The Corner

Answering Kennedy

From this morning’s testimony:

SEN. KENNEDY:

“Just to come back to a question that was asked earlier, Americans want to know, after we have spent approximately $24 billion in training Iraqi troops in five years, why we have — when these forces are going to be ready and willing to stand up and fight on their own, so the Americans do not have to fight for them, as we have seen with the 1,000 that have effectively deserted or left their units.”

GEN. PETRAEUS:

“Senator, they are fighting and as I mentioned dying for their country in substantial numbers. Their losses, again, are some three times our losses of late. I might add that the Sons of Iraq losses are between two and a half and three times our losses in addition to that. So, they’re very much fighting and they are very much dying for their country. They have indeed taken on the security tasks in a substantial number of provinces and they are shouldering more of the burden in a number of the others. Again, in Basra, there were not just the units that did not do well, there were also units that did do well, and some that did very well. Again, this is tough, tough combat, when forces are new and go into it they do bow at times before they steady, and we saw this in Basra and in some neighborhoods in Baghdad.”

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