DNC: Must Read: 'An Early Clash Over Iraq Report'

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being issued by the Democratic National Committee:

Today's Washington Post follows up on a story first reported by the Los Angeles Times yesterday that exposed the Bush Administration's plan to shield General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker from testifying before Congress on the Iraq report to be rolled out in September. Furthermore, it now seems the report itself is being written not by the generals most qualified to give an honest assessment of the situation on the ground, but by the Bush White House itself. Following a string of bad news from Iraq , including the deadliest terror attack of the war just this week and widespread acknowledgment that the Iraqi government will not meet key benchmarks, the White House appears to be laying the groundwork to manipulate the report due in September. This is just the latest attempt by President Bush and his Republican friends to spin the facts and deny the harsh realities of the situation in Iraq .

"Bush and his Republican allies will do just about anything to sell their failed stay-the-course strategy in Iraq ," said DNC Communications Director Karen Finney . "The Administration should keep its word and follow the law by allowing open testimony on the Iraq report, like it has been saying it would do for months. The American people deserve a candid assessment of what is really going on in Iraq and to know what the key people on the ground actually have to say. This bait and switch is just further proof that you can't trust Republicans on national security."

Below are excerpts of the Washington Post piece. To view the entire story, click here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/15/AR2007081501281.html?hpid=topnews

An Early Clash Over Iraq Report

By Jonathan Weisman and Karen DeYoung

Washington Post

"Senior congressional aides said yesterday that the White House has proposed limiting the much-anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill next month of Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker to a private congressional briefing, suggesting instead that the Bush administration's progress report on the Iraq war should be delivered to Congress by the secretaries of state and defense...The skirmishing is an indication of the rising anxiety on all sides in the remaining few weeks before the presentation of what is widely considered a make-or-break assessment of Bush's war strategy, and one that will come amid rising calls for a drawdown of U.S. forces from Iraq...

"White House officials suggested to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week that Petraeus and Crocker would brief lawmakers in a closed session before the release of the report, congressional aides said. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates would provide the only public testimony...

"Those positions only hardened yesterday with reports that the document would not be written by the Army general but instead would come from the White House, with input from Petraeus, Crocker and other administration officials. Several Republicans have hinted that their support will depend on a credible presentation by Petraeus, not only of tangible military progress but of evidence that the Iraqi government is taking real steps toward ethnic and religious reconciliation. One of them, Sen. John W. Warner (Va.), left for Iraq last night with Levin for his own assessment...'We know that the surge has to come to an end,' Petraeus said, according to the Associated Press. 'I think everyone understands that, by about a year or so from now, we've got to be a good bit smaller than we are right now. The question is how do you do that . . . so that you can retain the gains we have fought so hard to achieve and so you can keep going.'"

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SOURCE Democratic National Committee