Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Yeah, he lies to Congress (and got away with it)

Highly promising figures that the administration cited to demonstrate economic progress in Iraq last fall, when Congress was considering whether to continue financing the war, cannot be substantiated by official Iraqi budget records, the Government Accountability Office reported Tuesday.
The Iraqi government had been severely criticized for failing to spend billions of dollars of its oil revenues in 2006 to finance its own reconstruction, but last September the administration said Iraq had greatly accelerated such spending. By July 2007, the administration said, Iraq had spent some 24 percent of $10 billion set aside for reconstruction that year.
As Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, and Ryan C. Crocker, the American ambassador to Iraq, prepared in September to report to Congress on the state of the war, the economic figures were a rare sign of progress within Iraq's often dysfunctional government.
But in its report on Tuesday, the accountability office said official Iraqi Finance Ministry records showed that Iraq had spent only 4.4 percent of the reconstruction budget by August 2007. It also said that the rate of spending had substantially slowed from the previous year.

The above is from James Glanz' "Iraqi Spending to Rebuild Has Slowed, Report Says" in this morning's New York Times. Yes, Petraeus did "betray us." But he needed Congress' help to do that. They should have their own studies ready. He didn't spring a report on them. He was scheduled far in advance. They should have had their own studies ready and been able to stop the spin right there, on that day.

Steve Lannen (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on Condi Rice's last-minute stop-over in Baghdad yesterday where she described Iraq as "promising but still fragilge" and declared, "I think people know a democratic and unified Iraq is here to stay." Condi, of course, was in and out giving lie to her claims. Condi's photo-op could be combatted by Congress. There is a reason they have standing committees. They are supposed to be conducting ongoing monitoring. They don't do that though, do they?

Violence continued yesterday in Iraq.

Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) noted two Baghadad roadside bombs that left eight people wounded, a Baghdad mortar and rocket attack "slammed into the Green Zone," an Al Shirqat car bombing that claimed the life of 1 police officer and left three others wounded, another US collaborator was shot dead ('Awakening' Council leader for Khuthair Lafta), "American helicopter gunships injured five civilians in Baladiyat" and 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

AP reports that a convoy carrying "Midhat al-Mahmoud, president of the Supreme Judicial minister" killed 5 children it ran into "during a chaotic gunbattle with checkpoint guards" in Baghdad yesterday. AP also reports a woman blew herself up in Khan Bani Saad and calimed 8 other lives in the bombing (seven more people were wounded) on Tuesday, correction, that took place today.

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