By Bea Loughnee
WASHINGTON -- Members of two powerful Senate committees today presented testimony on the Iraq war to Gen. David Petraeus, commander of Multi National Forces in Iraq.
Senators invited the general and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker to Washington to give the two as much advice as possible on how to run the war, the reconstruction effort, and diplomatic affairs in Iraq and the greater Middle East.
"We wanted to be sure Gen. Petraeus had all the best military advice the various lawyers, businessmen, gamblers, and trust-fund babies of the U.S. Senate could give a four-star general," said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden.
Biden was among the numerous senators who berated the general for his military strategy and suggested that he take a different approach -- namely the one favored by a majority of voters in the senator's home state.
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., called Gen. Petraeus's approach in Iraq a "failed strategy" and recommended quick withdrawal of U.S. forces just minutes after the general told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the strategy had produced significant, if "fragile," results.
In the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., mocked the general for continuing to believe that progress could be made in Iraq when everyone in California knew that was ridiculous.
After the day-long testimony, members of both committees expressed satisfaction that they had imparted valuable information to the general and ambassador.
"I think they both learned something today," said Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin. "We can sleep well tonight knowing that we imparted the great military expertise of the United States Senate to Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker."