White House Pushes Back on Iraq Report
By ANNE FLAHERTY and ANNE GEARAN The Associated Press Thursday, August 30, 2007; 11:28 PM
WASHINGTON -- An independent assessment concluding that Iraq has made little political progress in recent months despite an influx of U.S. troops drew fierce objections from the White House on Thursday and provided fresh ammunition for Democrats who want to bring troops home.
A draft report by the Government Accountability Office concluded Iraq has satisfied three of 18 benchmarks set by Congress and partially met two others, a senior administration official said Thursday. None of those are the high-profile political issues such as passage of a national oil revenue sharing law that the Bush administration has said are critical to Iraq's future.
The State Department, Pentagon and White House dispute some GAO findings, including the conclusion that Iraq has only partially met tests involving its budget process and legislation dealing with semiautonomous regions in the large, multiethnic country, two officials said.
Administration officials also disputed that Iraq has failed to provide three trained and ready Iraqi brigades to support Baghdad operations or to ensure that the security plan will not provide a safe haven for outlaws.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations that included lengthy meetings Thursday at the White House. The GAO may alter some of its findings in response to administration arguments, one official said.
Lengthy meeting at the WH, during which all GAO arms were twisted unmercifully.
Does anyone still believe that the 'reports' from Petraeus and Ryan Crocker have a prayer of changing this president's mind?