Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates and Gen. Peter Pace all testified before Congress on Thursday, defending the president’s plan to escalate the war. But many lawmakers, particularly Democrats, weren’t impressed. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, told Gen. Pace, “This is the craziest, dumbest plan I’ve ever seen or heard of in my life.”

Washington Post:

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace held a morning news conference before Rice faced senators in a sometimes contentious hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Gates and Pace then testified in the afternoon before the House Armed Services Committee and Rice went before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

At every venue, their message was similar — that failure in Iraq is unacceptable and that success hinges on the commitment and capability of the fragile Iraqi government, who they said is committed to the new plan. Their answers to pointed questions about just how the retooled U.S.-Iraqi strategy will work did not reassure some lawmakers, particularly Democrats, emboldened by recent election victories in which they wrested control of both houses of Congress.

“This is the craziest, dumbest plan I’ve ever seen or heard of in my life,” Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) told Pace during the Armed Services Committee hearing.

“We can’t afford to get snookered again,” said Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.).

Gates told lawmakers that the U.S. military should know within months after the surge of U.S. troops begins whether the new strategy “bears fruit.” And if it doesn’t, he said in response to a question, “we will have to revisit our strategy.”

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