The Ray and Dave Show
Today, Gen. David Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno will go before the Senate Armed Services Committee to obtain advice and consent for their recent promotions by President Bush. Petreaus has been tapped to lead CENTCOM; Odierno to lead Multi-National Forces - Iraq. It's almost certain that the dynamic duo will be confirmed, and confirmed by a near-unanimous margin of the Senate. Indeed, today's hearing will likely provide little more than a sideshow -- a chance for some members of the Senate to score political points by grandstanding, asking questions and appearing presidential.
In an alternate universe, instead of preening for the cameras, senators might ask smart questions that seek to develop U.S. policy positions and provide oversight and strategic direction for the nation's military. The Center for a New American Security has come up with a list of what such questions might look like, including:
QUESTION: General Petraeus, can you give us your assessment of the overall priorities and force requireÂments in the region and tell us how you plan to balance across the range of demands? How will you tailor your approach to deal with diff erent extremist groups in diff erent contexts in the CENTCOM AOR?
QUESTION: Generals, do you share their assessment that the current pace of operations is not sustainable and that the lack of ready and available ground forces for other contingencies increases our level of strategic risk? What, if any, steps would you recomÂmend taking to reduce the strains on our ground forces and rebalance risk?
QUESTION: Please outline for the committee exactly what your definiÂtion of "overwatch" is, describe the key features of the transition to such a posture, and the key capabilities and missions that will characterize American operations in Iraq in an overwatch position.
QUESTION: To what degree are we making security assistance and ISF capacity building conditional on the integration of the Sunni community - particularly the so-called Sons of Iraq? What do you think will happen if large armed units of Sunni security volunteers fail to be integrated into Iraq's security forces? Shouldn't we be using these ongoing negotiations to exercise our significant leverage over the Maliki government and push them toward more political accomÂmodation on key issues?
QUESTION: What are your views on Iranian intentions and capabilities regarding Iraq and the region, and how will you approach the issue of engagement with Iran?
QUESTION: How do you see a truce between the Government of Pakistan and the militants affecting the ability of U.S. forces in OEF to accomplish their mission? What changes do you expect to be required to U.S. deployÂments near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan, and do you see this requirÂing an increase in U.S. force levels?
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