Friday, July 15, 2005

Pentagon fails to provide report

There's little buzz in the media about this important deadline for a mandated "set of performance indicators and measures of stability and security in Iraq." As per an amendment attached to the emergency funding authorized by Congress, the Pentagon was to deliver by yesterday "a comprehensive set of metrics and timelines." They failed to do so."

Congressman Marty Meehan (D-MA) released a letter in response calling on the Pentagon to comply saying, "It is long past due for the administration to provide Congress with meaningful information to evaluate our progress in Iraq."

In a press briefing yesterday, Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, had this to say.
It's a wide range of things that the Senate has asked for, that the Congress has asked for. And all of -- most of that information was being compiled in other places and kind of moving it into a single report and ensuring that what moves out of one report and into this report is consistent. It's -- we're just trying to be very careful that with all the amount of -- we've provided an enormous amount of information to the Congress on progress in Iraq, and we want to make sure that this consolidated submission is consistent with the disparate submissions that we've provided over the months and years. So it's just taken time to kind of get it in one place and make sure that we're comfortable that it's consistent with the various reports we've provided. ...I expect it to be probably before the Congress recesses in August.
What does that mean exactly? That they have to be sure everyone has their stories straight? It sounds more like a group of felons plotting their alibis than an honest assessment of our military strategy.

DiRita goes on to describe what they expect to deliver.
...we've provided the Congress a lot of information. And the public -- you. And a lot of this is kind of boiling that amount of information into a single place, and that's -- and so it's not going to be new information, it's going to be information in a new -- newly packaged format. And that's -- and so it's -- don't look for new information. Just look for it in one place.
Do I need to remind him that is not Congress asked for? If the previously disseminated information was sufficient to judge progress, they wouldn't have asked for a new report. It sounds less like accountability and more like a cover-up with every word out DiRita's mouth.

In the words of the immortal Mark Twain, If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything. Perhaps if they followed that advice, it wouldn't take as long to comply with the Congressional mandate.
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