General Petraeus testified for today before the House Armed Services Committee.
His testimony here.
The presentation- a long-awaited deal- seemed compelling if perhaps also a bit compelled.
Bottom line: What Patraeus says will go for now. The Democrats in Congress don't have the votes to override a certain veto of any measure to cut funding and leave Iraq. The General is not sure enough about progress in Iraq to let the surge troops come home, as promised by the President when he announced the surge in January. They will stay (except for a very small, token redeployment) until at least next July. At that time, we will be back to pre-surge troop levels or roughly 130,000 troops.
Even as a Democrat who thinks that the war should end, I found that Patraeus' testimony was serious enough for thoughtful consideration. There are legitimate questions about what Americans' mood will be if, as the General would have it, there are almost exactly as many troops in Iraq on Election Day 2008 as Election Day 2006. But that is a political question that at the moment is a bit crass and will have to wait for another day. Now, the country must assess the Patraeus report on its merits.