Iraq Debate Opens in Washington

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The long-awaited Iraq debate has arrived. Prepare to be bombarded with official opinion on all sides. Over the next two weeks, there will be no fewer than 12 congressional hearings assessing the state of things in America’s fifty-first state.

This week, Congress will review two new reports. The first, by the GAO, will look at Iraq’s progress on political and security benchmarks; the second, by Marine General James Jones, will examine the training and capabilities of Iraqi security forces. The forecast is gloomy in each case. The reports will prepare the rhetorical battlefield for next week’s main event: the testimony of Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus on the effects of the ‘surge.’

As the political battle is joined in Washington, Mother Jones will be there. Check the MoJoBlog for our coverage. A list of events already on the schedule:

Tuesday, September 4, 2007, 2pm: Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds an open hearing on the GAO report assessing the political and military progress in Iraq.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007, 10am: House Armed Services Committee holds an open hearing on the GAO report.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007, 2pm: House Foreign Affairs Committee holds an open hearing on the GAO report.

Thursday, September 6, 2007, 9am: Joint House Armed Services/Foreign Affairs Committee holds an open hearing on “Beyond the September Reports: What’s Next for Iraq?”

Thursday, September 6, 2007, 10am: Senate Armed Services Committee holds an open hearing on Marine General James Jones report on training and capabilities of the Iraqi security forces.

Thursday, September 6, 2007, 2:30pm: House Armed Services Committee holds an open hearing on report from Marine General James Jones with testimony from General Jones.

Thursday, September 6, 2007, 2:30pm: Senate Intelligence Committee holds a CLOSED hearing on the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq.

Friday, September 7, 2007, 9am: Senate Armed Services Committee holds an open hearing on the GAO report.

Monday, September 10, 2007, 12:30pm: Joint House Armed Services/Foreign Affairs Committees holds an open hearing with U.S. Armed Forces Commander in Iraq General David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker on their report assessing the situation in Iraq.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007, Time TBD: Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds an open hearing with General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker on their report on Iraq.

September 12, 2007, Time TBD: Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Peter Pace.

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