"We haven't turned any corners. We haven't seen any lights at the end of the tunnel." General David Petraeus.
Senator George Voinovich, R. Ohio: "The American people have had it up to here." Petraeus: "I certainly share the frustration."
When might troop withdrawals resume after they stop this summer? Senator Carl Levin, D. Mich.: "Could that be a month, could that be two months?" Petraeus: "Sir, it could be less than that." Levin: "Could it be more than that?" Petraeus: "It could be more than that."
"Petraeus: "We believe the appropriate way...to sustain and build on the progress we have made...is to make reductions when conditions allow you to do that...." Senator Evan Bayh, D. Ind.: "And we don't know when that point will be?" Petraeus: "Senator, when the conditions are met is when that point is."
Petraeus: "We have the forces that we need right now, I believe. We've got to continue. We've got our teeth into the jugular and we need to keep it there."
Sen. Chuck Hagel, R. Neb. "Where do we go from here?" Sen. Bob Corker, R. Tenn.: "I think people want a sense of what the end is going to look like."
But that, of course, is exactly what they didn't get at the end of the big hearings. General Petraeus' position, apparently, is that we are there for the foreseeable future, until Iraq changes in some way he didn't spell out.
Does anyone remember why we invaded in the first place? Does anyone know what victory would look like? Does Iraq have to turn into a democracy, something it's never been? The most realistic scenario is that we are stuck there for the rest of George Bush's presidency and that it will be up to whoever succeeds him to decide whether to stay or go after that. Casualties, of course, will continue in the meantime.