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September 07, 2007


If the entire presentation (including questions and answers) is not on the record and the methodology for statistics used is not publicly disclosed, Democrats should boycott the testimony. There's no excuse for participating in such a charade.

Give Petraeus a subpoena duces tecum for the hard data documents and place him under oath during his appearance. This is blindingly simple to handle if Congress has the inclination to actually do it's job.

Once again we have been sold a bill of goods....

We, the American People have been told there will be a report. Could you imagine the Starr report without the graphical description of "the cigar, freshly unwrapped, aromatic..."

Bush says America is kicking ass in Iraq. If so, there should be verifiable proof. Let the Hannitys and O'Hanlons talk til they are blue in the face. The majority of the American people will see this is bigger than a cigar.

-- At some point Democratic Members of Congress need to start calling this charade what it is: a willful intent to lie to Congress. --

Ever the critic that I am, I'd adjust this slightly.

"At some point members of Congress need to start calling this charade what it is: a willful intent to mislead the public."

Aren't military officers commissioned by and answerable to Congress? Does that give Congress some extra leverage?

As bmaz reminds us, he should produce what documentation he has and testify under oath.

If Congress is unable to find a way to compel the Surgin' General to do his duty and report to the people, it might want to turn its focus to the stack of reports from other sources that have just come out. Their authors are willing to put their conclusions in writing and to defend them, which says to me that their conclusions should carry the day if nobody does anything comparable on behalf of the Emerald City diehards.

If Petraeus won't put his report in writing and won't submit to questioning under oath, his opinion becomes baseless and therefore worthless.

Congress? Public? Whats the difference? They are all dumb as a stump and apathetic. The lowest common denominator level of intelligence and discourse in this country, on even the most critical aspects that confront us, is comical and pitiful.


No, I said what I did for an important reason. This presentation is legally mandated. That raises the bar on its veracity even higher than normal old congressional testimony. What Petraeus is setting out to do is tell the same kind of deliberate, deceptive lie as Bush did in his 2003 SOTU. There's a reason why there are laws to punish such deliberate deception, and they're there to make sure policies are based on sound foundations.

does anyone know if congress lost their way back to DC to begin hearings and impeachment proceedings against, well...
sorry, I am at a loss to include all the people that should be on trial for criminal charges.
I don't hear anything at all from congress so they must still be on vacation

The price tag hanging off that 'Trust Me' is a mere $200 Billion - to go with the half Trillion we've poured into the sand already.

Bus, meet Cliff...

EW, I agree with your take on the legalities involved, but I also think cboldt makes an important point. This charade is exactly that. Congress knows it and is on board with it. All of this nonsense, including Levin's brilliant idea of having Betray-us testify on Sept. 11th was choreographed to sell the continued occupation to the public. Congress has no intention of holding Betray-us or anyone else in this administration accountable for their lies, their damn lies, or their laughable statistics.

I am certain you would have found a way to disbelieve any written report or reported data.

Bush is Don Quixiote fighting the windmills again. Unfortunately the Democrats are the windmills.


You mean like the GAO report? Or the Jones report? Jones' report, in particular, doesn't accord with my beliefs. But he knows better than me. And more importantly--his data is credible.

This may be surprising to you on the non-reality based side of the aisle. But there are good reasons to disbelieve Peteraeus, in addition to his history of spreading propaganda and the fact that he is pulling a bait and switch on what the objectives of the surge were (primarily, political progress). Notably, his claims don't accord with any independent numbers out there, but he won't show us either his methodology or his numbers.

You get him to show me his numbers, and I'll give him due consideration.

That's the problem MayBee, a written report is not to establish a set of beliefs, but a set of facts. The whole idea is to prove one's point. When properly executed such a report should establish that the author has a firm grasp of the facts available. People can further debate the interpretation of those facts, but the facts themselves should be clearly conveyed with references as to the source of the information, methodology, etc. This is commonly referred to as the scientific method. Propose a hypothesis, cite relevant data, test the hypothesis, revise it if necessary, and repeat until one can prove whether or not the hypothesis holds. At which point it becomes accepted theory (or not, as the case may be). The most important feature of this method is a willingness to accept that one's hypothesis, while undoubtedly a lovely idea at the beginning, may be proven wrong in the end. I haven't seen much of that lately, have you?

That's the problem MayBee, a written report is not to establish a set of beliefs, but a set of facts.

So is an oral report.

Jeebus Maybee, are you dense or what? Nevermind, it was a rhetorical question. The report whether oral or written, is either based upon empirical data or its a partisan turd pulled out of his ass. Disclose the empirical data, that is all we ask.

I'm saying that even if you had the empirical data in front of you, I have no doubt you all would turn to casting aspersions on the preparers/gatherers of the data (they were politically motivated!). Or there would be claims that Cheney or Bush (or Hadley!) put pressure on the data-gatherers ala the pressure (supposedly) put on the CIA in the run-up to the war. Or you would assume the really damning stuff was kept out.
I do not believe you all could be convinced by anyone or anything associated with this administration.

No MayBee, that is incorrect.

The entire scientific literature is in print (whether on paper or electronic) for the purpose of building a body of evidence. Yes, scientists give oral reports all of the time, but those are not acceptable as a principle basis of evidence. Occasionally, you will see references to an abstract of a paper presented at a meeting, or what are called "personal communications" of unpublished data from one researcher to another. However, it is EXPECTED that that evidence will be published IN PRINT in the near term. If it is not, it is not considered acceptable evidence in the long run. And in any event, such citations are treated as ancillary to the principle data presented in the paper. Go to any scientific journal. Go look at its references. Nearly all, if not all, will be to published papers. An oral report DOES NOT carry the same scientific weight.

The whole point of having something written down is to simplify the process of fact checking, further analysis, etc. Trying to refer back to statements made in an oral report leaves entirely too much wiggle room for misunderstanding, whether inadvertent or intentional. I was once interviewed and was stunned to discover upon reading what the reporter wrote, how utterly misinterpreted I had been. I had thought I was the picture of clarity. I had thought the reporter understood the analogies and metaphors I used to more simply convey my research. Turned out, the reporter didn't get it at all. Fortunately, the reporter allowed me to correct the copy (with her ultimate approval) before it went into print. So there are real valid reasons for a properly written and annotated report.


Nice dodging my two examples of reports I accept, one of which is precisely that--just a bunch of objective facts, the metrics for which Congress and Bush agreed upon back in spring. You're ignoring the fact that, for those reports that do present facts reliably, I do accept them.

So you don't even need to wax hypothetical, "even if you had empirical data in front of you," because in fact I do. It's called the GAO report. And I accept that it presents facts in a reasonable manner. Therefore, your claims are proven false.

Now, back to the reasons why Petraeus won't show his data but the GAO will ...?

OK Maybee, yer thru. Next

Geez, MayBee, have you never had a science class in your life?!? This is depressing...

Our last comments crossed, so when I wrote that you were incorrect it was in reference to your statement that an oral report is to establish facts. Having disptached with that above, let me move on to the next problem you seem to have with the scientific method...

OF COURSE we will debate the evidence presented -- THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT. And lest you think I am singling you out, I was listening to a program on NPR not too long ago that nearly had me bashing my head against the steering wheel of my car in aggravation. The host seemed to think that science is all about numbers, and that once we had whatever numbers, that that should be the end of it. Numbers are like a language, they are trying to tell us a story, but the devil is in the interpretation of that story. The lion's share of the work in science is not collecting data, but in interpreting that data, through statistical analyses, computer models, and mathematical theory. It may come as a shock to you, but we don't actually know everything. So it takes a lot of work to figure out what we do and do not know. The whole point of collecting data, writing up exactly how we did it, and then interpreting that information to the best of our ability is precisely to make it possible for others to review what we did and hopefully shed new light on our interpretations. THIS IS DONE WITH GOOD INTENTIONS, not some nefarious conspiracy to beat up on people you don't like. It is because the collective wisdom tends to be better than that of one person. Different people with different areas of expertise bring something new to the discussion and thereby making our understanding more robust. THIS IS A GOOD THING.

The only people who shy away from such a rigorous treatment of their data are those with egos too fragile to withstand scrutiny, those who cannot face the possibility they may be wrong, or those with something to hide.

It is through rigorous debate and scrutiny that the public at large may be persuaded. Are you so frightened of what the data may show, that you cannot tolerate such public scrutiny of the evidence? If you really think things are going well, then show me your evidence, and debate it. That is the only way your views will carry the day in the long run. Of course, that also requires you to run the risk of losing.

You're ignoring the fact that, for those reports that do present facts reliably, I do accept them.

"Reliably" being the operative word.

Perhaps if Congress thinks Petraeus's report contradicts the GAO, they will ask for a special investigator to see if he has lied to Congress. Because as you see, that is obviously his intent going into this whole charade. No need to wait to see what he says.

Why waste time with ignorant, dogmatic trolletariat?

Written report Maybee, is that too difficult to understand? He can talk till is ass is blue in the face, where's the evidence to back up whatever he's gonna say? Re Bmaz, can you be that dense?

I'm smart enough to recognize my own biases, bmaz.

we could be convinced by george, if george could ever tell the truth

but there's the rub

War is a science

there is a known "predictability of Outcomes" in military SCIENCE

we already KNOW what's going on

the problem is that george bush isn't describing reality in his efforts to sell his loser of a war

george just told an Australian Minister that we're "Kicking Ass" in Iraq

reality says we're getting our asses kicked in Iraq

we're losing three soldiers a day, and there is no end in sight

there has been NO POLITICAL PROGRESS, no reconcilliation, no fucking chance that anything our soldiers are trying to accomplish will last beyond their stay in Iraq

and now we get a new video of Osama Bin Laden

that's a definite sign of FAILURE

and we all know that george "just doesn't think about Bin Laden much"

add it all up and you get this answer

Osama Bin laden is KICKING OUR ASS, and george bush is too stupid to do anything about it

now if george could just admit this fact, we could be convinced that george knows what the fuck he's talking about

but if you try to convince me of something that is directly contradicted by all the EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE, you're just wasting your breath

george bush is wasting the lives of THREE SOLDIERS PER DAY to convince me of something that all of the empirical evidence says is BULLSHIT

he just ain't gonna be able to do that

reality has a liberal bias, don'tchaknow

greenhouse, black holes are pretty dense, sucking in all energy and matter and all. If only our little MayBee was a singularity rather than another little broom in the Sorcerer's Apprentice's rattling army of clones...

phred, couldn't have said it better myself. Condolences Freepie but glad to see you back (in black) that is.

Just to make sure this gets attention, I sent it to my three congresspersons and to Pelosi, with a slightly snarky intro (which said something like 'Just in case anyone in Congress actually is listening').
They seem to understand what's being said about as well as MayBee does. [/snark]

Thanks greenhouse. And PJ, lets hope the Congresscritters start paying attention, eh?

Yes, it's like the Inspector general mentioning the five year law for agency employees is bad and not mentioning that al the MED personnel asked to be classified to keep employment beyond the legal limit, which is really Hatch Act(they asked for twenty years and pension after being classified, which is why they asked to be classified, which is hatch Act) even though jobs are promised on a Presidential basis, not statutory or other form, and if the jobs aren't extended, then it's cash pay outs for agency personnel in country as host nationals(new legislation and new Presidential account for this purpose and domestic employees), not that they work for their own government also under the agency domestic personnel five year law.


MayBee: I'm saying that even if you had the empirical data in front of you, I have no doubt you all would turn to casting aspersions on the preparers/gatherers of the data (they were politically motivated!). Or there would be claims that Cheney or Bush (or Hadley!) put pressure on the data-gatherers ala the pressure (supposedly) put on the CIA in the run-up to the war. Or you would assume

suspect would be the proper word.

the really damning stuff was kept out.

Speaking for myself, there's a reason for that... it's happened a lot.

Why do you think Sen. Roberts kept a lid on investigating W's (mis?)use of intelligence through those 2 election cycles? To protect America?

I do not believe you all could be convinced by anyone or anything associated with this administration.

Sounds like the kind of unscrutinizing, blind loyalty, and willful ignorance that permitted and incubated Iraq invasion in the 1st place, and overwhelmed careful review since, resulting in current Iraq quagmire. Powell's UN presentation may have been BushCo's hi-point, and it was... in entirety, a lie.

In the most recent right-wing "pre-sale" advertising campaign to invade/bomb/(???) Iran, there was unattributed Pentagon statements saying Iran was supplying roadside ordinance, while claiming Iraq didn't have the capability to produce these things. This was frontpaged in most newspapers across the county.

The same week, a factory was found making these things (EFPs) in So. Iraq. The Pentagon denounced earlier statement (eg: Iran responsable). In my paper (Albuquerque Journal), the Iraq EFP factory was reported in 1 short paragraph in back of main section. The false Pentagon report was not corrected in my paper at all.

There's a brief synopsis of the episode here if you aren't familiar.

This has happened again, and again, and again. Very hard for me to imagine how you wire up confidence in BushCo and utterly dismissive criticism of scrutinizing Bush varacity... very difficult indeed.

From the front page of Kos, right now:

The legislation (via Greg Seargent)
(3) TESTIMONY BEFORE CONGRESS- Prior to the submission of the President's second report on September 15, 2007, and at a time to be agreed upon by the leadership of the Congress and the Administration, the United States Ambassador to Iraq and the Commander, Multi-National Forces Iraq will be made available to testify in open and closed sessions before the relevant committees of the Congress.

Kos's comment:
Yeah. It's not the "Petraeus Report". It never has been. It's the President's report, explicitly by law. Petraeus has nothing to do with it other than providing testimony at the hearings.

Yet Petraeus's Congressionally-mandated testimony, I'm sure, will be a charade with the intent to lie to Congress.
Did Congress mandate Petraeus submit a written report? Are they in on the charade?


Not being mandated to write a report does not mean you cannot write one. And given the number of times over the last little bit when Petraeus has promised a report, it's rather odd he's reneging on that promise now.

Put him under oath and have comprehensive numbers ready, so the tough questions can be asked.

Any high school debate student could handle the task. Congress won't.

They've sold out long ago.

Change starts in the primaries.

Free, nice to see you - well put.

Did he promise a written report, ew?

Of course he could write a report, but he has been mandated only to testify. He is doing so, and you declared that a charade and evidence of intent to lie to Congress.
The good news is, the written report coming from the WH should give you ample fodder.

Oh, and my apologies. The comment I included was from Hunter, not Kos.

Shorter Troll: nyah, nyah, nyah! Stop making sense!

Do you think it makes sense that Democratic-led Congress should mandate something for Petraeus to do, then when he does PRECISELY THAT, start calling it a charade and a willful intent to lie to Congress (or the American people)?
Does that make sense to you?


Once again, you misrepresent my words.

To answer your question--yes, both the WH and Petraeus have repeatedly said the general will give a report. That was not mandated, but they said it nevertheless.

The problem is that Petraeus has already made several unsupported claims--including accusing teh GAO of error, while refusing to give the GAO the correct data, and including making claims (teh 75% reduction claim) that have already been shown to be cynical ploys.

So now--mandate or no--when Petraeus reveals he won't be giving a report, he'll just be giving us testimony, that means--no matter what happens, Petraeus is going to let his prior statements (the 75%) stand, with no evidence. This is a tactic Bush and, particularly, Cheney made to make unsubstantiated claims leading up to the Iraq war (that is, that Iraq had nukes and that AQ was in bed with Iraq). Petraeus is not going to back up the claims that have ALREADY been perpetrated on the American people.

Now he may not repeat his 75% claim--in which case the damage is already done. Or he may do so. In which case he will exacerbate his the damage. But in any case, he will be delivering testimony that will be difficult to disprove (even with the abundant evidence against it) because he is refusing to provide the documentation on which those claims have been made.

When people tell the truth, they don't refuse to turn over the background on which they make claims. That's not what's happening here.

Do you have a link to Petraeus saying he would be submitting a written report to Congress?

I don't think I'm misrepresenting your words. I think you expected Petraeus to be submitting a written report, found out he wasn't, and got ahead of yourself in your accusations.

When people tell the truth, they don't refuse to turn over the background on which they make claims. That's not what's happening here.

So now he's refusing? As opposed to just not doing that which he has not been asked by Congress to do?
People who are telling the truth testify to Congress and courts on a regular basis without supplying an unsolicited written report.
While Petraeus is testifying, if a Congressman does not believe he is being honest or is engaging in a cynical ploy, he can confront him to his face. He can be asked what he is basing his numbers on. That's the beauty of live testimony.

But your invocation of the "people who are telling the truth..." is surprising. That sounds dangerously close to the ol' "people who have nothing to hide..." axiom.
As I said earlier, I have a hard time believing there was ever going to be anything to make you believe what Petraeus has to say.
Just as you seemingly can't be convinced now that because he is doing exactly what the Democratic Congress demanded, Democratic Congressional leaders would be foolish to call that which they have legally mandated a charade and proof of his intent to lie to Congress (as you suggested they do).

EW - the one to Pelosi bounced. Don't know why, but they need to fix whatever-it-is.

This week, my Administration submitted to Congress an interim report on the situation in Iraq. This report provides an initial assessment of how the Iraqi government is doing in meeting the 18 benchmarks that Congress asked us to measure. This is a preliminary report. In September, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker will return to Washington to provide a more comprehensive assessment.
George W. Bush July 14th

I'm going to wait for David to come back -- David Petraeus to come back and give us the report on what he sees. And then we'll use that data, that -- his report to work with the rest of the military chain of command, and members of Congress, to make another decision, if need be.
George W. Bush July 12th

The two questions you asked, one was about General Petraeus's report to -- around September about what's taking place in Baghdad. My attitude toward Congress is, why don't you wait and see what he says?
George W. Bush May 10th

Home > News & Policies > May 2007

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For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
May 9, 2007

Press Availability with Vice President Dick Cheney, Ambassador Ryan Crocker and General David Petraeus
Baghdad, Iraq

Fact sheet In Focus: Renewal in Iraq

7:10 p.m. (Local)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, obviously I've got General Dave Petraeus and our Ambassador Ryan Crocker with us. We spent most of the day together. It's been a good day. We met with virtually all the top Iraqi leaders. Might have missed one or two who were out of town, but we caught most of them, including Prime Minister Maliki and as well as President Talabani, Vice President Hashemi and al-Mehdi.

Vice President Dick Cheney is joined by U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, left, and General David Petraeus, Commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, right, for a press conference Wednesday, May 9, 2007, at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. In speaking about the day's meetings with Iraqi officials, the Vice President said, "I emphasized the importance of making progress on the issues before us, not only on the security issues but also on the political issues that are pending before the Iraqi government. I was impressed with the commitment on the part of the Iraqis to succeed on these tasks, to work together to solve these issues." White House photo by David Bohrer During the course of the meetings I emphasized the importance of making progress on the issues before us, not only on the security issues but also on the political issues that are pending before the Iraqi government. I was impressed with the commitment on the part of the Iraqis to succeed on these tasks, to work together to solve these issues.

I also met with their top military leadership. I think it's important for all of us to remember that the sacrifices that the Iraqis have made in this conflict have been substantial. I look forward tomorrow to have any opportunity to spend some time with our U.S. military forces.

And with that, we'd be happy to respond to questions. And the first question goes to Tom Raum.

QUESTION: Mr. Vice President, did you hear anything today that makes you believe that the benchmarks that have been set up are getting met any quicker than earlier? And if so, is there any possible (inaudible) tie the performance at meeting these benchmarks to getting funds from Congress, as some Democrats have suggested?

And General Petraeus, you said a few weeks ago in Washington that regardless of how things went, it would take an enormous commitment of time and effort on the part of the United States before things are stabilized. Do you still believe that?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'm not sure that was consistent with the rules, Tom, but what the heck. You got the first one, so we'll go with it.

With respect to the question of benchmarks, we still believe that it's important that funding for the supplemental for operations here in Iraq not contain conditions that limits either the flexibility of our commanders on the ground in Iraq or interferes with the President's constitutional prerogatives as Commander-in-Chief, which is the general principle that we've adhered to and it's one of the reasons the President vetoed the original bill.

I do sense today a - I think a greater awareness on the part of the Iraqi officials I talked to of the importance of their working together to resolve these issues in a timely fashion. I think they recognize that it's in their interest as well as in our interest that they make progress on the political front just as we deal with the security issues.

GENERAL PETRAEUS: Well, Tom, I do think it will require a substantial commitment to succeed in this endeavor and I think one of the interesting messages that the Vice President heard today from the Iraqi leaders and from the Iraqi military leadership in particular was their absolute determination to carry forward in the face of very significant terrorist activity.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Todd Gillman, Dallas Morning News.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. I'm wondering how you feel the security situation here is doing compared to the last time you were in Iraq, and if you can give any serious assurances to the American public that things will, in fact, get better anytime soon.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I have to rely on reports like everybody else does, obviously. I've spent today here basically in our embassy and the military headquarters in the green zone, so I can't speak from personal experience in terms of what's going on all across Iraq.

I can say that based on the conversations I've had today, and most of those conversations were with Iraqis and Iraqi leaders - some of them in the government, some of them not - that they believe the situation has gotten better. They cite specifically the statistics on sectarian violence, Sunni-on-Shia and Shia-on-Sunni violence that they think is down fairly dramatically.

I think everybody recognizes there still are serious security problems, security threats; no question about it.

But the impression I got from talking with them - and this includes their military as well as political leadership - is that they do believe we are making progress, but we've got a long way to go.

GENERAL PETRAEUS: And they were all - all of them actually singled out Anbar province and the really dramatic shift in the Sunni population in Anbar province against al Qaeda Iraq in recent months as a heartening sign and actually as an example, that they are encouraging, be followed in other areas with similar populations.


QUESTION: Thank you very much. Ambassador Crocker said on the plane coming here that one of the messages you wanted to deliver was that any talk of a two-month summer recess by the Iraqi parliament was just unimaginable. Did you convey that, in fact, today to the leaders that you met and what was the response?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'd like to preserve to some extent on these trips the confidentiality, if you will, of my conversations with our host. I did make it clear that we believe it's very important to move on the issues before us in a timely fashion and that any undue delay would be difficult to explain and that we hoped they would approach these issues with all deliberate dispatch, if I can put it in those terms. I think they're somewhat sympathetic to our concerns.

Bret Baier, Fox News.

QUESTION: Mr. Vice President, following on that if I could first, are you confident that the Iraqis now will not take this two-month break from your conversations?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I can't make that prediction Bret. That's a sovereign issue for them, just as our congressional schedule is a sovereign issue for the United States. But I think they understand the importance of getting on with the business that's before them.

QUESTION: And if I could, General Petraeus, you're going to give a progress report in September.....

GENERAL PETRAEUS: Well, first of all, let me just say that that's going to be a joint endeavor. This is going to be the Ambassador and myself offering that assessment to our leaders in Washington and to the congressional leadership.
Press Conference with the Vice President May 9th

bmaz, I know I shouldn't feed trolls, but today I cannot help myself...

MayBee, both in Congress and in courts, evidence is presented in addition to testimony. Oral reports are insufficient on their own. Isn't that generally referred to as "hearsay" and generally "objected to"? I wouldn't know, IANAL, but it always sounds good in movies...

And as KevinNYC has helpfully added to our record here, Bush has repeatedly told us that he will wait to hear from the "generals on the ground" to determine his course of action. He has most recently used this excuse in regards to the upcoming report due from the White House in September. Forgive those of us who thought that Bush would in fact accept a report from Petraeus upon which the White House report would be based. Whatever were we thinking?

But MayBee, you seem to live in a fact-free and evidence-free world. Be my guest. Believe what you will. Me, every September I like to believe my beloved Green Bay Packers will win the Super Bowl, but that belief is generally not supported by the facts.

Sorry for the cut and paste error. Note to self, always preview

Keep cutting and pasting KevinNYC, I found all of it informative :)

KevinNYC- none of those quotes say Petraeus will be issuing a written report, either to Congress or to the public.
Certainly he is reporting to Congress, but that it was ever going to be a written report seems to be an assumption of the reader/listener.
Perhaps there are better quotes out there.

And as KevinNYC has helpfully added to our record here, Bush has repeatedly told us that he will wait to hear from the "generals on the ground" to determine his course of action. He has most recently used this excuse in regards to the upcoming report due from the White House in September. Forgive those of us who thought that Bush would in fact accept a report from Petraeus upon which the White House report would be based. Whatever were we thinking?

from the law:


(A) The President shall submit an initial report, in classified and unclassified format, to the Congress, not later than July 15, 2007, assessing the status of each of the specific benchmarks established above, and declaring, in his judgment, whether satisfactory progress toward meeting these benchmarks is, or is not, being achieved.

(B) The President, having consulted with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Commander, Multi-National Forces-Iraq, the United States Ambassador to Iraq, and the Commander of U.S. Central Command, will prepare the report and submit the report to Congress...

(D) The President shall submit a second report to the Congress, not later than September 15, 2007, following the same procedures and criteria outlined above. [...]

So yes, you are correct in your thought that Bush will accept a report from Petraeus among others. Based on those reports, the WH will produce the Congressionally-mandated written report, both a public version and a classified version.

I guess that given the signals Hoyer, Reid and company have given, the Administration doesn't believe it has to do very much to get continued funding and to head off any hard withdrawl deadlines.

As I said earlier, I have a hard time believing there was ever going to be anything to make you believe what Petraeus has to say.

No, what you said earlier was that I wouldn't believe any report, period, regardless of who issues it.

What I won't believe is a report from a person who has already played fast and loose with his numbers, when the same person is clearly trying to avoid being boxed in from providing those numbers.

I would have even believed Petraeus if he hadn't, already, been putting such tripe out there.

Maybee -- can you suggest any reason why I should believe anything Petraeus has to say? Seriously -- the administration has consistently lied from day one about its intentions and accomplishments in Iraq to both Congress and the people. So many of us stopped believing it, ever. When Bush completely lost credibility, it started sending out generals. When the old generals had fact-based inclinations, it got new generals to lie for it. So now we have generals who have lost credibility.

Did anyone hear Ann Garrels on NPR this morning from Baghdad? I was struck by her sense that the military is also watching Petreaus like a hawk. Will he lead them over cliff to satisfy Bush's ego? I can easily imagine that feeling of dread.

I didn't say "regardless of who issues it", and I was speaking in the context of your post - the report FKA the Petraeus Report.

But thank you for acknowledging you have already disqualified Petraeus as an honest actor, regardless of whether he would have issued his report in written form as you thought he was going to do, or in testimony as has always been the plan. That was my point.

I'm certain that Congress is just as likely to prosecute him for lying to Congress based on his oral testimony as they would be if he were to supply a written report. Over here on the "non-reality" side of the aisle, I don't imagine Congress will ever have any interest in prosecuting Petraeus or denouncing the fact that he is testifying just as they required him to.

Maybee -- can you suggest any reason why I should believe anything Petraeus has to say?

janinsanfran- My point was that you all won't believe anything Petraeus has to say, whether he presents it in written or oral form.
I think it is quite honest for people to say they won't believe anything he says. To pretend that he's backed out of (or at least won't be) supplying a written report and so that somehow proves he intends to mislead Congress is less honest. IMO

MayBee stop projecting your own intellectual dishonesty on the rest of us. This aggrieved sniveling on your part is truly tiresome. If Petraeus presents on honest assessment with verifiable facts and robust methodology, then we will have a place to truly begin an honest and open debate on what to make of those facts. This administration has a long track record of manipulating facts to misrepresent the truth. The upcoming Petraeus/WH report has all the hallmarks of yet another distorted PR campaign designed to manipulate Congress and the public into accepting fiction as fact. EW is rendering us an enormous service by pointing this out BEFORE it is too late to do anything about it. Because lets face it, chewing over the fact that Bush et al. lied in the PAST to get us all into this mess to begin with is just too damn late.

Perhaps with forewarning it may be possible to exert the pressure needed on Congress to get them to demand an open and honest assessment from the administration. Although, that outcome appears unlikely given the willingness of people like you to pretend that there is no objective reality to use as the starting point of any genuine debate.


Actually, you never said that. But let's go back to your claims, shall we?

I'm saying that even if you had the empirical data in front of you, I have no doubt you all would turn to casting aspersions on the preparers/gatherers of the data (they were politically motivated!).

The point is, Petraeus won't give the empirical data. Yet you want us to give him a chance anyway, even while he refuses the empirical data.

Whereas GAO has given us the empirical data.

I'm not surprised you'd choose the smoke and mirrors. But realize that is what you're doing.

The GAO provided empirical data because that's what the GAO does. They run audits and prepare data. Petraeus's job is to run the Iraq war.

He will appear before Congress to provide his assessment of the situation, given his position, experience, and expertise. He is also there to answer questions, both friendly and hostile. I don't imagine for a moment that he is, nor will he pretend to be, a neutral observer of the situation. I expect him to provide his opinion and understanding honestly. That won't mean that anyone that knows the situation or the basis of his analysis will agree with him. Obviously, he has a dog in this hunt. As does everyone that will be in that hearing room.
I expect the public hearing to be a political affair, because it is taking case in a political venue. Sadly, anything Congress does publicly becomes a re-election grandstanding opportunity, and anything done privately we can't monitor.

I'm not surprised you'd choose the smoke and mirrors. But realize that is what you're doing.
I have no idea what you are talking about with me choosing smoke and mirrors because I've not actually chosen anything. I do realize I'm not indulging myself in revenge fantasies because I misunderstood what Congress had required Petraeus to do.

What a circle jerk of crap you brought to this thread MayBee; but as that was undoubtedly your intent, you can be very proud.

It's my dim recollection that MayBee used to come on the threads at times when the Fitz investigation was posing dangers to Bu$hCheney. Therefore, the reappearance of MayBee is, IMHO, a signal that Bu$hCheney is stressing over Petraeus's credibility.

MayBee insists that Petraeus NEVER SAID it would be a 'written' report. He NEVER SAID anything to cause our skepticism. We are the unfair, unreasonable ones who meanly 'blame' Petraeus for not providing a WRITTEN report, as we erroneously thought that he would.

As phred points out, peer review lies at the heart of scientific method. It rests upon written reports. There is an inherent assumption that any credible, viable, meaningful communication is written. It is generally written in a formal, standardized fashion in which great care is taken to be certain that all data are listed in the appendices, that all data summaries are clearly labeled and explained.

It is interesting that we are now being insulted as 'unreasonable' or 'biased' for bringing to an important public policy debate the 'expectations' of science.

So in future, clinical trials need only be presented verbally to the FDA. No data explaining the number of test subjects, the methods of testing, the criteria for subject selection, nor the research design need be included.
-- Therefore, rather than fret about locating 120 subjects willing to test a new drug designed to diminish hypertension, we can simply ask 8 of our friends. In the oral report, we can mention that we did test our new drug on 'live subjects'.
-- In addition, we won't have to fret about measuring blood pressure every 4 hours. In our verbal report, we can casually mention that 'blood pressure was checked'; it'll be tough for our listeners to backtrack and ask details. So who cares if we only took the blood pressure one time, and PRIOR to giving the drug? Before versus after? Who needs it?
-- We might also decide that our drug will look more 'successful' if we use Statistics Test #1, rather than Test #2. After all, with only 8 subjects, data analysis becomes a problem due to the miniscule size of our sample.

Not to worry.
Once we provide our 'report', our listeners will be impressed.

If asked to provide a WRITTEN report, we'll act insulted.
We'll imply that a WRITTEN report is an unreasonable request.
Don't they trust us to JUST TELL THEM?
Are they such nigglers for detail, for nuance, for ... (sputter with indignation here) d-a-t-a that they won't just 'trust' us, nor 'believe' us?

First, MayBee's ceaseless and insinuating comments on this thread are consistently aimed at making us appear to be unreasonable, and as if WE are in the wrong -- how foolish of us to expect a WRITTEN report.

On occasion, I have the privilege of working with medical researchers.
I can't think of any who would not view an ORAL report as an abbroagation of their responsibilities to their funders, their colleagues, their patients, and their personal standards.

Perhaps Gen. Petraeus will not be giving a WRITTEN report.
If that is the case, I view it as unfortunate.

It makes him appear to be a toady.

Whether or not Gen Petraeus is legally obligated to offer Congress a WRITTEN report, judging from what I've seen, professionals who feel responsible for information that others will rely on to make decisions provide WRITTEN reports. Sometimes written reports are created primarily to cover their asses, but more often it is because the writing process helps them think through complex issues. In addition, it shows respect for those who support, sustain, and hope to benefit from their efforts.

It is too bad that Gen. Petraeus will be unable to make a similar, WRITTEN contribution to his troops, his President, and his fellow Americans.

However, many of us have been called upon to provide, interpret, or analyze numbers upon which serious decisions depend. In the case of medical researchers, I can safely state two points: (1) their recommendations and research can be lifesaving, (2) they hold themselves to high standards of accuracy, and are in frequent contact with one another, often inquiring about the details of how their research was conducted, or their results analyzed. It's unfortunate that such an illustrious military commander as Gen. Petraeus is evidently not going to meet a standard that is in constant, daily use in the United States.

I think that once you have that experience, as clearly phred and others here do, you really don't have much patience for anyone unwilling to provide information in a fashion that -- within the professions (medicine, law, research) is assumed to take WRITTEN form.

FreePatriot, good to see you.

I don't see MayBee with pleasure, but I see MayBee as a symptom that the wingnuts are sweating about something. Let's hope the that Richard Durbin's sudden epiphany that continuing to fund 'timelines' is the equivilent of yet another free pass rubs off on a whole lot more Dems, and a few Republicans to boot.

Let's also hope that Congress loses all patience with an administration, and a General, unwilling to provide WRITTEN documentation, irrespective of whether or not that was the original deal. He may not be 'required' to provide a WRITTEN report. But if he doesn't provide one, he loses credibility.

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