Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

In hours and hours of testimony on Capitol Hill, Ambassador Ryan Crocker and General David Petraeus have indicated that the so-called surge is working (even if their microphones aren't). But they need more time. Today we'll turn to two reporters, two estimable Iraq analysts, and you.

Are you paying attention to what Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus are saying today? What do you think about what they said yesterday? Have you tuned into our live coverage, from the Hill? Have Crocker and Petraeus assured you that we've made strides? Or have they reassured you that we haven't?

We'll hear from our own Anne Garrels, who is in Combat Outpost Apache. She told Steve Inskeep, of Morning Edition, that she has noticed "dramatic improvements" in Adhamiyah, the Sunni enclave from which she has been reporting.

Gordon Lubold, of The Christian Science Monitor, is also in Iraq, burning the midnight oil. And eating ice cream, apparently.

P.J. Crowley, who advised President Clinton on national security affairs, is now at the Center for American Progress, here in Washington. He argues that the Bush Administration should focus more on Iraq's political transformation and the so-called war of ideas.

And finally, Michael O'Hanlon, of the Brookings Institution, will give us his reaction to the hearings. After a recent trip to Iraq, he co-authored a now-notorious opinion piece for The New York Times. O'Hanlon is on Capitol Hill, watching the hearings unfold. If all goes according to plan, he'll step outside Room 216, into the Hart Senate Office Building's modern, marble halls, to give us a call on his cell phone.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

To call Annbar a military success is outlandish. The decrease in violence we have observed is due to the increased troop presence, which is unsustainable.

The only actual change on the ground is that we have armed the very militias that were attacking us 8 months ago. When the tribal leaders consolidate their power they will once again turn their guns (the guns we gave them) on us.

Sent by CW | 3:27 PM | 9-11-2007

The spinning of the last few days has been interesting to watch. There has been no real progress on the central issue: how to get people whose main alligence is to their tribe and religion and who have fought each other for centuries to decide to shift their alligence to something called "Iraq". And to get people who hate us and wish us ill to suddenly become our ally. It is wishful thinking on a monumental scale.

The real goal of Hawks like Bush and Leibermann and McCain is to get us involved full time, for all time, in the mideast. Their ploy is pretty obvious: put a sympathetic face on the war by making its spokesman someone like General Petraeus. People love generals. You can't question their loyalty or judgement without "smearing our military".

But it is civilians, in our version of democracy, that make the decisions and need to be held to account. It is Bush, Cheney and their supporters who are the authors of this mess, the dire consequences of a pullout would never happen if we did not go in in the first place. Just like Vietnam the warmongers are set to blame their failure on people who opposed them at home, not on the inherent stupidity and incompetance of their policy. When you hear McCain's senile sounding comments, trying to "finally" win the war that he lost a generation ago, it tells you all you need to know. These liars, knaves and fools have learned nothing from history and now they are hiding behind the coat tails of a General.

Sent by George from Oregon | 4:13 PM | 9-11-2007