Thursday, August 30, 2007

GAO says "little progress" (DeYoung & Ricks, Washington Post)

In a sign that top commanders are divided over what course to pursue in Iraq, the Pentagon said Wednesday that it won't make a single, unified recommendation to President Bush during next month's strategy assessment, but instead will allow top commanders to make individual presentations.
"Consensus is not the goal of the process," Geoff Morrell, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters. "If there are differences, the president will hear them."
Military analysts called the move unusual for an institution that ordinarily does not air its differences in public, especially while its troops are deployed in combat.
"The professional military guys are going to the non-professional military guys and saying 'Resolve this,'" said Jeffrey White, a military analyst for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "That's what it sounds like."
White said it suggests that the military commanders want to be able to distance themselves from Iraq strategy by making it clear that whatever course is followed is the president's decision, not what commanders agreed on.

The above is from Nancy A. Youssef's "Pentagon won't make surge recommendation to Bush" (McClatchy Newspapers). While the military won't make recommendations, an evaluation is being made elsewhere. Martha notes Karen DeYoung and Thomas E. Ricks' "Report Finds Little Progress On Iraq Goals" (Washington Post):

Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to a draft of a Government Accountability Office report. The document questions whether some aspects of a more positive assessment by the White House last month adequately reflected the range of views the GAO found within the administration.
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.

Though not the Pentagon Papers, the report is important and, if you read futher, you'll find out how the Post got ahold of it (DeYoung and Ricks have been covering this upcoming report for some time now) -- it was passed to the paper by a second party. The person using the 'courier'
fears that the report will be watered down (or classified) before it is official released ("as some officials have said happened with security judgments in this month's National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq").

So the military doesn't want to endorse the escalation and the independent report for Congress, at least in draft form, is very specific about the failures. Remember that Bully Boy intends to follow Ryan Crocker (US Ambassador to Iraq) and Gen. David Petraeus' reports (modified by the White House with possible 'reports' from the Departments of State and Defense as well) to argue for the escalation to continue and for a further $50 billion of funding for the illegal war.

armyof none

Remember that today's a release party for Army of None, published by Seven Stories Press, available at Courage to Resist and many other places, written by Aimee Allison and David Solnit. Today there will be a release celebration for the event at Club Oasis (135 12th St., btwen. Madison and Oak Sts., Oakland 6 blocks E. of Broadway/12th St. -- click here for East Bay express' map of Club Oasis' location). The event is free and open to all. The authors will be there, Jeff Paterson will have a slide show, there will be a puppet show, poets, snakcs, a dj . . . The event starts at 6:30 pm. More information can be found [Warning: MySpace page] by clicking here.

Aug 29, at 12:00P, Aimee and David on KPFA Radio! @ KPFA Radio 94.1; Aug 30, at 6:00P Army of None Book Release Party & Tour Kick-Off @ Oasis Restaurant & Bar - Oakland, CA; Sep 14 at 4:00P Army of None Workshop - San Jose, CA @ Californians for Justice, San Jose, CA; Sep 14 at 7:30P Army of None Book Release/Signing - San Jose, CA @ Dowtown San Jose - Location TBA; Sep 15 at 12:00P Army of None Tour in Pittsburgh, PA; Sep 19 at 7:00P Army of None Tour in Cleveland, OH; Sep 20 at 6:00P Army of None Tour @ Kent, OH;Sep 23 at 6:00P Army of None Tour @ Milwaukee, WI;Sep 24 at 6:00P Army of None Tour in Milwaukee, WI @ Milwaukee, WI; Sep 25 at 7:00P Army of None Tour @ Madison, WI; Sep 26 at 6:00P Army of None Tour @ Madison, WI;Sep 27 at 6:30P Army of None Tour @ May Day Books, Minneapolis MN; Sep 28 at 10:00A Army of None Tour @ High Schools in Minneapolis, MN; Sep 28 at 7:30P Army of None Tour @ Lyndale United Church of Christ, Minneapolis MN; Sep 29 at 1:00P Army of None Tour @ Rondo Community Outreach Library - St. Paul, MN; Oct 12 at 7:00P Army of None Tour @ Bluestockings Bookstore - New York City; and Oct 17 at 7:00P Army of None Tour @ Sanctuary for Independent Media - Troy, NY

Iraq Veterans Against the War will be in Texas on Saturday. Members in the area are very excited about that and the event. Texans For Peace are staging an American People's Poll on Iraq in Fort Worth, Texas featuring many speakers including IVAW's Adam Kokesh, Leonard Shelton and Hart Viges as well as Diane Wilson, Tina Richards, Ann Wright and many others. Click here for the press release. There is not a fee to attend, the event is Saturday, in Fort Worth, Texas which is also where the Republican Straw Poll will be "taking place in General Worth Square". People will begin arriving at nine in the morning, the speeches will begin at 1:30. There will be music and entertainment. Though the event is free, people can donate and Texans For Peace is encouraging everyone planning to attend to print up tickets online. The tickets will be used for a number count of those attending. No one will be turned away because they didn't have access to a computer to print up the ticket.

Texas community members are getting the word out and if you are outside Texas but have friends and/or family in Texas, tell them about the event as well. E-mail or pick up the phone to pass on news about the rally. The event's theme is "Bring the troops home now and take care of them."

September is going to be a month of actions across the country and Texas kicks off the actions Saturday, September 1st, in Fort Worth.

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