You probably missed it, but General David Petraeus’ easy ride through Congress yesterday was interrupted by three members of the House Armed Services Committee: Chellie Pingree of Maine, Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire and Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts. Fortunately for Petraeus, mainstream media had already fled the committee room before it was their turn to question the General.
“I disagree with you, basically, on the premise that our continued military presence in Afghanistan actually strengthens our national security,” Congresswoman Pingree told Petraeus. “Since the surge of troops in southern and eastern Afghanistan started, we have seen only increased levels of violence, coupled with an incompetent and corrupt Afghan government. I am of the belief that continuing with this surge and increasing the level of American forces will have the same result — more American lives lost, and we will be no closer to success.”
Isn’t it great when a member of the House of Representatives is willing to represent the truth – even a politically inconvenient one? At issue for these courageous Members, and now a majority of the American public, are two key questions: When do you accept that your military strategy is not working? At what point do you recognize the evidence before you and change course? When it comes to the US strategy in Afghanistan, these questions are a matter of life and death for our soldiers in harm’s way and countless innocent Afghans. It’s also the matter of hundreds of billions of US dollars.