In April, during the congressional debate over war funding, Gen. David Petraeus pushed back against a withdrawal timeline from Iraq “because we’re only about two months into the surge,” assuring Congress that he would be able to report on progress in September:
We’re only about two months into the surge. We won’t have all the forces on the ground until mid-June and I pointed that out to them, and noted that Ambassador Crocker and I would be doing an assessment in early September and provide that to our respective bosses at that time.
But now that the debate on timelines has passed, Petraeus is asking for even more time. Today in an interview with Lara Logan of CBS News, Petraeus tried to argue that the surge hasn’t even started yet:
We haven’t started the surge — the full surge — yet. So let me have a few months.
Petraeus also recently backtracked on his promise to provide an assessment in September and said, “I don’t think we’ll have anything definitive in September.”
There is no doubt that escalation is underway. President Bush announced his escalation plan on Jan. 10, but even before that date, the Pentagon had started sending additional troops to Iraq. Despite a brief lull at the beginning of the surge, sectarian murders in Iraq are on the rise again. Car bombings, chlorine bombs, and the use of children as bombers have all also increased. May was not only the deadliest month for U.S. troops in 2007, but also the third deadliest month in the entire war.
LOGAN: General Petraeus acknowledged the last few months here have been deadly, with U.S. casualties soaring. Fifteen died just this past weekend. That will be one of the issues he faces when he testifies on the progress of the surge in September.
[LOGAN CLIP]: Is there anything you see so far that would indicate you would recommend a withdrawal?
[PETRAEUS CLIP]: We haven’t started the surge — the full surge — yet. So let me have a few months. I’ll answer that in September.