Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Spinning Petraeus' Report

No real surprise that the spinning is already started. The problem is that this starts to gel the mind set of the various parties on what the results are rather than reading the report and making a decision from there.
Lawmakers are trying to anticipate what the top U.S. commander in Iraq will say in the report, gaming out how the other side will spin it, and then trying to figure out how to react to the spin.

Led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Democrats say they fear that Bush’s handpicked commander in Iraq will paint an unreasonably rosy picture of the progress on the ground.

“I’m very concerned that they will kick the can further down the road or talk about a few anecdotal successes that they’ll try to pass off as the situation in Iraq,” Pelosi told a group of journalists recently.

Republicans say that the Democrats are unwilling to accept the good news that’s coming in about Bush’s initiative. U.S. commanders are already touting that large, al Qaeda-style attacks have dropped 50 percent since the troop increase started six months ago.

“Liberal Democrats are going to approach this with closed minds and open mouths,” said Brian Kennedy, spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).

The political stakes are high, especially for Republicans and President Bush. Centrists who have stuck with Bush on the increasingly unpopular war have pointed to September and Petraeus’s report as the point at which they will re-evaluate their support for the war.
The real shame is that only the shrillest of voices will be reported for the most part. Pelosi and Boehner are both essentially disqualified from reasoned discussion due to where they sit in the political battles. No doubt you'll need to decide at what level Petraeus fits into the political distortions as well, but I'm willing to give him more benefit of the doubt for an honest report than any politician.

This bit is interesting as well:
The benchmarks to be evaluated in the report include de-Baathification, distribution of oil revenue, disarming militias, reducing sectarian violence and increasing the capability of Iraq Security Forces.
Disarming militias? What about the arming of militias? In some areas the residents have been armed by the military to assist in their own security. This is generally a method that shows promise, but there seems to be little understanding that this does go on. (and that it's a good thing in controlled circumstances.)

No comments: