Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) asked Army Lt. Gen. David H . Petraeus during his confirmation hearing yesterday if Senate resolutions condemning White House Iraq policy "would give the enemy some comfort."
Petraeus agreed they would, saying, "That's correct, sir."
Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), until recently chairman of the Armed Services Committee and a co-sponsor of one of those resolutions, later explained to the general that he needed to be more careful about appearing to wade into a political debate and warned Petraeus to not let himself be trapped into portraying members of Congress as unpatriotic for disagreeing with President Bush:
We're not a division here today of patriots who support the troops and those who are making statements and working on resolutions that could be translated as aiding and abetting the enemy. We're trying to exercise the fundamental responsibilities of our democracy and how this nation has two co-equal branches of the government, each bearing its own responsibilities.
I hope that this colloquy has not entrapped you into some responses that you might later regret. I wonder if you would just give me the assurance that you'll go back and examine the transcript as to what you replied with respect to certain of these questions and review it, because we want you to succeed.
. . . I'm very proud of this committee and I don't want an impression, certainly among the armed forces, that we're not all steadfast behind them.
-- Thomas E. Ricks