"See You In September": General Petraus' Long-Awaited Iraq Report Will Be Written By White House Staffers
August 15, 2007
For the months since President Bush added 30,000+ more American troops to Iraq, he has promised the American people that General Petraus would give his assessment of the surge in mid-September, and that military leaders needed that much time to let the surge work. Seeing their cutback bill vetoed, Congressional Democrats basically went along with the plan, and Bush bought some time, and some military cover in the person of Petraus.
Now that mid-September is a month away, however, the White House is already scrambling to lower expectations of the Petraus Report, since there isn't much in Iraq that can be termed "satisfactory progress." Now, it turns out, White House staffers will actually be writing General Petraus' report themselves.
Reports the Los Angeles Times: "Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government. And though Petraus and Crocker will present their recommendations on Capitol Hill, legislation passed by Congress leaves it to the president to decide how to interpret the report's data."*
Watching this government try to end this war is like watching a dog chasing its tail. As thousands die and get wounded, and millions are displaced, and families at home endure without their fathers or mothers, Bush and many Democrats continue their shrewd stand-off over the war. Although Democrats have mounted many efforts to stop the war, only to be vetoed, at this point it seems that both sides may have a cynical vested interest in keeping the war going: Bush to wait out his term and pawn off the humiliating withdrawal on the next president, and Democrats to optimize their chances to take the White House in November, 2008, through the public's disgust with the never-ending war. Among Democrats, only Dennis Kucinich has consistently advocted bringing the troops home now. Hillary Clinton was famously late to the anti-war movement, and although Barack Obama never supported the war, both he and Clinton waited until the outcome of a war bill was decided before voting against it.
Meanwhile of course the biggest losers in this standoff are the war's actual participants.
Support the troops. Bring them home.
*Julian E. Barnes and Peter Spiegel, Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2007
Robert C. Keating, Editor
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