This is Part Two of our liveblogging. Part One is here.
1:29: Petraeus finally gets going. Shocker number one: the surge is succeeding militarily.
1:32: Petraeus cites the progress with the Sunni tribes, which we’ve already noted started before the surge began and is unrelated to increased troop numbers.
1:33: It’s the Iraqis fault that their country is in chaos. Apparently competition between ethnic groups is the cause of violence in Iraq. Also Iran and Syria are making it worse.
1:35: General Petraeus, the “Ross Perot of the military,” loves his charts.
1:36: They used non-kinetic means, apparently.
1:37: “We do not rely on gut feel.” What’s he doing working for The Decider?
1:40: OOOOOOOOOHHHHHH pretty pictures! The man really loves his charts.
1:41: They’ve found and cleared over 4,100 caches of weapons and bombs this year. How many of the 180,000 missing guns did they find?
1:42: Anbar again. Again, it has nothing to do with the surge.
1:43: A steady decline in the past three months sounds impressive, but attacks always decline as the weather gets hotter during the summer.
1:44: Iran wants to use insurgents in Iraq as a proxy force to attack coalition forces. Also, more protesters just got kicked out for yelling.
1:45: Anbar again! And Petraeus acknowledges it is “unique.”
1:47: More charts!
1:48: 445,000 people “on the payrolls” of the Iraqi security forces. How many of them actually show up to work? How many of them are real?
1:49: Sounds like he’s wrapping up now… “to summarize…. the United States will be in a position to reduce its forces in Iraq in the months ahead.”
1:52: Petraeus is proposing a draw-down to pre-surge levels by mid-July 2008. And then we can use the extra forces to attack Iran!!!
1:53: Projecting “too far into the future” is difficult and misleading.
1:54: In mid-March, he’ll come back and ask for another Friedman unit.
1:56: Petraeus wants to keep the mission the same — “counterinsurgency and stabilization”
1:57: He believes Iraq’s problems need a “long-term effort,” and warns against a rapid withdrawal. How long-term?
1:59: Hooray for the military-industrial complex! More defense funding now!
2:00: Someone starts screaming: “General Petraeus, the American people don’t believe you anymore!” They’re really loud. Cindy Sheehan was among those arrested earlier, according to Brian Williams.
2:01: Skelton announces that “We will prosecute [protesters] under the law. This is intolerable…. And I hope that everything that’s considering it understands, because they will be prosecuted.”
Go to Part Three.