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Chaos at the Petraeus Hearing

There was as much Keystone Cops as there was pomp and circumstance for the long-awaited and much-hyped hearing welcoming Gen. David Petraeus's Iraq report to Congress Monday.

The microphones went dead, the lights went out, hecklers ran roughshod over the event, the chairman of the committee had a brief cursing fit and, at one point, seemed to not know which way was up and which way was down.

Hence the exchange early on in the marathon hearing between House Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.).

Burton tried to get Skelton's attention. "Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman?"

Skelton couldn't place the voice amidst the confusion in the room. "Who's speaking?" he said.

"Congressman Burton," Burton replied.

"Where are you?" Skelton asked.

"I'm down here, just to your left. Should be on your right, but I'm on your left."

"Still don't see you," a confused Skelton said.

"Right here. Look," Burton said, trying successfully to catch the chairman's eye.

"There you are."

Burton then sought to give guidance to Skelton on how to tamp down the liberal hecklers and protesters who infiltrated the room. "OK. I see a number of people in the audience that I anticipate will be making a disturbance," Burton the Enforcer said. "And if this occurs during the testimony by our honored guests, I hope that you will be very firm and get them out of here."

"You don't have to lecture me. They'll be gone. Don't worry about it," the chairman said, keeping a manly hold on his gavel.

Skelton also had a bit of a fit when the microphones wouldn't work and he couldn't hear the general's testimony. Unfortunately, as our colleague Dana Milbank reports, Skelton didn't realize that his mic was working perfectly fine. "That really [ticks] me off," he said. Milbank writes, "He then employed a vulgar word referring to the lower gastrointestinal tract."

Wonder if some of that is going to hit the fan when staff responsible for the audio system shows up at work Tuesday?

By Mary Ann Akers  |  September 10, 2007; 8:15 PM ET
 
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Comments

Yeah it was a proud day for everyone on the left. Class act.

Posted by: CM1515 | September 10, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

"He then employed a vulgar word referring to the lower gastrointestinal tract." That means a disorderly conduct from the Chairman. How come he was not arrested while the poor protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct????

Posted by: Joseph | September 10, 2007 11:48 PM | Report abuse

One asumes that the "proud" day for the right was the day the four horsemen: arrogance, Bush; ignorance, Rumsfeld;stupidity, Cheney; and flattery, Rice trotted out their pack of lies to spin the U.S. towatrds war.

Posted by: Jonathan Rice | September 11, 2007 12:09 AM | Report abuse

I believe Congressman Skelton is one of the few, maybe the only member, whose children have served in Iraq.

Posted by: NMAIF | September 11, 2007 1:19 AM | Report abuse

Are you, perchance, a Super Sleuth? I think not. If you were worthy of that title, you might have reported that a minister, who stood in line for hours to attend the hearing, was refused entry, manhandled and arrested because he dared to wear a button which said, "I love the people of Iraq."

Sleuth that!

Posted by: TennMom | September 11, 2007 3:09 AM | Report abuse

As a conservative Republican I must say that I was Ike Skelton is a fine man and did his best amongst the choas to deal with the protestors and make the best of the best situation. I hope and expect today to be better. I think it is sad that the left held huge protests against a man attempting to do his best to win this war with the hand he is dealt. Ike Skelton seemed to recognize this fact and didn't engage in the unruly behavior against many on the radical left. Rep. Dan Burton's attempt to stir the pot didn't help anything, either. I was disappointed in his comments as well. The American people, I would think, would recognize the war we face and understand that success is the only viable option to remain free and prosporous. But, it seems that's just not the case after yesterday's fiasco. It reminded me of John Ashcroft's hearings when he was nominated for Attorney General, with the ACLU and NAACP and other organizations busting into the room. Yesterday's was even more of a travesty.

Posted by: reason | September 11, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Way to report post no mention of the police breaking the leg of a preacher and USAF vet outside the hearing room when he was trying to get in. How do the cops get of trying to charge a man of the cloth for assult.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiradcejA6o

Posted by: 35332 | September 11, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

It was a travesty that in the same room where "free speech" has supposedly been protected for over 200 years, that "free speech" in the form of a button, or a shirt, or a placard, was denied. For someone to be denied entrance to that "hallowed hall" because they were trying to put their views silently across, is a shame and a disgrace Whatever happened to that famous saying, "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it."

Posted by: Betty Krambs | September 11, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

'infiltrated the room' 'chaos'

you have got to be kidding. it was a freaking PUBLIC hearing. and i guess those bright pink t-shirts had everyone -- but most especially you -- fooled.

ugh. a better press corps next time around, please.

Posted by: linda | September 11, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Getting the report from Petraeus is like getting the report from the fox who's guarding the henhouse. Come on, he can, with a straight face, say we're making progress. What else can he say? No, let's throw in the towel and go home? That wasn't his mission; they didn't give him a command to fail; how idiotic can you get, if you expect an objective report from this man? He probably even believes he's objective and telling the truth. So the beat goes on ... so the war and the killing and the stupid spending of money continues.

Look, Bush has a history - a history, a long line of past events that always ended the same way - of taking someone who is good and perverting them. Powell is one example. Rice is another. These good people go to work for Bush's administration and get sucked in. Then they either toe the line and lie, lie, lie; or they deceive themselves about the fact that they're lying and think it's the truth; or they get so disgusted they resign; or they try to tell the truth and get fired by Bush. Nothing complicated about that. It's Bush's history.

Everybody seems to have forgotten that Iraq is about (gasp) oil. The powers that be have all ganged up to have Iraq create and pass a bill in the so-called legislature to allow foreign investment and the major so-called U.S. oil companies to "develop" and mostly own the oil that comes from Iraq. Remember, please, that Iraq has what seems to be the second largest quantity of oil in the world. This is a law that in effect gives away almost 40% of the income to the oil companies, unlike almost every other agreement that countries have with the oil companies. They say, follow the money. Hell, in ed Iraq, follow the oil. That's what our soldiers are being maimand killed for. See her article at http://www.alternet.org/story/35846/ and you'll begin to understand what it's really all about.

Posted by: OCPatriot | September 11, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

CM1515 writes: Yeah it was a proud day for everyone on the left. Class act.

You mean like when Bush said in Australia last week that "we're kicking ass?"

Steve O


Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Fact not Fiction, your mention of Congressman Dan Burton failed to state fact one, Good old Dan has again darkened his hair. His last appearance on the tube showed his being a bleach Blondie. Fact two, Good old Dan had a face lift, check out old Dan pictures and TV clips. Fact three,Good old Dan's dental caps are great.
Fact four !!! After his condemnation of Bill Clinton as ( Craig speak) a bad boy,a notty boy and a nasty boy. Good old Dan was factually outed as having an illegitimate child.Bushie Boo and Burton Too

Posted by: Alex Campbell | September 11, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Ike is an excellent public servant trying to sort through the quagmire started by BushCo. That said, he should have kept a more civil tongue in his head, even when dealing with the dolts from the GOP.

Posted by: SoonerThought.blogspot.com | September 11, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

THE LEFT gets my answer on my own music CD.
Someone had to do it!
www.conservativemusiconline.com

Bam!

Posted by: Truscott | September 11, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I disliked what Petraeus had to say during his report. If General Petraeus cannot fully agree that the effort in Iraq makes the United States safer, then we have not fufilled any of our objectives for engaging in this war. Ignoring real humanitarian problems in the world where 1.2 billion people on earth live on less that 1$ a day, the issue of poverty is completely ignored.

Posted by: Erica | September 11, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

There's no doubt that something has to change in order to allow our soldiers to get the job done and come home. There's a petition at http://www.americanagility.com to help get our soldiers the tools they need to get the job done and come home. Please add you name to the list and help cut through the government bureaucracy.

Reviewed by Vermonter.com

Posted by: Bill | September 11, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Good comment by OC Patriot! I seem to remember my college Management classes that I taught, that when people (i.e., in the Administration, and the Repuublican Party on the Hill) are "parroting" each other, and are either lying through their teeth, or are all stupid a hell for riding the coat-tails of Bush/Cheney, it called something like "group-think," which makes for an extremely dangerous scenario to say the least...
The General's and Ambassador's talk was nothing more than such "group-think" chatter! They couldn't be honest, even if they wanted to! Are we to expect otherwise?
I'll be so glad when that "Texan" gets booted out of the White House!

Posted by: revlrl | September 11, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Good comment by OC Patriot! I seem to remember my college Management classes that I taught, that when people (i.e., in the Administration, and the Repuublican Party on the Hill) are "parroting" each other, and are either lying through their teeth, or are all stupid a hell for riding the coat-tails of Bush/Cheney, it called something like "group-think," which makes for an extremely dangerous scenario to say the least...
The General's and Ambassador's talk was nothing more than such "group-think" chatter! They couldn't be honest, even if they wanted to! Are we to expect otherwise?
I'll be so glad when that "Texan" gets booted out of the White House!

Posted by: revlrl | September 11, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

I think that the whole mess was really idiotic and I really expected the government people to be more calm and not be so "rushy". I am dissapointed in Ike Skelton and Dan Burton, even disgusted with them, they are at position of high respect and they embarrass themselves by acting so immaturely. I am very content that the representatives of our nation and state are short tempered and can not keep away from making any vulgar comments.The people that did the wiring and electronics in that place should be ashamed of themselves because they are "hired" to do that and they probably went to school for electronics too. I think that Burton and Skelton should be more calm and the electricians should just concentrate more.

Posted by: somemongolianguy | September 11, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

...same expletive...different day!

Posted by: Simianprime | September 12, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

sad

Posted by: kilgore | September 12, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Bush, Inc. is getting just what it wants:billions of dollars for friends in defense and relatively few US casualties. It will go on like this until Bush is basking in his Think Tank.

Posted by: massimo | September 12, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Quoting from a story already published by your Post colleague is not what I call "behind the scenes".

Posted by: Heardonthehill | September 12, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

We have entered a troubling and dangerous time in the history of our Republic. Gone are the days of checks and balances, instead this administration has replaced Constitutional law with "my way or the highway". President Bush has repeatedly been allowed to circumvent our nation's laws, one main point being the 'selling' of Iraq's duplicity in 9-11. He lied then, and he continues to lie now. We must unfortunately deal with this poor administration for another sixteen months, then hopefully, America will be treated to something refreshing. True leadership.

The power of our Republic lies in the hands of the governed; we must act and become active in government again. Write your senator or congressperson and voice you concerns; only then will true change occur.

Posted by: jumpman | September 12, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I am a bit concerned about the fact that people have the power to cull citizens from the gallery because they appear to have the potential to "cause a disturbance". Next thing you know, they will listen in on your telephone conversations.

Posted by: Jon R White | September 13, 2007 12:54 AM | Report abuse

EXACTLY why I made America's only politically CONSERVATIVE MUSIC CD!
Someone had to hit back at Hollywon't.
www.conservativemusiconline.com

Sorry Hillary, you needed this.

Posted by: Lance | September 13, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

What a farce on all political parties. The cowards have done it again. Nothing happened and George W. Bush continues this illegal Iraqi war. 3,800 dead soldiers, 27,000 wounded. The hearing was supposed to question the progress or regression of the surge; however, the congressmen and senators did not know what they were doing. They were acting like spoiled children. Some seem to need retirement. What a waste of tax payers money. The intelligence level and professionalism was very scary. I am ashamed to say that those people represent us. There is no withdrawl and the slaughter continues. Nothing happened and the evil wins at the White House.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

There is a definite similarity between Tony Blair, Bush's old lap dog and Petraeus, Bush's new lap dog. Both did or are doing Bush's obedient bidding. Regards, Carl W. Lundquist, Colonel, Army of the United States (Retired) ..... Boston

Posted by: cwlund@verizonnet | September 19, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

From the tone of various comments I've seen you make on this blog, Col. Lundquist, you give the impression that you are bitter about never wearing stars on your shoulders. So please tell us with some specificity why you think that Gen. Petraeus is not capable of independent thought or production of an objective report. My experience as an officer was brief, but it was clear that career military people were going to serve under a variety of political administrations. They have to live with the politics, but I believe most strive to live up to their oath of office.

Posted by: actuator | September 19, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Indeed! The Left Wing of the Democrat Party is in full view. Skelton is not the only member with a son/daughter serving in Iraq/Afghanistan Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) has a son serving. As a Viet Nam vet I can say the Dem Party has not changed much in their attitude towards the Troops doing thier job! The MoveOn, Soros, H. Clinton are behind these terrible attacks on our military.

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