Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Pathetic Preemptive Strike

Bill Kristol takes Congress and the Washington Post to task for their white flagging. In today's edition, the Wa Po cites a "leaked" draft report from the GAO and calls the conclusions "strikingly negative."


And what are the benchmarks that Congress set up? Do they include criteria that matter? No. Grassroots political progress? Not in the GAO report. The turn of the Sunnis against the insurgency? Not in the GAO report. The stabilization of Anbar province? Not in the GAO report. And progress against al Qaeda--the single most vital and direct American national interest in Iraq? Not in the GAO report.

The benchmarks they do use are often absurd. To take one example: "Increasing the number of Iraqi security forces units capable of operating independently." This is particularly silly. No one expected that Iraqi military units would surpass the capabilities of our NATO allies, most of which are also unable to operate fully "independently" of the American military.

Congress brings this report with dirty hands. It controls GAO and only the Congress can direct studies such as the one prepared by the office on Iraq. Like any good trial lawyer, Congress controlled the witness' testimony by carefully controlling the question. GAO is only doing what Congress directed it to do, and by asking loaded questions (such as whether arbitrary benchmarks have been "met"), Congress directed GAO to waste money, time and precious attention.

Obligatory link back to Hurricane Katrina and it's victims: Why is Katrina "victim" Jefferson still in office?