Rep. Shea-Porter's "Statement" on Petraeus

by Peter Bearse

Rep. Shea-Porter’s “Statement in Response to Petraeus Hearing”

How many ways does she represent “irresponsible”?

Rep. Carol, Shea-Porter (D, NH CD1) is a member of the House Armed Services Committee who:

(1) heard Gen. David Petraeus’ in-person testimony before the Committee, and so was in a position to question him, and

(2) visited Iraq more than once to learn something of the situation there…

One would think, therefore, that she might:

(a) have learned something,

(b) ask sharp questions to learn what are the consequences of various steps of action or inaction in Iraq and, as a member of the governing majority,

(c) be prepared to take responsibility for the consequences of votes she has and will cast on Iraq in the Congress.

Her brief statement suggests otherwise.

She slams General Petraeus after opening with a line of faint praise. She does so solely on the basis of a statement he made three years ago. Thus, her trips to Iraq may be labeled Congressional “junkets” upon which we taxpayers have wasted thousands of dollars. Why? – Because it is clear that she learned little or nothing of what has been happening “on the ground” in the war. What has been happening in Anbar Province, sections of Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq is substantially different from what was happening three years ago. Rep. Shea-Porter refuses to acknowledge that a new strategy is in place and that it is showing signs of success.

It is as if her trips to Iraq were made solely to reinforce her anti-Bush, anti-war bias. Her mind is not open. She has seen what she wanted to see and heard what she wanted to hear, both then and now. Recall the words of wise the political philosopher, Karl Popper: “The greatest enemy of an open society is a closed mind.” In this regard, unfortunately, our Rep. has something in common with our President. It is also unfortunately clear that she has failed to make the transition from partisan politician to responsible member of a governing body.

The implication of our Representative’s cavalier dismissal of a man who may be our military’s finest general is that he is a liar, both three years ago and now. This puts Rep. Shea-Porter also in the same bag as the left-liberal Internet pundits of MoveOn, who have outrageously twisted Petraeus’ name into “Gen. Betrayal.”

The Shea-Porter statement ignores the fact that the new strategy owes much to Iraqi leaders who are indeed “strong” – Sunni tribal leaders who have put their necks on the line to cooperate with American troops to fight Al Quaeda. It also reveals her gross misunderstanding of Al Quaeda, a terrorist network that no longer depends on the leadership of Osama bin Laden.

So, the Statement tells us something about our Representative. Unfortunately, it does nothing to inform us as citizens on the most important issue of the day. Rather, we find again that Rep. Shea-Porter is irresponsible to the degree that she has refused to face, or to help us to face, the possible consequences of the white-flag, defeatist, careless and wholesale policy of withdrawal from Iraq that she has consistently advocated. It as if she has drawn a straight line to connect the fixed points of her mind – to go from the obvious fact that we should not have invaded Iraq to the (mistaken) implication that we should quickly and totally withdraw from Iraq. As the pottery store owner said when you picked up the expensive vase: “If you break it, you bought it.” As a nation, when we went into Iraq, we “bought” some responsibility for the consequences of our actions. When will you face these, Congresswoman?

Why should someone so immune to evidence “on the ground” and so out of her depth on a critical issue be reelected?