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Why Crocker is a no-show at Senate hearing

When the Senate Foreign Relations Committee first announced it would be holding a hearing on Wednesday into governance issues in Afghanistan, the witness list included Ryan C. Crocker, who served as U.S. ambassador to Iraq during the 2007-08 troop surge commanded by Gen. David H. Petraeus. With Petraeus now the top commander in Afghanistan, Crocker has emerged as the leading choice among some congressional Republicans who want the current ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl W. Eikenberry, to be replaced.

But Crocker won't be there when Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) convenes the hearing. Senior officials at the State Department objected to Crocker appearing at the same hearing with its special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard C. Holbrooke, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The State officials argued to committee staff members that Crocker's presence on a panel following Holbrooke would undermine Eikenberry, the sources said.

Eikenberry has been criticized by some Republicans for not building closer relationships with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the previous military commander there, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, and for being insufficiently supportive of McChrystal's request for more forces. Several Republican lawmakers called on President Obama to dismiss Eikenberry in the wake of Obama's firing of McChrystal last month.

Crocker's testimony had been requested by Republicans on the committee, although it received support from Democrats as well.

Kerry spokesman Frederick Jones said the panel with Crocker had to rescheduled because of a conflict on the senator's calendar. Jones said Crocker is now scheduled to testify next week.

A State Department spokesman did not respond an e-mail request for comment. Crocker also did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment. In conversations since McChrystal's ouster,

Obama administration officials have bristled at the calls to replace Eikenberry and said he still enjoys the White House's support. Although the officials acknowledged problems in his relationship with McChrystal, they expressed confidence that he would forge a closer bond with Petraeus.

In an interview with The Washington Post in May, Crocker said he and Petraeus rarely differed over policy or approach and carefully calibrated their relationship with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Of McChrystal and Eikenberry, Crocker said: "They need to resolve any differences among themselves or take it back to Washington because the stakes in Afghanistan are too great not to have a unified effort."

By Rajiv Chandrasekaran  | July 14, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
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We have a new commander. Let him wipe the slate clean and keep Washington and its civil whimps out of the war strategy.

Posted by: brysnvck | July 14, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

If Obama and his minions allow Petraeus to prosecute the war from a militry stand point, things MAY turn out o.k. But Obama's ego is way too big to allow that to happen. He will see to it that Petraeus does it Barry's way, even if he has to fire another general. Yes, Obama's ego is that big.

Posted by: prattsr1 | July 14, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

If we knew what a victory in Afghanistan was we would be better off. Is it to kill everyone? Is it to force them to clean up their government which is full of fraud and corruption? We have no idea what will constitute a victory and that is a reason to bring all the troops home.
While I have upmost faith in General Patraeus, I don't have faith in his mission.

Posted by: mishanti2 | July 14, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

yup. gonna be a fail.

the problem is not that Obama's ego is too big: it's impossible for anyone who wants to be POTUS not to have a big ego: he even has brains, which some predecessors had, uh, somewhat less abundantly. And he has addressed more major problems in the first two years of his term than anyone since Teddy Roosevelt.

The problem is that to win in AF, you have to have a credible partner, or be willing to take over the country while you build a credible puppe I mean partner. We don't have the first, and we certainly don't want to be there long enough for the second: that would probably entail making Afghanistan the 51st state.

just wonder if we can have another nice picture of people trying to fight their way into a packed helicopter taking off on the roof of some building, in Kabul instead of Saigon.

sort of reminds me of the fight between the Paks and the Indians over that desolate spot on their border: why the hell do either of them want it?

It's almost like Iraq: we're going in for the WMD, uh, no WMD? well, we went in because he was a brutal dictator who severely repressed his people. I'll bet many Iraqis would not have minded his repression so much if they had known what liberation would cost.

Yup, we're goin' in after Al' Qaeda: they can run but they can't hide: we know where they are,more or less, so we're gonna do this other little thing, but we'll be right back, ya'll, don't go away. And now we know that AQ is somewhere in Pakistan, not Afghanistan, but, you know, them Taliban had a brutal regime, and we need to save the people of AF from that sort of brutality...and so it goes.

when you find yourself diggin deeper into a hole you really don't want to be in, first thing you do, you gotta put the shovel down.

Posted by: bozozozo | July 14, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

but, of course, the usual American reaction is to get a backhoe. a big one.

maybe a better analogy would be strip mining. whenever we find we have dug ourselves into a hole, we just scrape the rest of the plateau away around us, until we are on a pedestal again.

especially appropriate since, as we all know, we're only thinking of them. (whatever we may do or say...we're only thinking of them. in our nation it's well known, there is not one selfish bone: we're only thinking, and worrying, about Afghans
(sorry, that last part doesn't quite scan. and apologies to MoLM))

Posted by: bozozozo | July 14, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

The day military commanders allowed so-called journalist into the bosom of the war environment was the day we lost the war itself.

When journalists were something other than a pathetic arm of the Progressive Democrats was one thing; however, now that there are no true journalist left to report on actual facts on the ground, they should be banned from the combat arena completely. Today, journalists are nothing more than a propaganda arm of the far left.

The subject with Crocker is a perfect point in case. The media (liberals) think they actually have a say in the content and business of the war strategy. Comical but for the dangers involved here.

Posted by: prossers7 | July 14, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

I love these "analysts" who speak as though they had Ph.D.s in psychology or journalism. They know that President Obama can control the world with his "ego" and that the media are controlled by "progressives" and can cause wars to be lost by just being present. One speaks of "facts on the ground", as though he had a clue what those might be. Every day they add more bricks to the giant monument to American ignorance.

Posted by: revbobbylee | July 15, 2010 2:11 AM | Report abuse

Undermining Eikenberry..sounds like an oxy-MORON!!

Posted by: NeoConVeteran | July 15, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

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