in making the statement was to get a flu shot so that next fall, we don't have such a big season of flu and we possibly won't. But -- as you said, this -- it's possible, if the Corona even comes back and he doesn't know that it's going to or -- neither do I. We spoke at great length, and I think the Dr. will speak if you'd like to continue. 181538 But we may have some embers, and we're gonna put them out, of corona, but we may have a big flu season. But that's different. Flu is very different. from Corona. 181545 JON KARL Q>> Can I ask you a follow up question? TRUMP>> Sure. JON KARL Q>> So, Dr. Redfield, "The Washington post," which you did the interview with them, they quoted you as saying "there's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be much -- even more difficult than the one we just went through. And when I've said this to others, they kind of put their head barked, they don't understand what I mean -- we are going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time," is that what you said to "The Washington post"? 181612 REDFIELD>> Yeah, that's what I was trying to say to you just a minute ago, that the issue I was talking about about being more difficult is that we're going to have two viruses circulating at the same time. This spring that we just went through -- February -- we had a benefit of having the flu season ended, so we could use all of our flu surveillance systems to say "Whoops, this is coronavirus. We need to focus." Next fall and -- and winter, we are going to two viruses circulating and we are going to have to distinguish between which is flu and which is the coronavirus. 181646 And so, the comment that I made, "it's more difficult," it doesn't mean it's going to be more impossible, doesn't mean it's going to be more -- as some people have said -- "worse," it's just going to be more difficult because we have to distinguish between the two, and what I was wanting to do and what I want to do again here is appeal to the American public to recognize they can really help, like they did with mitigation, which they really helped. I need them to help now to best prepare us by getting the flu vaccine and taking flu out of the picture. 181719 TRUMP>> Excuse me, but we may not even have Corona coming back. JON KARL Q>> I'm sorry, but that quotes that I just read was accurate, right sir? That's the quote from "The Washington post," you are accurately quoted. Correct? REDFIELD>> I'm accurately quoted in "The Washington post" as difficult, but the headline was inappropriate. TRUMP>> Read the headline. JON KARL>> The headline says CDC director warned second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating. TRUMP>> That's not what he said. JON KARL>> But if you have the two things happening -- 181751 REDFIELD>> No, I actually think it's going to be -- I think the American public is going to heed the request to relook at their vaccine hesitancy, the vaccine with confidence with flu and I'm confident the public health infrastructure that we are putting together now across this country so we can early case diagnose, isolate, contact trace, as i say block and tackle, block and tackle, that system is going to be there and we are going to be able to contain this virus. 181818 Q>> Why did you retweet the article if it was inaccurate, Dr., why did you retweet it? 181823 TRUMP>> You weren't called. 181825 BIRX>> So I just -- We talked about this yesterday when you asked me this question, and someone I think used the word devastating. I want to really again emphasize to the American public that when we first interacted with this virus for the first time in the February and March time frame, we didn't have an understanding of its transmissibility, all of the symptoms. We do now. 181850 And I think what we are building together when we talk about the public health infrastructure, it is very much working on the surveillance piece, but I think we also know the strength of the American people and their ability to immediately understand how to protect themselves with not touching their face, making sure that they're washing their hands. But the other piece I wanted to talk about and we mentioned yesterday also that we have the summer while we have flu surveillance that we can utilize and syndromic management that we can utilize, we have all of that time to prepare clearly the testing algorithm that you would need in a flu potentially if covid came back. 181932 Potentially. And so we are preparing for that potential right now. And I think we spoke to you all about that and talked about how we're not only preparing for today and tomorrow, but we're preparing for six months from now, three months from now and making sure that all of these pieces are in place. I think what Dr. Redfield clearly was asking for, just like we ask for every American to follow the guidelines, he's saying please add to that guidelines getting your flu shot and making sure you're protected. 182002 TRUMP>> And doctor, wouldn't you say there's a good chance that covid will not come back? 182006 BIRX>> We don't know -- TRUMP>> -- or if it comes back, it's in a very small confined area that we put out. BIRX>> Well, the great thing is, we'll be able to find it earlier this time. And I think that's what we're talking about. We'll find those cases earlier. So what Dr. Redfield said, we would be able to stay in containment phase. And what we're also hoping, and we talked about this about four or five weeks ago, that we're hoping that the flu infections also go down, because people are much more aware of respiratory illnesses and how to protect themselves. 182040 We want you to get your vaccine but we also want to also protect individuals from getting the flu, because the vulnerability we know in certain populations to flu and the devastating outcomes to flu, we could prevent and decrease both of those things. So I think we are assured that the CDC is putting in place today what we are going to need in the fall so that we can stay in containment if potentially the virus comes back. 182110 TRUMP>> If it comes back, though, it won't be coming back in the form that it was. It will be coming back in smaller doses that we can contain. But what the doctor was saying, and I spoke to him at great length, he was saying if it should come back together, now you have a flu and you have the embers of corona, but in my opinion from everything I've seen, it can never be like anything that we've witnessed right now. Wouldn't you say that's a correct statement? REDFIELD>> Absolutely. 182138 It's nothing like what we're talking -- What we've just gone through, we will not go through. You could have some embers of Corona and you could have a big flu system, and if they combine and they come together, if they come together, it's not great, but we will not go through what we went through for the last two months. Is that a correct statement? Q>> I understand that the United States will be more prepared in the fall, but how can you say that you know it won't come back at the same level that it has today? 182209 TRUMP>> What -- It is estimated it might not come back at all, Jeff. It may not come back at all. He's talking about a worst-case scenario where you have a big flu and you have some corona. And if it does come back, it's not going to come back, and I've spoken to ten different people, not gonna be like it was. Also, we have much better containment now. Before nobody knew about it. Nobody knew anything about it. We understand it. Now, if we have a little pockets, a little pocket here, then we're going to have it put out. It goes out, and it's going to put it out fast. We're gonna be watching for it. But it's all possible -- It's also possible it doesn't come back at all. Q>> I understand the containment, but I don't understand how you know it won't come back at a big scale. 182245 TRUMP>> I didn't say it's not. I said if it does, it's not going to come back on anything near what we went through. But you could have a mess where they come at the same time. And if they come at the same time, the flu is not the greatest thing in the world, Jeff, it's not the greatest thing either. If they come at the same time, you have them both. But if we have embers of corona coupled with the flu, that's not gonna be pleasant, but it's not going to be what we've gone through in any way, shape, or form. 182315 Q>> If you don't think that it's going to come back at the same severity as right now, why are you still directing taxpayer dollars to be spent on emergency procurement of ventilators? 10s of thousands? TRUMP>> Because we have to have them for other reasons. Something else could come. I mean, we didn't know about Corona. Now we know about Corona. Look at what happened. And now, we had the H1N1 swine flu. We had that, we have other things that have happened. We had various forms of flu but nothing like we've had here, nothing at all like what we've had here with the virus but something could happen. 182351 I think that the stockpiles -- we are making hundreds of thousands of ventilators, nobody writes about that. You know, at the one time, all they talked about was ventilators because you didn't think it was possible for me to solve that problem, and I solved it and nobody can believe it. I just spoke to world leaders today who desperately need ventilators. They said the job you've done -- and we are sending 500 to Mexico, then another 500 to France, we are sending some to Spain, we're sending some to Italy. We have them -- they are being made by the thousands. 182423 And World leaders, I spoke to Prime Minister -- I mean, I went through a lot of different calls today. I won't even tell you, but I went through -- I can give you a list if you want. But I went through a lot of calls to a lot of leaders. I spoke with Pakistan, they would like to have some ventilators. We're going to get them some ventilators, but they all said to me one thing: 182444 It was incredible that you solved the ventilator problem because that was a big problem. The testing problem -- we've done more than any other nation in the world. Go a step further -- if you added up the testing of every nation in the world, put them together, we've done substantially more than that. A few people aren't satisfied. 182503 So let's say we had 350 million people in the United States,right, let's say and if we gave every one of those people a test ten times, so we give 350 people a test, ten times, the fake news media would say where's the 11th time? He didn't do his job. Trump didn't do his job because you have a lot of bad reporting out there, it's very sad. JON KARL>>> That's not true. TRUMP>> You're one of the leaders of the bad reporting. JON KARL>> But it's not true. 182533 TRUMP>> Let's get onto another subject, I wanted that to -- I want that to be cleared up. If you want, we can get it on to it later but I want the vice president to speak. But you want to get the news accurately, you ought to write it -- if you take a look at what you wrote about the ventilators and when we became the king of ventilators, we are making different factories all over, ventilators by the thousands. In fact, Mike got back from Wisconsin, the first thing he did, he called up, I said how's it going? He said, you know, you're not going to believe, he just saw a plant, a factory where they are making ventilators. 182604 I think I can say the words were unbelievable. He said it was unbelievable when he saw the quality of the equipment, the professionalism, a tremendous number -- how many workers would you say there were? PENCE>> Over 550. They doubled production and are about to triple production. TRUMP>> Nobody thought this could be done. The fake news was very unhappy that it was done. But you guys don't ask me about ventilators. 182628 JOHN KARL Q (?) >> Who's unhappy that ventilators are being made, Mr. president? TRUMP>> You never mention it. You never mention it. There's no stories of what a great job we've done with ventilators. We are now supplying ventilators all over the world because no other country could have done what we did. You should say that's a great story, instead you say trump was slow -- slow? We were so fast plus we put the ban on so much earlier when Nancy Pelosi as an example, you don't say this, when she's having her rally in San Francisco in chinatown in San Francisco, nobody wants to say that. 182702 If we didn't, and Dr. Fauci said this, if we didn't close our country to China, we would've been so infected, like nobody has ever seen. When you saw the chart and we were at the top of the list in terms of success, nobody wrote it, I said is anybody going to use that chart, nobody wrote it, in terms of mortality, you saw that. Nobody wrote it. Germany and our country, the most successful in terms of mortality, nobody wrote it. It would be great if you wrote the truth, let's get on with it because I want Mike to speak and then we'll take more questions. 182734 On the assumption you'd like to and I think you probably will. It's been encouraging to watch states begin to open up and it really has been, it's a beautiful thing to see as restrictions are lifted, we must maintain vigilance and continue practicing social distancing. I encouraged governors to follow a careful, phased approach and I want to remind all Americans to adhere to our guidelines, very important. The governors are going to adhere hopefully or they're gonna do what they think is best. 182807 I want them to do what they think is best, but ideal, adhere. Wash your hands, avoid close physical contact as much as possible and wear a face covering when distancing is impractical. There were cases. We have flattened the curve and really made tremendous progress but we must guard against a dangerous rebound. We don't want to rebound. This is what we were just talking about, we don't want a rebound, the doctor doesn't want to rebound, these people definitely don't want a rebound, I think think you want one, huh? You especially. 182838 We don't want rebound's after all of this death -- death that we've suffered. Not work, I don't view work. I view it death that was unnecessary, should have never happened. Should have never left that little area where it started. You know it and I know it and they know it. 182856 In our all-out war against the virus we continue to make great strides on testing, famous testing, doing more than anybody else anywhere in the world, nothing funny about that, Jon. Most of the governors have never faced a situation like this before. We are helping them find unused testing capacity within their states, tremendous testing capacity that the governors in many cases didn't know they had. And additional capabilities are coming online every day, we are coming up with new equipment like the Abbott laboratories equipment on-site, 5 minutes, great success, everybody wants it but you can only make so many of those machines. 182939 So we have many other forms of testing. We have many other machines that do it very quickly, and by the millions -- by the millions. Our task force issued its reopening guidelines earlier than April 30th to give governors the time that they needed to develop testing capability and capacity and customize plans for their states, which many of them did. We have had some governors do a fantastic job on testing and on a lot of other things. 183819 I spoke, as you know Governor Cuomo, he had to, we had a great conversation on testing yesterday. And they're doing a really good job in New York. We're working very closely with each of the states to help them succeed. I spoke earlier today with Governor Newsom, California, and that was all about testing, that conversation. He's been scaling up really well, really good job. 183034 And I agreed to help him get some of the critical supplies that California needs to make use of the tremendous capacity that they found, this is tremendous testing capacity, and I'm going to do it very quickly. He needs certain things. We're gonna get that to him very quickly. Now, could he get it himself? Yes, but I can get it faster. He understands that, and he's done a great job. And we're gonna have it to him, we're gonna have a lot of it to him over the next two days, and we're gonna beef it up the following week. Get him a lot of additional. He's done a really, a terrific job in California. Some of the governors have done a fantastic job working with us. 183109 I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the Phase One guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia -- they're incredible people, I love those people. They are -- they're great. They have been strong, resolute, but at the same time, he must do what he thinks is right. I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he is doing. 183144 But I want to let the governors do -- now, if I see something totally egregious, totally out of line, I'll do. But I think spas and beauty salons and tattoo parlors and barbershops in Phase 1 -- we are going to have faced 2 very soon -- it's just too soon. I think it's too soon and I love the people. I love -- I love those people that use all of those things: the spas, and the beauty parlors and barbershops, tattoo parlors, I love them. 183215 But they can wait a little bit longer, just a little bit -- not much because safety has to predominate. We have to have that. So I told the governor very simply that I disagree with his decision, but he has to do what he thinks is right. I'm excited to announce that, in the coming weeks, the air force thunderbirds -- they're incredible and the Navy blue angels, equally incredible, will be performing airshows over America's major cities and some of the cities that aren't major cities. 183250 They are going to be doing a lot of work, a lot of very dangerous flying. It's dangerous, you know the odds. When you start going at massive speeds and you're 18 inches away from each other, that's dangerous work. Your son is a great pilot and I don't know if he could be -- could he be a thunderbird? I don't know. >> We'll see. TRUMP>> I think he probably could, from what I hear. I don't know if I would want him to be because it is -- it's incredible what they are able to do, and the sacrifice our frontline -- what we are doing is we're paying tribute to our frontline health care workers confronting Covid. 183326 And it's really a signal to all Americans to remain vigilant during the outbreak. This is a tribute to them, to our warriors because they are equal warriors to those incredible pilots and all of the fighters that we have for the more traditional flights that we win. And we win. When we want to win, we always win. Sometimes we don't want to win and so we just go to a standstill. But that's always -- that's not the way this country works. Operation America Strong was the idea of our great military men and women. 183403 The Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels crews who wanted to show support to the American medical workers who, just like military members in a time of war, are fiercely running toward the fight. It's gonna be great. I want to see those shows. I've seen them many times and I can't get enough of them. And on July 4th, we will be doing what we had at the mall, as you know. We're gonna be doing it. Last year was a tremendous success. And I would imagine we'll do it, hopefully I can use the term "forever." 183433 That was a great success, as you remember. even though it was pouring. It was raining so hard, it was raining at -- that's about as hard as I've seen in a while. But it was an amazing success. Didn't bother the pilots, didn't bother the military, didn't bother the crews that we had there. So we're gonna be doing that again on July 4th. Our great military is operating at 100% during this crisis, and thousands of troops are deployed alongside of civilians in Covid the hot spots, as you know. You see them all over. 183505 When I spoke with governor Cuomo and when I spoke with Gavin Newsom and many of the other governors, they wanted to know if we could have some military help with the medical, and we gave it to them. In every case, they said it's fantastic, I mean just fantastic. New York City mayor de Blasio called me to say it was inspiring to watch, he was there when the military came in. He said it gave everybody spirit when he saw the professionalism and the spirit they had, they walked in and they helped a lot -- lot of people. 183540 Doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians and professionals -- it was an incredible thing. But they all -- everybody who saw them going to work said that was something special. We are going to have tremendous airshows all throughout the country, and that's in honor of what we are all going through together, and the people that are helping us so much and, unfortunately, the people who have passed away from something that should never have been allowed to happen. 183612 Following around-the-clock negotiations yesterday, the senate answered my call to replenish the paycheck protection program so that millions of additional American workers can keep getting a paycheck. We just increased it by $310 billion. I urged the House to pass the bill without delay. In our first round of funding we provided nearly $350 billion and it went at record speed to American workers and small businesses. And it's really been incredible, an incredible success. I want to thank the banks, the big banks, the little banks, the commercial banks of all kinds. 183657 We had the community banks were fantastic, by the way, community banks. And as you know, this was an interesting story in recent days. I've called for Harvard -- that's Harvard University -- which has a $40 billion endowment fund to return the money that it was allocated under the CARES act. And I'm pleased to announce that Harvard has announced today that they will not accept the funds, nor will Stanford University or many of the others that were involved both on a university level also on the company level, some of the companies were bigger than people had represented or bigger than people had thought and strong enough that they didn't need the money. 183744 So, there's a certain amount of money that we are not sending. Well as soon as I heard it, I said stop the funds, and for the most part, I guess they stopped it, Mike, right? They stopped it. They're not accepting the money, and that's great. And so I want to thank Harvard, I want to thank Stanford, and I want to thank the other companies. In a case, it's broken differently between the colleges and companies, but I want to thank the companies and the other great universities, and there's some great ones. 183815 The legislation passed by the senate yesterday also reserves $30 billion for small financial institutions that serve minority and distressed communities -- very important. We are determined to protect our African-American, hispanic-american, and minority workers who have been hit so hard by this hidden enemy. My administration is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to address the full spectrum of needs in these communities, supporting both health and economic revitalization. 183848 First, my administration is committed to providing the testing that is needed to fight the virus in distressed communities. In the last month alone, we have already sent over $1.4 billion to our nation's 13,000 community health care centers -- think of that, 13,000 -- to increase testing and treatment in the underserved areas. We are also expanding access to telehealth. Telehealth has become a big deal. I've been reading about it for years and, all of the sudden, because of this, it's become a big -- a big thing. 183919 People can't leave their houses. they didn't want to leave their houses for various reasons including they wanted to follow the guidelines. The legislation passed by the Senate yesterday, and I want to thank everybody, a great great vote -- great -- it's, as you know it was a unanimous vote, how often do you see that? But the legislation passed by the senate yesterday includes an additional $25 billion to further expand the testing and provides even more funding for community health centers and various forms of epidemics and pandemics, and we'll be working on that. 183955 Because, you know, as per a couple of your statements and questions before, we want to work on that for the future. We hope this doesn't happen again for -- again, ever. But last time was -- of this magnitude -- 1917, that's a long time ago. So we want to be prepared and we are prepared. And as I told you, we are building up hospitals -- not only our stockpile which is being up greatly -- being built up great, but also hospitals' stockpiles. We are getting them what they need. 184026 We are working out cost arrangements with them. And we are getting them a lot of the ventilators which is the hardest thing for them to get both from a cost standpoint and a technical standpoint. At the same time, we are also supporting the establishment of new testing sites focused on these communities. 40 sites have launched so far, and there are plans to launch dozens more in the next three weeks. And we are coming up with testing apparatus and testing plans that are incredible when you look at the numbers. 184058 And some people are very, very big on testing. I'm big on testing, but some people are much less big than I am, I will tell you. And they're professionals. But we want to have it so that nobody can talk about "Gee whiz, I wish we had more testing." Nobody has done it like we've done it. And nobody will. And we're getting very much stronger. We have incredible professionals doing it. So many different tests have now evolved. People are finding it even hard to believe. 184128 My administration is working closely with governors to ensure they have the testing infrastructure in place to reduce further spread of the virus. if they are so inclined to use the testing apparatus, including strategies for older individuals, low income Americans, minorities and native Americans. As part of the effort, the white house task force headed up by Mike, who has done an incredible -- I will say it everytime. I will say it to anybody who wants to listen: Mike pence has done an incredible job. Really an incredible job, thank you. 184203 --- is providing technical assistance to all 50 states through one-on-one phone calls as they develop and implement their plans. In addition, my administration is committed to restoring black and hispanic communities to full economic health. They want to be healthy economically and physically. And that's what we are doing. To that end, today, I'm directing the white house opportunity and revitalization council led by secretary Ben Carson to focus its effort on supporting the underserved communities impacted by the coronavirus. 184237 And so, Ben Carson is working on that with Mike and myself and a lot of other people. I'm going to ask Tim Scott, who was so helpful with the opportunity Zones -- that's an economic answer to a lot of problems, and Tim Scott was fantastic. And so I'm going to ask him to get involved with you, and I'm sure he'll be willing to do it -- from South Carolina. I also asked the council to identify what additional funding will be required from Congress beyond what has already been provided. 184308 We are really building ourselves a strong base and we're building ourselves a wall that's very different from the kind of walls that you've been hearing me talking about. But it's, nevertheless, in many ways, it performs the same function and hopefully it's going to perform it equally as well. Furthermore, the council will seek input from the private sector and community leaders on how we can best support minority and distressed communities. As president, I am absolutely determined to deliver a great future for Americans of every race, religion, color and creed. 184343 Before our nation was attacked by this horrible enemy, our African-American and hispanic-american citizens were prospering like never before -- best employment numbers ever. Not only African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American, every American. We were breaking records at every level. We had almost 160 million people employed -- we were never even close to that number. 184413 And we were breaking them economically -- highest stock market numbers, highest numbers of every kind. And I think we are going to be back there and I think it's going to be much sooner, rather than later and I think we will surpass those numbers, including our employment numbers. But I will not rest until that prosperity has been fully restored and again, I really believe that we're going to lift those numbers higher than ever before, and it won't be as long as people might think. A lot of smart people are looking at that, and they're betting. You just have to look at what's going on with the stock market. 184446 In order to protect our great American workers, I've just signed an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the United States. This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens. Crucially, it will also preserve our health care resources for American patients. If we have to take care of our patients, we have to take care of our great American workers, and that's what we're doing. So I've just signed it just before coming into the room, and very important, very important. 184522 And as to amending it or extending it, that we can do at the appropriate time, but it's now signed. Earlier today, the first lady and I planted a tree on the south lawn of the white house in recognition of the 50th annual Earth day. I was glad to announce that we will begin to reopen our national parks and public lands. We want Americans to be able to satisfy and be really safe. We want them to satisfy their family that safety is going to happen, and it will happen. 184553 And maybe even at a level like never before. We've learned so much. But we want them to enjoy these great national treasures as we continue to take reasonable precautions, and hopefully it'll be just reasonable. My administration has directed more than $7 billion in federal funding to support the development of treatments, diagnostics, and therapies. And that's something, doctors, I hope you can really work on, that's something so powerful and so important. 184625 The FDA, the NIH, and industry leaders are establishing master clinical trial protocols to test multiple promising new drugs at the same time. And they're doing a lot of -- We're doing a lot of testing right now. More than 1,600 locations across the country have signed up to administer convalescent plasma to patients, infusing them with antibodies of those who have recovered. And when they recover, I said it last time, practically the first thing they say is, I want to give my blood so I can help other people. They want to give their blood. It's incredible. 184701 They're laying in bed, they're still in pretty weakened conditions. And they say I want to give my blood, and that's happening all the time, isn't it? If you recovered from the coronavirus, I ask you to consider contacting your local blood or plasma donation center to arrange a donation that could potentially save many lives. We'd love for our nation and loyalty for our fellow citizens, we will safeguard our family, care for our neighbors, heal the sick, protect our workers and build a future for a country that is the greatest country anywhere in the world. And we're only going to get greater. Thank you very much, Mike Pence -- please. VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE 184748 PENCE>> Thank you, Mr. President. White House coronavirus task force met today. And despite the fact that there have been more than 843,000 Americans who have contracted the coronavirus and we grieve the loss of more than 47,000 of our countrymen, according to Dr. Birx and her team, we continue to see encouraging signs. Because the American people have been putting into practice the guidance that has been issued by the president and this task force and they have been taking to heart the guidance of state and local officials. 184826 And Mr. President, as we learned today, we are continuing to see declines in all the major metro areas around the country that have been the most impacted. The numbers remain low and steady on the west coast, in Washington State, and in California. The New York metro area, New Jersey, Connecticut all appear to be past their peak. And as our scientists may reflect in a few moments, we also are seeing the positive rate going down, which is actually even as encouraging as the declining cases. 184902 The Detroit metro area appears to be past its peak. The Seattle metro area, as I mentioned, remains stable. New Orleans metro area is the most stable of all the large metro outbreaks. We also are continuing to see stabilization and even declines in Houston and Atlanta and Nashville and Baltimore and Indianapolis and elsewhere. This is a tribute to the American people, to the fact that the American people have taken to heart the guidelines, the social distancing, the personal hygiene, the recommendation that you use the drive through at a restaurant rather than going in a restaurant and avoiding groups of more than ten. 184944 On the president's behalf, on behalf of our entire coronavirus task force, we just want to urge all the American people to continue onward. We all want to reopen America, and we want to reopen our states and our communities as soon as it is safe and responsible to do so. But I want to say to my countrymen, the fastest way to reopen America is to continue to do what you've been doing. That's the fastest way, as President Trump has said many times, to get our country working again, is to put the coronavirus in the past, and we are on our way to doing just that. 185022 You know, from early on, the president called forth not only the full power of the federal government but he called forth the full weight of the American economy. And I had the privilege yesterday to travel to Madison, Wisconsin and see American industry and American workers at their very best. And I want to thank the G.E. health care team in Wisconsin as well as the union machinists that I spent time with all day yesterday. It was extraordinary, Mr. President. And earlier this month, you used the defense production act to ensure that supplies could flow to G.E. and general motors and Ford and other companies that were prepared to repurpose manufacturing lines and hire new workers to construct ventilators. 185108 And at this particular plant, they literally have -- the union sat down, the machinist union sat down, and in less than one week negotiated a new contract with G.E. health care that allowed them to continue to bring in workers from around the country. They doubled, they doubled their work line in one week. They're about to triplet it. They've have been going 24 hours a day, three shifts, seven days a week. 185133 And the president promised that by harnessing the power of the American economy we would have 100,000 ventilators in 100 days. But thanks to the ingenuity and the hardworking Americans that I was with yesterday and other countries, we're actually going to have 110,000 ventilators in 100 days. They were all wearing t-shirts, Mr. President, I brought one back for you, that simply read "Union machinists save lives." And to that great team at GE Health Care, I want to just say, all of America is proud of you and grateful for you. 185209 We're also grateful to all of our health care workers at every level and all the work that they're doing, and we're proud that our National Guard and our American military are at their side. As our task force learned today, more than 31,000 National Guard have been stood up around the country. ANd the president in the last day extended what's called title 32 authorizations for all National Guard personnel through May 31. So we're going to continue to partner with states as the National Guard plays a vital role in testing and in cleaning nursing homes and in standing up state's response. 185243 Military personnel, Mr. President, we have more than 5,500 active duty military personnel, including as of yesterday, 964 medical professionals in the uniform of the United States working in 17 hospitals in seven states around the country. We're also very proud of our team at the VA. The VA has addressed its capacity issues. It's not seeing cases among veterans in its facilities increase, so they're deploying teams to focus on nursing homes. In Massachusetts, the VA personnel had disinfected two different nursing homes. In New Jersey, they literally taken over two state nursing homes and deployed 90 doctors and nurses. 185327 And in Florida, we're sending 16 teams to assist in nursing home operations. As the president also mentioned, in addition to what I saw yesterday in Madison, Wisconsin, we continue, we continue to build our strategic national stockpile. It's growing again with ventilators, nearly 11,000 in supply. 901 new ventilators will be added, transitioned in the near term. And every American, I think, can be confident that should the need arise for your family member facing serious consequences from the coronavirus, to need that equipment to help them breathe, that equipment will be there. 185411 As we said yesterday in Wisconsin, and you've said, Mr. President, I think it should be a great source of comfort to every American that no American who has required a ventilator in the United States has been denied a ventilator. And that's a testament to our health care workers, a testament to every American putting mitigation principles into practice, and it's a testament to all these great companies. Speaking of great companies, American businesses are stepping up. 185439 It was on April 1st that I traveled to a Walmart distribution center. And the president reached out to the president and CEO of Walmart to ask Walmart to get in the gowns business. And Mr. President, I'm glad to report to you that we heard today at the task force that Walmart is producing 8.4 million gowns, and they will be delivered into our commercial supply, to health care facilities around the country by the end of June. They are hardly alone. Honda is producing 500,000 face shields, New Balance is making 100,000 masks a week. 184416 In a very real sense, the American people have stepped up to make the sacrifices and endure the hardship that social distancing has required, but American businesses at every size and every means have come together to respond to the president's call. It really has been a whole of America approach. And our message from the president's White House coronavirus task force is to tell the American people it's working, we're getting there. We can see light at the end of the tunnel. We can see the data, we can reopen and put America back to work, but it's gonna take all of us continuing to make the sacrifices necessary to practice those disciplines to get us to a place where we can reopen safely and confidently. With that, Mr. President, I'll call Dr. Fauci up for his reflections and we'll move on. DR. ANTHONY FAUCI 185611 FAUCI>> Thank you very much, Mr. Vice president. So I'm just going to take off from where I was at this podium a few days ago to kind of reiterate some of things that the vice president said but to kind of connect the dots from where we were, where we are now, and where I think we're gonna be. So if you remember a couple of weeks ago when we talked about the fact that we were going to have a really bad week because the deaths, particularly driven by the situation in New York, were going to get worse and worse. 185640 But yet, as that was happening, we were starting to see some turn around, some flattening, and some coming down. As you've heard from Dr. Birx and will likely hear more, that that is continuing. So what has happened is that the mitigation that we put in with the first 15 days and then the 30 day mitigation program of physical distancing worked. So it got us to where we are today. It is a successful formula. 185711 It is the basis for our being able to say that we can now think seriously about reopening America. And for that reason, we put together a carefully thought out and I believe well delineated and described program for opening up America again. And you know what it is. It's the guidelines that we announced a few days ago. Those very guidelines are based on a version of the successful formula that got us to where we are. 185746 So what I'm trying to say is that the program is not one that is going to be "turn the lights on in America, we are finished." We are not. We have to proceed in a very careful measured way. And if you look at the guidelines, they are careful and they are measured. There are certain checkpoints before you can even think about going into a Phase One. And then things relax a little as you go into phase two. And relax a little and you go into phase three. 185820 We live in a big country, and it is heterogeneous and there are different dynamics of outbreaks in different parts of the country. So the speed with which one can go from one to another, at the point at which you can even begin to think about the phase is going to differ. So the one thing that I know, the urge we all have to get out there and get it over with -- let's get back to normal -- for a lot of good reasons, because there's a lot of suffering, economic and otherwise in this country because of that. 185849 But again, as I pleaded early on, weeks ago, I plead with the American public, with governors, with mayors, for people with responsibility. Although I know one has the need to leapfrog over things, don't do that. Do it in a measured way. This is a successful formula. The problem is if we don't do that, there's a likelihood we will have a rebound. 185916 And the one way not to reopen the economy is to have a rebound that we can't take care of. So please, again, let me just close by pleading with the American public in general and those who are responsible leaders to carefully consider how we get back to normal. Thank you. 185933 Q>> Dr. Fauci, can you talk about your expectations for the fall? We heard from Dr. Redfield and Dr. Birx. What do you see for the fall? Is it going to be embers or possibly no return of the virus at all? 185944 FAUCI>> You know ,as I've said before, when you look at an outbreak, it's two dynamic forces opposing each other. If you leave the virus to its own devices, it will take off if you do nothing to stop it. If you put into place the kinds of things that we talk about -- first, containment and then hopefully you never get to have mitigation, but containment is important. Those two forces are going to determine whether you're going to have a big outbreak. 190017 So what Dr. Redfield was saying, first of all, is that we will have coronavirus in the fall. I am convinced of that because of the degree of transmissibility that it has, the global nature. What happens with that will depend on how we are able to contain it when it occurs. And what we are saying is that in the fall, we will be much, much better prepared to do the kind of containment compared to what happened to us this winter. 190051 Now, the complicating issue is that, unlike the syndromic and influenza-like observances that we have, that you could pick it up by clinically what's happening, it's going to get complicated by the influenza season. I believe that's what Dr. Redfield was saying. That it's going to be complicated. So whether or not it's going to be big or small is going to depend on our response. 190120 And that's what I think people sometimes have misunderstanding. Nobody can predict what is going to happen with an outbreak, but you can predict how you're going to respond to it. And that's really very important. Q>> So you would caution against people thinking that in the fall, there's not going to be coravirus anymore and we won't have to worry about it? FAUCI>> No, no. Q>> Or if it is, it's going to be spotty and it will be a big problem we have to worry about. FAUCI>> There will be coronavirus in the fall. If we do, which we won't, but let's take an imaginary period. 190150 We say, "Okay, coronavirus. Forget about it, we are not going to do anything about it," it will take off. That's what viruses do, but that's not what's going to happen. We are going to respond to it, to not allow it to do that. Q>> What happens when governors like governor Kemp are not following this careful, measured plan, and moving forward without meeting the criteria? 190214 FAUCI>> Well -- well, you know, if I were advising the governor, I would tell him that he should be careful. And I would advise him not to just turn the switch on and go. Because there is a danger of a rebound. And I know that there is a desire to move ahead quickly. That's natural human nature, desire. But going ahead and leapfrogging into phases where you should not be, I would advise him -- as a health official and as a physician -- not to do that. 190249 TRUMP>> Go ahead, please. Q>> Thank you, Mr. President. Can you please give some details about the executive order? I know that the white house has just released a document. I haven't had a chance to review it -- 190259 TRUMP>> Well can talk about that later. It's an executive order on immigration. We want Americans to have jobs. We want Americans to have the health care. We want to take care of our citizens first. We have to. And it's a very powerful order. It's for 60 days. At the end of 60 days or maybe even during 60 days, I'll extend it or not. And I'll maybe change it. I might modify it. Yes. Q>> -- immigrants who are already here, Mr. President? Q>> I wanted to ask you -- TRUMP>> Yeah, go ahead please. 190327 Q>> -- immigrants who are already here in the country or immigrants -- have a green card, trying to get into the country and health care workers? 190335 TRUMP>> We're talking about immigrants that are trying to get in, and we're talking about people, and also by the way, people that are coming illegally. Now as you know, because you've seen the numbers, our border, our southern border is very, very tight. It hasn't been this tight in years. It's being helped by 160, more than that, miles of wall that are going up. I'm trying to get to 450 by the end of the year. 450 miles. And we'll have 530 miles early next year. And that's really great. It's fully funded. 190408 We have all the funds and the army corps of engineers is doing a great job. Same people that did javits center, as you know. They're doing a fantastic job. So our southern border is very, very tight, for good reason, for very good reason. We're also being helped by 27,000 very good soldiers from Mexico. And I want to thank the president of Mexico. He has been terrific in many ways, including on what we're doing with covid. 190434 And as you know, we have a very good trade arrangement with Mexico now, which we didn't have before. So I want to thank the president of Mexico, in particular for the 27,000 soldiers. They're doing a fantastic job. Q>> For health care workers, sir? Do you want to talk about the exemptions for health care workers? 190448 TRUMP>> Well, we want to protect our health care workers. And that's one of the other reasons we're doing this. Yes, Jon? 190451 JON KARL Q>> Mr. President, I wanted to ask you about Rick Bright. He is head of the federal agency in charge of getting a vaccine out to Americans once it's ready. He says he's been pushed out of his job because he raised questions about hydroxychloroquine and some of your directives on that. Was he pushed of that job? TRUMP>> I've never heard of him. You just mentioned a name, I never heard of him. When did this happen? JON KARL>> This happened today. TRUMP>> No, I never heard of him. If a guy says he was pushed out of a job, maybe he was. Maybe he wasn't. You'd have to hear the other side. I don't know who he is. Please. JON KARL Q>> And on the hydroxychloroquine -- TRUMP>> Hold on one second please. 190523 Q>> I just wanted to -- You said by the fourth of July you expect people to be on the national mall and we'll be having a celebration like we did last year. Given what the doctors are just saying that, you know, coronavirus is still going to be out there, might not be as bad as it is now, but it is still going to be circulating. Is that going to be safe to have that many people on the mall? TRUMP>> Probably have 25% of what we had last year. Last year as you know was maxed out. I saw a magnificent picture of Dr. Martin Luther king and I saw a magnificent picture of our event last year and both of them were maxed out. 180559 It was beautiful to see, beautiful, very similar. This year most likely we'll be standing 6 feet apart. We will have to do that in a very, very interesting way. Maybe we will even do it greater. So we'll leave a little extra distance. If we do that, we would certainly do that. I don't see -- maybe the purpose that we can't do that. We have to have people, thousands. We had tens of thousands, most of you were there. Tens of thousands of people last year. It was incredible. To an extent, an air show of all the different aircrafts flying over. 180632 We even had air force one flying over. So ideally it would be wonderful if we could actually have it as it was last year. But -- and eventually we will have that. I think it's important to know that eventually we are going to have that. Stadiums are going to be the way they have been for the last 100 years. Q>> Will you be able to have --- TRUMP>> I know, but your stadiums, as an example. Sports is going to be the way they used to be. I told one of the owners, he said do you think I should take out seats and I said no you shouldn't take out seats. We're going to have it the way it was. We are going to be back. This virus will eventually be gone. If it should show up in the fall we're going to put it out very fast. We have great people who are going to put it out very fast because we have learned a lot. We've learned a lot about how to deal with it. We'll put it out very fast. Please. Nice and easy. 190716 Q>> You talk a lot about testing capacity. And governors agree that that exists. But it's very different from testing implementation. And they are still begging for you to use your full authority to help them get reagents and other things. As you like to say, what do you have to lose by helping them do that -- TRUMP>> Well I am doing that. Q>> -- and becoming the king of testing? 190739 TRUMP>> Let me just say. We are the king of testing already. There's no country in the world that's done more. Not even, not even -- Q>> .2% of the population has been tested. Is that good enough? 190748 TRUMP>> I just said, there's no country in the world that's done more. And we have tests that have already come out that are going to be introduced very shortly that will do it more. My problem is this. It's very much of a media trap. Whether we did 2%, 5%, 50% or 100%, it'll never be enough no matter what. Q>> -- .2%. TRUMP>> Now with the, with the expertise and what we did because of our expertise and tremendous talent at manufacturing, what we did with the ventilators, that wasn't a trap because we got them done, shockingly to everybody, because of the incredible talent like Mike Pence saw yesterday in Wisconsin. But we have numerous of those sites all over the country doing the same thing. 190834 So that when the governors were complaining, some of the governors, I must say, and it was very much along party lines, for the most part, but except for one. When the governors were complaining, we said no, no. How many do you need? We need 50. We need 100. One governor asked for many, many, many thousands, and it turned out they didn't need that, and that's good. Nobody that needed a ventilator, you know this. And we went through this with the governors, that needed a ventilator, didn't get a ventilator. 190903 That was an incredible achievement. With testing it's a little different. It's much easier than ventilators. It's like 2%. But for instance, the swabs are coming in by the millions. They're coming in, literally coming in by the millions. Totally ordered, we wanted the highest quality. We could have gotten a much lesser quality. We didn't want to do that. We got the highest quality. But testing, it's like, no matter how well you do, you can always say more. With the ventilators, they either have them or they don't. In fact, we went to one meeting, who wants a ventilator? One governor said, we'd like 25. 25. You got them. 190940 Who else? Nobody spoke up. That was four weeks ago. So that was great. The problem with the testing is, and I said, if we test, if we test 350 million people, you will say no, we want them to have a second test or a third test or a fourth test. Not everybody believes as strongly as some people in testing. Some people want to do testing because they think it's impossible for us to fulfill that goal. That's easy compared to ventilators, as I've said. But we have a tremendous testing capability, better than anybody
WHITE HOUSE TASK FORCE ON CORONAVIRUS BRIEFING CLEAN AUDIO - ROBO STIX 1700-1900
1700 WH COVID BRFG CLEAN AUDIO FS36 83 President Donald Trump and members of the White House Task force on coronavirus daily briefing WASH 3 PRESIDENT TRUMP WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE BRIEFING 200422 PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP 181026 TRUMP>> Thank you very much, appreciate it. Lot of tremendous things are happening. The number of new, positive cases continue to decline nationwide. Recent hot spots appear to be stabilizing. The hot spots are, in some cases, very interesting, what's going on. And they're going down. They're going in the right direction. 181054 Cases in the Boston area are now declining. The Chicago curve appears to have flattened, which is terrific, and Detroit has passed its peak. These trends demonstrate that our aggressive strategy to battle the virus is working and that more states will soon be in a position to gradually and safely reopen. 181113 It's very exciting. It was very exciting even today watching and seeing what's happening and people are getting ready and they're all excited. I do want to mention a man who's done a very good job for us, Dr. Robert Redfield was totally misquoted in the media on a statement about the fall season and the virus. Totally misquoted, I spoke to him, he said it was ridiculous. He was talking about the flu and Corona coming together at the same time. 181145 Corona could be just some little flareups that we will take care of, we will knock it out. We'll knock it out fast, but that's what he was referring to, coming together at the same time. I think rather than waiting, I would ask Dr. Redfield to come up and say a couple of words just to straighten it out because he didn't say it was a big -- big explosion, the headline in "The Washington post" was totally inaccurate. 181208 The statement wasn't bad in the Post but the headline was ridiculous which is, as I say, that's Fake News and CNN is fake news like crazy. And they had just totally the wrong story, which they knew. They were asked to change it, and they wouldn't do that. And it was false, so I'll Dr. Redfield, who is a real professional to come up and explain, please. Thank you, Doc. DR ROBERT REDFIELD 181237 REDFIELD>> Thank you Mr. President. I really do think it's important to clarify this as we build the confidence of the American people. When I commented yesterday that there was a possibility of the fall-winter, next fall-winter could be more difficult, more complicated, when we have two respiratory illnesses circulating at the same time, influenza and the coronavirus 19. But I think it's really important to emphasize what I didn't say. 181307 I didn't say that this was going to be worse. I said it was going to be more difficult and potentially complicated because we'll have flu and coronavirus circulating at the same time. I want to emphasize that we continue to build the nation's public health infrastructure to ensure that we have the capacity to stay in containment mode. Those of you who heard me talk before, I've told you that in January and February, up to February 27th-28th, this nation had 14 cases. 181337 We were in containment mode, and then unfortunately the virus overwhelmed where we got into extreme mitigation. We are building that public health capacity now to make sure that we stay in the containment mode for the upcoming fall and winter season so we will not need to resort to the kind of mitigation that we had to this spring. 181357 I have confidence that our public health response of early case recognition that we've talked about, isolation and contact tracing combined with our plans for increased surveillance, particularly for the most vulnerable, will be an effective public health strategy, so our nation will be able to maintain itself in the containment mode. 181419 Again, that will be supported by the American public's continued cooperation obviously in the areas of personal hygiene and the types of social distancing strategies that may be appropriate. The key to my comments and the reason that I really wanted to stress them was to appeal to the American public to embrace the flu vaccine with confidence. One of the greatest tools we have as we go through the fall-winter season that we're into is to get the American public to embrace the influenza vaccine and thereby minimize the impact of flu to be the co-respiratory disease we confront. Thank you very. Q>> Can I ask a follow up on that Dr. Redfield please? 181508 TRUMP>> [inaud] to follow up. He was misquoted -- totally misquoted. He said they could come together, they didn't talk about that, and his whole purpose in making the statement was to get a flu shot so that next fall, we don't have such a big season of flu and we possibly won't. But -- as you said, this -- it's possible, if the Corona even comes back and he doesn't know that it's going to or -- neither do I. We spoke at great length, and I think the Dr. will speak if you'd like to continue. 181538 But we may have some embers, and we're gonna put them out, of corona, but we may have a big flu season. But that's different. Flu is very different. from Corona. 181545 JON KARL Q>> Can I ask you a follow up question? TRUMP>> Sure. JON KARL Q>> So, Dr. Redfield, "The Washington post," which you did the interview with them, they quoted you as saying "there's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be much -- even more difficult than the one we just went through. And when I've said this to others, they kind of put their head barked, they don't understand what I mean -- we are going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time," is that what you said to "The Washington post"? 181612 REDFIELD>> Yeah, that's what I was trying to say to you just a minute ago, that the issue I was talking about about being more difficult is that we're going to have two viruses circulating at the same time. This spring that we just went through -- February -- we had a benefit of having the flu season ended, so we could use all of our flu surveillance systems to say "Whoops, this is coronavirus. We need to focus." Next fall and -- and winter, we are going to two viruses circulating and we are going to have to distinguish between which is flu and which is the coronavirus. 181646 And so, the comment that I made, "it's more difficult," it doesn't mean it's going to be more impossible, doesn't mean it's going to be more -- as some people have said -- "worse," it's just going to be more difficult because we have to distinguish between the two, and what I was wanting to do and what I want to do again here is appeal to the American public to recognize they can really help, like they did with mitigation, which they really helped. I need them to help now to best prepare us by getting the flu vaccine and taking flu out of the picture. 181719 TRUMP>> Excuse me, but we may not even have Corona coming back. JON KARL Q>> I'm sorry, but that quotes that I just read was accurate, right sir? That's the quote from "The Washington post," you are accurately quoted. Correct? REDFIELD>> I'm accurately quoted in "The Washington post" as difficult, but the headline was inappropriate. TRUMP>> Read the headline. JON KARL>> The headline says CDC director warned second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating. TRUMP>> That's not what he said. JON KARL>> But if you have the two things happening -- 181751 REDFIELD>> No, I actually think it's going to be -- I think the American public is going to heed the request to relook at their vaccine hesitancy, the vaccine with confidence with flu and I'm confident the public health infrastructure that we are putting together now across this country so we can early case diagnose, isolate, contact trace, as i say block and tackle, block and tackle, that system is going to be there and we are going to be able to contain this virus. 181818 Q>> Why did you retweet the article if it was inaccurate, Dr., why did you retweet it? 181823 TRUMP>> You weren't called. 181825 BIRX>> So I just -- We talked about this yesterday when you asked me this question, and someone I think used the word devastating. I want to really again emphasize to the American public that when we first interacted with this virus for the first time in the February and March time frame, we didn't have an understanding of its transmissibility, all of the symptoms. We do now. 181850 And I think what we are building together when we talk about the public health infrastructure, it is very much working on the surveillance piece, but I think we also know the strength of the American people and their ability to immediately understand how to protect themselves with not touching their face, making sure that they're washing their hands. But the other piece I wanted to talk about and we mentioned yesterday also that we have the summer while we have flu surveillance that we can utilize and syndromic management that we can utilize, we have all of that time to prepare clearly the testing algorithm that you would need in a flu potentially if covid came back. 181932 Potentially. And so we are preparing for that potential right now. And I think we spoke to you all about that and talked about how we're not only preparing for today and tomorrow, but we're preparing for six months from now, three months from now and making sure that all of these pieces are in place. I think what Dr. Redfield clearly was asking for, just like we ask for every American to follow the guidelines, he's saying please add to that guidelines getting your flu shot and making sure you're protected. 182002 TRUMP>> And doctor, wouldn't you say there's a good chance that covid will not come back? 182006 BIRX>> We don't know -- TRUMP>> -- or if it comes back, it's in a very small confined area that we put out. BIRX>> Well, the great thing is, we'll be able to find it earlier this time. And I think that's what we're talking about. We'll find those cases earlier. So what Dr. Redfield said, we would be able to stay in containment phase. And what we're also hoping, and we talked about this about four or five weeks ago, that we're hoping that the flu infections also go down, because people are much more aware of respiratory illnesses and how to protect themselves. 182040 We want you to get your vaccine but we also want to also protect individuals from getting the flu, because the vulnerability we know in certain populations to flu and the devastating outcomes to flu, we could prevent and decrease both of those things. So I think we are assured that the CDC is putting in place today what we are going to need in the fall so that we can stay in containment if potentially the virus comes back. 182110 TRUMP>> If it comes back, though, it won't be coming back in the form that it was. It will be coming back in smaller doses that we can contain. But what the doctor was saying, and I spoke to him at great length, he was saying if it should come back together, now you have a flu and you have the embers of corona, but in my opinion from everything I've seen, it can never be like anything that we've witnessed right now. Wouldn't you say that's a correct statement? REDFIELD>> Absolutely. 182138 It's nothing like what we're talking -- What we've just gone through, we will not go through. You could have some embers of Corona and you could have a big flu system, and if they combine and they come together, if they come together, it's not great, but we will not go through what we went through for the last two months. Is that a correct statement? Q>> I understand that the United States will be more prepared in the fall, but how can you say that you know it won't come back at the same level that it has today? 182209 TRUMP>> What -- It is estimated it might not come back at all, Jeff. It may not come back at all. He's talking about a worst-case scenario where you have a big flu and you have some corona. And if it does come back, it's not going to come back, and I've spoken to ten different people, not gonna be like it was. Also, we have much better containment now. Before nobody knew about it. Nobody knew anything about it. We understand it. Now, if we have a little pockets, a little pocket here, then we're going to have it put out. It goes out, and it's going to put it out fast. We're gonna be watching for it. But it's all possible -- It's also possible it doesn't come back at all. Q>> I understand the containment, but I don't understand how you know it won't come back at a big scale. 182245 TRUMP>> I didn't say it's not. I said if it does, it's not going to come back on anything near what we went through. But you could have a mess where they come at the same time. And if they come at the same time, the flu is not the greatest thing in the world, Jeff, it's not the greatest thing either. If they come at the same time, you have them both. But if we have embers of corona coupled with the flu, that's not gonna be pleasant, but it's not going to be what we've gone through in any way, shape, or form. 182315 Q>> If you don't think that it's going to come back at the same severity as right now, why are you still directing taxpayer dollars to be spent on emergency procurement of ventilators? 10s of thousands? TRUMP>> Because we have to have them for other reasons. Something else could come. I mean, we didn't know about Corona. Now we know about Corona. Look at what happened. And now, we had the H1N1 swine flu. We had that, we have other things that have happened. We had various forms of flu but nothing like we've had here, nothing at all like what we've had here with the virus but something could happen. 182351 I think that the stockpiles -- we are making hundreds of thousands of ventilators, nobody writes about that. You know, at the one time, all they talked about was ventilators because you didn't think it was possible for me to solve that problem, and I solved it and nobody can believe it. I just spoke to world leaders today who desperately need ventilators. They said the job you've done -- and we are sending 500 to Mexico, then another 500 to France, we are sending some to Spain, we're sending some to Italy. We have them -- they are being made by the thousands. 182423 And World leaders, I spoke to Prime Minister -- I mean, I went through a lot of different calls today. I won't even tell you, but I went through -- I can give you a list if you want. But I went through a lot of calls to a lot of leaders. I spoke with Pakistan, they would like to have some ventilators. We're going to get them some ventilators, but they all said to me one thing: 182444 It was incredible that you solved the ventilator problem because that was a big problem. The testing problem -- we've done more than any other nation in the world. Go a step further -- if you added up the testing of every nation in the world, put them together, we've done substantially more than that. A few people aren't satisfied. 182503 So let's say we had 350 million people in the United States,right, let's say and if we gave every one of those people a test ten times, so we give 350 people a test, ten times, the fake news media would say where's the 11th time? He didn't do his job. Trump didn't do his job because you have a lot of bad reporting out there, it's very sad. JON KARL>>> That's not true. TRUMP>> You're one of the leaders of the bad reporting. JON KARL>> But it's not true. 182533 TRUMP>> Let's get onto another subject, I wanted that to -- I want that to be cleared up. If you want, we can get it on to it later but I want the vice president to speak. But you want to get the news accurately, you ought to write it -- if you take a look at what you wrote about the ventilators and when we became the king of ventilators, we are making different factories all over, ventilators by the thousands. In fact, Mike got back from Wisconsin, the first thing he did, he called up, I said how's it going? He said, you know, you're not going to believe, he just saw a plant, a factory where they are making ventilators. 182604 I think I can say the words were unbelievable. He said it was unbelievable when he saw the quality of the equipment, the professionalism, a tremendous number -- how many workers would you say there were? PENCE>> Over 550. They doubled production and are about to triple production. TRUMP>> Nobody thought this could be done. The fake news was very unhappy that it was done. But you guys don't ask me about ventilators. 182628 JOHN KARL Q (?) >> Who's unhappy that ventilators are being made, Mr. president? TRUMP>> You never mention it. You never mention it. There's no stories of what a great job we've done with ventilators. We are now supplying ventilators all over the world because no other country could have done what we did. You should say that's a great story, instead you say trump was slow -- slow? We were so fast plus we put the ban on so much earlier when Nancy Pelosi as an example, you don't say this, when she's having her rally in San Francisco in chinatown in San Francisco, nobody wants to say that. 182702 If we didn't, and Dr. Fauci said this, if we didn't close our country to China, we would've been so infected, like nobody has ever seen. When you saw the chart and we were at the top of the list in terms of success, nobody wrote it, I said is anybody going to use that chart, nobody wrote it, in terms of mortality, you saw that. Nobody wrote it. Germany and our country, the most successful in terms of mortality, nobody wrote it. It would be great if you wrote the truth, let's get on with it because I want Mike to speak and then we'll take more questions. 182734 On the assumption you'd like to and I think you probably will. It's been encouraging to watch states begin to open up and it really has been, it's a beautiful thing to see as restrictions are lifted, we must maintain vigilance and continue practicing social distancing. I encouraged governors to follow a careful, phased approach and I want to remind all Americans to adhere to our guidelines, very important. The governors are going to adhere hopefully or they're gonna do what they think is best. 182807 I want them to do what they think is best, but ideal, adhere. Wash your hands, avoid close physical contact as much as possible and wear a face covering when distancing is impractical. There were cases. We have flattened the curve and really made tremendous progress but we must guard against a dangerous rebound. We don't want to rebound. This is what we were just talking about, we don't want a rebound, the doctor doesn't want to rebound, these people definitely don't want a rebound, I think think you want one, huh? You especially. 182838 We don't want rebound's after all of this death -- death that we've suffered. Not work, I don't view work. I view it death that was unnecessary, should have never happened. Should have never left that little area where it started. You know it and I know it and they know it. 182856 In our all-out war against the virus we continue to make great strides on testing, famous testing, doing more than anybody else anywhere in the world, nothing funny about that, Jon. Most of the governors have never faced a situation like this before. We are helping them find unused testing capacity within their states, tremendous testing capacity that the governors in many cases didn't know they had. And additional capabilities are coming online every day, we are coming up with new equipment like the Abbott laboratories equipment on-site, 5 minutes, great success, everybody wants it but you can only make so many of those machines. 182939 So we have many other forms of testing. We have many other machines that do it very quickly, and by the millions -- by the millions. Our task force issued its reopening guidelines earlier than April 30th to give governors the time that they needed to develop testing capability and capacity and customize plans for their states, which many of them did. We have had some governors do a fantastic job on testing and on a lot of other things. 183819 I spoke, as you know Governor Cuomo, he had to, we had a great conversation on testing yesterday. And they're doing a really good job in New York. We're working very closely with each of the states to help them succeed. I spoke earlier today with Governor Newsom, California, and that was all about testing, that conversation. He's been scaling up really well, really good job. 183034 And I agreed to help him get some of the critical supplies that California needs to make use of the tremendous capacity that they found, this is tremendous testing capacity, and I'm going to do it very quickly. He needs certain things. We're gonna get that to him very quickly. Now, could he get it himself? Yes, but I can get it faster. He understands that, and he's done a great job. And we're gonna have it to him, we're gonna have a lot of it to him over the next two days, and we're gonna beef it up the following week. Get him a lot of additional. He's done a really, a terrific job in California. Some of the governors have done a fantastic job working with us. 183109 I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the Phase One guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia -- they're incredible people, I love those people. They are -- they're great. They have been strong, resolute, but at the same time, he must do what he thinks is right. I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he is doing. 183144 But I want to let the governors do -- now, if I see something totally egregious, totally out of line, I'll do. But I think spas and beauty salons and tattoo parlors and barbershops in Phase 1 -- we are going to have faced 2 very soon -- it's just too soon. I think it's too soon and I love the people. I love -- I love those people that use all of those things: the spas, and the beauty parlors and barbershops, tattoo parlors, I love them. 183215 But they can wait a little bit longer, just a little bit -- not much because safety has to predominate. We have to have that. So I told the governor very simply that I disagree with his decision, but he has to do what he thinks is right. I'm excited to announce that, in the coming weeks, the air force thunderbirds -- they're incredible and the Navy blue angels, equally incredible, will be performing airshows over America's major cities and some of the cities that aren't major cities. 183250 They are going to be doing a lot of work, a lot of very dangerous flying. It's dangerous, you know the odds. When you start going at massive speeds and you're 18 inches away from each other, that's dangerous work. Your son is a great pilot and I don't know if he could be -- could he be a thunderbird? I don't know. >> We'll see. TRUMP>> I think he probably could, from what I hear. I don't know if I would want him to be because it is -- it's incredible what they are able to do, and the sacrifice our frontline -- what we are doing is we're paying tribute to our frontline health care workers confronting Covid. 183326 And it's really a signal to all Americans to remain vigilant during the outbreak. This is a tribute to them, to our warriors because they are equal warriors to those incredible pilots and all of the fighters that we have for the more traditional flights that we win. And we win. When we want to win, we always win. Sometimes we don't want to win and so we just go to a standstill. But that's always -- that's not the way this country works. Operation America Strong was the idea of our great military men and women. 183403 The Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels crews who wanted to show support to the American medical workers who, just like military members in a time of war, are fiercely running toward the fight. It's gonna be great. I want to see those shows. I've seen them many times and I can't get enough of them. And on July 4th, we will be doing what we had at the mall, as you know. We're gonna be doing it. Last year was a tremendous success. And I would imagine we'll do it, hopefully I can use the term "forever." 183433 That was a great success, as you remember. even though it was pouring. It was raining so hard, it was raining at -- that's about as hard as I've seen in a while. But it was an amazing success. Didn't bother the pilots, didn't bother the military, didn't bother the crews that we had there. So we're gonna be doing that again on July 4th. Our great military is operating at 100% during this crisis, and thousands of troops are deployed alongside of civilians in Covid the hot spots, as you know. You see them all over. 183505 When I spoke with governor Cuomo and when I spoke with Gavin Newsom and many of the other governors, they wanted to know if we could have some military help with the medical, and we gave it to them. In every case, they said it's fantastic, I mean just fantastic. New York City mayor de Blasio called me to say it was inspiring to watch, he was there when the military came in. He said it gave everybody spirit when he saw the professionalism and the spirit they had, they walked in and they helped a lot -- lot of people. 183540 Doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians and professionals -- it was an incredible thing. But they all -- everybody who saw them going to work said that was something special. We are going to have tremendous airshows all throughout the country, and that's in honor of what we are all going through together, and the people that are helping us so much and, unfortunately, the people who have passed away from something that should never have been allowed to happen. 183612 Following around-the-clock negotiations yesterday, the senate answered my call to replenish the paycheck protection program so that millions of additional American workers can keep getting a paycheck. We just increased it by $310 billion. I urged the House to pass the bill without delay. In our first round of funding we provided nearly $350 billion and it went at record speed to American workers and small businesses. And it's really been incredible, an incredible success. I want to thank the banks, the big banks, the little banks, the commercial banks of all kinds. 183657 We had the community banks were fantastic, by the way, community banks. And as you know, this was an interesting story in recent days. I've called for Harvard -- that's Harvard University -- which has a $40 billion endowment fund to return the money that it was allocated under the CARES act. And I'm pleased to announce that Harvard has announced today that they will not accept the funds, nor will Stanford University or many of the others that were involved both on a university level also on the company level, some of the companies were bigger than people had represented or bigger than people had thought and strong enough that they didn't need the money. 183744 So, there's a certain amount of money that we are not sending. Well as soon as I heard it, I said stop the funds, and for the most part, I guess they stopped it, Mike, right? They stopped it. They're not accepting the money, and that's great. And so I want to thank Harvard, I want to thank Stanford, and I want to thank the other companies. In a case, it's broken differently between the colleges and companies, but I want to thank the companies and the other great universities, and there's some great ones. 183815 The legislation passed by the senate yesterday also reserves $30 billion for small financial institutions that serve minority and distressed communities -- very important. We are determined to protect our African-American, hispanic-american, and minority workers who have been hit so hard by this hidden enemy. My administration is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to address the full spectrum of needs in these communities, supporting both health and economic revitalization. 183848 First, my administration is committed to providing the testing that is needed to fight the virus in distressed communities. In the last month alone, we have already sent over $1.4 billion to our nation's 13,000 community health care centers -- think of that, 13,000 -- to increase testing and treatment in the underserved areas. We are also expanding access to telehealth. Telehealth has become a big deal. I've been reading about it for years and, all of the sudden, because of this, it's become a big -- a big thing. 183919 People can't leave their houses. they didn't want to leave their houses for various reasons including they wanted to follow the guidelines. The legislation passed by the Senate yesterday, and I want to thank everybody, a great great vote -- great -- it's, as you know it was a unanimous vote, how often do you see that? But the legislation passed by the senate yesterday includes an additional $25 billion to further expand the testing and provides even more funding for community health centers and various forms of epidemics and pandemics, and we'll be working on that. 183955 Because, you know, as per a couple of your statements and questions before, we want to work on that for the future. We hope this doesn't happen again for -- again, ever. But last time was -- of this magnitude -- 1917, that's a long time ago. So we want to be prepared and we are prepared. And as I told you, we are building up hospitals -- not only our stockpile which is being up greatly -- being built up great, but also hospitals' stockpiles. We are getting them what they need. 184026 We are working out cost arrangements with them. And we are getting them a lot of the ventilators which is the hardest thing for them to get both from a cost standpoint and a technical standpoint. At the same time, we are also supporting the establishment of new testing sites focused on these communities. 40 sites have launched so far, and there are plans to launch dozens more in the next three weeks. And we are coming up with testing apparatus and testing plans that are incredible when you look at the numbers. 184058 And some people are very, very big on testing. I'm big on testing, but some people are much less big than I am, I will tell you. And they're professionals. But we want to have it so that nobody can talk about "Gee whiz, I wish we had more testing." Nobody has done it like we've done it. And nobody will. And we're getting very much stronger. We have incredible professionals doing it. So many different tests have now evolved. People are finding it even hard to believe. 184128 My administration is working closely with governors to ensure they have the testing infrastructure in place to reduce further spread of the virus. if they are so inclined to use the testing apparatus, including strategies for older individuals, low income Americans, minorities and native Americans. As part of the effort, the white house task force headed up by Mike, who has done an incredible -- I will say it everytime. I will say it to anybody who wants to listen: Mike pence has done an incredible job. Really an incredible job, thank you. 184203 --- is providing technical assistance to all 50 states through one-on-one phone calls as they develop and implement their plans. In addition, my administration is committed to restoring black and hispanic communities to full economic health. They want to be healthy economically and physically. And that's what we are doing. To that end, today, I'm directing the white house opportunity and revitalization council led by secretary Ben Carson to focus its effort on supporting the underserved communities impacted by the coronavirus. 184237 And so, Ben Carson is working on that with Mike and myself and a lot of other people. I'm going to ask Tim Scott, who was so helpful with the opportunity Zones -- that's an economic answer to a lot of problems, and Tim Scott was fantastic. And so I'm going to ask him to get involved with you, and I'm sure he'll be willing to do it -- from South Carolina. I also asked the council to identify what additional funding will be required from Congress beyond what has already been provided. 184308 We are really building ourselves a strong base and we're building ourselves a wall that's very different from the kind of walls that you've been hearing me talking about. But it's, nevertheless, in many ways, it performs the same function and hopefully it's going to perform it equally as well. Furthermore, the council will seek input from the private sector and community leaders on how we can best support minority and distressed communities. As president, I am absolutely determined to deliver a great future for Americans of every race, religion, color and creed. 184343 Before our nation was attacked by this horrible enemy, our African-American and hispanic-american citizens were prospering like never before -- best employment numbers ever. Not only African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American, every American. We were breaking records at every level. We had almost 160 million people employed -- we were never even close to that number. 184413 And we were breaking them economically -- highest stock market numbers, highest numbers of every kind. And I think we are going to be back there and I think it's going to be much sooner, rather than later and I think we will surpass those numbers, including our employment numbers. But I will not rest until that prosperity has been fully restored and again, I really believe that we're going to lift those numbers higher than ever before, and it won't be as long as people might think. A lot of smart people are looking at that, and they're betting. You just have to look at what's going on with the stock market. 184446 In order to protect our great American workers, I've just signed an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the United States. This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens. Crucially, it will also preserve our health care resources for American patients. If we have to take care of our patients, we have to take care of our great American workers, and that's what we're doing. So I've just signed it just before coming into the room, and very important, very important. 184522 And as to amending it or extending it, that we can do at the appropriate time, but it's now signed. Earlier today, the first lady and I planted a tree on the south lawn of the white house in recognition of the 50th annual Earth day. I was glad to announce that we will begin to reopen our national parks and public lands. We want Americans to be able to satisfy and be really safe. We want them to satisfy their family that safety is going to happen, and it will happen. 184553 And maybe even at a level like never before. We've learned so much. But we want them to enjoy these great national treasures as we continue to take reasonable precautions, and hopefully it'll be just reasonable. My administration has directed more than $7 billion in federal funding to support the development of treatments, diagnostics, and therapies. And that's something, doctors, I hope you can really work on, that's something so powerful and so important. 184625 The FDA, the NIH, and industry leaders are establishing master clinical trial protocols to test multiple promising new drugs at the same time. And they're doing a lot of -- We're doing a lot of testing right now. More than 1,600 locations across the country have signed up to administer convalescent plasma to patients, infusing them with antibodies of those who have recovered. And when they recover, I said it last time, practically the first thing they say is, I want to give my blood so I can help other people. They want to give their blood. It's incredible. 184701 They're laying in bed, they're still in pretty weakened conditions. And they say I want to give my blood, and that's happening all the time, isn't it? If you recovered from the coronavirus, I ask you to consider contacting your local blood or plasma donation center to arrange a donation that could potentially save many lives. We'd love for our nation and loyalty for our fellow citizens, we will safeguard our family, care for our neighbors, heal the sick, protect our workers and build a future for a country that is the greatest country anywhere in the world. And we're only going to get greater. Thank you very much, Mike Pence -- please. VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE 184748 PENCE>> Thank you, Mr. President. White House coronavirus task force met today. And despite the fact that there have been more than 843,000 Americans who have contracted the coronavirus and we grieve the loss of more than 47,000 of our countrymen, according to Dr. Birx and her team, we continue to see encouraging signs. Because the American people have been putting into practice the guidance that has been issued by the president and this task force and they have been taking to heart the guidance of state and local officials. 184826 And Mr. President, as we learned today, we are continuing to see declines in all the major metro areas around the country that have been the most impacted. The numbers remain low and steady on the west coast, in Washington State, and in California. The New York metro area, New Jersey, Connecticut all appear to be past their peak. And as our scientists may reflect in a few moments, we also are seeing the positive rate going down, which is actually even as encouraging as the declining cases. 184902 The Detroit metro area appears to be past its peak. The Seattle metro area, as I mentioned, remains stable. New Orleans metro area is the most stable of all the large metro outbreaks. We also are continuing to see stabilization and even declines in Houston and Atlanta and Nashville and Baltimore and Indianapolis and elsewhere. This is a tribute to the American people, to the fact that the American people have taken to heart the guidelines, the social distancing, the personal hygiene, the recommendation that you use the drive through at a restaurant rather than going in a restaurant and avoiding groups of more than ten. 184944 On the president's behalf, on behalf of our entire coronavirus task force, we just want to urge all the American people to continue onward. We all want to reopen America, and we want to reopen our states and our communities as soon as it is safe and responsible to do so. But I want to say to my countrymen, the fastest way to reopen America is to continue to do what you've been doing. That's the fastest way, as President Trump has said many times, to get our country working again, is to put the coronavirus in the past, and we are on our way to doing just that. 185022 You know, from early on, the president called forth not only the full power of the federal government but he called forth the full weight of the American economy. And I had the privilege yesterday to travel to Madison, Wisconsin and see American industry and American workers at their very best. And I want to thank the G.E. health care team in Wisconsin as well as the union machinists that I spent time with all day yesterday. It was extraordinary, Mr. President. And earlier this month, you used the defense production act to ensure that supplies could flow to G.E. and general motors and Ford and other companies that were prepared to repurpose manufacturing lines and hire new workers to construct ventilators. 185108 And at this particular plant, they literally have -- the union sat down, the machinist union sat down, and in less than one week negotiated a new contract with G.E. health care that allowed them to continue to bring in workers from around the country. They doubled, they doubled their work line in one week. They're about to triplet it. They've have been going 24 hours a day, three shifts, seven days a week. 185133 And the president promised that by harnessing the power of the American economy we would have 100,000 ventilators in 100 days. But thanks to the ingenuity and the hardworking Americans that I was with yesterday and other countries, we're actually going to have 110,000 ventilators in 100 days. They were all wearing t-shirts, Mr. President, I brought one back for you, that simply read "Union machinists save lives." And to that great team at GE Health Care, I want to just say, all of America is proud of you and grateful for you. 185209 We're also grateful to all of our health care workers at every level and all the work that they're doing, and we're proud that our National Guard and our American military are at their side. As our task force learned today, more than 31,000 National Guard have been stood up around the country. ANd the president in the last day extended what's called title 32 authorizations for all National Guard personnel through May 31. So we're going to continue to partner with states as the National Guard plays a vital role in testing and in cleaning nursing homes and in standing up state's response. 185243 Military personnel, Mr. President, we have more than 5,500 active duty military personnel, including as of yesterday, 964 medical professionals in the uniform of the United States working in 17 hospitals in seven states around the country. We're also very proud of our team at the VA. The VA has addressed its capacity issues. It's not seeing cases among veterans in its facilities increase, so they're deploying teams to focus on nursing homes. In Massachusetts, the VA personnel had disinfected two different nursing homes. In New Jersey, they literally taken over two state nursing homes and deployed 90 doctors and nurses. 185327 And in Florida, we're sending 16 teams to assist in nursing home operations. As the president also mentioned, in addition to what I saw yesterday in Madison, Wisconsin, we continue, we continue to build our strategic national stockpile. It's growing again with ventilators, nearly 11,000 in supply. 901 new ventilators will be added, transitioned in the near term. And every American, I think, can be confident that should the need arise for your family member facing serious consequences from the coronavirus, to need that equipment to help them breathe, that equipment will be there. 185411 As we said yesterday in Wisconsin, and you've said, Mr. President, I think it should be a great source of comfort to every American that no American who has required a ventilator in the United States has been denied a ventilator. And that's a testament to our health care workers, a testament to every American putting mitigation principles into practice, and it's a testament to all these great companies. Speaking of great companies, American businesses are stepping up. 185439 It was on April 1st that I traveled to a Walmart distribution center. And the president reached out to the president and CEO of Walmart to ask Walmart to get in the gowns business. And Mr. President, I'm glad to report to you that we heard today at the task force that Walmart is producing 8.4 million gowns, and they will be delivered into our commercial supply, to health care facilities around the country by the end of June. They are hardly alone. Honda is producing 500,000 face shields, New Balance is making 100,000 masks a week. 184416 In a very real sense, the American people have stepped up to make the sacrifices and endure the hardship that social distancing has required, but American businesses at every size and every means have come together to respond to the president's call. It really has been a whole of America approach. And our message from the president's White House coronavirus task force is to tell the American people it's working, we're getting there. We can see light at the end of the tunnel. We can see the data, we can reopen and put America back to work, but it's gonna take all of us continuing to make the sacrifices necessary to practice those disciplines to get us to a place where we can reopen safely and confidently. With that, Mr. President, I'll call Dr. Fauci up for his reflections and we'll move on. DR. ANTHONY FAUCI 185611 FAUCI>> Thank you very much, Mr. Vice president. So I'm just going to take off from where I was at this podium a few days ago to kind of reiterate some of things that the vice president said but to kind of connect the dots from where we were, where we are now, and where I think we're gonna be. So if you remember a couple of weeks ago when we talked about the fact that we were going to have a really bad week because the deaths, particularly driven by the situation in New York, were going to get worse and worse. 185640 But yet, as that was happening, we were starting to see some turn around, some flattening, and some coming down. As you've heard from Dr. Birx and will likely hear more, that that is continuing. So what has happened is that the mitigation that we put in with the first 15 days and then the 30 day mitigation program of physical distancing worked. So it got us to where we are today. It is a successful formula. 185711 It is the basis for our being able to say that we can now think seriously about reopening America. And for that reason, we put together a carefully thought out and I believe well delineated and described program for opening up America again. And you know what it is. It's the guidelines that we announced a few days ago. Those very guidelines are based on a version of the successful formula that got us to where we are. 185746 So what I'm trying to say is that the program is not one that is going to be "turn the lights on in America, we are finished." We are not. We have to proceed in a very careful measured way. And if you look at the guidelines, they are careful and they are measured. There are certain checkpoints before you can even think about going into a Phase One. And then things relax a little as you go into phase two. And relax a little and you go into phase three. 185820 We live in a big country, and it is heterogeneous and there are different dynamics of outbreaks in different parts of the country. So the speed with which one can go from one to another, at the point at which you can even begin to think about the phase is going to differ. So the one thing that I know, the urge we all have to get out there and get it over with -- let's get back to normal -- for a lot of good reasons, because there's a lot of suffering, economic and otherwise in this country because of that. 185849 But again, as I pleaded early on, weeks ago, I plead with the American public, with governors, with mayors, for people with responsibility. Although I know one has the need to leapfrog over things, don't do that. Do it in a measured way. This is a successful formula. The problem is if we don't do that, there's a likelihood we will have a rebound. 185916 And the one way not to reopen the economy is to have a rebound that we can't take care of. So please, again, let me just close by pleading with the American public in general and those who are responsible leaders to carefully consider how we get back to normal. Thank you. 185933 Q>> Dr. Fauci, can you talk about your expectations for the fall? We heard from Dr. Redfield and Dr. Birx. What do you see for the fall? Is it going to be embers or possibly no return of the virus at all? 185944 FAUCI>> You know ,as I've said before, when you look at an outbreak, it's two dynamic forces opposing each other. If you leave the virus to its own devices, it will take off if you do nothing to stop it. If you put into place the kinds of things that we talk about -- first, containment and then hopefully you never get to have mitigation, but containment is important. Those two forces are going to determine whether you're going to have a big outbreak. 190017 So what Dr. Redfield was saying, first of all, is that we will have coronavirus in the fall. I am convinced of that because of the degree of transmissibility that it has, the global nature. What happens with that will depend on how we are able to contain it when it occurs. And what we are saying is that in the fall, we will be much, much better prepared to do the kind of containment compared to what happened to us this winter. 190051 Now, the complicating issue is that, unlike the syndromic and influenza-like observances that we have, that you could pick it up by clinically what's happening, it's going to get complicated by the influenza season. I believe that's what Dr. Redfield was saying. That it's going to be complicated. So whether or not it's going to be big or small is going to depend on our response. 190120 And that's what I think people sometimes have misunderstanding. Nobody can predict what is going to happen with an outbreak, but you can predict how you're going to respond to it. And that's really very important. Q>> So you would caution against people thinking that in the fall, there's not going to be coravirus anymore and we won't have to worry about it? FAUCI>> No, no. Q>> Or if it is, it's going to be spotty and it will be a big problem we have to worry about. FAUCI>> There will be coronavirus in the fall. If we do, which we won't, but let's take an imaginary period. 190150 We say, "Okay, coronavirus. Forget about it, we are not going to do anything about it," it will take off. That's what viruses do, but that's not what's going to happen. We are going to respond to it, to not allow it to do that. Q>> What happens when governors like governor Kemp are not following this careful, measured plan, and moving forward without meeting the criteria? 190214 FAUCI>> Well -- well, you know, if I were advising the governor, I would tell him that he should be careful. And I would advise him not to just turn the switch on and go. Because there is a danger of a rebound. And I know that there is a desire to move ahead quickly. That's natural human nature, desire. But going ahead and leapfrogging into phases where you should not be, I would advise him -- as a health official and as a physician -- not to do that. 190249 TRUMP>> Go ahead, please. Q>> Thank you, Mr. President. Can you please give some details about the executive order? I know that the white house has just released a document. I haven't had a chance to review it -- 190259 TRUMP>> Well can talk about that later. It's an executive order on immigration. We want Americans to have jobs. We want Americans to have the health care. We want to take care of our citizens first. We have to. And it's a very powerful order. It's for 60 days. At the end of 60 days or maybe even during 60 days, I'll extend it or not. And I'll maybe change it. I might modify it. Yes. Q>> -- immigrants who are already here, Mr. President? Q>> I wanted to ask you -- TRUMP>> Yeah, go ahead please. 190327 Q>> -- immigrants who are already here in the country or immigrants -- have a green card, trying to get into the country and health care workers? 190335 TRUMP>> We're talking about immigrants that are trying to get in, and we're talking about people, and also by the way, people that are coming illegally. Now as you know, because you've seen the numbers, our border, our southern border is very, very tight. It hasn't been this tight in years. It's being helped by 160, more than that, miles of wall that are going up. I'm trying to get to 450 by the end of the year. 450 miles. And we'll have 530 miles early next year. And that's really great. It's fully funded. 190408 We have all the funds and the army corps of engineers is doing a great job. Same people that did javits center, as you know. They're doing a fantastic job. So our southern border is very, very tight, for good reason, for very good reason. We're also being helped by 27,000 very good soldiers from Mexico. And I want to thank the president of Mexico. He has been terrific in many ways, including on what we're doing with covid. 190434 And as you know, we have a very good trade arrangement with Mexico now, which we didn't have before. So I want to thank the president of Mexico, in particular for the 27,000 soldiers. They're doing a fantastic job. Q>> For health care workers, sir? Do you want to talk about the exemptions for health care workers? 190448 TRUMP>> Well, we want to protect our health care workers. And that's one of the other reasons we're doing this. Yes, Jon? 190451 JON KARL Q>> Mr. President, I wanted to ask you about Rick Bright. He is head of the federal agency in charge of getting a vaccine out to Americans once it's ready. He says he's been pushed out of his job because he raised questions about hydroxychloroquine and some of your directives on that. Was he pushed of that job? TRUMP>> I've never heard of him. You just mentioned a name, I never heard of him. When did this happen? JON KARL>> This happened today. TRUMP>> No, I never heard of him. If a guy says he was pushed out of a job, maybe he was. Maybe he wasn't. You'd have to hear the other side. I don't know who he is. Please. JON KARL Q>> And on the hydroxychloroquine -- TRUMP>> Hold on one second please. 190523 Q>> I just wanted to -- You said by the fourth of July you expect people to be on the national mall and we'll be having a celebration like we did last year. Given what the doctors are just saying that, you know, coronavirus is still going to be out there, might not be as bad as it is now, but it is still going to be circulating. Is that going to be safe to have that many people on the mall? TRUMP>> Probably have 25% of what we had last year. Last year as you know was maxed out. I saw a magnificent picture of Dr. Martin Luther king and I saw a magnificent picture of our event last year and both of them were maxed out. 180559 It was beautiful to see, beautiful, very similar. This year most likely we'll be standing 6 feet apart. We will have to do that in a very, very interesting way. Maybe we will even do it greater. So we'll leave a little extra distance. If we do that, we would certainly do that. I don't see -- maybe the purpose that we can't do that. We have to have people, thousands. We had tens of thousands, most of you were there. Tens of thousands of people last year. It was incredible. To an extent, an air show of all the different aircrafts flying over. 180632 We even had air force one flying over. So ideally it would be wonderful if we could actually have it as it was last year. But -- and eventually we will have that. I think it's important to know that eventually we are going to have that. Stadiums are going to be the way they have been for the last 100 years. Q>> Will you be able to have --- TRUMP>> I know, but your stadiums, as an example. Sports is going to be the way they used to be. I told one of the owners, he said do you think I should take out seats and I said no you shouldn't take out seats. We're going to have it the way it was. We are going to be back. This virus will eventually be gone. If it should show up in the fall we're going to put it out very fast. We have great people who are going to put it out very fast because we have learned a lot. We've learned a lot about how to deal with it. We'll put it out very fast. Please. Nice and easy. 190716 Q>> You talk a lot about testing capacity. And governors agree that that exists. But it's very different from testing implementation. And they are still begging for you to use your full authority to help them get reagents and other things. As you like to say, what do you have to lose by helping them do that -- TRUMP>> Well I am doing that. Q>> -- and becoming the king of testing? 190739 TRUMP>> Let me just say. We are the king of testing already. There's no country in the world that's done more. Not even, not even -- Q>> .2% of the population has been tested. Is that good enough? 190748 TRUMP>> I just said, there's no country in the world that's done more. And we have tests that have already come out that are going to be introduced very shortly that will do it more. My problem is this. It's very much of a media trap. Whether we did 2%, 5%, 50% or 100%, it'll never be enough no matter what. Q>> -- .2%. TRUMP>> Now with the, with the expertise and what we did because of our expertise and tremendous talent at manufacturing, what we did with the ventilators, that wasn't a trap because we got them done, shockingly to everybody, because of the incredible talent like Mike Pence saw yesterday in Wisconsin. But we have numerous of those sites all over the country doing the same thing. 190834 So that when the governors were complaining, some of the governors, I must say, and it was very much along party lines, for the most part, but except for one. When the governors were complaining, we said no, no. How many do you need? We need 50. We need 100. One governor asked for many, many, many thousands, and it turned out they didn't need that, and that's good. Nobody that needed a ventilator, you know this. And we went through this with the governors, that needed a ventilator, didn't get a ventilator. 190903 That was an incredible achievement. With testing it's a little different. It's much easier than ventilators. It's like 2%. But for instance, the swabs are coming in by the millions. They're coming in, literally coming in by the millions. Totally ordered, we wanted the highest quality. We could have gotten a much lesser quality. We didn't want to do that. We got the highest quality. But testing, it's like, no matter how well you do, you can always say more. With the ventilators, they either have them or they don't. In fact, we went to one meeting, who wants a ventilator? One governor said, we'd like 25. 25. You got them. 190940 Who else? Nobody spoke up. That was four weeks ago. So that was great. The problem with the testing is, and I said, if we test, if we test 350 million people, you will say no, we want them to have a second test or a third test or a fourth test. Not everybody believes as strongly as some people in testing. Some people want to do testing because they think it's impossible for us to fulfill that goal. That's easy compared to ventilators, as I've said. But we have a tremendous testing capability, better than anybody
WHITE HOUSE TASK FORCE ON CORONAVIRUS BRIEFING ROBO CUTS 1700-1900
1700 WH COVID BRFG CUTS ROBO FS37 84 President Donald Trump and members of the White House Task force on coronavirus daily briefing WASH 3 PRESIDENT TRUMP WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE BRIEFING 200422 PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP 181026 TRUMP>> Thank you very much, appreciate it. Lot of tremendous things are happening. The number of new, positive cases continue to decline nationwide. Recent hot spots appear to be stabilizing. The hot spots are, in some cases, very interesting, what's going on. And they're going down. They're going in the right direction. 181054 Cases in the Boston area are now declining. The Chicago curve appears to have flattened, which is terrific, and Detroit has passed its peak. These trends demonstrate that our aggressive strategy to battle the virus is working and that more states will soon be in a position to gradually and safely reopen. 181113 It's very exciting. It was very exciting even today watching and seeing what's happening and people are getting ready and they're all excited. I do want to mention a man who's done a very good job for us, Dr. Robert Redfield was totally misquoted in the media on a statement about the fall season and the virus. Totally misquoted, I spoke to him, he said it was ridiculous. He was talking about the flu and Corona coming together at the same time. 181145 Corona could be just some little flareups that we will take care of, we will knock it out. We'll knock it out fast, but that's what he was referring to, coming together at the same time. I think rather than waiting, I would ask Dr. Redfield to come up and say a couple of words just to straighten it out because he didn't say it was a big -- big explosion, the headline in "The Washington post" was totally inaccurate. 181208 The statement wasn't bad in the Post but the headline was ridiculous which is, as I say, that's Fake News and CNN is fake news like crazy. And they had just totally the wrong story, which they knew. They were asked to change it, and they wouldn't do that. And it was false, so I'll Dr. Redfield, who is a real professional to come up and explain, please. Thank you, Doc. DR ROBERT REDFIELD 181237 REDFIELD>> Thank you Mr. President. I really do think it's important to clarify this as we build the confidence of the American people. When I commented yesterday that there was a possibility of the fall-winter, next fall-winter could be more difficult, more complicated, when we have two respiratory illnesses circulating at the same time, influenza and the coronavirus 19. But I think it's really important to emphasize what I didn't say. 181307 I didn't say that this was going to be worse. I said it was going to be more difficult and potentially complicated because we'll have flu and coronavirus circulating at the same time. I want to emphasize that we continue to build the nation's public health infrastructure to ensure that we have the capacity to stay in containment mode. Those of you who heard me talk before, I've told you that in January and February, up to February 27th-28th, this nation had 14 cases. 181337 We were in containment mode, and then unfortunately the virus overwhelmed where we got into extreme mitigation. We are building that public health capacity now to make sure that we stay in the containment mode for the upcoming fall and winter season so we will not need to resort to the kind of mitigation that we had to this spring. 181357 I have confidence that our public health response of early case recognition that we've talked about, isolation and contact tracing combined with our plans for increased surveillance, particularly for the most vulnerable, will be an effective public health strategy, so our nation will be able to maintain itself in the containment mode. 181419 Again, that will be supported by the American public's continued cooperation obviously in the areas of personal hygiene and the types of social distancing strategies that may be appropriate. The key to my comments and the reason that I really wanted to stress them was to appeal to the American public to embrace the flu vaccine with confidence. One of the greatest tools we have as we go through the fall-winter season that we're into is to get the American public to embrace the influenza vaccine and thereby minimize the impact of flu to be the co-respiratory disease we confront. Thank you very. Q>> Can I ask a follow up on that Dr. Redfield please? 181508 TRUMP>> [inaud] to follow up. He was misquoted -- totally misquoted. He said they could come together, they didn't talk about that, and his whole purpose in making the statement was to get a flu shot so that next fall, we don't have such a big season of flu and we possibly won't. But -- as you said, this -- it's possible, if the Corona even comes back and he doesn't know that it's going to or -- neither do I. We spoke at great length, and I think the Dr. will speak if you'd like to continue. 181538 But we may have some embers, and we're gonna put them out, of corona, but we may have a big flu season. But that's different. Flu is very different. from Corona. 181545 JON KARL Q>> Can I ask you a follow up question? TRUMP>> Sure. JON KARL Q>> So, Dr. Redfield, "The Washington post," which you did the interview with them, they quoted you as saying "there's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be much -- even more difficult than the one we just went through. And when I've said this to others, they kind of put their head barked, they don't understand what I mean -- we are going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time," is that what you said to "The Washington post"? 181612 REDFIELD>> Yeah, that's what I was trying to say to you just a minute ago, that the issue I was talking about about being more difficult is that we're going to have two viruses circulating at the same time. This spring that we just went through -- February -- we had a benefit of having the flu season ended, so we could use all of our flu surveillance systems to say "Whoops, this is coronavirus. We need to focus." Next fall and -- and winter, we are going to two viruses circulating and we are going to have to distinguish between which is flu and which is the coronavirus. 181646 And so, the comment that I made, "it's more difficult," it doesn't mean it's going to be more impossible, doesn't mean it's going to be more -- as some people have said -- "worse," it's just going to be more difficult because we have to distinguish between the two, and what I was wanting to do and what I want to do again here is appeal to the American public to recognize they can really help, like they did with mitigation, which they really helped. I need them to help now to best prepare us by getting the flu vaccine and taking flu out of the picture. 181719 TRUMP>> Excuse me, but we may not even have Corona coming back. JON KARL Q>> I'm sorry, but that quotes that I just read was accurate, right sir? That's the quote from "The Washington post," you are accurately quoted. Correct? REDFIELD>> I'm accurately quoted in "The Washington post" as difficult, but the headline was inappropriate. TRUMP>> Read the headline. JON KARL>> The headline says CDC director warned second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating. TRUMP>> That's not what he said. JON KARL>> But if you have the two things happening -- 181751 REDFIELD>> No, I actually think it's going to be -- I think the American public is going to heed the request to relook at their vaccine hesitancy, the vaccine with confidence with flu and I'm confident the public health infrastructure that we are putting together now across this country so we can early case diagnose, isolate, contact trace, as i say block and tackle, block and tackle, that system is going to be there and we are going to be able to contain this virus. 181818 Q>> Why did you retweet the article if it was inaccurate, Dr., why did you retweet it? 181823 TRUMP>> You weren't called. 181825 BIRX>> So I just -- We talked about this yesterday when you asked me this question, and someone I think used the word devastating. I want to really again emphasize to the American public that when we first interacted with this virus for the first time in the February and March time frame, we didn't have an understanding of its transmissibility, all of the symptoms. We do now. 181850 And I think what we are building together when we talk about the public health infrastructure, it is very much working on the surveillance piece, but I think we also know the strength of the American people and their ability to immediately understand how to protect themselves with not touching their face, making sure that they're washing their hands. But the other piece I wanted to talk about and we mentioned yesterday also that we have the summer while we have flu surveillance that we can utilize and syndromic management that we can utilize, we have all of that time to prepare clearly the testing algorithm that you would need in a flu potentially if covid came back. 181932 Potentially. And so we are preparing for that potential right now. And I think we spoke to you all about that and talked about how we're not only preparing for today and tomorrow, but we're preparing for six months from now, three months from now and making sure that all of these pieces are in place. I think what Dr. Redfield clearly was asking for, just like we ask for every American to follow the guidelines, he's saying please add to that guidelines getting your flu shot and making sure you're protected. 182002 TRUMP>> And doctor, wouldn't you say there's a good chance that covid will not come back? 182006 BIRX>> We don't know -- TRUMP>> -- or if it comes back, it's in a very small confined area that we put out. BIRX>> Well, the great thing is, we'll be able to find it earlier this time. And I think that's what we're talking about. We'll find those cases earlier. So what Dr. Redfield said, we would be able to stay in containment phase. And what we're also hoping, and we talked about this about four or five weeks ago, that we're hoping that the flu infections also go down, because people are much more aware of respiratory illnesses and how to protect themselves. 182040 We want you to get your vaccine but we also want to also protect individuals from getting the flu, because the vulnerability we know in certain populations to flu and the devastating outcomes to flu, we could prevent and decrease both of those things. So I think we are assured that the CDC is putting in place today what we are going to need in the fall so that we can stay in containment if potentially the virus comes back. 182110 TRUMP>> If it comes back, though, it won't be coming back in the form that it was. It will be coming back in smaller doses that we can contain. But what the doctor was saying, and I spoke to him at great length, he was saying if it should come back together, now you have a flu and you have the embers of corona, but in my opinion from everything I've seen, it can never be like anything that we've witnessed right now. Wouldn't you say that's a correct statement? REDFIELD>> Absolutely. 182138 It's nothing like what we're talking -- What we've just gone through, we will not go through. You could have some embers of Corona and you could have a big flu system, and if they combine and they come together, if they come together, it's not great, but we will not go through what we went through for the last two months. Is that a correct statement? Q>> I understand that the United States will be more prepared in the fall, but how can you say that you know it won't come back at the same level that it has today? 182209 TRUMP>> What -- It is estimated it might not come back at all, Jeff. It may not come back at all. He's talking about a worst-case scenario where you have a big flu and you have some corona. And if it does come back, it's not going to come back, and I've spoken to ten different people, not gonna be like it was. Also, we have much better containment now. Before nobody knew about it. Nobody knew anything about it. We understand it. Now, if we have a little pockets, a little pocket here, then we're going to have it put out. It goes out, and it's going to put it out fast. We're gonna be watching for it. But it's all possible -- It's also possible it doesn't come back at all. Q>> I understand the containment, but I don't understand how you know it won't come back at a big scale. 182245 TRUMP>> I didn't say it's not. I said if it does, it's not going to come back on anything near what we went through. But you could have a mess where they come at the same time. And if they come at the same time, the flu is not the greatest thing in the world, Jeff, it's not the greatest thing either. If they come at the same time, you have them both. But if we have embers of corona coupled with the flu, that's not gonna be pleasant, but it's not going to be what we've gone through in any way, shape, or form. 182315 Q>> If you don't think that it's going to come back at the same severity as right now, why are you still directing taxpayer dollars to be spent on emergency procurement of ventilators? 10s of thousands? TRUMP>> Because we have to have them for other reasons. Something else could come. I mean, we didn't know about Corona. Now we know about Corona. Look at what happened. And now, we had the H1N1 swine flu. We had that, we have other things that have happened. We had various forms of flu but nothing like we've had here, nothing at all like what we've had here with the virus but something could happen. 182351 I think that the stockpiles -- we are making hundreds of thousands of ventilators, nobody writes about that. You know, at the one time, all they talked about was ventilators because you didn't think it was possible for me to solve that problem, and I solved it and nobody can believe it. I just spoke to world leaders today who desperately need ventilators. They said the job you've done -- and we are sending 500 to Mexico, then another 500 to France, we are sending some to Spain, we're sending some to Italy. We have them -- they are being made by the thousands. 182423 And World leaders, I spoke to Prime Minister -- I mean, I went through a lot of different calls today. I won't even tell you, but I went through -- I can give you a list if you want. But I went through a lot of calls to a lot of leaders. I spoke with Pakistan, they would like to have some ventilators. We're going to get them some ventilators, but they all said to me one thing: 182444 It was incredible that you solved the ventilator problem because that was a big problem. The testing problem -- we've done more than any other nation in the world. Go a step further -- if you added up the testing of every nation in the world, put them together, we've done substantially more than that. A few people aren't satisfied. 182503 So let's say we had 350 million people in the United States,right, let's say and if we gave every one of those people a test ten times, so we give 350 people a test, ten times, the fake news media would say where's the 11th time? He didn't do his job. Trump didn't do his job because you have a lot of bad reporting out there, it's very sad. JON KARL>>> That's not true. TRUMP>> You're one of the leaders of the bad reporting. JON KARL>> But it's not true. 182533 TRUMP>> Let's get onto another subject, I wanted that to -- I want that to be cleared up. If you want, we can get it on to it later but I want the vice president to speak. But you want to get the news accurately, you ought to write it -- if you take a look at what you wrote about the ventilators and when we became the king of ventilators, we are making different factories all over, ventilators by the thousands. In fact, Mike got back from Wisconsin, the first thing he did, he called up, I said how's it going? He said, you know, you're not going to believe, he just saw a plant, a factory where they are making ventilators. 182604 I think I can say the words were unbelievable. He said it was unbelievable when he saw the quality of the equipment, the professionalism, a tremendous number -- how many workers would you say there were? PENCE>> Over 550. They doubled production and are about to triple production. TRUMP>> Nobody thought this could be done. The fake news was very unhappy that it was done. But you guys don't ask me about ventilators. 182628 JOHN KARL Q (?) >> Who's unhappy that ventilators are being made, Mr. president? TRUMP>> You never mention it. You never mention it. There's no stories of what a great job we've done with ventilators. We are now supplying ventilators all over the world because no other country could have done what we did. You should say that's a great story, instead you say trump was slow -- slow? We were so fast plus we put the ban on so much earlier when Nancy Pelosi as an example, you don't say this, when she's having her rally in San Francisco in chinatown in San Francisco, nobody wants to say that. 182702 If we didn't, and Dr. Fauci said this, if we didn't close our country to China, we would've been so infected, like nobody has ever seen. When you saw the chart and we were at the top of the list in terms of success, nobody wrote it, I said is anybody going to use that chart, nobody wrote it, in terms of mortality, you saw that. Nobody wrote it. Germany and our country, the most successful in terms of mortality, nobody wrote it. It would be great if you wrote the truth, let's get on with it because I want Mike to speak and then we'll take more questions. 182734 On the assumption you'd like to and I think you probably will. It's been encouraging to watch states begin to open up and it really has been, it's a beautiful thing to see as restrictions are lifted, we must maintain vigilance and continue practicing social distancing. I encouraged governors to follow a careful, phased approach and I want to remind all Americans to adhere to our guidelines, very important. The governors are going to adhere hopefully or they're gonna do what they think is best. 182807 I want them to do what they think is best, but ideal, adhere. Wash your hands, avoid close physical contact as much as possible and wear a face covering when distancing is impractical. There were cases. We have flattened the curve and really made tremendous progress but we must guard against a dangerous rebound. We don't want to rebound. This is what we were just talking about, we don't want a rebound, the doctor doesn't want to rebound, these people definitely don't want a rebound, I think think you want one, huh? You especially. 182838 We don't want rebound's after all of this death -- death that we've suffered. Not work, I don't view work. I view it death that was unnecessary, should have never happened. Should have never left that little area where it started. You know it and I know it and they know it. 182856 In our all-out war against the virus we continue to make great strides on testing, famous testing, doing more than anybody else anywhere in the world, nothing funny about that, Jon. Most of the governors have never faced a situation like this before. We are helping them find unused testing capacity within their states, tremendous testing capacity that the governors in many cases didn't know they had. And additional capabilities are coming online every day, we are coming up with new equipment like the Abbott laboratories equipment on-site, 5 minutes, great success, everybody wants it but you can only make so many of those machines. 182939 So we have many other forms of testing. We have many other machines that do it very quickly, and by the millions -- by the millions. Our task force issued its reopening guidelines earlier than April 30th to give governors the time that they needed to develop testing capability and capacity and customize plans for their states, which many of them did. We have had some governors do a fantastic job on testing and on a lot of other things. 183819 I spoke, as you know Governor Cuomo, he had to, we had a great conversation on testing yesterday. And they're doing a really good job in New York. We're working very closely with each of the states to help them succeed. I spoke earlier today with Governor Newsom, California, and that was all about testing, that conversation. He's been scaling up really well, really good job. 183034 And I agreed to help him get some of the critical supplies that California needs to make use of the tremendous capacity that they found, this is tremendous testing capacity, and I'm going to do it very quickly. He needs certain things. We're gonna get that to him very quickly. Now, could he get it himself? Yes, but I can get it faster. He understands that, and he's done a great job. And we're gonna have it to him, we're gonna have a lot of it to him over the next two days, and we're gonna beef it up the following week. Get him a lot of additional. He's done a really, a terrific job in California. Some of the governors have done a fantastic job working with us. 183109 I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the Phase One guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia -- they're incredible people, I love those people. They are -- they're great. They have been strong, resolute, but at the same time, he must do what he thinks is right. I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he is doing. 183144 But I want to let the governors do -- now, if I see something totally egregious, totally out of line, I'll do. But I think spas and beauty salons and tattoo parlors and barbershops in Phase 1 -- we are going to have faced 2 very soon -- it's just too soon. I think it's too soon and I love the people. I love -- I love those people that use all of those things: the spas, and the beauty parlors and barbershops, tattoo parlors, I love them. 183215 But they can wait a little bit longer, just a little bit -- not much because safety has to predominate. We have to have that. So I told the governor very simply that I disagree with his decision, but he has to do what he thinks is right. I'm excited to announce that, in the coming weeks, the air force thunderbirds -- they're incredible and the Navy blue angels, equally incredible, will be performing airshows over America's major cities and some of the cities that aren't major cities. 183250 They are going to be doing a lot of work, a lot of very dangerous flying. It's dangerous, you know the odds. When you start going at massive speeds and you're 18 inches away from each other, that's dangerous work. Your son is a great pilot and I don't know if he could be -- could he be a thunderbird? I don't know. >> We'll see. TRUMP>> I think he probably could, from what I hear. I don't know if I would want him to be because it is -- it's incredible what they are able to do, and the sacrifice our frontline -- what we are doing is we're paying tribute to our frontline health care workers confronting Covid. 183326 And it's really a signal to all Americans to remain vigilant during the outbreak. This is a tribute to them, to our warriors because they are equal warriors to those incredible pilots and all of the fighters that we have for the more traditional flights that we win. And we win. When we want to win, we always win. Sometimes we don't want to win and so we just go to a standstill. But that's always -- that's not the way this country works. Operation America Strong was the idea of our great military men and women. 183403 The Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels crews who wanted to show support to the American medical workers who, just like military members in a time of war, are fiercely running toward the fight. It's gonna be great. I want to see those shows. I've seen them many times and I can't get enough of them. And on July 4th, we will be doing what we had at the mall, as you know. We're gonna be doing it. Last year was a tremendous success. And I would imagine we'll do it, hopefully I can use the term "forever." 183433 That was a great success, as you remember. even though it was pouring. It was raining so hard, it was raining at -- that's about as hard as I've seen in a while. But it was an amazing success. Didn't bother the pilots, didn't bother the military, didn't bother the crews that we had there. So we're gonna be doing that again on July 4th. Our great military is operating at 100% during this crisis, and thousands of troops are deployed alongside of civilians in Covid the hot spots, as you know. You see them all over. 183505 When I spoke with governor Cuomo and when I spoke with Gavin Newsom and many of the other governors, they wanted to know if we could have some military help with the medical, and we gave it to them. In every case, they said it's fantastic, I mean just fantastic. New York City mayor de Blasio called me to say it was inspiring to watch, he was there when the military came in. He said it gave everybody spirit when he saw the professionalism and the spirit they had, they walked in and they helped a lot -- lot of people. 183540 Doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians and professionals -- it was an incredible thing. But they all -- everybody who saw them going to work said that was something special. We are going to have tremendous airshows all throughout the country, and that's in honor of what we are all going through together, and the people that are helping us so much and, unfortunately, the people who have passed away from something that should never have been allowed to happen. 183612 Following around-the-clock negotiations yesterday, the senate answered my call to replenish the paycheck protection program so that millions of additional American workers can keep getting a paycheck. We just increased it by $310 billion. I urged the House to pass the bill without delay. In our first round of funding we provided nearly $350 billion and it went at record speed to American workers and small businesses. And it's really been incredible, an incredible success. I want to thank the banks, the big banks, the little banks, the commercial banks of all kinds. 183657 We had the community banks were fantastic, by the way, community banks. And as you know, this was an interesting story in recent days. I've called for Harvard -- that's Harvard University -- which has a $40 billion endowment fund to return the money that it was allocated under the CARES act. And I'm pleased to announce that Harvard has announced today that they will not accept the funds, nor will Stanford University or many of the others that were involved both on a university level also on the company level, some of the companies were bigger than people had represented or bigger than people had thought and strong enough that they didn't need the money. 183744 So, there's a certain amount of money that we are not sending. Well as soon as I heard it, I said stop the funds, and for the most part, I guess they stopped it, Mike, right? They stopped it. They're not accepting the money, and that's great. And so I want to thank Harvard, I want to thank Stanford, and I want to thank the other companies. In a case, it's broken differently between the colleges and companies, but I want to thank the companies and the other great universities, and there's some great ones. 183815 The legislation passed by the senate yesterday also reserves $30 billion for small financial institutions that serve minority and distressed communities -- very important. We are determined to protect our African-American, hispanic-american, and minority workers who have been hit so hard by this hidden enemy. My administration is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to address the full spectrum of needs in these communities, supporting both health and economic revitalization. 183848 First, my administration is committed to providing the testing that is needed to fight the virus in distressed communities. In the last month alone, we have already sent over $1.4 billion to our nation's 13,000 community health care centers -- think of that, 13,000 -- to increase testing and treatment in the underserved areas. We are also expanding access to telehealth. Telehealth has become a big deal. I've been reading about it for years and, all of the sudden, because of this, it's become a big -- a big thing. 183919 People can't leave their houses. they didn't want to leave their houses for various reasons including they wanted to follow the guidelines. The legislation passed by the Senate yesterday, and I want to thank everybody, a great great vote -- great -- it's, as you know it was a unanimous vote, how often do you see that? But the legislation passed by the senate yesterday includes an additional $25 billion to further expand the testing and provides even more funding for community health centers and various forms of epidemics and pandemics, and we'll be working on that. 183955 Because, you know, as per a couple of your statements and questions before, we want to work on that for the future. We hope this doesn't happen again for -- again, ever. But last time was -- of this magnitude -- 1917, that's a long time ago. So we want to be prepared and we are prepared. And as I told you, we are building up hospitals -- not only our stockpile which is being up greatly -- being built up great, but also hospitals' stockpiles. We are getting them what they need. 184026 We are working out cost arrangements with them. And we are getting them a lot of the ventilators which is the hardest thing for them to get both from a cost standpoint and a technical standpoint. At the same time, we are also supporting the establishment of new testing sites focused on these communities. 40 sites have launched so far, and there are plans to launch dozens more in the next three weeks. And we are coming up with testing apparatus and testing plans that are incredible when you look at the numbers. 184058 And some people are very, very big on testing. I'm big on testing, but some people are much less big than I am, I will tell you. And they're professionals. But we want to have it so that nobody can talk about "Gee whiz, I wish we had more testing." Nobody has done it like we've done it. And nobody will. And we're getting very much stronger. We have incredible professionals doing it. So many different tests have now evolved. People are finding it even hard to believe. 184128 My administration is working closely with governors to ensure they have the testing infrastructure in place to reduce further spread of the virus. if they are so inclined to use the testing apparatus, including strategies for older individuals, low income Americans, minorities and native Americans. As part of the effort, the white house task force headed up by Mike, who has done an incredible -- I will say it everytime. I will say it to anybody who wants to listen: Mike pence has done an incredible job. Really an incredible job, thank you. 184203 --- is providing technical assistance to all 50 states through one-on-one phone calls as they develop and implement their plans. In addition, my administration is committed to restoring black and hispanic communities to full economic health. They want to be healthy economically and physically. And that's what we are doing. To that end, today, I'm directing the white house opportunity and revitalization council led by secretary Ben Carson to focus its effort on supporting the underserved communities impacted by the coronavirus. 184237 And so, Ben Carson is working on that with Mike and myself and a lot of other people. I'm going to ask Tim Scott, who was so helpful with the opportunity Zones -- that's an economic answer to a lot of problems, and Tim Scott was fantastic. And so I'm going to ask him to get involved with you, and I'm sure he'll be willing to do it -- from South Carolina. I also asked the council to identify what additional funding will be required from Congress beyond what has already been provided. 184308 We are really building ourselves a strong base and we're building ourselves a wall that's very different from the kind of walls that you've been hearing me talking about. But it's, nevertheless, in many ways, it performs the same function and hopefully it's going to perform it equally as well. Furthermore, the council will seek input from the private sector and community leaders on how we can best support minority and distressed communities. As president, I am absolutely determined to deliver a great future for Americans of every race, religion, color and creed. 184343 Before our nation was attacked by this horrible enemy, our African-American and hispanic-american citizens were prospering like never before -- best employment numbers ever. Not only African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American, every American. We were breaking records at every level. We had almost 160 million people employed -- we were never even close to that number. 184413 And we were breaking them economically -- highest stock market numbers, highest numbers of every kind. And I think we are going to be back there and I think it's going to be much sooner, rather than later and I think we will surpass those numbers, including our employment numbers. But I will not rest until that prosperity has been fully restored and again, I really believe that we're going to lift those numbers higher than ever before, and it won't be as long as people might think. A lot of smart people are looking at that, and they're betting. You just have to look at what's going on with the stock market. 184446 In order to protect our great American workers, I've just signed an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the United States. This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens. Crucially, it will also preserve our health care resources for American patients. If we have to take care of our patients, we have to take care of our great American workers, and that's what we're doing. So I've just signed it just before coming into the room, and very important, very important. 184522 And as to amending it or extending it, that we can do at the appropriate time, but it's now signed. Earlier today, the first lady and I planted a tree on the south lawn of the white house in recognition of the 50th annual Earth day. I was glad to announce that we will begin to reopen our national parks and public lands. We want Americans to be able to satisfy and be really safe. We want them to satisfy their family that safety is going to happen, and it will happen. 184553 And maybe even at a level like never before. We've learned so much. But we want them to enjoy these great national treasures as we continue to take reasonable precautions, and hopefully it'll be just reasonable. My administration has directed more than $7 billion in federal funding to support the development of treatments, diagnostics, and therapies. And that's something, doctors, I hope you can really work on, that's something so powerful and so important. 184625 The FDA, the NIH, and industry leaders are establishing master clinical trial protocols to test multiple promising new drugs at the same time. And they're doing a lot of -- We're doing a lot of testing right now. More than 1,600 locations across the country have signed up to administer convalescent plasma to patients, infusing them with antibodies of those who have recovered. And when they recover, I said it last time, practically the first thing they say is, I want to give my blood so I can help other people. They want to give their blood. It's incredible. 184701 They're laying in bed, they're still in pretty weakened conditions. And they say I want to give my blood, and that's happening all the time, isn't it? If you recovered from the coronavirus, I ask you to consider contacting your local blood or plasma donation center to arrange a donation that could potentially save many lives. We'd love for our nation and loyalty for our fellow citizens, we will safeguard our family, care for our neighbors, heal the sick, protect our workers and build a future for a country that is the greatest country anywhere in the world. And we're only going to get greater. Thank you very much, Mike Pence -- please. VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE 184748 PENCE>> Thank you, Mr. President. White House coronavirus task force met today. And despite the fact that there have been more than 843,000 Americans who have contracted the coronavirus and we grieve the loss of more than 47,000 of our countrymen, according to Dr. Birx and her team, we continue to see encouraging signs. Because the American people have been putting into practice the guidance that has been issued by the president and this task force and they have been taking to heart the guidance of state and local officials. 184826 And Mr. President, as we learned today, we are continuing to see declines in all the major metro areas around the country that have been the most impacted. The numbers remain low and steady on the west coast, in Washington State, and in California. The New York metro area, New Jersey, Connecticut all appear to be past their peak. And as our scientists may reflect in a few moments, we also are seeing the positive rate going down, which is actually even as encouraging as the declining cases. 184902 The Detroit metro area appears to be past its peak. The Seattle metro area, as I mentioned, remains stable. New Orleans metro area is the most stable of all the large metro outbreaks. We also are continuing to see stabilization and even declines in Houston and Atlanta and Nashville and Baltimore and Indianapolis and elsewhere. This is a tribute to the American people, to the fact that the American people have taken to heart the guidelines, the social distancing, the personal hygiene, the recommendation that you use the drive through at a restaurant rather than going in a restaurant and avoiding groups of more than ten. 184944 On the president's behalf, on behalf of our entire coronavirus task force, we just want to urge all the American people to continue onward. We all want to reopen America, and we want to reopen our states and our communities as soon as it is safe and responsible to do so. But I want to say to my countrymen, the fastest way to reopen America is to continue to do what you've been doing. That's the fastest way, as President Trump has said many times, to get our country working again, is to put the coronavirus in the past, and we are on our way to doing just that. 185022 You know, from early on, the president called forth not only the full power of the federal government but he called forth the full weight of the American economy. And I had the privilege yesterday to travel to Madison, Wisconsin and see American industry and American workers at their very best. And I want to thank the G.E. health care team in Wisconsin as well as the union machinists that I spent time with all day yesterday. It was extraordinary, Mr. President. And earlier this month, you used the defense production act to ensure that supplies could flow to G.E. and general motors and Ford and other companies that were prepared to repurpose manufacturing lines and hire new workers to construct ventilators. 185108 And at this particular plant, they literally have -- the union sat down, the machinist union sat down, and in less than one week negotiated a new contract with G.E. health care that allowed them to continue to bring in workers from around the country. They doubled, they doubled their work line in one week. They're about to triplet it. They've have been going 24 hours a day, three shifts, seven days a week. 185133 And the president promised that by harnessing the power of the American economy we would have 100,000 ventilators in 100 days. But thanks to the ingenuity and the hardworking Americans that I was with yesterday and other countries, we're actually going to have 110,000 ventilators in 100 days. They were all wearing t-shirts, Mr. President, I brought one back for you, that simply read "Union machinists save lives." And to that great team at GE Health Care, I want to just say, all of America is proud of you and grateful for you. 185209 We're also grateful to all of our health care workers at every level and all the work that they're doing, and we're proud that our National Guard and our American military are at their side. As our task force learned today, more than 31,000 National Guard have been stood up around the country. ANd the president in the last day extended what's called title 32 authorizations for all National Guard personnel through May 31. So we're going to continue to partner with states as the National Guard plays a vital role in testing and in cleaning nursing homes and in standing up state's response. 185243 Military personnel, Mr. President, we have more than 5,500 active duty military personnel, including as of yesterday, 964 medical professionals in the uniform of the United States working in 17 hospitals in seven states around the country. We're also very proud of our team at the VA. The VA has addressed its capacity issues. It's not seeing cases among veterans in its facilities increase, so they're deploying teams to focus on nursing homes. In Massachusetts, the VA personnel had disinfected two different nursing homes. In New Jersey, they literally taken over two state nursing homes and deployed 90 doctors and nurses. 185327 And in Florida, we're sending 16 teams to assist in nursing home operations. As the president also mentioned, in addition to what I saw yesterday in Madison, Wisconsin, we continue, we continue to build our strategic national stockpile. It's growing again with ventilators, nearly 11,000 in supply. 901 new ventilators will be added, transitioned in the near term. And every American, I think, can be confident that should the need arise for your family member facing serious consequences from the coronavirus, to need that equipment to help them breathe, that equipment will be there. 185411 As we said yesterday in Wisconsin, and you've said, Mr. President, I think it should be a great source of comfort to every American that no American who has required a ventilator in the United States has been denied a ventilator. And that's a testament to our health care workers, a testament to every American putting mitigation principles into practice, and it's a testament to all these great companies. Speaking of great companies, American businesses are stepping up. 185439 It was on April 1st that I traveled to a Walmart distribution center. And the president reached out to the president and CEO of Walmart to ask Walmart to get in the gowns business. And Mr. President, I'm glad to report to you that we heard today at the task force that Walmart is producing 8.4 million gowns, and they will be delivered into our commercial supply, to health care facilities around the country by the end of June. They are hardly alone. Honda is producing 500,000 face shields, New Balance is making 100,000 masks a week. 184416 In a very real sense, the American people have stepped up to make the sacrifices and endure the hardship that social distancing has required, but American businesses at every size and every means have come together to respond to the president's call. It really has been a whole of America approach. And our message from the president's White House coronavirus task force is to tell the American people it's working, we're getting there. We can see light at the end of the tunnel. We can see the data, we can reopen and put America back to work, but it's gonna take all of us continuing to make the sacrifices necessary to practice those disciplines to get us to a place where we can reopen safely and confidently. With that, Mr. President, I'll call Dr. Fauci up for his reflections and we'll move on. DR. ANTHONY FAUCI 185611 FAUCI>> Thank you very much, Mr. Vice president. So I'm just going to take off from where I was at this podium a few days ago to kind of reiterate some of things that the vice president said but to kind of connect the dots from where we were, where we are now, and where I think we're gonna be. So if you remember a couple of weeks ago when we talked about the fact that we were going to have a really bad week because the deaths, particularly driven by the situation in New York, were going to get worse and worse. 185640 But yet, as that was happening, we were starting to see some turn around, some flattening, and some coming down. As you've heard from Dr. Birx and will likely hear more, that that is continuing. So what has happened is that the mitigation that we put in with the first 15 days and then the 30 day mitigation program of physical distancing worked. So it got us to where we are today. It is a successful formula. 185711 It is the basis for our being able to say that we can now think seriously about reopening America. And for that reason, we put together a carefully thought out and I believe well delineated and described program for opening up America again. And you know what it is. It's the guidelines that we announced a few days ago. Those very guidelines are based on a version of the successful formula that got us to where we are. 185746 So what I'm trying to say is that the program is not one that is going to be "turn the lights on in America, we are finished." We are not. We have to proceed in a very careful measured way. And if you look at the guidelines, they are careful and they are measured. There are certain checkpoints before you can even think about going into a Phase One. And then things relax a little as you go into phase two. And relax a little and you go into phase three. 185820 We live in a big country, and it is heterogeneous and there are different dynamics of outbreaks in different parts of the country. So the speed with which one can go from one to another, at the point at which you can even begin to think about the phase is going to differ. So the one thing that I know, the urge we all have to get out there and get it over with -- let's get back to normal -- for a lot of good reasons, because there's a lot of suffering, economic and otherwise in this country because of that. 185849 But again, as I pleaded early on, weeks ago, I plead with the American public, with governors, with mayors, for people with responsibility. Although I know one has the need to leapfrog over things, don't do that. Do it in a measured way. This is a successful formula. The problem is if we don't do that, there's a likelihood we will have a rebound. 185916 And the one way not to reopen the economy is to have a rebound that we can't take care of. So please, again, let me just close by pleading with the American public in general and those who are responsible leaders to carefully consider how we get back to normal. Thank you. 185933 Q>> Dr. Fauci, can you talk about your expectations for the fall? We heard from Dr. Redfield and Dr. Birx. What do you see for the fall? Is it going to be embers or possibly no return of the virus at all? 185944 FAUCI>> You know ,as I've said before, when you look at an outbreak, it's two dynamic forces opposing each other. If you leave the virus to its own devices, it will take off if you do nothing to stop it. If you put into place the kinds of things that we talk about -- first, containment and then hopefully you never get to have mitigation, but containment is important. Those two forces are going to determine whether you're going to have a big outbreak. 190017 So what Dr. Redfield was saying, first of all, is that we will have coronavirus in the fall. I am convinced of that because of the degree of transmissibility that it has, the global nature. What happens with that will depend on how we are able to contain it when it occurs. And what we are saying is that in the fall, we will be much, much better prepared to do the kind of containment compared to what happened to us this winter. 190051 Now, the complicating issue is that, unlike the syndromic and influenza-like observances that we have, that you could pick it up by clinically what's happening, it's going to get complicated by the influenza season. I believe that's what Dr. Redfield was saying. That it's going to be complicated. So whether or not it's going to be big or small is going to depend on our response. 190120 And that's what I think people sometimes have misunderstanding. Nobody can predict what is going to happen with an outbreak, but you can predict how you're going to respond to it. And that's really very important. Q>> So you would caution against people thinking that in the fall, there's not going to be coravirus anymore and we won't have to worry about it? FAUCI>> No, no. Q>> Or if it is, it's going to be spotty and it will be a big problem we have to worry about. FAUCI>> There will be coronavirus in the fall. If we do, which we won't, but let's take an imaginary period. 190150 We say, "Okay, coronavirus. Forget about it, we are not going to do anything about it," it will take off. That's what viruses do, but that's not what's going to happen. We are going to respond to it, to not allow it to do that. Q>> What happens when governors like governor Kemp are not following this careful, measured plan, and moving forward without meeting the criteria? 190214 FAUCI>> Well -- well, you know, if I were advising the governor, I would tell him that he should be careful. And I would advise him not to just turn the switch on and go. Because there is a danger of a rebound. And I know that there is a desire to move ahead quickly. That's natural human nature, desire. But going ahead and leapfrogging into phases where you should not be, I would advise him -- as a health official and as a physician -- not to do that. 190249 TRUMP>> Go ahead, please. Q>> Thank you, Mr. President. Can you please give some details about the executive order? I know that the white house has just released a document. I haven't had a chance to review it -- 190259 TRUMP>> Well can talk about that later. It's an executive order on immigration. We want Americans to have jobs. We want Americans to have the health care. We want to take care of our citizens first. We have to. And it's a very powerful order. It's for 60 days. At the end of 60 days or maybe even during 60 days, I'll extend it or not. And I'll maybe change it. I might modify it. Yes. Q>> -- immigrants who are already here, Mr. President? Q>> I wanted to ask you -- TRUMP>> Yeah, go ahead please. 190327 Q>> -- immigrants who are already here in the country or immigrants -- have a green card, trying to get into the country and health care workers? 190335 TRUMP>> We're talking about immigrants that are trying to get in, and we're talking about people, and also by the way, people that are coming illegally. Now as you know, because you've seen the numbers, our border, our southern border is very, very tight. It hasn't been this tight in years. It's being helped by 160, more than that, miles of wall that are going up. I'm trying to get to 450 by the end of the year. 450 miles. And we'll have 530 miles early next year. And that's really great. It's fully funded. 190408 We have all the funds and the army corps of engineers is doing a great job. Same people that did javits center, as you know. They're doing a fantastic job. So our southern border is very, very tight, for good reason, for very good reason. We're also being helped by 27,000 very good soldiers from Mexico. And I want to thank the president of Mexico. He has been terrific in many ways, including on what we're doing with covid. 190434 And as you know, we have a very good trade arrangement with Mexico now, which we didn't have before. So I want to thank the president of Mexico, in particular for the 27,000 soldiers. They're doing a fantastic job. Q>> For health care workers, sir? Do you want to talk about the exemptions for health care workers? 190448 TRUMP>> Well, we want to protect our health care workers. And that's one of the other reasons we're doing this. Yes, Jon? 190451 JON KARL Q>> Mr. President, I wanted to ask you about Rick Bright. He is head of the federal agency in charge of getting a vaccine out to Americans once it's ready. He says he's been pushed out of his job because he raised questions about hydroxychloroquine and some of your directives on that. Was he pushed of that job? TRUMP>> I've never heard of him. You just mentioned a name, I never heard of him. When did this happen? JON KARL>> This happened today. TRUMP>> No, I never heard of him. If a guy says he was pushed out of a job, maybe he was. Maybe he wasn't. You'd have to hear the other side. I don't know who he is. Please. JON KARL Q>> And on the hydroxychloroquine -- TRUMP>> Hold on one second please. 190523 Q>> I just wanted to -- You said by the fourth of July you expect people to be on the national mall and we'll be having a celebration like we did last year. Given what the doctors are just saying that, you know, coronavirus is still going to be out there, might not be as bad as it is now, but it is still going to be circulating. Is that going to be safe to have that many people on the mall? TRUMP>> Probably have 25% of what we had last year. Last year as you know was maxed out. I saw a magnificent picture of Dr. Martin Luther king and I saw a magnificent picture of our event last year and both of them were maxed out. 180559 It was beautiful to see, beautiful, very similar. This year most likely we'll be standing 6 feet apart. We will have to do that in a very, very interesting way. Maybe we will even do it greater. So we'll leave a little extra distance. If we do that, we would certainly do that. I don't see -- maybe the purpose that we can't do that. We have to have people, thousands. We had tens of thousands, most of you were there. Tens of thousands of people last year. It was incredible. To an extent, an air show of all the different aircrafts flying over. 180632 We even had air force one flying over. So ideally it would be wonderful if we could actually have it as it was last year. But -- and eventually we will have that. I think it's important to know that eventually we are going to have that. Stadiums are going to be the way they have been for the last 100 years. Q>> Will you be able to have --- TRUMP>> I know, but your stadiums, as an example. Sports is going to be the way they used to be. I told one of the owners, he said do you think I should take out seats and I said no you shouldn't take out seats. We're going to have it the way it was. We are going to be back. This virus will eventually be gone. If it should show up in the fall we're going to put it out very fast. We have great people who are going to put it out very fast because we have learned a lot. We've learned a lot about how to deal with it. We'll put it out very fast. Please. Nice and easy. 190716 Q>> You talk a lot about testing capacity. And governors agree that that exists. But it's very different from testing implementation. And they are still begging for you to use your full authority to help them get reagents and other things. As you like to say, what do you have to lose by helping them do that -- TRUMP>> Well I am doing that. Q>> -- and becoming the king of testing? 190739 TRUMP>> Let me just say. We are the king of testing already. There's no country in the world that's done more. Not even, not even -- Q>> .2% of the population has been tested. Is that good enough? 190748 TRUMP>> I just said, there's no country in the world that's done more. And we have tests that have already come out that are going to be introduced very shortly that will do it more. My problem is this. It's very much of a media trap. Whether we did 2%, 5%, 50% or 100%, it'll never be enough no matter what. Q>> -- .2%. TRUMP>> Now with the, with the expertise and what we did because of our expertise and tremendous talent at manufacturing, what we did with the ventilators, that wasn't a trap because we got them done, shockingly to everybody, because of the incredible talent like Mike Pence saw yesterday in Wisconsin. But we have numerous of those sites all over the country doing the same thing. 190834 So that when the governors were complaining, some of the governors, I must say, and it was very much along party lines, for the most part, but except for one. When the governors were complaining, we said no, no. How many do you need? We need 50. We need 100. One governor asked for many, many, many thousands, and it turned out they didn't need that, and that's good. Nobody that needed a ventilator, you know this. And we went through this with the governors, that needed a ventilator, didn't get a ventilator. 190903 That was an incredible achievement. With testing it's a little different. It's much easier than ventilators. It's like 2%. But for instance, the swabs are coming in by the millions. They're coming in, literally coming in by the millions. Totally ordered, we wanted the highest quality. We could have gotten a much lesser quality. We didn't want to do that. We got the highest quality. But testing, it's like, no matter how well you do, you can always say more. With the ventilators, they either have them or they don't. In fact, we went to one meeting, who wants a ventilator? One governor said, we'd like 25. 25. You got them. 190940 Who else? Nobody spoke up. That was four weeks ago. So that was great. The problem with the testing is, and I said, if we test, if we test 350 million people, you will say no, we want them to have a second test or a third test or a fourth test. Not everybody believes as strongly as some people in testing. Some people want to do testing because they think it's impossible for us to fulfill that goal. That's easy compared to ventilators, as I've said. But we have a tremendous testing capability, better than anybody
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 th