From the L.A. Times' account of yesterday's Senate hearings on the Iraq War:
As expected, back-to-back Senate committee hearings spotlighting Army Gen. David H. Petraeus became a confrontation between two immovable forces. But there was no real decision at stake: President Bush is expected Thursday to endorse Petraeus' recommendation for a suspension of withdrawals in July, insisting that security gains over the last 15 months can lead toward a sustainable future, with continued U.S. help….
Democrat after Democrat, including the party's two remaining presidential contenders, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, questioned whether the costs of the strategy proposed by Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who also testified, were too high….
By keeping force levels at 140,000 into the autumn—a few thousand more than before Bush announced the troop buildup in January 2007—U.S. officials can build on recent gains and the Iraqi government can gradually take over responsibility, he argued.
"This approach does not allow establishment of a set withdrawal timetable," he acknowledged. "However, it does provide the flexibility those of us on the ground need to preserve the still fragile security gains our troopers have fought so hard and sacrificed so much to achieve."
Petraeus refused to specify what might take place following a recommended 45-day suspension in troop reductions….
Not surprisingly, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) lauded Petraeus: "This means rejecting, as we did in 2007, the calls for a reckless and irresponsible withdrawal of our forces at the moment we are succeeding." Beyond the Dems, he was countered by several GOP senators, including Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, who noted, "Simply appealing for more time to make progress is insufficient."