Yesterday on NBC Nightly News, Middle East Correspondent Richard Engel sharply criticized the testimony of Amb. Ryan Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus. He said that the Bush administration originally promised that troops could “pull back” once “conditions on the ground improve[d],” but nevertheless, the troops still “have to stay.” He added that if he were a parent of a U.S. soldier, he would be “upset”:
Overwhelmingly, I came away with the impression that it was somewhat frustrating and disheartening that the rules of the game have changed. For years, military commanders have said that once conditions on the ground improve then troops can start to pull back.
Today, Gen. Petraeus said conditions on the ground have improved, but you know what? The troops have to stay. I think if I was the mother or father of the one of the soldiers serving in Iraq, I would be proud because he said they’ve achieved tremendous successes; I would also be upset that if I listened to him would say they have to stay will in order to maintain that success.