Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Burying the Lead

Over on The Huffington Post, there was an article about who is actually going to be writing the Septmber report on the "progress" in Iraq. Unbelievably, after all the "let's wait for General Petraeus' report" talk, the political hacks in the White House will be writing the report. I'm sure it will all be factual and about what's really happening on the ground...

Anyway, the bigger surprise to me was reading the original Los Angeles Times story. They totally buried the lead, instead going with:

Intent on demonstrating progress in Iraq, the top U.S. general there is expected by Bush administration officials to recommend removing American troops soon from several areas where commanders believe security has improved, possibly including Al Anbar province.

I wouldn't even have read past that paragraph! But, towards the end of the article, comes this news:
Administration and military officials acknowledge that the September report will not show any significant progress on the political benchmarks laid out by Congress. How to deal in the report with the lack of national reconciliation between Iraq's warring sects has created some tension within the White House.

Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus 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 Petraeus 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.

The senior administration official said the process had created "uncomfortable positions" for the White House because of debates over what constitutes "satisfactory progress."

During internal White House discussion of a July interim report, some officials urged the administration to claim progress in policy areas such as legislation to divvy up Iraq's oil revenue, even though no final agreement had been reached. Others argued that such assertions would be disingenuous.

"There were some in the drafting of the report that said, 'Well, we can claim progress,' " the administration official said. "There were others who said: 'Wait a second. Sure we can claim progress, but it's not credible to . . . just neglect the fact that it's had no effect on the ground.' "

Read the whole article here.

1 comment:

Madelyn said...

Why am I still shocked by this stuff? I should expect it by now. So disgusting.