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Petraeus, Crocker Continue Testimony on Iraq

The top military commander in Iraq has recommended a temporary freeze on U.S. troop reductions in Iraq after July. Gen. David Petraeus made the comments to senators Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Today, Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker return to brief members of the House.

In two appearances lasting more than eight hours Tuesday, both men accused Iran of fomenting instability in Iraq. Petraeus told two Senate panels — the Armed Services Committee and, later, the Foreign Relations Committee — that he believes Iraq is moving in the right direction and that a substantial withdrawal now would bring about a total collapse there.

Few doubt Iran's influence among Iraq's Shiite majority. The question is whether that influence is insidious. Both Petraeus and Crocker insist it is. But many senators cast doubt on whether Iraq's government sees it that way.

Ohio Republican George Voinovich raised the point that some polls suggest that "the American people have had it up to here" with the war. Some polls suggest that more than 70 percent of Americans believe the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. Petraeus and Crocker acknowledged the public discontent — but they insisted that despite the human and financial toll of the war, the effort is worth it.

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