(CNN) -- Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, told Congress on Monday that the troops "surge" in Iraq is improving the security situation in the country.
Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. commander in Iraq, prepares to report Monday to Congress on progress in Iraq.
Petraeus was testifying before Congress to answer questions about the U.S. troop buildup and the current state of sectarian violence in Iraq. CNN.com asked readers what they thought of Petraeus' testimony and if it has changed their minds about how the Iraq war is going. Here is a selection of their responses, some of which have been edited for length and clarity:
Karol Leiter of Osceola, Indiana
Unfortunately, too many of us are consumed with the idea that "victory" as we've come to know it is a reality in Iraq. All we can hope for is moderate stabilization in the unruly and uncertain world that is the Middle East. I think Petraeus presented information that shows he understands this and "some progress" is being made. If you actually visited Iraq one year ago and again today, you could see the positive incremental changes. There is a mountain of work to be done there, and the Iragis better step it up.
Rich Lakey of Wichita, Kansas
Most Americans just don't get it. We haven't tried really hard to win any conflict since World War II. The terrorists realize this. We no longer have the guts as a nation. Unless we put forth an effort as strong as World War I and World War II we have no chance. We have no choice but to destroy Al Qaeda or convert to their extreme version of Islam. They do not have the capability to wage a world war now, but will keep winning small chunks at a time. They have the perseverance to wage this battle for years, which we and the rest of the free world don't.
Robert Miller of Louisville, Kentucky
Petraeus is a man of honor following an old military tradition of bolstering the morale of the home front. I would no more accept his assessment of Iraq than I would have McClellan's of the Union prospects during the Civil War, had I been there to hear them. Now that we have pretty much expended our anger over 9/11 (our only reason for being in Iraq), it's time to declare a victory and withdraw.
Carl Scott of Berry Creek, California
I find it hard to believe after all these years that some people still think the military can fix the problems in Iraq with more time and they have concluded that withdrawal means defeat. In reality, withdrawal means that we have become wise to the fact that Iraqi citizens will have to solve their own problems. Iraq was not a quagmire before we invaded which proves the Iraqi people have the ability to settle their own differences without violence.
Steve Last of Berwyn, Illinois
Just soup. No meat, no potatoes. Not much from either side of the room. I feel like I am getting duped by both sides. The word success is looking pretty empty. The word outrage is looking much the same. Perhaps this is a defining moment. Man, a depressing thought.
Jagdev Singh of Alamogordo, New Mexico
The general is a competent soldier. However, since the military solution to the problem in Iraq is already a discarded concept, his testimony, true or perceived, is irrelevant. This war is already lost on the diplomatic front and that is the only front that actually matters. Negotiation which is something that this administration does not believe in, is the only solution. If there are people who think we need to stay the course, they should volunteer to go to Iraq and help rather than wear yellow ribbons on their automobiles and pretend to be "patriotic."
Andre Smarlenberg of Arlington, Texas
I'm not convinced that the picture Petraeus painted accurately portrays the current reality of life in Iraq. Yes, progress has been made but not enough to secure anything resembling "victory" within the next few years or even within the next decade. We should accept that we made the situation worse and gradually and strategically pull out of Iraq over the course of the next year.
Jennifer Xie of Jefferson City, Missouri
I think this whole idea of waiting for Petraeus's report is stupid: as the top military commander, of course he is going to say the military surge is working; he has to. Otherwise, it will be like a chef says he can't cook, or a teacher says she can't teach. We all know that the Iraq war is a lot bigger than just Iraq, and a lot more than just military. So, his report, good or bad, does not mean a whole lot if we look at the bigger picture.
Claudia Cullin of Oakleigh, Australia
I think General Petraeus is between a rock and a hard place. He is doomed no matter what he says. He will either give an answer with Bush's spin all over it, or say no to Bush and get fired like all those before him. We cannot believe anything that comes out of the White House anymore. Isn't that sad on the eve of September 11? God bless America.
John Chiazza of Fort Wayne, Indiana
Gen. Petraeus is one of the greatest warriors in the history of the U.S. Let's win and let him finish the job. Liberals want a conclusion in less than a week, very sad.
John Polagruto of West Sacramento, California
Having served in the military, I sense that Petraeus appears to be less of a Bush lackey than recent appointees. It seems logical that we may need the surge to last until next summer, but can the U.S. Army and Marine Corps handle the strain of keeping so many troops in Iraq? I fear that President Bush's myopic vision of the world (Iraq) will leave a tenuously united Iraq but a less-safe world in which the U.S. military is unable to respond adequately. How can it be that are our entire foreign policy focus for the remainder of the Bush presidency will rely on the "opinion" of one newly minted four-star general?
Alvin Berry of Gulf Breeze, Florida
The general is a military-trained officer and it is his training and life to fight wars. To ask him for an independent view is crazy. He is a trained voice of President Bush. His opinion to me is valueless.
Mel Wilmoth of Oceanside, California
The general is going to say exactly what Bush and [Vice President Dick] Cheney want him to say about Iraq. He knows that if he doesn't his career is over in the military. Look what they have already done to other generals who didn't play their game. Congress should cut off funding, NOW.
Rhonda Hailey of Fort Worth, Texas
My mind has NOT changed. I still SUPPORT our mission in Iraq and our troops. I have yet to meet a military family, parent or wife who wants our troops to come home with their tails between their legs. Our goal is clear ... not only to protect our own borders but to prevent the expansion of terrorist cells abroad, especially in and around Iraq. Right is Right. Democrats obviously have their own agenda. As a military MOM I resent their eagerness to betray our troops who making the sacrifice daily.
Marilyn Phukan of Silver Spring, Maryland
The surge is just like putting a lid on a boiling pot. We need to turn off the fire.
Bob Owens of Southington, Connecticut
Asking the general if he can win is like asking a professional athlete if he wants the ball in a critical point in the game ... the answer will always be yes ... especially when there is no final whistle ... just all the time it takes.
Brian MacDonald of Howell, New Jersey
We get involved in the other country's business when it doesn't concern us and forget about those here at home that need help. I can understand invading Afghanistan for Bin Laden but why Iraq? We are a country based on the freedom of religion and beliefs so why are we forcing other countries to become democratic governments? Let others decide their own government while we worry about ourselves here at home. Iraq was not a threat to us and the suicide bombers weren't there before we invaded. If we leave, they leave. Bush just needed to upstage his father and go into Baghdad. That worked well, didn't it? Let NATO worry about peacekeeping! Time for the troops to come home already. Our government should worry about our economy, the mortgage mess, property taxes and other domestic issues besides a war in Iraq.
Ray Stickman of St. Francisville, Louisiana
Who do these congressman think they are calling or suggesting that a four- star general is a liar on this report before the report is even given. He is held in a lot higher esteem than these congressman who think of themselves or political group before "anything" else. This U.S. general has an unblemished record, contrary to a lot of the members of Congress.
Jean Sherwin of Benbrook, Texas
Shame, shame on the Democrats! How dare they call the general a liar. How dare they say our brave military men are ineffectual and not doing the job they, and they alone, are trained to do. My solution: Issue the Democrats guns and send them into war. I'm sure they can get the job done by Christmas.
Ted Baxter of Oakbrook, Illinois
Petraeus' comments and testimony are the result of heavy coaching by the Bush administration. Bush wants a specific testimony from Petraeus so as to prolong the flawed strategy that is the Iraq war. Bush wants "stay the course" and Petraeus is sure to do exactly that, unfortunately. The GAO and other independent sources have concluded different results from the current state of affairs in Iraq, but are dismissed by Bush as they run counter to his philosophies.
Ray Noone of Fairport, New York
I find it incredibly ironic and hypocritical that not a single Democrat voted against the confirmation of General Petraeus in the Senate, yet now because he is not telling them what they want to hear, these same senators are criticizing him and discounting his testimony. They have become the lapdogs of the MoveOn.Org machine.
Lorraine Lanes of Dania Beach, Florida
Just tell Petraeus to look at the photo from CNN.com showing the bodies being removed from the streets of Baghdad! Then ask him if he really believes the U.S. should still be there in any capacity. My opinion is NO, the U.S. presence is doing more harm than good.
Harold Peterson of Houston, Texas
Support your sons and daughters. Keep your discontented wailing private or tell it to your congressman. If you have no one to support, then you have no reason to complain, other people's children are giving their freedom and their blood for you to act the fool. Be proud of the women and men serving our country, where ever they may serve. Pray for their safe and speedy return home. When the sun sets on the day, that is all that matters.
Sue Brown of Dubuque, Iowa
Well, all I have to say is it is TIME to send our TROOPS home. We have asked enough of them and once they leave it will be right back to what it was before all our sacrifices. Please listen to the American people. E-mail to a friend
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