In a story in the LA Times this morning “Top general may propose pullbacks” Julian E. Barnes and Peter Spiegel report that Petraeus may announce pullbacks from some areas in Iraq, including al Anbar province and a turnover of those ares to Iraqi forces.

I’m somewhat mystified by this process as it appears that, at the White House, they seem to know already, in other words, today, what they are going to report in September, in other words, a month from today. In fact it seems that they began writing their “field report” weeks ago… in the White House.

I’m not sure why exactly, but this somehow reminds me of reports I hear from teachers with experience in the “no child left behind” follies, who have described to me the specter of spending weeks and weeks of classroom time devoted to “teaching to the test” in order to maintain mandated academic ratings and the flow of federal funds. Taking the test is mostly a charade, passing the test, a foregone conclusion, an exercise in making things look good on paper.

In other words, as Junior might say every few seconds, in the case of Iraq they are writing a “report” which will contain recommendations that will allow us to draw conclusions, that were decided on in the White House more than a month ago.

They will do, in this instance, what they have done so unsuccessfully for the last 7 years, they will start from a set of erroneous facts, ask for recommendations or intelligence from the field, cherry pick the recommendations and intelligence to find those nuggets that fit their assumptions, ignore the rest, have the advertising guys in the White House cook up a great big pot of bullshit stew, order the military and diplomats to sign off on it, and have Petraeus and Crocker carry the wholly fraudulent, putrid mess up to capitol hill and serve it to congress, where as we well know “they’ll eat anything.”

The LA Times says:

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.

I’m clear out here in Dayton, Ohio and I can tell you this, long before the General and the Ambassador board the plane in Baghdad next month, long before the admen in the West Wing have finished tweaking and spinning the “report from the field” I could write it myself.

In fact, for less than the price of two first class, round trip tickets from Baghdad to Washington, I’ll personally write all the General’s “field reports and recommendations” to Congress for the next calendar year, and I’ll throw this one in as well.

The situation in Iraq is steadily improving, but we still face challenges and a lot of hard work, in other words the enemy is still out there trying to hurt us, in other words the evil ones still want to kill Americans. Therefore we will continue the current troop levels through the end of the year, in other words sometime in February and the General will report back at that time.

In other words then.

Until then we will continue the hard work of writing the General’s next report.

I don’t know how much it’s going to cost the taxpayers to ship Petraeus and Crocker, their respective staffs, roadies, valets, hairdressers whatever, from Baghdad to the Hill and back to the Green Zone, but I can deliver the kind of reports that the President needs quickly, efficiently and at greatly reduced cost to the taxpayer from my world headquarters right here in Dayton, Ohio.

All they have to do is send me the conclusions… data, by telegraph is okay.

Bob Higgins

Worldwide Sawdust

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