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Warner Says 'political Reconciliation' Can't Be Used To Justify Bush Strategy On Iraq

Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), who is retiring next year, had an engrossing exchange with both Petraeus and Crocker just now.

Warner, who has recently turned against the Iraq war, pressed Petraeus and Crocker to make sure that the idea of allowing "political reconciliation" should not be used by Bush to justify keeping tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq. Warner argued that the concept was used to originally justify the surge, and since it is now roughly eight months since Bush made that decision, and little political progress is being made on that front in Iraq, it cannot be used by the president again in determining the future role of American forces there.

Warner then pressed Petraeus on whether the Iraq war "has made America safer?" Petraeus ducked the question.

"What I have been focused on, what I have been riveted on, is accomplishing the mission" in Iraq, Petraeus said.

The other Republicans watched Warner very, very closely, I would say intently. I guess they were concerned how the Virginia Republican would treat Petraeus and Crocker, or what kind of questions he would pose.

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