O’Hanlon Hopes Final GAO Report On Iraq Will Be ‘Improved’ To Reflect WH Claims Of Progress
Yesterday, a leaked draft of an upcoming Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on progress in Iraq painted a “strikingly negative” picture of the war-torn country. The draft contradicts “the Bush administration’s conclusion in July that sectarian violence was decreasing as a result” of the surge. It concludes, “The average number of daily attacks against civilians remained about the same over the last six months; 25 in February versus 26 in July.”
On CNN this morning, Brookings analyst Michael O’Hanlon, who recently co-wrote a New York Times op-ed declaring progress in Iraq, took exception to the report: “I have to be quite critical of the GAO.” He implied that he trusted Bush administration’s numbers more than the GAO’s, and said hoped the GAO report would be “improved” to better reflect progress:
Gen. Petraeus just gave an interview, I think yesterday, to an Australian paper, in which he said that there could be a 75 percent reduction in sectarian killing since the winter time. Now let’s allow for the possibility that Petraeus’ data isn’t quite right.
Let’s allow for the possibility that in other parts of Iraq, things could be a little worse perhaps. Still, a 75 percent reduction is very striking. GAO by contrast is apparently saying, “no documented change whatsoever in the secuity environment.”
I just don’t understand how that could be their conclusion. And I will look forward to their report. I hope it’s a flaw in the draft that will be improved in the final result.
O’Hanlon’s desire for the GAO report to be “improved in the final result,” so as to show a rosier picture in Iraq is emblematic of why the draft was leaked in the first place:
The person who provided the draft report to The Post said it was being conveyed from a government official who feared that its pessimistic conclusions would be watered down in the final version — as some officials have said happened with security judgments in this month’s National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq.http://thinkprogress.org/2007/08/31/oha ... nt-4050264
This whole charade sounds very familiar to me. Where have I read about such things before? Hmmmm.
Winston dialled 'back numbers' on the telescreen and called for the appropriate issues of The Times, which slid out of the pneumatic tube after only a few minutes' delay. The messages he had received referred to articles or news items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to alter, or, as the official phrase had it, to rectify. For example, it appeared from The Times of the seventeenth of March that Big Brother, in his speech of the previous day, had predicted that the South Indian front would remain quiet but that a Eurasian offensive would shortly be launched in North Africa. As it happened, the Eurasian Higher Command had launched its offensive in South India and left North Africa alone. It was therefore necessary to rewrite a paragraph of Big Brother's speech, in such a way as to make him predict the thing that had actually happened. Or again, The Times of the nineteenth of December had published the official forecasts of the output of various classes of consumption goods in the fourth quarter of 1983, which was also the sixth quarter of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. Today's issue contained a statement of the actual output, from which it appeared that the forecasts were in every instance grossly wrong. Winston's job was to rectify the original figures by making them agree with the later ones. As for the third message, it referred to a very simple error which could be set right in a couple of minutes. As short a time ago as February, the Ministry of Plenty had issued a promise (a 'categorical pledge' were the official words) that there would be no reduction of the chocolate ration during 1984. Actually, as Winston was aware, the chocolate ration was to be reduced from thirty grammes to twenty at the end of the present week. All that was needed was to substitute for the original promise a warning that it would probably be necessary to reduce the ration at some time in April.
As soon as Winston had dealt with each of the messages, he clipped his speakwritten corrections to the appropriate copy of The Times and pushed them into the pneumatic tube. Then, with a movement which was as nearly as possible unconscious, he crumpled up the original message and any notes that he himself had made, and dropped them into the memory hole to be devoured by the flames.
What happened in the unseen labyrinth to which the pneumatic tubes led, he did not know in detail, but he did know in general terms. As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs -- to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place. The largest section of the Records Department, far larger than the one on which Winston worked, consisted simply of persons whose duty it was to track down and collect all copies of books, newspapers, and other documents which had been superseded and were due for destruction. A number of The Times which might, because of changes in political alignment, or mistaken prophecies uttered by Big Brother, have been rewritten a dozen times still stood on the files bearing its original date, and no other copy existed to contradict it. Books, also, were recalled and rewritten again and again, and were invariably reissued without any admission that any alteration had been made. Even the written instructions which Winston received, and which he invariably got rid of as soon as he had dealt with them, never stated or implied that an act of forgery was to be committed: always the reference was to slips, errors, misprints, or misquotations which it was necessary to put right in the interests of accuracy. http://www.george-orwell.org/1984/3.html