General Petraeus is scheduled to “report” to Congress today, giving his assessment of the President’s Iraq escalation and what the “surge” has and has not achieved. There have been so many predictions of what the man is likely to say, and what the White House has essentially told him he better say if he expects to keep his job as (a) the head of US forces there and (2) the new darling of the “stay in Iraq indefinitely” set, that everyone will be surprised if he doesn’t ask to retain as many troops for as long as the Pentagon will provide them.
This seems more or less confirmed by the semi-official leak to the Pentagon reporter embedded at the New York Times. Michael Gordon reports that Petraeus will ask for — wait for it — another Friedman Unit before telling us whether the drawdown everyone says must happen by April will begin at the end of March or April.
To prepare for today’s and Wednesday’s hearings folks are already suggesting lots of questions to ask. And the former co-Chairs of the Iraq Study Group think Congress should ask itself a question: Are we safer today? Along with Glenn Greenwald, I’d like to ask why no one seems to be listening to what the public thinks and keeps telling their government.
MoveOn is planning to highlight the “dog and pony show” theatrics of Petraeus’ appearance by staging their own dog and pony shows just before the General’s appearance. One dog and pony show will be outside The Today Show Monday morning; the second will be near the Capitol Building in Washington. According to the organizers, they’ve rented real ponies for the event, and MoveOn volunteers and friends will be bringing their own doggies.
Here’s the announcement I got in an e-mail.
Congress was fooled before by the White House’s ‘dog and pony show’–we need to make sure they’re not fooled again. That’s why we’re hosting our own ‘Dog and Pony Show’ outside the Capitol Building right before Petraeus takes the stage for his testimony. We want to show Congress and the cameras that the American people aren’t buying the White House spin.
We’re bringing real ponies, signs and a big banner that reads, “CONGRESS: Don’t be fooled, AGAIN!” Can you make it (and bring your dog, if you have one)?
Who : Iraq Vet, John Bruhns, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, dogs, ponies and MoveOn members like you
What: Dog and Pony Show rally
Where: West Front Grassy Area of the U.S. Capitol between Constitution Ave. NW and Independence Ave. SW on 1st St. NW (click here for a map)
RSVP: Click here
Everyone is invited to attend, so if you happen to be in the area and would like to walk your dog(s) or can borrow someone else’s for the morning, head on down.
PS: I’m told that dogs of all types are welcome, even if TRex thinks they look like bats.
PSS: If you haven’t read George Packer’s article in The New New Yorker, Planning for Defeat, it’s another of those very long but “must read” articles, and we’ll likely be talking about it today. He critiques several think-tank troop withdrawal plans, which you can find here; he did not have this most recent plan from the U.S. Institute of Peace, the folks who sponsored the original Iraq Study Group and who kept the ISG’s staff of experts around to work on this update.
Photo of “Dog and Pony Show,” from Blue Dome Artist Gallery