LIANE HANSEN, host:
From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen.
The voices in the news this past week came from all sides of the debate over the Iraq war. They were the voices of Congress, the president and the top commander in Iraq.
General DAVID PETRAEUS (Commander of Multi-National Force - Iraq): I have recommended a drawdown of the surge force from Iraq. In fact later this month, the Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed as part of the surge will depart Iraq. Beyond that, if my recommendations are approved, that unit's departure will be followed by withdrawal of a brigade combat team without replacement in mid-December.
Senator JOHN WARNER (Republican, Virginia): Do you feel that that is making American safer?
Gen. PETRAEUS: Sir, I believe that this is indeed the best course of action to achieve our objectives in Iraq.
Sen. WARNER: Does that make America safer?
Gen. PETRAEUS: Sir, I don't know, actually.
Ambassador RYAN CROCKER (U.S. Ambassador to Iraq): This process will not be quick. It will be uneven punctuated by setbacks as well as achievements, and it will require substantial U.S. resolve and commitment. There will be no single moment at which we can claim victory. Any turning point will likely only be recognized in retrospect.
President GEORGE W. BUSH: Some say the games we are making in Iraq come too late. They are mistaken. It is never too late to deal a blow to al-Qaida. It is never too late to advance freedom. And it is never too late to support our troops in a fight they can win.
Senator HARRY REID (Democrat, Nevada; Senate Majority Leader): Every objective assessment has shown in the surge has failed to bring the Iraqi government closer to political reconciliation. The General Accounting Office, the watchdog of Congress and the American people, virtually all the benchmarks have simply not been met.
Senator CARL LEVIN (Democrat, Michigan): If President Bush simply says again that we're going to return to the pre-surge level of a 130,000, 15 combat brigades and then decide whether to go deeper, that is the definition of the open-ended commitment.
But General Petraeus, yesterday at least, said something that I thought had a significant difference from that. A commitment now, which is what we are determined to put into law.
Senator CHUCK HAGEL (Republican, Nebraska): Are we going to continue to invest American blood and treasure at the same rate we are doing now? For what? The president said, let's buy time. Buy time? For what? Every report I've seen in - I assume both of you agree with this - there's been really very little, if any, political process. It is the ultimate core issue - political reconciliation in Iraq.
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