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Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Battle of Washington has Begun

Karen DeYoung, Ann Scott Tyson and uncounted anonymous sources drop a blockbuster on Petraeus. Actually it is a bit beyond a blockbuster but not a tactical nuke (a blockbuster is just 10,000 tons of TNT).

DeYoung almost frankly concludes that Petraeus has been cooking the books. Some highlights

Senior U.S. officers in Baghdad disputed the accuracy and conclusions of the largely negative GAO report, which they said had adopted a flawed counting methodology used by the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Many of those conclusions were also reflected in last month's pessimistic National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq.

Yes you read that right. U.S. military officers are contesting other U.S. military officers in the DIA. The DIA and the CIA agree on something. This must be the first time this has ever happened. The DOD has in the past generally presented a united face in Washington.

In its December 2006 report, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group ... concluded that "good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepancy with policy goals."

I'd missed that. Ouch.

The Associated Press last week counted 1,809 civilian deaths in August, making it the highest monthly total this year, with 27,564 civilians killed overall since the AP began collecting data in April 2005.

not new news but deadly.

After the jump

The military stopped releasing statistics on civilian deaths in late 2005, saying the news media were taking them out of context. [snip]

In a follow-up message yesterday, the spokesman said that the non-release policy had been changed this week but that the numbers were still being put "in the right context."

Oh my, "taken out of context" is a flag for "I have been caught lying". It's not in quotes, but "in the right context" is. Oh my. Looks like a little strategic redeployment by MNF-I here. They can't suppress the numbers so they will release them September 11 "in context".

And finally, the lie

When Petraeus told an Australian newspaper last week that sectarian attacks had decreased 75 percent "since last year," the statistic was quickly e-mailed to U.S. journalists in a White House fact sheet. Asked for detail, MNF-I said that "last year" referred to December 2006, when attacks spiked to more than 1,600.

By March, however -- before U.S. troop strength was increased under Bush's strategy -- the number had dropped to 600, only slightly less than in the same month last year. That is about where it has remained in 2007, with what MNF-I said was a slight increase in April and May "but trending back down in June-July."

Petraeus's spokesman, Col. Steven A. Boylan, said he was certain that Petraeus had made a comparison with December in the interview with the Australian paper, which did not publish a direct Petraeus quote. No qualifier appeared in the White House fact sheet.

Deadly. Not to mention that 1000/1600 = 62.5% < 75% but I mean who would dream that Petraeus would be able to divide correctly.

My guess is that Bush will win this battle of Washington, but the congress people who roll over for him will not be able to claim that they were sincerely deceived.

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