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Petraeus, Crocker Warn Iraq Progress Is Reversible
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Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told a Senate panel on Tuesday that American and Iraqi forces had made great strides toward the goal of bringing security to the country, but called for an open-ended suspension of troop withdrawals that he said could jeopardize progress.
"Immense challenges remain and progress is uneven and often frustrating slow, but there is progress," Crocker said. "Sustaining that progress will require continuing U.S. resolve and commitment."
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who has expressed solidarity with the Bush administration's desire to stabilize U.S. troop levels at 140,000 after July's withdrawal, spoke before Petraeus.
McCain was careful to distinguish his support for last year's surge strategy from the previous "four years of mismanaged war."
A year after the surge, however, McCain said, "We're no longer staring into the abyss of defeat and we can look ahead to the prospect of success."
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton, who questioned both Petraeus and Crocker, called for an "orderly" withdrawal of troops. She praised U.S. forces as "the best in the world" but said the costs of the war in lives and money were placing an undue burden on the nation.
"The longer we stay in Iraq, the longer we divert challenges from Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world," she said.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
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Should the U.S. continue to fund the Iraq War?
Yes, need avoid regional chaos
No, in the long run the inevitable will happen
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