I certainly hope that Senator's Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton do not dishonor General David Petraeus today as hearings get underway in the US Senate Armed Services committee. With the political season in full swing and all three presidential candidates on hand for today's General Petraeus report from Iraq, there could be a tendency to grandstand for the cameras instead of carefully listening to what General Petraeus is saying. No one is more tired of this Iraq War than I am, but there is a huge difference in disliking this war and President Bush's policies and showing disrespect for a well decorated career military officer.
While Members of Congress and the Bush administration continue their argument over whether the troop surge has worked or not, America soldiers are still in harms way on the field of battle and it is their leader, General David Petraeus who is testifying before Congress today. In many ways I feel bad for General Petraeus because he has found himself, at the tail end of his career, being directed to win a war in Iraq which might never be won. There is no doubt in my mind that General Petraeus is an honorable man who finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place when it come to dealing with President Bush and various enemies within the government structure in Iraq.
I have a deep feeling inside my gut that either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama might go after General Petraeus today in these congressional hearings in a personal way. If either of them do so, I believe they will be hurt politically because while most Americans are against US troops staying in Iraq for much longer, they still have respect for the men and women that wear the uniform of this great country. What Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton must do today is continually separate the actions of the Bush administration from those of US soldiers on the ground in Iraq. Only a very few short sighted liberals believe that attacking the military is a smart move. In reality if Obama or Clinton go after the military they could doom their chances of victory in November.
Dishonoring a great military leader like General David Petraeus would have a monumental political mistake that could be difficult to recover from. While Democrats will posture from the left during today's Senate hearings and Republicans will pander to the right, at the end of the day the only really important question is how well did Senator McCain, Clinton and Obama do during these hearings. While McCain has little to lose, he also has little to gain from a strong appearance at today's Petraeus Senate hearings. However, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have not only a great deal of potential gain if they do well, but there is also a huge downside for these two presidential hopefuls if they make a mistake and footage of that mistake is played over and over again on the news for the next few weeks.
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