September 06, 2007

About That Report

A Hill reporter relayed to Kathryn Jean Lopez of NRO's The Corner just how desperate the Democratic leadership is becoming:

The Democratic leaders are laying it on thick. I was at a press conference this afternoon with Reid, Schumer, Durbin and Murray. They referred to the Petraeus Report as the “Bush Report” about a half-dozen times. Reid even went so far as to correct a reporter when she called it the Petraeus Report. “You mean the Bush Report don’t you?” he said.

They must really want the report to come across in the press as administration hackwork rather than an honest assessment of the situation in Iraq.

The fact of the matter, however, is that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Charles Shumer, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have a vested interest in deceiving the American public. They have invested far too much time, energy and credibility in a U.S. defeat.

These so-called leaders are not being honest with you.

In accordance with Public Law 110-28 (PDF) asked for by this same Democrat-led Congress:

The President, having consulted with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Commander, Multi-National Forces-Iraq, the United States Ambassador to Iraq, and the Commander of U.S. Central Command, will prepare the report and submit the report to Congress.

This is the "Bush Report," written by the Administration. There is no other report being delivered by General Petraeus for the White House to influence.

Quite to the contrary, it is the professional assessment of officers in the United States Army in Iraq that will largely shape the President's report.

Further, the Congress dictated in Public Law 110-28, that:

Prior to the submission of the President's second report on September 15, 2007, and at a time to be agreed upon by the leadership of the Congress and the Administration, the United States Ambassador to Iraq and the Commander, Multi-National Forces Iraq will be made available to testify in open and closed sessions before the relevant committees of the Congress.

There is no "Petraeus Report" for the White House to manipulate.

What there is is verbal testimony of General Petraeus to Congress as they requested. Where does the General get the raw data and refined intelligence that he is basing his recommendations upon?

I asked that question of Colonel Steven Boylan, U.S. Army Public Affairs Officer to the Commanding General of Multi-National Force Iraq, David Patraeus.

Col. Boylan states:

I can assure you that the words and information that are being used by General Petraeus are from MNF-I...

As with any organization, the staff assists the head of the organization with the preparation and development of the materials used, by gathering the data, preparing slides, collating information, etc. This is and has been done by MNF-I, not any other organization.

The words that everyone will hear on Monday, September 10th and Tuesday, September 11th are his words and his assessment as part of the joint assessment between Ambassador Crocker and himself.

There is no "Petraeus Report," for the Administration to influence.

The material that General Petraeus will use in his testimony was developed from information provided by American soldiers, and no other organization. As General Petraeus told me via email on Sept 3rd:

The Ambassador and I are going to give it to them straight and then allow the folks at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue make what clearly is a national decision.

Democratic leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives are desperate to discredit the straightforward information General Patraeus will provide, and the integrity of the General himself.

Perhaps you should start wondering what they don't want you to hear.

Update: Additional thoughts from JeffG at Protein Wisdom.

... and here come the confused. How hard is it to read the law or do basic research?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 6, 2007 11:50 PM

They have to dis-avow it before it hits the street, or it might make sense.

I had fleeting thoughts of being a politician at one time, thought about the types of people I would have to deal with (all sides), shuddered, went and took a shower and felt better.

Posted by: Retired Navy at September 7, 2007 05:13 AM

On my last self-evaluation at work I graded my performance in all categories as excellent. A couple of my coworkers complained about the lack of value or criticism in such self-evaluations. They thought it was a farcical waste of time. I convinced them how wrong they were when I pointed out all my coworkers who felt better about themselves and our jobs because of the excellent marks we gave ourselves.

Posted by: Brendan at September 7, 2007 06:25 AM

Okay, I have to admit to being confused here. The law states, as you show here (and some other folks pointed out on another thread), that there was NEVER to be a "Petreaus" report. There was only ever going to be a report from the White House. Everyone, from the WH press secretary to lowly bloggers, has been referring to this report, all summer, as the Petreaus report. How are Sen. Reid and Co. deceiving anyone by calling the report by its proper name? They're not saying the Bush testimony. They're questioning the veracity of this highly, highly touted "report". I'm trying to wrap my brain around this entire line of criticism and it just plain doesn't make sense to me. There is no Petraeus Report, there's only a White House Report based on Gen. Petraeus' report, but Petraeus is going to give us the straight dope when he testifies, so Sen. Reid is undercutting the report that General Petraeus isn't going to write by calling it the Bush Report, which is what it is. Call me crazy, but I just don't see it.

Also, one of the things they don't want us to hear, at least unchallenged, are things like "There has been a 75% drop in sectarian violence" when there's been no such thing (even when you don't count someone shot through the forehead as a victim of sectarian violence...because everyone knows that being shot in the back of the head is the only way sectarian violence kills).

Posted by: J. at September 7, 2007 06:48 AM

According to Petraeus's own remarks he's going to give Congress the facts on the ground and that it isn't going to be colored by the Administration.

Nobody is complaining that Congress will challenge Petraeus's remarks. That would be a good thing. However, what Reid and Company are doing is implying that Petraeus's testimony is some sort of political campaign. That's just nonsense.

Posted by: Jason at September 7, 2007 07:31 AM

J, it's really quite simple: the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives and Senate are trying to undercut the credibility of General Petraeus by dishonestly stating that he is a sockpuppet for the White House.

The rest is wordplay.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 7, 2007 07:46 AM

J, you really shouldn't be confused. As I pointed out to you on the previous thread, it is within the realm of reason and good use of the English language to call Petraeus testimony a "report." It's merely an oral report as opposed to a written one.

Please, attempt to comprehend what you are speaking about before putting fingers to keyboard.

Posted by: C-C-G at September 7, 2007 09:03 AM

Friday Smackdown...Yeah!

Posted by: T.Ferg at September 7, 2007 09:06 AM

What they're trying to do, IMO, is damage control.

They are about to be hit by one of the biggest examples of BLOWBACK in recent political history.

When they were crafting the language of HR 2206 (which became PL 110-28), it was hip to be anti-war.

None of the Democrats knew about Phantom Thunder, either. PL 110-28 was signed May 25. Phantom Thunder, the first combat offensive of the surge, started on/about June 15.

You gotta give Bush some credit here. He's Texas Two-Stepped the Democrats, again. He got them to approve Petraeus and the surge, got them to approve emergency supplemental appropriations, then Petraeus used the surge and the money to start kicking ass and taking names.

Confederate Yankee: MASH Here for the ACSIM Congressional Page. It is a good resource for information on military authorizations and appropriations (good if you're a federal contractor, too!).

Posted by: Dave at September 7, 2007 10:01 AM

I wonder if the Dems would call Petraeus a liar if he came back and said the surge was a miserable failure. Somehow I doubt it. But if he comes back and says it's working, then he is a liar and it's actually the "Bush Report". These trolls make me sick.

It doesn't matter what's best for our country. Only what's best for the Democrat Party.

Posted by: jbiccum at September 7, 2007 10:11 AM

It's hard to see much honesty at work with these Democrats and other anti-war advocates. Anything that undercuts their position must be attacked however it can be with no quarter given and never giving an inch--as we saw in the TNR/Beauchamp affair and are now seeing with Gen. Petraeus.

I believe that a principled opposition of the Iraq War is possible, but mostly that's not what I'm reading or hearing from its opponents.

Posted by: huxley at September 7, 2007 11:12 AM


Truth be told, the most principled opposition to OIF comes from the so-called "paleo-conservatives," such as Pat Buchanan. Their opposition is ideologcally and intellectually honest.

As Michael Totten wrote once, liberals should have gotten behind OIF and the liberation of Iraq as the great progressive cause of our time. Empowering and enfranchising women. Democratizing a subjugated people. Establishing a liberal democracy in a place where it had not existed. Even government healthcare, schools and infrastructure projects abound. What's not for a liberal to love in Iraq?

Posted by: Dave at September 7, 2007 11:34 AM

Dave -- I'm not quite clear what a paleo-conservative is, though I'll take your word for it.

Frankly I still consider myself a liberal and I support the Iraq War for pretty much the reasons you list. I thought opposing fascism and religious intolerance, while promoting democracy, rights for women, gays, and individuals were bedrock for liberals. Those are my values. I can understand some skepticism to support a Republican President's war, but I find the utter closed-mindedness and outright viciousness my former comrades express towards Bush and the war to be profoundly disappointing.

Did I miss the memo that said that freedom and democracy only counted as values when they could be used to attack the United States?

Posted by: huxley at September 7, 2007 11:52 AM


Since being tagged with the "neocon" term sometime earlier this year (I had to look it up to see what it was), I've become pretty sure that a paleo-con is a Cold War era conservative cut from the mold of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan (a man I adored enough to enlist for). I always thought that to liberals, all of us on the right look the same.

On the ideological spectrum, I consider radical Islamists so far the right of both of us that I think we ought to be able to put aside domestic political differences and work together to defeat a common enemy.

No matter how we might differ on what the word "freedom" really means, we ought to be able to agree that what the Tangos have in mind isn't close to either of our ideas of freedom.

Posted by: Dave at September 7, 2007 12:04 PM


It certainly seems to me that 99.9% of Americans ought to be able to put aside political differences to defeat radical Islam. I'm continually surprised that about half the country doesn't get that. So, good to meetcha!

There was a time that the right did look all the same to me. So I'm also surprised by the differences between the neocons and the James Baker-style Republicans.

I don't know how I should be labeled these days. It seems that these days to be a genuine liberal makes one a conservative. A lot of liberals seem to me to be more accurately termed leftists. Interestingly, they no longer want to call themselves liberals--as HRC mentioned her preference to be called progressive. Fine with me. I still think liberal in the classic sense is a term worth preserving.

Posted by: huxley at September 7, 2007 01:15 PM

Despicable conduct by the Dems in an effort to smear a good man (and by all accounts, a brilliant strategist). I wish I could say I was surprised. Unfortunately, no matter what the situation on the ground seems to be (and I will say that it seems premature to declare victory), a certain number of lawmakers appear hell-bent on declaring defeat (also prematurely). Their refusal to listen to Petraeus only further invalidates them.

Posted by: Nathan Tabor at September 7, 2007 04:53 PM


There are no Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, Republicans, Atheists or whatevers in a foxhole.

Frankly, I think that's where we are. We're in a foxhole, we're well armed, well trained, well commanded and well funded. We know who the enemy is, and what their objective is.

We can settle our petty differences soon enough, but out there... There's a bunch of Tangos who want us all either dead or paying the tax.

And I ain't planning on either.

Posted by: Dave at September 7, 2007 07:36 PM

Ya know what I find humorous?

It wasn't that long ago that the Dems in Congress were (rightly) castigating Bush for not listening to the generals.

Now who's not listening to the generals?

Posted by: C-C-G at September 7, 2007 08:03 PM

Dave -- I once tried to explain to an anti-war friend the basic difference between her position and mine. Those who support the Iraq War believe we really are at war. Those who don't, don't.

The rest of the discussions--like this business with Gen. Petraeus--are a sort of shadowboxing. The anti-war folks proceed from the assumption that the war is wrong, morally and realistically, and therefore they only use information that validates that viewpoint, as CCG notes. Obviously if Petraeus returned to Washington with news of gloom and doom in Iraq, he would be a great hero like Daniel Ellsberg and there would be none of this undercutting and gainsaying.

I find this approach intellectually dishonest.

Posted by: huxley at September 7, 2007 10:06 PM

Huxley, liberalism/leftism is itself intellectually dishonest.

To proclaim that you want to expand freedom while circumscribing it through an expanding state is intellectually dishonest.

To say that you will make people's lives better by taking away their hard-earned wages through taxes is intellectually dishonest.

And to declare that we would be safer by not pursuing those who seek to do us harm is not only intellectually dishonest, it's downright stupid.

Posted by: C-C-G at September 8, 2007 09:52 AM

What's not for a liberal to love in Iraq?

The fact that it won't succeed without 500,000 troops in country.

Posted by: Voice of Reason at September 8, 2007 12:02 PM

VoR, then how is it getting better there with far less than that? Even your own Democrats are saying so.

Methinks I detect flailing.

Posted by: C-C-G at September 8, 2007 01:01 PM

VoR, then how is it getting better there with far less than that? Even your own Democrats are saying so.

By what metric are things getting better? Attacks may be down in Anbar, or wherever we concentrate the troops in any given month, but that doesn't mean the situation in the entire country is getting better. Of the 18 benchmarks laid out, only 3 are considered to be showing "progress".

Posted by: Voice of Reason at September 8, 2007 02:18 PM


Ask Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA).

Posted by: C-C-G at September 8, 2007 04:23 PM

Ask Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA).

So what, you found a dem who thinks there's progress. That's not what I asked for -- a metric by which to measure success in Iraq.

Posted by: Voice of Reason at September 8, 2007 11:08 PM

"However, what Reid and Company are doing is implying that Petraeus's testimony is some sort of political campaign."

I wonder what they will be doing after the session?

Oh yes, appearing Fox.

You people really are suckers for a PR campaign, aren't you? It is almost as if you enjoy it.

Posted by: Rafar at September 10, 2007 04:34 AM

"That's not what I asked for -- a metric by which to measure success in Iraq."

What metric would YOU measure success in Iraq?

Posted by: Dan Irving at September 10, 2007 11:34 AM