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Army General John Abizaid spoke at a forum at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government yesterday. (David Kamerman/ Globe Staff)

Greyhawk of Mudville Gazette watched the full four and a half hours of General Abizaid’s appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee this week and has the link to the video. He writes…..

More troops? “We do need more troops - and the troops we need are Iraqis.”

Less troops? “Under the current circumstances I would not recommend troop withdrawals.”

Both comments delivered to the Senate this week by CENTCOM commander General John Abizaid.

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The media has made much of Gen Abizaid’s comments at this meeting - and they are of obvious importance. But what really matters here are what the Senators asked, and how they responded to his answers.

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So it’s the Senators vs. the generals. With McCain vs. Abizaid perhaps it was more like the old Army vs. Navy rivalry.

I received an email from my son (he’s definitely for Army to beat Navy) and here are his thoughts about Abizaid, Clinton, McCain and Lou Dobbs. He doesn’t hold back….

I saw McCain and Clinton both beat up on General Abizaid. They are BOTH
worthless. Abizaid basically said, hey this is what we are doing given
the constraints you put us under, sure we could use more troops but we
can’t send more given the military’s force structure (ie we don’t need
more troops in Iraq, we need a bigger military period, I guess McCain
thinks the Pentagon can arbitrarily make the military bigger whenever
there is a need). I just saw Lou Dobbs ranting, Well what is West Point
producing nowadays, Generals like Abizaid look like politicians.
Another idiot who needs to pull his head out of his ass and figure out
what he’s talking about.

The troops are, indeed, watching to see what the media is reporting about them and whether those in Congress are supporting them. Even with all the negativity coming out of their own country the morale of the troops in Iraq is great.

As General Abizaid stated to Senator Clinton, “When I come to Washington, I feel despair. When I’m in Iraq with my commanders, when I talk to my soldiers and Iraqi leadership, they are not despairing,” said General John Abizaid, the head of US Army’s Central Command or CENTCOM.

It wasn’t surprising that Senator Hillary patronized General Abizaid but it was disappointing that Senator McCain also had to get in his jabs. Is it any wonder that Senator John McCain, former POW, doesn’t have a large following in the military or the Republican Party? The elephant is the symbol of our party of course and we don’t forget.

We remember the countless times John McCain could have shown vigorous support for Bush administration policies but chose not to. When he did step in and support the president the endorsement was tepid at most. I respect McCain’s military service but that doesn’t automatically make him a military strategist or tactician. (or a future President of our country.)

Many of us were offended by the treatment of Abizaid at the Senators Armed Services Committee. He was treated by the senators like someone who parks their cars or shines their shoes.

Abizaid was representing those who are fighting for our country!

Hat tip: Instapundit

It’s telling that General Abizaid got a better reception at, of all places, Harvard University.

“Think of it as a chance to confront fascism in 1920, if we had only had the guts to do it,” Abizaid said.

The gutsy Abizaid appeared at a forum at Harvard University on Friday.

The war in Iraq and the wider war against extremists in the Middle East is the defining conflict of the generation, and one the United States and its allies cannot afford to walk away from, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East told a Harvard University forum Friday.

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Sarah Sewall, director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, which sponsored the talk, introduced the general. She described Abizaid’s “uniquely valuable perspective” and cautioned against blaming military leaders for executing decisions made by political leaders.

Referring to the way the Vietnam War polarized the country and crippled the military, she said: “We have been down that road before.”

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At his address at the Kennedy School forum, Abizaid was asked on several occasions why American public opinion had turned so decidedly against the war, and he consistently said that the despair he felt in Washington was not reflected in the field among American or Iraqi soldiers and officials.

He pointedly blamed the American media for its criticism of the US military in Iraq and said coverage of the war had led to the perception of a failed policy.

“We can’t worry about the 24-hour news cycle; we’ve got to worry about where we come out in history,” he said.

“We absolutely are in the stage where we have got to make this work,” he said. “We need to start having better effect against the sectarian violence within six months.”

Abizaid said the stakes were high in Iraq and in the global struggle against the rise of violent Islamic extremism, which he has dubbed “the long war.”

“I believe our failure to address the major problems of extremism can lead to World War III,” he said.

Abizaid gets it. Now,perhaps some at Harvard University have a better understanding of the actual facts.

Yes, the game between Ohio State vs. Michigan looks to be an exciting game that I will not miss.

But for Army vs. Navy football fans, check out these Plays of the Day between Army vs. Navy.