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Opinions divided on Petraeus, his message

  • Story Highlights
  • CNN.com users defend Gen. David Petraeus; others question his objectivity
  • "Let him finish the job," says one; another says, "Turn off the fire"
  • CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll: Fifty-four percent say troop increase failing
  • Fifty-three percent don't trust general to give accurate assessment
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(CNN) -- Gen. David Petraeus' testimony this week on Capitol Hill amounts to little more than a salute to his commander in chief, complains Mel Wilmoth of Oceanside, California.

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Gen. David Petraeus joins in a moment of silence Tuesday for victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

"The general is going to say exactly what [President] Bush and [Vice President Dick] Cheney want him to say about Iraq," Wilmoth wrote in an e-mail to CNN.com. "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."

Bob Owens of Southington, Connecticut, contends Petraeus is simply doing what soldiers do: "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," Owens wrote. "... The answer will always be yes ... especially when there is no final whistle ... just all the time it takes."

But John Chiazza of Fort Wayne, Indiana, said that he believes Americans need to trust in Petraeus' expertise.

"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," Chiazza wrote. Video Watch intense exchanges during Petraeus' testimony »

The comments reflect the results of a poll conducted from Friday to Sunday. CNN and Opinion Research Corp. asked 1,017 Americans whether the boost in personnel is succeeding in Iraq; 54 percent said no. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Live from Iraq
While politicians debate the war, Anderson Cooper is in Iraq, keeping them honest.
All this week at 10 p.m. ET

In another poll taken August 6-8, 53 percent said they did not trust Petraeus to report "what's really going on" in Iraq. The survey interviewed 1,029 adult Americans. The results from the Petraeus question had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

In an e-mail to CNN.com, Jean Sherwin of Benbrook, Texas, expressed outrage that the liberal group MoveOn.org challenged Petraeus' veracity in a Monday advertisement in The New York Times.

"Shame, shame on the Democrats," Sherwin wrote. "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."

But Marilyn Phukan of Silver Spring, Maryland, said the strategy is the problem.

"The surge is just like putting a lid on a boiling pot. We need to turn off the fire," Phukan wrote.

Lorraine Lanes of Dania Beach, Florida, wrote: "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."

Ron B. of Los Angeles, California, wrote that Petraeus is telling the truth, as far as it goes:

"He is telling a half-truth. He says the military portion is working -- true -- he doesn't assert that without political reconciliation [Iraq's] security won't hold for long. He doesn't assert that the agreement was for us to give more security while at the same time the Iraqis would reach political agreement. They have not and will not be able to do that because they are too corrupt, shortsighted, comfortably protected and religiously motivated to do the right thing."

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Still, Richard Pulver of Jackson, Michigan, is among the 40 percent of those polled in September who believe the troop increase is making a difference in the Iraq war.

"All in all I believe the efforts of our military and those of government serving over there are going in the right direction," Pulver wrote. "It will take some time. There will be ups and downs. One of our sons got back recently from over there after a year. He says it is not good. But we are sure it will get better. Time will tell." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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