Leaked Iraq Report Shows Little Progress

August 30, 2007 at 3:37 am Leave a comment

A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on assessing the Iraq war has been leaked in draft form a week before it is to be released to Congress. The report is currently undergoing “review” by the Pentagon which can request changes that will water down the overwhelmingly negative assessment found in the report or ask that parts be deemed classified. The report found that Iraqi officials have failed to meet all but three of eighteen congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress. The GAO is a non-partisan audit, evaluation and investigative arm of Congress.

From the Washington Post:

The strikingly negative GAO draft, which will be delivered to Congress in final form on Tuesday, comes as the White House prepares to deliver its own new benchmark report in the second week of September, along with congressional testimony from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker. They are expected to describe significant security improvements and offer at least some promise for political reconciliation in Iraq.

The draft provides a stark assessment of the tactical effects of the current U.S.-led counteroffensive to secure Baghdad. “While the Baghdad security plan was intended to reduce sectarian violence, U.S. agencies differ on whether such violence has been reduced,” it states. While there have been fewer attacks against U.S. forces, it notes, the number of attacks against Iraqi civilians remains unchanged. It also finds that “the capabilities of Iraqi security forces have not improved.”

The GAO report has been leaked in the midst of a pr offensive by the White House and a White House front group called Freedom Watch which has launched a $15 million ad campaign the goal of which is according to former White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer “is to tell people that the buildup of U.S. troops in Iraq is working.” Freedom Watch was started and is led by a group of former Bush administration officials loyal to the president and will function as a echo chamber for the Bush administration’s pro-war message. The Pentagon has also set up a 24 hour a day, seven days a week war spin room to pump out select data also to sell the war to the media and the American public.

The person who provided the draft report to The Post said it was being conveyed from a government official who feared that its pessimistic conclusions would be watered down in the final version — as some officials have said happened with security judgments in this month’s National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. Congress requested the GAO report, along with an assessment of the Iraqi security forces by an independent commission headed by retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones, to provide a basis for comparison with the administration’s scorecard. The Jones report is also scheduled for delivery next week.

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Entry filed under: Congress, George Bush, Iraq, Military, Politics, Republicans, War.

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