Thus far there is just one "witness" scheduled to testify Wednesday (2/5/14) at the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, which is titled "Al-Qaeda’s Resurgence in Iraq: A Threat to U.S. Interests."
Mr. Brett McGurk, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, apparently is going to help sort out the situation for this critical committee.
Upon reading the hearing title, unconsciously I released a barely audible “Uh-oh,” wondering where such a hearing might lead us.
While it is too early to make assumptions about the direction of U.S. policy on Iraq, I could not help but wonder if there are people in the federal government who might seek to step up U.S. involvement there.
Even though it is unlikely the Obama administration will re-deploy troops, you can bet that billions in awards to private contractors will (continue to) flow, if not magnify.
Committee Chairman Royce’s statement on the hearing:
Al-Qaeda controls more territory today than it ever has before, and much of that is in western Iraq where it has recently captured significant cities. These terrorists continue to exploit sectarian conflicts that the Iraqi government has failed to resolve, and Iraq is now on the verge of civil war. Our hearing will examine al-Qaeda's resurgence in Iraq and its threat to regional and global security.
That reminds me: I’ve been meaning to finally buy a copy of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People by Peter Van Buren. Why? Check out Van Buren’s blog description of the book:
From a State Department insider, the first book recounting our misguided efforts to rebuild Iraq—a shocking and rollicking true-life cross between Catch-22, Dispatches and The Ugly American.
Charged with rebuilding Iraq, would you spend taxpayer money on a sports mural in Baghdad’s most dangerous neighborhood to promote reconciliation through art? How about an isolated milk factory that cannot get its milk to market? Or a pastry class training women to open cafés on bombed-out streets without water or electricity?
The committee hearing is slated for 10 a.m. in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Interested citizens also may catch it via webcast.