Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Five Words

...Perhaps the most compelling argument of the day was not made by President Bush or Senator Webb—and it was made in five words. Earlier in the day, General David Petraeus testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. When asked if he could get his job done in Iraq without additional troops, he replied: “No, sir.” When asked if a congressional resolution of disapproval of the “surge” could encourage the enemy, he said, “That’s correct, sir.” Under these circumstances, it is hard to imagine what impulse of arrogance could cause Republican senators like Warner and Collins to actively undermine the operational judgment of a skilled commander in the field, at the beginning of a decisive military campaign. The next week or so will test the proposition: does the military chain of command end in the Oval Office or on the Senate floor? I live in Virginia—but I have never voted for either senator from Virginia to be commander in chief.

-Michael Gerson, President Bush's former speechwriter in a web-exclusive for Newsweek