Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Operation: Move Those Goal Posts!

Last January the Resident forged ahead with the Surge™, selling it by frequently referencing the Friedman Unit, and pleading for six more months like a junkie whore pleading for a bump.

In May, the Resident prevailed with the supplemental spending bill, and the war was funded through the end of fiscal year 2007 on 30 September. One of the conditions attached to the supplemental, PL 110-28 mandated that the GAO report to Congress on 01 September assessing the progress of the Iraqi government on 18 separate benchmarks.

The GAO released their report on Tuesday. The assessment found that only three of 18 benchmarks had been met.

The picture is bleak. That means there is only one thing to do...Move the goalposts!

Now, since the test has been graded and an F- has been awarded (Three of 18 is 17%) the White House wants the Congress to ignore the failure to meet the benchmarks - which by the way were proposed by the White House and the Iraqi government, not Congress - and concentrate instead on the alliances that are now being made with Sunni Sheiks. The White House also absurdly insists that arming the Sunnis enhances the relationship with the Shia dominated government of Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

You know, since they insist - lets take a moment to look at that arrangement. We are arming the very people who were killing Americans this time last year, the same people that were once the greatest threat to the stability of the country. Additionally, so much ammo is going to Iraqis that our cops stateside are training with paintballs. (Trust me on this - there is no fucking comparison between a 9mm and a paintball gun!) This is truly a sick joke, especially when they flog the lie that this clusterfuck is necessary to 'keep Americans safe.'

The Pentagon immediately commenced with the protesting. One of the nits they picked: The GAO used 'old' data...all the way back through the end of July! And that is just not fair, you see, because August was better! If that data was included, the benchmarks would be nearer! (I'm curious...Were they supposed to do the analysis over the long Labor Day weekend?)

The report determined that violence remained high....prompting Pentagon officials to once more insist that the August numbers would have improved the numbers considerable. (Really? The Yazidis might disagree. 500 Yazidis were killed in coordinated bomb attacks in mid-August. August saw the single most deadly attack of the entire civil war.)

The Pentagon cranked up the Wurlitzer, and House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (MO-07) put on the funny pants and danced like a good little monkey to advance the PentaSpin.

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) said Pentagon officials had told Republican leaders that the GAO had relied on outdated information....He added that lawmakers were far more interested in the assessment coming next week from Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker.

Roy is, of course, referring to the 'report' that the White House is producing for Petraeus and Crocker to deliver. And Roy should speak for himself. He is the Minority whip, and most of the members on the Majority side of the aisle (with the exception of the pod-person that replaced Brian Baird when he popped in for a dog-and-pony show) have had General Petraeus' number since 26 September 2004, when he threw his support behind Bush and the war with a fawning Op-Ed in the Washington Post. (I am still non-plussed that I seem to be the only person having a fit about it. What's up with that? Generals are simply not supposed to weigh in before an election, and I frankly hoped it would at least get a mention when he was in front of Congress before receiving his fourth star.)

Roy can look forward to the Happy-Talk Express all he wants. But something tells me that it is not going to roll down smooth tracks. Congress has about a hundred million angry bees in their collective bonnet, and every last one of us sent our bullshit detectors in for servicing in advance of the PR offensive that is supposed to convince us to sacrifice a few thousand more of our children on the altar of Bush's ego.