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General Patraeus To Ask Congress for Flexibility in Iraq


General Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, is coming back to Capitol Hill Tuesday and Wednesday to testify before Congress. He will most likely ask for flexibility and the avoidance of a timetable for troop withdrawals.

Many Democrats and Republicans have praised the popular General for decreasing violence in Iraq. But, some prominent members of the military are questioning whether it is wise to rely solely on Petraeus's counterinsurgency tactics, as they may hinder US ability to fight a conventional war. Hopefully, an in depth debate regarding US tactics will unfold this week.

Mother Jones polled a dozen of national security experts to find out what they would ask General Petraeus. For some of the highlights, read more.

  • Andrew Bacevich, professor of history and international relations at Boston University: Many credit the "surge" with reducing the level of violence in Iraq. Yet violence continues and over the past several months has leveled out. How will you reduce violence to levels that are acceptable? What is the definition of "acceptable" in this context?
  • Larry Johnson, former CIA and State Department intelligence official: How many Iraqi army divisions are capable of conducting unilateral operations?
  • David Isenberg, military affairs analyst and adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute: What are the likely average monthly costs for the Iraq war? Will they reach a predicted peak level of $12 billion a month?

What would you ask General Petraeus about the Iraq War?

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