It’s shaping up to be a big week for Iraq policy debate in the nation’s capital. The Senate Arms Services Committee kicks off testimony from General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. With the recent violence across Iraq exposing fissures in the Iraqi body politic, the parties will use the hearing to attempt to impose their definitions of “success” and “failure”.
As if the hearings are not enough of a media circus, all three front running presidential candidates sit on the Senate committees holding these "progress report" hearings. C-SPAN will carry the committee hearings live at 9:30 a.m. (Eastern Time) Tuesday morning for Armed Services, and then 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) that afternoon with Foreign Relations. The House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees gets their turns on Wednesday with hearings at 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. respectively. The U.S. Institute for Peace as well as Bill Arkin’s Early Warning blog at the Washington Post both have interesting lists of questions they’d like to see asked/answered.
The week will culminate (if you can call it that) with a televised address by the President who will focus on the reduction of combat tours from 15 to 12 months as part of the administration’s progress narrative. All in all it’s a big political week for U.S. Iraq policy.