The Los Angeles Times reports that Gen. David Petraeus’ upcoming Sept. 15 report on Iraq will be authored by the White House:
Despite Bush’s repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.
And though Petraeus and Crocker will present their recommendations on Capitol Hill, legislation passed by Congress leaves it to the president to decide how to interpret the report’s data.
In other words, the Sept. 15 report promises to be much like the July mid-term report which purported to show “satisfactory performance on 8 of the 18 benchmarks.” A closer look into those claims revealed that the progress was purely White House spin. Yet, the report accomplished its primary objective of producing media reports which suggested that the overall picture in Iraq was “mixed.”
President Bush had previously said he would “respect the command structure” and not intercede in the Petraeus report:
I will repeat, as the Commander-in-Chief of a great military who has supported this military and will continue to support this military, not only with my — with insisting that we get resources to them, but with — by respecting the command structure, I’m going to wait for David to come back — David Petraeus to come back and give us the report on what he sees.
Apparently, Bush doesn’t plan to wait for a report; instead, he’ll have it drafted prior to Petraeus’ return. Markos writes: “Let me predict the future: The report: ‘Success!’ The interpretation: ‘Smashing success!'”