'War criminal' cries get protesters quickly removed from hearing
As soon as Rep. Ike Skelton gaveled a joint Congressional hearing to order this morning, protesters could be heard yelling "war criminal" at Army Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who were about to testify about conditions in Iraq.
At least one woman could be heard shouting briefly, before Skelton (D-MO) ordered anyone who disrupted the proceedings to be removed from the hearing room.
"Out they go," Skelton said. He paused a few seconds, then asked no one in particular, "Are they gone?"
At least a half-dozen protesters were arrested during the course of Monday's hearing, and their presence visibly iritated Skelton.
“That really pisses me off down there, Those assholes,” a sharp-eared Wall Street Journal reporter overheard Skelton say to the committee’s ranking Republican member Duncan Hunter of California. A staffer came to the rescue later, shutting off Skelton's microphone.
Members of the anti-war group Code Pink have been a near constant presence at hearings on the Iraq war, and several members have been removed from hearings and arrested for other Capitol Hill protests.
It was not clear who was removed Monday, nor whether they were arrested or will face criminal charges.
Petraeus and Crocker are making their first appearance on the Hill Monday to assess the results of President Bush's troop surge, which began earlier this year.
Later in the hearing more protesters were removed, including one who appeared to be Adam Kokesh, an Iraq veteran who has become a leading figure in the anti-war movement. Several more Code Pink members and other anti-war activists remained in the hearing room, and some members worried about further disruptions.
As Petraeus was delivering his testimony, another protester began shouting, "That's a lie," as Petraeus accused Iran of supporting insurgents in Iraq.
"Would the entire group that's back there supporting that person be removed," Skelton requested.
The following video is from MSNBC's News Live, broadcast on September 10.