Broadcast News Coverage Of Secretary Gates' Testimony

Broadcast News Coverage Of Secretary Gates' Testimony
April 11th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Broadcast News Coverage Of Secretary Gates' Testimony

Broadcast News Coverage Of Secretary Gates' Testimony
April 10, 2008 The Situation Room (CNN), 5:00 PM
WOLF BLITZER: President Bush today made it clear the U.S. troop drawdown in Iraq will come to a halt later this summer. But the defense secretary, Robert Gates, appeared to contradict both his boss, as well as his top military commander in Iraq. Let's go to our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre.
Jamie, what's going on?
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, if you listened to President Bush this morning and then Secretary Gates this afternoon, you came away with two more different ideas about whether U.S. troops will be coming home from Iraq any time soon.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MCINTYRE: Just hours after President Bush rejected the word pause...
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's misleading because none of our operations in Iraq will be on hold.
MCINTYRE: Defense Secretary Robert Gates embraced it in Senate testimony.
DEFENSE SECRETARY ROBERT GATES: A brief pause for consolidation and evaluation, following a return to pre-surge troop levels, will allow us to analyze the process and its effects in a comprehensive way.
MCINTYRE: But the differences between Gates and his boss, the president, and his Iraq commander, General Petraeus, were more than semantic. President Bush indicated the freeze on withdrawals was indefinite and General Petraeus could delay further cuts well beyond the 45 days.
BUSH: And I've told him he'll have all the time he needs.
MCINTYRE: But Secretary Gates insisted the period of review, as he called it, would not be long.
GATES: And I would emphasize the hope, depending on conditions on the ground, is to reduce our presence further this fall.
MCINTYRE: Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin could not believe his ears.
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: General Petraeus refused to use the term "brief" or "pause" and he refused to use any idea of a time period for that second period that began in September.
You're aware of the fact of his refusal?
GATES: Well, one of the benefits of being Secretary of Defense, I suppose, is that I'm more allowed to hope than the field commander is.
LEVIN: Well, I hope that you're doing more than hoping. I hope you're giving a hard-headed assessment of what you are recommending to the president. (END VIDEOTAPE)
MCINTYRE: Gates may be hoping for the best, but his last rosy prediction didn't pan out. As Senator Levin noted, he asked Secretary Gates about his prediction in September -- his hope, rather -- that the U.S. troop levels would be down to 100,000 by the end of this year.
He said, do you still have that hope? And Gates' short response was no, sir -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Jamie, for that. Jamie is at the Pentagon.
Special Report With Brit Hume (FNC), 6:00 PM
BRIT HUME: American troops and their families are sure to welcome the president’s announcement he will cut the length of deployments in war zones and increase the amount of time the troops get at home. National security correspondent Jennifer Griffin has the story.
JENNIFER GRIFFIN: With the final surge troops on their way home from Iraq this July, the president’s announcement was intended to bring relief for soldiers and their families.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: We’ll also ensure that our Army units will have at least a year home for every year in the field.
GRIFFIN: General David Petraeus said today he favored the decision.
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: I was asked what is your view on a 12-month tour, and when I was asked I said I thought that would be wonderful.
GRIFFIN: The first unit to be affected, the 4th Brigade of the 1st Cavalry at Ft. Hood, which deploys in August. The longer tours were announced by the defense secretary a year ago because there weren’t enough brigades to support the surge of 30,000 troops into Baghdad. War opponents have steadily argued the strain on the force is causing the Army to break. Democrats repeated that refrain today, inviting a Vietnam veteran to respond to the president.
BOBBY MULLER [Veterans For America]: Bottom line: we are effectively out of troops. The Army is effectively out of troops. End of conversation. The president made a totally bogus statement this morning. It is effectively meaningless
GRIFFIN: And in the Senate Armed Services Committee:
SEN. TED KENNEDY (D-MA): Secretary Gates, haven’t we already crossed that red line and overstrained our troops? And if we haven’t crossed the red line, when do you think we will?
DEFENSE SECRETARY ROBERT GATES: We are watching all of the indicators in terms of the health of the force very carefully. I think all of the chiefs would tell you that you’re not – that we are not past that red line.
GRIFFIN: What so many U.S. Army commanders and Pentagon planners say amazes them is that the Army did not break in the past two years. Army Vice Chief General Richard Cody has been one of the loudest voices warning of Army strain.
GEN. RICHARD CODY [Army Vice Chief]: This Army is not broken.
GRIFFIN: The latest recruitment numbers show there is no shortage of volunteers. In the month of March alone, the Army’s goal was 6,000 new recruits. It achieved 6,066, or 101 percent of the recruits needed. Navy and Air Force both achieved 100 percent of their recruiting needs. The Marines, 137 percent.
In an interview with Fox News, Gen. Petraeus added:
PETRAEUS: There’s a division in Iraq right now. We’re only midway thorough the fiscal year that the commander reported the other day he’s already met his entire year’s reenlistment quota. You see again – you feel the enormous strain on our troopers and on their families and yet you see them raise their right hands again and again and again.
GRIFFIN: Still, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the defense secretary told lawmakers today they cannot send more troops to Afghanistan unless more U.S. troops come home from Iraq after the drawdown in July. The Army also warned today that troop tours could be modified if needed. At the Pentagon, Jennifer Griffin, Fox News.

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