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Feingold Presses Crocker, Petraeus on Iraq War and al-Qaeda
Spencer Ackerman –
Is it more important to fight al-Qaeda in Pakistan or al-Qaeda in Iraq? was Sen. Russ Feingold's (D-WI) question.
It was a fair one for Amb. Crocker, who came to Iraq after serving for nearly two years as ambassador to Pakistan. Crocker, anticipating where Feingold was clearly going with this, diplomatically answered, "I did not feel as Ambassador to Pakistan that the focus, the resources and the people needed to deal with that situation weren't available or weren't there because of Iraq." And yet, the July National Intelligence Estimate found that al-Qaeda Senior Leadership, as it's called, has reestablished a "safehaven" in the tribal areas of Pakistan. So Crocker didn't exactly "deal with that situation" satisfactorily. When Feingold pressed again for an answer, Crocker gave another diplomatic version: "In my view, fighting al-Qaeda is what's important, whatever front they're on."
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) then turned to General Petraeus. Petraeus' job isn't to fight, or to plan, the entire war; as he said to Feingold, it's a question better directed to Admiral Fallon, the Central Command chief, not to mention President Bush, Defense Secretary Gates, or Director of National Intelligence McConnell.
Feingold called the unwillingness to "seriously comment about how this relates to the larger global fight against terrorism" a "classic example of myopia, the myopia of Iraq."