Senior congressional aides said yesterday that the White House has proposed limiting the much-anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill next month of Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker to a private congressional briefing, suggesting instead that the Bush administration's progress report on the Iraq war should be delivered to Congress by the secretaries of state and defense.
White House officials did not deny making the proposal in informal talks with Congress, but they said yesterday that they will not shield the commanding general in Iraq and the senior U.S. diplomat there from public congressional testimony required by the war-funding legislation President Bush signed in May. "The administration plans to follow the requirements of the legislation," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in response to questions yesterday.
The above, noted by Martha, is from Jonathan Weisman and Karen DeYoung's "An Early Clash Over Iraq Report: Specifics at Issue as September Nears" (Washington Post). As they attempt to cut off access, it may be forgotten because the push-back on lowering expectations on the report has been ongoing by the White House. But the reality was they sold this report on Petreaus. Not on Ryan Crocker. They claimed Petraus needed until September, David had to have until September, in September David could provide a picture of what was happening, it wasn't fair to David for Congress to consider any decision until David got to talk them in September . . .
Now as September 15th looms, after they've already started the push-back saying the report's not that important or complete, saying they need until November (and as November gets closer, they'll say they need until February), they now want to limit access and instead send cabinet members to talk to Congress.
Cabinet members? After Gonzales' "I don't know -- I don't recall" testimonies that came only after the Democrats took control of Congress and earlier testimony appears to be repeated lies, they want to try to sell that the cabinet is the one to address Congress?
As for Congress, if you've forgotten, the Congressionally mandated reports were all they did. They certainly didn't end the illegal war. Bully Boy didn't decide to 'give' them a few hours of Petreaus' time, this report to Congress is Congressionally mandated.
Turning to another problem, CNN reports that suicide rates are up in the US Army and we'll note this in comparison with the total population in the US:
In 2006, the overall suicide rate for the United States was 13.4 per 100,000 people. It was 21.1 per 100,000 people for all men aged 17 to 45, compared to a rate of 17.8 for men in the Army.
And it was 5.46 per 100,000 for all women, compared to an Army rate of 11.3 women soldiers per 100,000.
AP reports this is a 26 year high for active duty members of the Army and that:
One out of four soldiers who committed suicide did so while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to a report scheduled to be released Thursday. Iraq was the most common deployment location for U.S. soldiers who either attempted suicide or committed suicide.
And the Los Angeles Times notes, "About twice as many women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan committed suicide as did women not sent to war, the report said."
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