Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Media again misses the story (lack of oversight)

The supposed news this morning is not the news.  As usual the media grabs a second and mistakes it for an important moment.  Some will insist it's done due to the media's desire to act as a megaphone for the president -- which the media always does regardless of who is in the White House.  Some will insist it's to pimp for Barack and there are members of the media who exist solely for that.  (But it is true that the media fawns over the Oval Office occupant regardless of who the person is.)  Some will insist it's because the media's lazy and largely uninformed.  Those of us who have been misreported on by the media multiple times usually go with the assumption that the media's lazy and largely uninformed.

Whatever your own personal pet assumption may be, elements of the media are all over a report -- or what they were told of a report -- by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

Were told?

I'm not seeing any real quotes on the report, seeing a lot from Stuart Bowen who is the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.  

You can read Tony Capaccio (Bloomberg News)Spencer Ackerman (Wired), Barbara Slavin (Al-Monitor) or anyone else.  Those are the strong reports.

But they miss the important detail, the detail that goes to an issue bigger than Iraq.

Let's read the report right now, or the most important page, the cover.

learning from iraq


That's important because Bowen doesn't believe the office should be closed.  It's important because the White House -- which is spending billions in Iraq still, via the State Dept -- does not want the SIGIR to remain open.  The State Dept refused to brief SIGIR on what they would be doing with regards to the billions.  The most recent training of Iraqi police is a failed effort and that's a failed State Dept effort.  That failure includes handing over the training building that US dollars built -- the highly secure, highly costly building.  That includes putting billions into a program that Iraqis did not want.

Stuart Bowen:  I testified before this subcommittee in November 2011 about our 
concerns regarding the Department of State's planned multi-year, multi-billion-dollar 
Police Development Program [PDP].  I raised two overarching issues that threatened
 the PDP's success.  First, the Defense Department had not adequately assessed the 
impact of its own six-year police training efforts, and thus a key benchmark for 
future planning was missing.  And second, State had not sufficiently planned for the 
program, either on the policy or logistical fronts.  It is now beyond dispute that the 
PDP planning process was insufficient.  It should have produced specific program 
goals, a time frame for accomplishing those goals, the anticipated total cost for the 
program, the expected scope of required resources, and a method for measuring
 progress.  The process fell short in each of these areas.  Further, to succeed, the 
PDP required close collaboration and support from the Government of Iraq.  But
the GOI's support has been weak, at best. 

The White House and the State Dept knew best -- or thought they did.

And they refused to honor oversight.

This is not a one-off but part of the culture of secrecy of Barack's presidency.

This has come up repeatedly in Congressional hearings.

Check the June 29th snapshot for the June 28th House Oversight Subcommittee hearing.  (Bowen quoted in bold above is from that hearing.)

Let's go to another report on a hearing, from the snapshot for December 7, 2011:

 Subcommittee Chair Jason Chaffetz:  Before recognizing Ranking Member [John] 
Tierney, I'd like to note that the Defense Dept, State Dept, USAID and SIGIR will not 
have IGs in January.  In May of this year, I wrote the President asking him to move 
without delay to appoint replacements.  That letter was signed by Senators [Joe] 
Lieberman, [Susan] Collins, [Claire] McCaskill and [Rob] Portman, as well as [House 
Oversight Committee] Chairman [Darrell] Issa and Ranking Member [Elijah] Cummings
 and Ranking Member Tierney.  I'd like to place a copy of htis record into the record.  
Without objection, so ordered.  To my knowledge, the President has yet to nominate 
any of these replacements, nor has he responded to this letter.  I find that totally 
unacceptable.  This is a massive, massive effort.  It's going to take some leadership
 from the White House.  These jobs cannot and will not be done if the president fails 
to make these appointments.  Upon taking office, President Obama promised that his administration would be "the most open and transparent in history." You cannot 
achieve transparency without inspectors general.  Again, I urge President Obama and 
the Senate to nominate and confirm inspectors general to fill these vacancies  and
 without delay.

Barack couldn't fill those in his first term and still hasn't.  Couldn't or wouldn't.  At what time does the lack of oversight become an issue.

I'm all for Iraq getting the attention it deserves.  Obviously.  But the news today is that the SIGIR has issued its final report.  The US government is still spending taxpayer money in Iraq.  It will now be doing so with no real oversight.

At what point does the admnistration -- excuse me, at what point does the Crooked Administration intend to allow for oversight. 

"Crooked" is what we would call Nixon, Reagan and any other president who refused to appoint people to oversight positions and instead went with 'acting' -- went with 'acting' for two years, let alone for a full term.

It's a crooked administration and it will remain one until IGs are appointed.

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan,, Susan's On the Edge, Adam Kokesh, C-SPAN, Tavis Smiley, Iraq Inquiry Digest, Ms. magazine's blog and McClatchy Newspapers  -- updated last night and this morning:

Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee and a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (and its prior Chair).  Her office issued the following

Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Contact: Murray Press Office

Sen. Murray Applauds Bipartisan House Bill to Help Catastrophically Wounded Veterans Start a Family
Last Congress Murray’s bill passed the Senate unanimously only to be stalled in the House of Representatives

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray commended legislation introduced by Representatives Rick Larsen (D-WA) and Steve Stivers (R-OH) that ends the ban on in vitro fertilization (IVF) services at VA and provides access to fertility treatment, adoption services, and other care in order to help severely wounded veterans start families. The House bill, the Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvements Act of 2013, is the companion legislation to the first bill Sen. Murray introduced in the 113th Congress.
“Providing fertility services is a cost of war and part of the commitment we make to care for our servicemembers and veterans when they return home,” said Senator Murray. “So I applaud the bipartisan effort on this critical legislation by Congressmen Larsen and Stivers. I hope the House will act quickly to help our most seriously wounded veterans, and their spouses. We should not make these veterans, who have sacrificed so much, wait any longer to be able to realize their dreams of starting or expanding their families. We owe them nothing less.”
Late last year, during the 112th Congress, Senator Murray was able to unanimously pass the bill through the U.S. Senate after delivering an impassioned speech on the Senate floor that described the challenges veterans and their families face in accessing IVF. Unfortunately, the bill failed to move in the House of Representatives in time to make its way to the President’s desk after Republican leaders there expressed opposition.
Meghan Roh
Press Secretary | New Media Director
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Mobile: (202) 365-1235
Office: (202) 224-2834

The e-mail address for this site is

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