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How Much American Blood and Treasure Is A Sectarian Iraq Worth?
Spencer Ackerman –
For an excellent illustration of the difference in candor between Gen. Petraeus and Amb. Crocker that's emerged during these three hearings, take a look at this exchange with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). Collins asked how much longer Americans could be expected to expend blood and treasure on a war without evident Iraqi political progress.
Petraeus responded that "if we arrive at that point a year from now, it's something I'll have to think very, very, very hard about," since America has "real national interests at stake." Even if you disagree with Petraeus' assessment, it's a fair point, and he didn't duck a hypothetical, which he easily could have done.
Crocker, by contrast, simply repeated his claim that the "trajectory" of political progress is "upward," thereby waving away the concern. "I can't say what I'll be saying in a year, or even six months from now, but I can tell you that I'll make the same objective and honest assessment I tried to do for this testimony."
Petraeus has been slippery in his own way during these hearings (see here and here for examples), but Crocker's statement that Iraqi politics is on the right course certainly doesn't instill confidence in his objectivity.