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Old 06-22-2008, 11:06 AM   #1
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Facts better for GOP in O8 than 06: by Michael Barone

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June 21, 2008
The Facts in Iraq Are Changing
By Michael Barone

As we enter the second half of the campaign year, facts are undermining the Democratic narrative that has dominated our politics since about the time Hurricane Katrina rolled into the Gulf coast -- most importantly, the facts about Iraq.

During the Democratic primary season, all the party's candidates veered hardly a jot or tittle from the narrative that helped the Democrats sweep the November 2006 elections. Iraq is spiraling into civil war, we invaded unwisely and have botched things ever since, no good outcome is possible, and it is time to get out of there as fast as we can.

In January 2007, when George W. Bush ordered the surge strategy, which John McCain had advocated since the summer of 2003, Barack Obama informed us that the surge couldn't work. The only thing to do was to get out as soon as possible.

That stance proved to be a good move toward winning the presidential nomination -- but it was poor prophecy. It is beyond doubt now that the surge has been hugely successful, beyond even the hopes of its strongest advocates, like Frederick and Kimberly Kagan. Violence is down enormously, Anbar and Basra and Sadr City have been pacified, Prime Minister Maliki has led successful attempts to pacify Shiites as well as Sunnis, and the Iraqi parliament has passed almost all of the "benchmark" legislation demanded by the Democratic Congress -- all of which Barack Obama seems to have barely noticed or noticed not at all. He has not visited Iraq since January 2006 and did not seek a meeting with Gen. David Petraeus when he was in Washington.

I can remember how opponents of the Vietnam War simply tuned out news of American success when at Richard Nixon's orders Gen. Creighton Abrams pursued a new strategy. Opponents of the Iraq war, including Obama, seem to have been doing the same.

That's not true of all critics of the Bush administration and its military leaders. The editorial writers of The Washington Post have been paying close and careful attention. And even though they may be temperamentally more inclined to favor Obama's candidacy over John McCain's, they have not been unwilling to take Obama to task for his inattention to American success. Obama, the Post noted tartly on June 7, "has become unreasonably wedded to a year-old proposal to rapidly withdraw all U.S. combat forces from the country -- a plan offered when he wrongly believed that the situation would only worsen as long as American troops remained."

On June 18, a Post editorial made the same point again and noted that Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyard Zebari told Obama in a phone conversation that a precipitate withdrawal would embolden al-Qaida and Iran. But Obama told ABC News' Jake Tapper he said no such thing. Perhaps he's still trying to avoid facing facts that undermine his narrative. Which might also explain why he said he was willing to meet Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions while he has not been able to find time to meet with Petraeus.

Other examples of facts undermining Democratic narratives readily occur. Last week charges were dropped against the seventh of eight Marines accused of atrocities in Haditha. The narrative, peddled by Democratic Congressman (and Marine veteran) John Murtha, of depraved American soldiers massacring innocent Iraqis seems to be falling victim to the facts.

And the fact of $4 gasoline has undermined the narrative that alternative forms of energy can painlessly supply our needs. Public opinion has switched sharply and now favors drilling offshore and, by inference, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Democrats are scrambling to argue that drilling wouldn't make any difference -- and that anyway the oil companies aren't drilling enough on federal land they currently lease.

All of this matters because the rejection of the Republicans in the 2006 elections was a verdict on competence more than ideology. The Republicans seemed incompetent at relieving victims of Katrina, producing success in Iraq and even policing the House page programs. The Democrats could not do worse and might do better. But in the 19 months since November 2006, some important facts have changed.

If George W. Bush was wrong about the surge from summer 2003 to January 2007, Barack Obama has been wrong about it from January 2007 to today. John McCain seems to have been right on it all along. When asked why he changed his position on an issue, John Maynard Keynes said: "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" What say you, Sen. Obama?

Copyright 2008, Creators Syndicate Inc.
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Old 06-22-2008, 11:24 AM   #2
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I stopped reading when it said the surge was successful. It's just not true, and it's been proven time and again that the facts people supporting the surge cite are either exaggerated, misinterpreted, or flat out false.
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Old 06-22-2008, 11:31 AM   #3
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I can remember how opponents of the Vietnam War simply tuned out news of American success
This is the funniest damn thing I've read in... well, the 30 years since we lost that war.


I dunno. California just had its 500th dead kid from that other war. Is that a fact that will help the Hawks?
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Old 06-22-2008, 11:37 AM   #4
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I can remember how opponents of the Vietnam War simply tuned out news of American success when at Richard Nixon's orders Gen. Creighton Abrams pursued a new strategy.
What success? There was no success. Nobody was tuning out success since there was no success to tune out. Looking back at Vietnam, more people now think that was a pointless war then people did during the war. Same as how more people in 2008 are against the Iraq war than in 2002. And i'm sure 30 years into the future many more people will look back and see that this was a waste of lives, money, time and that the only thing it accomplished was it made more people hate America, translating to a greater threat to America.
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Old 06-22-2008, 01:43 PM   #5
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What success? There was no success. Nobody was tuning out success since there was no success to tune out. Looking back at Vietnam, more people now think that was a pointless war then people did during the war. Same as how more people in 2008 are against the Iraq war than in 2002. And i'm sure 30 years into the future many more people will look back and see that this was a waste of lives, money, time and that the only thing it accomplished was it made more people hate America, translating to a greater threat to America.
In 30 years, few people are going to be claiming that the world would be safer if Saddam had remained in power in Iraq. Over 35 years ago in Vietnam, the United States had successfully defeated the Vietcong in South Vietnam to the point that nearly all enemy forces in the field were regular North Vietnamese Army units by 1972. More importantly, the United States had successfully built up the South Vietnamese military to the point that it could withstand assualts from North Vietnam largely on its own with the aid of US airpower and advisors on the ground. There were only 20,000 US military personal on the ground in South Vietnam when North Vietnam launched its massive "Easter Offensive" in the Spring of 1972 which was repelled by the South Vietnamese and pushed back, despite only having limited but important aid from the United States. The United States completely withdrew in March 1973 but congress foolishly cut funding for the South Vietnamese military after that and prevented the US military from intervening again in the conflict. Despite this, the South Vietnamese successfully on their own defended South Vietnam for two full years after the full withdrawal of the United States. It was only after a series of military mistakes in March 1975 that the South Vietnamese military was defeated and collapsed. Had the United States been able to intervene though in South Vietnam, or if they had in fact left advisors and congress had never passed a law preventing further intervention, any North Vietnamese attack would have been defeated just as it was in 1972. More likely though, the North Vietnamese would not have attempted another invasion after the massive losses they sustained in 1972.

If South Vietnam had survived the war intact, no one would ever even mention it as a defeat for the United States today. Provided the United States does not withdraw from Iraq before it is ready to stand on its own, Iraq will develop into a relatively stable country that is not a threat to its neighbors as it was under Saddam. The United States and the rest of the world have vital interest and needs in the Persian Gulf region and it would be foolish to follow a policy that does not have the best chance of safe guarding US security needs in the region as Barack Obama would like to do by suddenly abandoning Iraq as rapidly as possible.
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Old 06-22-2008, 02:06 PM   #6
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I stopped reading when it said the surge was successful. It's just not true, and it's been proven time and again that the facts people supporting the surge cite are either exaggerated, misinterpreted, or flat out false.
Well, by nearly every measure out there, the surge has been a massive success. When you compare where Iraq was in January 2007 to where it is in June 2008, the improvements have been remarkable. US military casualties have dropped to their lowest levels of the entire war. In the first half of 2007 as the surge was starting to build up, nearly 600 US troops died in Iraq, in the first half of 2008, that number is below 200. In addition, June 2008 may in fact be the month of the lowest civilian and Iraq security force casualties of the entire war. 266 Iraqi's have died so far this month compared to over 3,000 in February 2007 according to icasualties.org.

But the success is not just evident in the reduction of US and Iraqi casualties, its also there in terms of the political development and economic development of Iraq. Iraq today now has a GDP per capita nearly as larged as Syria next door. There has been progress on many of key benchmarks for political development including a new debathification law and provincial elections set for this fall. Sunni's are much more active in the government today than they were two years ago. The Maliki government has greater support now from all ethnic and political groups than it did 18 months ago.

The Iraqi military has made enormous progress in developing new capabilities. Earlier this year it had much success despite some setbacks with taking back area's of Basra that were controlled by criminal or militia elements freeing up business and oil in the area. In the months since then, the Iraqi military and Police forces have been even more successful pacifiying militant shia elements in Basra and Sadr City in Baghdad. In addition, the Iraqi military has been very active in Mosul in the north where they have had much success in capturing and killing members of Al Quada and rolling up Sunni insurgent groups.

All US military and Diplomatic leaders currently in Iraq have expressed at great lengths how the effort is working and that it would be a mistake to pre-maturely withdraw before the Iraqi military and government are ready to handle the important security and development tasks that the United States and the Coalition are providing Iraq at the moment.

Effective counterinsurgency and nationbuilding strategies are yielding success in Iraq and will continue to do so provided the mission is not abandoned. The same efforts are under way in Afghanistan. No one is suggesting that the United States withdraw from Afghanistan before its ready to handle its problems on its own, nor should anyone be suggesting the United States should withdraw from Iraq before it is ready to stand on its own.
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Old 06-23-2008, 05:48 PM   #7
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so, sidestepping the whole Iraq thing, since we all know what's real and what's the militarist's wet dream, let's talk about energy policy. if a post by the right wing Michael Barone counts as dialog, here's one from the centrist Tom Friedman

[q]Mr. Bush, Lead or Leave
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Two years ago, President Bush declared that America was “addicted to oil,” and, by gosh, he was going to do something about it. Well, now he has. Now we have the new Bush energy plan: “Get more addicted to oil.”

Actually, it’s more sophisticated than that: Get Saudi Arabia, our chief oil pusher, to up our dosage for a little while and bring down the oil price just enough so the renewable energy alternatives can’t totally take off. Then try to strong arm Congress into lifting the ban on drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

It’s as if our addict-in-chief is saying to us: “C’mon guys, you know you want a little more of the good stuff. One more hit, baby. Just one more toke on the ole oil pipe. I promise, next year, we’ll all go straight. I’ll even put a wind turbine on my presidential library. But for now, give me one more pop from that drill, please, baby. Just one more transfusion of that sweet offshore crude.”

It is hard for me to find the words to express what a massive, fraudulent, pathetic excuse for an energy policy this is. But it gets better. The president actually had the gall to set a deadline for this drug deal:

“I know the Democratic leaders have opposed some of these policies in the past,” Mr. Bush said. “Now that their opposition has helped drive gas prices to record levels, I ask them to reconsider their positions. If Congressional leaders leave for the Fourth of July recess without taking action, they will need to explain why $4-a-gallon gasoline is not enough incentive for them to act.”

This from a president who for six years resisted any pressure on Detroit to seriously improve mileage standards on its gas guzzlers; this from a president who’s done nothing to encourage conservation; this from a president who has so neutered the Environmental Protection Agency that the head of the E.P.A. today seems to be in a witness-protection program. I bet there aren’t 12 readers of this newspaper who could tell you his name or identify him in a police lineup.

But, most of all, this deadline is from a president who hasn’t lifted a finger to broker passage of legislation that has been stuck in Congress for a year, which could actually impact America’s energy profile right now — unlike offshore oil that would take years to flow — and create good tech jobs to boot.


That bill is H.R. 6049 — “The Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008,” which extends for another eight years the investment tax credit for installing solar energy and extends for one year the production tax credit for producing wind power and for three years the credits for geothermal, wave energy and other renewables.

These critical tax credits for renewables are set to expire at the end of this fiscal year and, if they do, it will mean thousands of jobs lost and billions of dollars of investments not made. “Already clean energy projects in the U.S. are being put on hold,” said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association.

People forget, wind and solar power are here, they work, they can go on your roof tomorrow. What they need now is a big U.S. market where lots of manufacturers have an incentive to install solar panels and wind turbines — because the more they do, the more these technologies would move down the learning curve, become cheaper and be able to compete directly with coal, oil and nuclear, without subsidies.

That seems to be exactly what the Republican Party is trying to block, since the Senate Republicans — sorry to say, with the help of John McCain — have now managed to defeat the renewal of these tax credits six different times.

Of course, we’re going to need oil for years to come. That being the case, I’d prefer — for geopolitical reasons — that we get as much as possible from domestic wells. But our future is not in oil, and a real president wouldn’t be hectoring Congress about offshore drilling today. He’d be telling the country a much larger truth:

“Oil is poisoning our climate and our geopolitics, and here is how we’re going to break our addiction: We’re going to set a floor price of $4.50 a gallon for gasoline and $100 a barrel for oil. And that floor price is going to trigger massive investments in renewable energy — particularly wind, solar panels and solar thermal. And we’re also going to go on a crash program to dramatically increase energy efficiency, to drive conservation to a whole new level and to build more nuclear power. And I want every Democrat and every Republican to join me in this endeavor.”

That’s what a real president would do. He’d give us a big strategic plan to end our addiction to oil and build a bipartisan coalition to deliver it. He certainly wouldn’t be using his last days in office to threaten Congressional Democrats that if they don’t approve offshore drilling by the Fourth of July recess, they will be blamed for $4-a-gallon gas. That is so lame. That is an energy policy so unworthy of our Independence Day. [/q]
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:49 AM   #8
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the Pentagon would never, ever lie!



[q]GAO Report Faults Post-'Surge' Planning
Lack of Comprehensive Strategy Cited, but Pentagon Study Sees Gains in Iraq

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 24, 2008; A14

The administration lacks an updated and comprehensive Iraq strategy to move beyond the "surge" of combat troops President Bush launched in January 2007 as an 18-month effort to curtail violence and build Iraqi democracy, government investigators said yesterday.

While agreeing with the administration that violence has decreased sharply, a report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office concluded that many other goals Bush outlined a year and a half ago in the "New Way Forward" strategy remain unmet.

The report, after a bleak GAO assessment last summer, cited little improvement in the ability of the Iraqi security forces to act independently of the U.S. military, and noted that key legislation passed by the Iraqi parliament had not been implemented while other crucial laws had not been passed. The report also judged that key Iraqi ministries spent less of their allocated budgets last year than in previous years, and said that oil and electricity production had repeatedly not met U.S. targets.

Bush's strategy of January 2007, the GAO said, "defined the original goals and objectives that the Administration believed were achievable by the end of this phase in July 2008." Not meeting many of them changed circumstances on the ground and the pending withdrawal of the last of the additional U.S. forces mean that strategy is now outdated, the report said. The GAO recommends that the State and Defense departments work together to fashion a new approach.

The GAO report contrasted with a Pentagon report, dated June 13 but not released until yesterday. The Defense Department's quarterly assessment to Congress, "Measuring Security and Stability in Iraq," said that "security, political and economic trends in Iraq continue to be positive, although they remain fragile, reversible and uneven."

In many respects, the two reports seemed to assess wholly different realities. The 74-page Pentagon document emphasized what it called the "negative role" in Iraqi security that Iran and Syria have played. The 94-page GAO report did not mention Iran and referred to Syria only in the context of Iraqi refugees who had settled there.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate last year ordered the GAO -- Congress's investigative arm -- to assess the progress of U.S. objectives in Iraq. Yesterday's GAO report, which cites statistics through early June, said its work drew on a review of U.S. and Iraqi documents; interviews with officials across the U.S. government and intelligence agencies; and military and diplomatic personnel in Iraq.

In comments appended to the GAO report, the State, Treasury and Defense departments objected to its conclusions, especially the judgment that the administration needs to fashion a new strategy.

"We do not require a new strategic document," the State Department wrote. The Pentagon said it "nonconcurs with the GAO recommendation" to update the strategy, adding that the "New Way Forward . . . remains valid."

The Defense Department also disagreed with a separate GAO criticism -- contained in a classified appendix that was not publicly released -- that the Pentagon's year-old Joint Campaign Plan, written in Baghdad, "is not a strategic plan; it is an operational plan with limitations."

The Pentagon said the GAO chose a "misleading" measurement of Iraqi security capabilities -- that only 10 percent of Iraqi units had reached full operational readiness. A better measurement, it said, was the number of Iraqi units "in the lead" in joint operations, which it put at 70 percent.

The GAO's assessment of electricity, the Pentagon said, was flawed because it was measured against "an ever-rising demand." The Pentagon noted that output is now higher than before the U.S. invasion in March 2003.

The Pentagon also criticized the GAO's conclusion that Iraqi oil production is lagging. The "arbitrary goal" of 3 million barrels a day, the Pentagon said, had been set by the U.S. occupation government -- the now-defunct Coalition Provisional Authority -- and "fail[s] to capture the fact that oil exports" are now higher than at any time since the invasion.

The Treasury Department disputed the GAO's assessment of the Iraqi government's expenditures. It said investigators had used the wrong metrics to conclude that "Iraq's central ministries spent only 11 percent of their capital investment budgets in 2007, a decline from similarly low spending rates of 14 and 13 percent in 2005 and 2006, respectively."

On numerous points, the GAO report countered the rebuttals. "We agree that Iraq's budget doubled in size between 2005 and 2008," it said in one response to Treasury's objections. "However, much of the increase was due to a 25 percent appreciation of the Iraqi dinar and a four-fold increase in the budgets of Iraq's security ministries."[/q]
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Old 06-24-2008, 02:14 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=Irvine511;5239370]so, sidestepping the whole Iraq thing, since we all know what's real and what's the militarist's wet dream, let's talk about energy policy. if a post by the right wing Michael Barone counts as dialog, here's one from the centrist Tom Friedman

Or maybe you mean sidestepping much of the thread topic, since there are way to many facts flying in the face of the Democrats foolish beliefs on Iraq. If you want accurate reports on Iraq, try the US military on the ground in Iraq especially General Petraeus. Oh, I wouldn't think you would consider Tom Friedman a centrist since he supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
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Old 06-24-2008, 02:20 PM   #10
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the Pentagon would never, ever lie!



[q]GAO Report Faults Post-'Surge' Planning
Lack of Comprehensive Strategy Cited, but Pentagon Study Sees Gains in Iraq

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 24, 2008; A14

The administration lacks an updated and comprehensive Iraq strategy to move beyond the "surge" of combat troops President Bush launched in January 2007 as an 18-month effort to curtail violence and build Iraqi democracy, government investigators said yesterday.

While agreeing with the administration that violence has decreased sharply, a report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office concluded that many other goals Bush outlined a year and a half ago in the "New Way Forward" strategy remain unmet.

The report, after a bleak GAO assessment last summer, cited little improvement in the ability of the Iraqi security forces to act independently of the U.S. military, and noted that key legislation passed by the Iraqi parliament had not been implemented while other crucial laws had not been passed. The report also judged that key Iraqi ministries spent less of their allocated budgets last year than in previous years, and said that oil and electricity production had repeatedly not met U.S. targets.

Bush's strategy of January 2007, the GAO said, "defined the original goals and objectives that the Administration believed were achievable by the end of this phase in July 2008." Not meeting many of them changed circumstances on the ground and the pending withdrawal of the last of the additional U.S. forces mean that strategy is now outdated, the report said. The GAO recommends that the State and Defense departments work together to fashion a new approach.

The GAO report contrasted with a Pentagon report, dated June 13 but not released until yesterday. The Defense Department's quarterly assessment to Congress, "Measuring Security and Stability in Iraq," said that "security, political and economic trends in Iraq continue to be positive, although they remain fragile, reversible and uneven."

In many respects, the two reports seemed to assess wholly different realities. The 74-page Pentagon document emphasized what it called the "negative role" in Iraqi security that Iran and Syria have played. The 94-page GAO report did not mention Iran and referred to Syria only in the context of Iraqi refugees who had settled there.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate last year ordered the GAO -- Congress's investigative arm -- to assess the progress of U.S. objectives in Iraq. Yesterday's GAO report, which cites statistics through early June, said its work drew on a review of U.S. and Iraqi documents; interviews with officials across the U.S. government and intelligence agencies; and military and diplomatic personnel in Iraq.

In comments appended to the GAO report, the State, Treasury and Defense departments objected to its conclusions, especially the judgment that the administration needs to fashion a new strategy.

"We do not require a new strategic document," the State Department wrote. The Pentagon said it "nonconcurs with the GAO recommendation" to update the strategy, adding that the "New Way Forward . . . remains valid."

The Defense Department also disagreed with a separate GAO criticism -- contained in a classified appendix that was not publicly released -- that the Pentagon's year-old Joint Campaign Plan, written in Baghdad, "is not a strategic plan; it is an operational plan with limitations."

The Pentagon said the GAO chose a "misleading" measurement of Iraqi security capabilities -- that only 10 percent of Iraqi units had reached full operational readiness. A better measurement, it said, was the number of Iraqi units "in the lead" in joint operations, which it put at 70 percent.

The GAO's assessment of electricity, the Pentagon said, was flawed because it was measured against "an ever-rising demand." The Pentagon noted that output is now higher than before the U.S. invasion in March 2003.

The Pentagon also criticized the GAO's conclusion that Iraqi oil production is lagging. The "arbitrary goal" of 3 million barrels a day, the Pentagon said, had been set by the U.S. occupation government -- the now-defunct Coalition Provisional Authority -- and "fail[s] to capture the fact that oil exports" are now higher than at any time since the invasion.

The Treasury Department disputed the GAO's assessment of the Iraqi government's expenditures. It said investigators had used the wrong metrics to conclude that "Iraq's central ministries spent only 11 percent of their capital investment budgets in 2007, a decline from similarly low spending rates of 14 and 13 percent in 2005 and 2006, respectively."

On numerous points, the GAO report countered the rebuttals. "We agree that Iraq's budget doubled in size between 2005 and 2008," it said in one response to Treasury's objections. "However, much of the increase was due to a 25 percent appreciation of the Iraqi dinar and a four-fold increase in the budgets of Iraq's security ministries."[/q]


GAO has produced many laughable reports over the past 3 decades. Just look at who the public trust more, the US military or the Democrat congress. They trust the Democrat congress even less than they do Bush based on current approval ratings. Also, the Treasury Departmant and State Department disagree with the GAO report as well. I guess they must be lying too right?


Quote:
The GAO report contrasted with a Pentagon report, dated June 13 but not released until yesterday. The Defense Department's quarterly assessment to Congress, "Measuring Security and Stability in Iraq," said that "security, political and economic trends in Iraq continue to be positive, although they remain fragile, reversible and uneven."

In many respects, the two reports seemed to assess wholly different realities. The 74-page Pentagon document emphasized what it called the "negative role" in Iraqi security that Iran and Syria have played. The 94-page GAO report did not mention Iran and referred to Syria only in the context of Iraqi refugees who had settled there.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate last year ordered the GAO -- Congress's investigative arm -- to assess the progress of U.S. objectives in Iraq. Yesterday's GAO report, which cites statistics through early June, said its work drew on a review of U.S. and Iraqi documents; interviews with officials across the U.S. government and intelligence agencies; and military and diplomatic personnel in Iraq.

In comments appended to the GAO report, the State, Treasury and Defense departments objected to its conclusions, especially the judgment that the administration needs to fashion a new strategy.

"We do not require a new strategic document," the State Department wrote. The Pentagon said it "nonconcurs with the GAO recommendation" to update the strategy, adding that the "New Way Forward . . . remains valid."

The Defense Department also disagreed with a separate GAO criticism -- contained in a classified appendix that was not publicly released -- that the Pentagon's year-old Joint Campaign Plan, written in Baghdad, "is not a strategic plan; it is an operational plan with limitations."

The Pentagon said the GAO chose a "misleading" measurement of Iraqi security capabilities -- that only 10 percent of Iraqi units had reached full operational readiness. A better measurement, it said, was the number of Iraqi units "in the lead" in joint operations, which it put at 70 percent.

The GAO's assessment of electricity, the Pentagon said, was flawed because it was measured against "an ever-rising demand." The Pentagon noted that output is now higher than before the U.S. invasion in March 2003.

The Pentagon also criticized the GAO's conclusion that Iraqi oil production is lagging. The "arbitrary goal" of 3 million barrels a day, the Pentagon said, had been set by the U.S. occupation government -- the now-defunct Coalition Provisional Authority -- and "fail[s] to capture the fact that oil exports" are now higher than at any time since the invasion.

The Treasury Department disputed the GAO's assessment of the Iraqi government's expenditures. It said investigators had used the wrong metrics to conclude that "Iraq's central ministries spent only 11 percent of their capital investment budgets in 2007, a decline from similarly low spending rates of 14 and 13 percent in 2005 and 2006, respectively."

Democrats are started to sound like Baghdad Bob on the issue of Iraq. Should be even more of a hoot to see what they have to say in 6 months as things continue to improve despite the denials of most Democrats.
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Old 06-24-2008, 02:32 PM   #11
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[q]GAO has produced many laughable reports over the past 3 decades. Just look at who the public trust more, the US military or the Democrat congress. They trust the Democrat congress even less than they do Bush based on current approval ratings. Also, the Treasury Departmant and State Department disagree with the GAO report as well. I guess they must be lying too right?
[/q]


you know what's laughable? you don't have discussions with anyone other than the arguments you first fabricate and then try to rebut.

still, it's not much more laughable than the "imminent threat" posed by non-existent WMDs.

as for congressional approval ratings ... please. congressional approval ratings are *always* low, but Bush's approval ratings are record-breakingly low.

but, go ahead, trot out more arguments from your imaginary other side, and then rebut those. it's all you ever do.
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Old 06-24-2008, 02:36 PM   #12
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as for congressional approval ratings ... please. congressional approval ratings are *always* low, but Bush's approval ratings are record-breakingly low.
Congress's ratings are record-breaking, as well.

Congressional (Dis)Approval - Poll Tracker

"Gallup has tracked congressional approval for 34 years, and a national poll released today shows a record-tying low approval rating and close to a record disapproval score. In fact, the 18 percent approval rating for Congress is more than ten percentage points lower than President Bush’s current approval rating of 29 percent (which is only one point higher than his all-time low from April and early May of this year)."
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Old 06-24-2008, 02:45 PM   #13
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Congress's ratings are record-breaking, as well.

Congressional (Dis)Approval - Poll Tracker

"Gallup has tracked congressional approval for 34 years, and a national poll released today shows a record-tying low approval rating and close to a record disapproval score. In fact, the 18 percent approval rating for Congress is more than ten percentage points lower than President Bush’s current approval rating of 29 percent (which is only one point higher than his all-time low from April and early May of this year)."

the low congressional approval ratings are due to gas prices to the housing slump and especially due to Iraq. yes, Democrats are currently in control, but they've been out of power for most of the decade, and Bush's approval ratings combined with previously safe GOP seats now up for grab in both the House and the Senate show that Americans blame the GOP for their woes. all this spells disaster for the GOP in the fall as we've already seen in scattered districts in elections that have been held so far this year.

also, there's the fundamental contradiction with Congressional approval ratings. most Americans rate Congress low, but their representatives high. which basically means that it's poll questions about the overall direction of the country -- which is the lowest it's been since 1980 or so -- that indicate what Americans think, and underscore the fact that they are hungry for ... wait for it ... CHANGE.

the only reason McCain is surviving is because of the great, great lengths he has gone to distance himself from Bush, and the leeway the Republicans are giving him to distinguish himself apart from the party, especially on Iraq. McCain's reputation as a Maverick -- don't forget, he toyed with the idea of becoming a Democrat -- has served him well, no matter how hollow that reputation has become since the year 2000.
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Old 06-24-2008, 02:58 PM   #14
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all this spells disaster for the GOP in the fall as we've already seen in scattered districts in elections that have been held so far this year.
I wouldn't say that quite yet. Let's look at a couple of those special elections that have been lost by the GOP recently. Travis Childers won in Mississippi. Childers is pretty conservative, being pro-life, pro-gun, and supportive of most tax breaks. And as someone who lives in northern Illinois, I can tell you that Oberweis was a lousy candidate. I wasn't expecting him to hold Hastert's seat. We'll have to wait until November before seeing how poorly the GOP does.
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Old 06-24-2008, 03:41 PM   #15
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I wouldn't say that quite yet. Let's look at a couple of those special elections that have been lost by the GOP recently. Travis Childers won in Mississippi. Childers is pretty conservative, being pro-life, pro-gun, and supportive of most tax breaks. And as someone who lives in northern Illinois, I can tell you that Oberweis was a lousy candidate. I wasn't expecting him to hold Hastert's seat. We'll have to wait until November before seeing how poorly the GOP does.


yes, we'll have to wait until November, but Childers' win was startling.

add that to the fact that Mitch McConnell's seat is now in play, and you've got the makings of some rough political weather for the GOP, especially if they have to spend money in districts that should be safe for them.

remember, this was the McCain argument, as well as the Giuliani argument. McCain: "i can play in California." Giuliani: "i can play in NY, NJ and CT." not so, it seems, especially when Obama can play in VA, NC, CO, NM, possibly GA, MS, etc.

of course anything can happen, and anything will happen. i would be surprised to see McCain win, but it wouldn't shock me.

unlike another poster, i can see many different reasons why one would vote for McCain or Obama -- as opposed to thinking that anyone who doesn't get misty eyed at the thought of McCain landing an airplane on an aircraft carrier is an idiot who's willfully ignoring the evidence that Iraq is a smashing success -- and the conditions of the country, each campaign's ground game, and ultimately the performance of each of the two candidates will determine who is going to win the presidency.

i will, however, be shocked if the Democrats don't pick up at least as many seats in '08 as they did in '06.
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