The commander of U.S. forces in Iraq is scheduled to appear before at least two Congressional panels today to talk about conditions in the war zone and prospects for the departure of American troops. General David Petraeus is speaking before the Senate Finance Committee this morning, where panel member and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says more money is going to be needed to continue our efforts in Iraq.
Grassley says: "Nobody should be surprised that it’s going to take more money because we aren’t done there yet. We didn’t appropriate money on October 1st, the beginning of the new fiscal year, to get us through the rest of the year because we didn’t know exactly how much money it would take." Grassley, a Republican, says the general is asking Congress for more money and more time, but not more manpower, per se.
"He’s not going to be asking for more troops," Grassley explains,"he’s going to ask that the bringing down of the number of troops not continue for a little while. He’s asking for a lull in the planned decline of below 130-thousand troops." Petraeus has said the U.S. needs more time to accomplish its mission in Iraq and to prevent a "backslide" in security there.
The general will be appearing today before committees that contain all three of the major presidential candidates — Democratic Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Republican Senator John McCain. Grassley is prepared for the intense media scrutiny on the hearings but says, in his words, it won’t be a circus.
Grassley says: "Of course, each candidate is going to be trying to strengthen their position. The problem is, you probably won’t see much difference between what Obama and Clinton want to do. The big difference is the difference between their two positions, or the one position between the two of them, and what Senator McCain’s position is." McCain says pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq will result in more loss of life, while Clinton plans to question the troop buildup as Obama asks how officials will identify success so the troops can start coming home.