Warner: "Are you able to say at this time, if we continue . . . that that is making America safer?"
Petraeus: "I believe that this is the best course of action to achieve our objectives in Iraq."
Warner: "Does that make America safer?"
Petraeus: "Sir, I don't know actually"
Mr. Warner, I'm a General in the Armed Forces. My job, our job, is to achieve the objectives the civilian Government assigns to us. We are neither asked, nor expected under our form of government, to determine what is best for our country, or what policies would make our country safer or less safe.
My job is to accomplish the mission, whatever mission we are given. I can say this: Providing me with the support and supplies I require makes my troops safer. Having the number of troops I have requested makes my troops safer, and gives me a better opportunity to accomplish the goals I have been tasked to complete.
And if the government has a different task or goal to achieve, you aught to just come out and directly task us, rather than hiding behind funding delays, orders for troop reductions that have no relationship to what tasks I am required to perform, or endless pronouncements that we have already LOST the war that you are paying me to fight.
Those things make my job harder, and my troops less safe.