Last night I watched the second half of General David Patraeus’ testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. On the previous day, Patraeus passed out while testifying. He said he was dehydrated. He quipped on one occasion that one of his old squad leaders told him to drink water.
Several senators asked some good questions, others asked some pretty bad ones. Some even asked questions that I thought Patraeus may have a difficult time answering. But everytime, he came back with inciteful responses.
At one point, a woman stood up in the back of the room and began yelling something. I heard the word “murder” come from her mouth but couldn’t tell what else she was saying. She looked like a crazy old lady who probably has 12 cats at her house and daily tells them all that they treat her better than any man she’s had. She was probably a Code Pink cast-off; perhaps she had too few cats to maintain membership.
After she was led out by authorities, Patraeus turned back to the committee and said (paraphrase): “With regards to what the lady was saying, if all we wanted was Iraq’s oil, we could have bought it for the next 4 decades with the amount of meoney we’ve pumped into the country since 2003.”
Patraeus answered every question calmly and on a few occasions refused to allow himself to be interrupted by senators with an agenda. He stated that he was neither optimistic or pessimistic about the chances of succeeding in Afghanistan, but that he was a realist. If the time came that he had to advise the President that the operation was no longer worth while, it was his sacred duty to the American people and to the Soldiers on the ground that he communicate that message. On another occasion, he was asked: Are we nation building? His answer was: “Yes, we are.”
So, last night Patraeus almost made a believer out of me. We’ll see what the results will be. In any event, I feel confident that Patraeus will do what needs to be done. he is our generation’s greatest military man.