U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today made the following opening statement during a hearing in which General David Petraeus, Commander of Multi-National Force-Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker delivered a progress report on the situation in Iraq. Chambliss has been to Iraq six times, most recently during Thanksgiving 2007.
“We can’t overstate how much we appreciate your service to America. General Petraeus, I’ve had the privilege of visiting with you a number of times in theater. Each time, irrespective of what the challenge is, you’ve responded in a very professional way, in a way which makes us all proud to be an American. Ambassador Crocker, it’s refreshing to know that there are folks like you who are career diplomats, and you have a number of them under your leadership that are performing such valuable leadership in this particular time of crisis. To both of you and your families, we just thank you for a great job you’re doing. I’m particularly impressed too, General Petraeus, with your comments on the 3rd ID. We are obviously looking forward to those folks returning to Fort Stewart and Fort Benning, and what a great job they’ve done over there. From the very first day of this conflict they were there and they continue to perform magnificently.
I noticed in both your written and spoken statements, compared to what you had to say when you were here in September and the percentage of time spent on what’s happening on the governmental side and the civilian side is remarkably different. When you were here in September, we primarily heard you talk about the update on the military perspective and what had happened and where we were going. Now, thank goodness, we’re here listening to you talk about the improvements that have been made on the Iraqi civilian side. The situation indeed remains complex, but I believe the surge has been effective, and we need to continue to support our efforts to win in Iraq and win the war on terrorism.”