Gen. David Petraeus will offer the second day of testimony on progress in Iraq on Tuesday to two Senate committees. Petraeus' task is two-fold, and neither outcome is in his control. He needs to assure the country that the Bush strategy in Iraq is working, and in doing so, he has to keep restless Republican lawmakers from deserting the president.
While Petraeus insists that he is independent of the White House — he made a point of that in Monday's testimony before a House committee — ultimately, he and Mr. Bush share the same goal.
Some of what Petraeus had to say on Monday was encouraging; gains are being made in Anbar province, for example. But with the 2008 elections just around the corner — and mindful of the drubbing the party got in 2006 — at least eight Republicans may not be willing to wait for more substantive progress to be made. All eight hail from states where the war (and President Bush) remain highly unpopular; at least four of them face serious challenges to their re-election bids next year: