Sunday, October 01, 2006

White House's public reports on Iraq contradict internal estimations

The Washington Post has a lengthy excerpt from Bob Woodward's latest book, State of Denial, which will be available to the public tomorrow.

The Post:
On May 26, the Pentagon released an unclassified report to Congress, required by law, that contradicted the Joint Chiefs' secret assessment. The public report sent to Congress said the "appeal and motivation for continued violent action will begin to wane in early 2007."

There was a vast difference between what the White House and Pentagon knew about the situation in Iraq and what they were saying publicly. But the discrepancy was not surprising. In memos, reports and internal debates, high-level officials of the Bush administration have voiced their concern about the United States' ability to bring peace and stability to Iraq since early in the occupation.
The legislation requiring these public reports, which appear to be misleading at the least, is clear, Library of Congress (my emphasis):
The conferees believe that the Administration must develop and provide to the Congress a more comprehensive set of performance indicators and measures of stability and security in Iraq than is currently available. This undoubtedly will lead to a more informed debate over how best to allocate U.S. resources to help secure Iraq. As such, the conferees direct the Secretary of Defense (in consultation with other appropriate members of the National Security Council) to provide a report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Majority Leader of the Senate, and the congressional defense committees that identifies security, economic, and Iraqi security force training performance standards and goals, accompanied by a notional timetable for achieving these goals.
The administration has usurped an attempt by the Congress to improve the informational awareness of the public. This violates the expressed spirit of that law and the democratic essence of our Republic. Moreover, the White House has used this usurped vehicle to mislead the public concerning a war the White House states is essential to our national security. The fact that the true state of affairs concerning Iraq is made known through press reports and not honest government oversight and accountability will undercut the level of support for this war. Thus making victory a more remote possibility. Thus endangering the national security of the United States.

UPDATE: I just noticed something about the language used regarding this report. Congress asks for certain metrics, the reporting states that "appeal and motivation" will be altered in a future climate not yet actualized. The public reporting seems to be political spin instead of actual results. Most discouraging.


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