Barack Obama just struck a low key tone in his questioning of Gen. Petraeus and Amb. Crocker. Obama praised both of them for their "dedication and sacrifice" and then asked benign questions about how we can define success with regard to denying Al Qaeda a safe haven in Iraq and limiting Iranian influence. Only later did he make a boilerplate statement about the "massive strategic blunder" in Iraq that created AQI and enhanced Iranian influence, and left a mess that Petraeus and Crocker are forced to try and clean up. The surge has reduced violence and created breathing room, Obama argued, but the Iraqis have not taken advantage of that breathing room. The best option, he said, would be to put pressure on the government by setting a timeline for withdrawal.
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