That Congress spurns the 9/11 Commission should be no surprise: it approves every general sent to them then snubs them, too.
This may be why:
"I don't know of any organization that's going to be successful when the leaders, when it gets too hot, they're the first ones that leap. It doesn't speak too well of an organization."
Brigadier General John Bednarek referred to Al Qaeda; his words are just as apt for Congress. From Truman's "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" to Congress of today, where a microwave is too warm.
And Brigadier General Kevin Bergner is too bunt:
"Al-Qaeda-Iraq is run by foreigners, not Iraqis"
"...they are without question the main threat to the government of Iraq and to the stability of Iraq because of the role that they play in accelerating and fueling sectarian violence."
Congress will "support our troops": it just won't listen to them. How many Congressmen even know the names - much less the records - of commanders such as Major General Walter Gaskins?
"We owe the lion's share of the progress we've experienced to the hard work, dedication, and in some cases, bravery of the Iraqi forces."
"Most armies train and go to war; what we are asking of the Iraqi forces is to train while they're at war."
"I have more volunteers, more recruits than we have the capacity to train."
How many know Brigadier General John Bednarek's grit?
"...they will not find safe haven in this country.... It is tough, demanding, arduous, dangerous -- pick an acronym, pick an adjective, that's what you're seeing out there against a very tough, demanding, adaptive enemy, but the enemy's not 10-feet tall."
They promoted General David Petraeus but pooh-pooh his findings:
"Our job is not to put lipstick on pigs, or to spin. Our job is, again, to try to convey to the American public, and then the public of all the coalitions, and those who follow the media throughout the world, as accurate a picture as we can of what is going on here."
"On a nightly basis here... ten or twelve serious operations are going down by those forces.....And any one of those is far more significant than we conducted for decades. They are very sophisticated, very complex, very lethal sometimes, and very effective."
"a precipitous withdrawal would have potentially serious implications for important interests that we have in Iraq, in the region."
Commanders state it starkly: defeating Al Qaeda there in Iraq is critical to US security. Yet Congress prefers columnists to commanders, think tanks to Joint Chiefs.
So it ignores Major General Rick Lynch:
"...we face Iraq's public enemy number one: al Qaeda and al Qaeda-affiliated Sunni extremists."
"I worry about our families back home. I worry about their morale. We work very hard to tell them the good and the bad; what's happening that's good and where are we struggling so they have an informed opinion. But if all they see is acts of violence, all they see is bombs exploding on TV and the newspapers, then it affects their morale"
Major General Benjamin Mixon:
"what is going on here in Iraq is vitally important to our nation's security and security within the region."
"we can't take the short-term approach. We must take a long-term vision here. Our soldiers understand that. They're proud of what they're doing."
Major Genenral Joseph Fil:
"I see progress, a steady progress, in every neighborhood that we've cleared and then established a full-time presence."
"This is a skilled and determined enemy. He's ruthless. He's got a thirst for blood like I've never seen anywhere in my life, and he's determined to do whatever he can."
"Iraq is still in its infancy. Its early challenges are not unlike those that we experienced"
Brigadier General John Bednarek:
"The Iraqi army soldiers are good. They're holding firm. They are in the fight."
"...no, al Qaeda is not the only enemy. But let me be clear. They are the number-one enemy."
Brigadier Genenral Dana Pittard:
"...it's not that difficult to recruit young soldiers, young jundis or soldiers, as they're called, or young police officers. It doesn't take too long to train young lieutenants, but it takes much longer to train seasoned non-commissioned officers and majors, lieutenant colonels and brigadier generals."
"...we have a stake in this. We have a stake in supporting the Iraqi people as well as the American people in ensuring that Iraq becomes a stable nation that is not an area where terrorism can fester"
Brigadier General Kevin Bergner:
"Iraqi forces are very much in the fight. They are increasingly the first line of defense while taking casualties at rates of two to three times that of the coalition, and they are not deterred in their mission."
"... the progress of the Iraqi people is our progress."
Brigadier General Perry Wiggins:
"...the enemy has, back since 9/11, has been trying to destroy the freedoms here in this country as well as in Europe. That has never stopped being an aim."
Major General Rick Lynch:
"...al Qaeda has worn out its welcome. They've overplayed their hand."
"...those division commanders are competent, capable military professionals who are Iraqis. They're not Shi'a; they're not Sunni. They're Iraqis, and their enemy is anybody that's against Iraq."
"...the enemy only responds to force and we now have that force"
"If those surge forces go away, that capability goes away, and the Iraqi security forces aren't ready yet to do that..... It would be a mess."
"...every day when I'm out and about wearing 60 pounds of body armor in 111 degree temperature, I re-enlist soldiers, and they raise their right hand and say, ‘I'll support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic'."
Brigadier General Kevin Bergner:
"...al Qaeda leaders have declared Iraq their central front.... Their goal continues to be a Taliban-like state"
"Al Qaeda senior leadership does provide direction to al Qaeda in Iraq. They do establish focus. They do establish and provide resourcing and support the network."
Lieutenant General Ray Odierno:
"...the Iraqi people are clearly rejecting al Qaeda and assisting coalition forces and Iraqi force in liberating their towns and villages"
"Iraqis can be proud of their army and their police, but there's still some ways to go, and we all know that."
"I can think of no major population center in Iraq that is in an al Qaeda safe haven today."
"...they would like us to fail here, so they can use Iraq as that base. That, in my mind, is the threat to us in the future, and that's what I see the biggest threat out of al Qaeda in Iraq."
General James Cartwright:
"We are demonstrating success in Baghdad today."
"We have provided the commanders on the ground additional resources and we should provide them the time they need to apply those resources to create the stability and security needed for political progress."
If we can't succeed with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to rid Iraq of terrorists, how can we hope it won't become a terrorist haven? If we can't team with troops from Islam to defeat terrorists from Islam, how can we hope to destroy Al Qaeda? If we can't win in Iraq, where can we?
Tom Brokaw said troops in Iraq may be the new greatest generation.
That's news to Congress. Or would be if it had ears to hear.