Both The Washington Post (military beat reporter and author of Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, Tom Ricks) and The New York Times (The Lede’s Mike Nizza) are liveblogging the Petraeus-Crocker testimony (and promoting their liveblogging on their home pages).

The Post’s Ricks sets the scene at what he calls “Petraeuspalooza” this morning:

The room is full. The protesters are cocked and ready. It’s still a circus, but compared to last September, this is a much less charged atmosphere. Most of the talk at the press table is about the inexorable decline of the newspaper industry, not about Iraq. And even when the conversation turns to today’s hearing, it is less than earth-shattering. “I propose a drinking game,” one reporter just said. “Every time we hear ‘tenuous’ or ‘conditions-based,’ we do a shot.’”

At the Times, Nizza notes:
“Lawmakers looking to spice up their questions with the latest news from Iraq were provided with a cornucopia this morning.”

More from Ricks:

Crocker makes real news. In the wake of the Basra operation, he reveals, Moqtada al-Sadr’s main militia, Jayash al-Mahdi, seems to have linked back up with the so-called “Special Groups,” or splinter elements of the militia.

I hadn’t seen that before. As Crocker says in his statement, that is “a dangerous development.” But he goes on to say there are still signs of distinction between the groups, such as Sadr’s disavowal of heavy weapons. I dunno — seems like grasping at straws to me.

At any rate, I take back my previous scoffing at Crocker’s diplobabble. He was doing what journalists call “burying the lede.”


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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.