America listened and hoped while Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker mouthed beautiful words in the recent congressional hearings, but in the end gave nothing to the people - nothing that shows we have a plan to end the occupation of Iraq.
In an astonishing admission, the ambassador admitted that the surge has not accomplished its goal to begin the political process to make Iraq a vibrant democracy. Instead, he pointed to Anbar province, a province with 2 percent of the population of Iraq, as a great success for tribal cooperation that he hoped will sweep through the country as a bottom-to-top miracle to put Iraq together again. What kind of snake oil is that?
Gen. Petraeus showed a chart illustrating how he was going to remove all the troops. The problem is that the chart had no timeline at all. His contribution was that 30,000 troops would be removed sometime next summer. When challenged that that would put us back to the 130,000 troops we had before the surge, he said this was progress because he could have ordered them to stay. What kind of smoke and mirrors is that?
The bottom line is that if Republicans and conservative Democrats vote for the upcoming $200 billion appropriation bill for the occupation, they will approve of our soldiers shedding their blood for years to come. Many in the congressional hearing challenged the president's men, and told them they would not buy the snake oil. Now it is time for all Americans to do the same and stop the bleeding of both blood and money.
If you go along with the president, we are looking at a plan of 10 more years of occupation and dying. This is what Gen. Petraeus really proposed.
Lowell M. Greenbaum, Augusta
(The writer is chairman of the Richmond County Democratic Party.)