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Bush and Benchmarks: Trust, but Verify!

His lips are moving...

Bush Seeks Compromise on Iraq Benchmarks

President Bush, under growing political pressure, agreed to negotiate with Congress on a war-spending bill that sets benchmarks for progress in Iraq.

The turnabout in Bush's position came as Republicans expressed anxieties about the war and the House was expected to pass legislation that would cut off funding for U.S. troops as early as July.


Bush pressured Iraqi leaders to move swiftly on a number of long-pending measures, including legislation to share Iraq's oil wealth, hold provincial elections and update the constitution.

"They have got to speed up their clock,'' the president said. Washington is unhappy that Iraq's parliament plans to take a two-month vacation this summer in the midst of the war.

Bush's willingness to put benchmarks in a war-funding bill represented a shift by the president.

"One message I have heard from people of both parties is that benchmarks make sense and I agree,'' Bush said. He said his chief of staff, Joshua Bolten, would talk with congressional leaders "to find common ground'' on benchmarks.

White House officials decided Bush, after refusing to discuss his negotiating stand, should change course and declare what he is for since he been emphatic about what he is against.

Given the history of misinformation going into this war we cannot rely on the current administration to present a fair and honest picture to the American people of the progress being made. We need an independent analysis of the progress.

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Comments (19)

P. Bunyan:

"we cannot rely on the current administration to present a fair and honest picture"

Well we clearly cannont rely on the press to present a fair and honest picture (at least they have yet to demonstrate that ability), nor can we count on the U.N. (who's most compelling interest is in covering their own corruption), so who do you propose that we count on to present a fair an honest picture?

And do you realize that since your desire for the allies to be defeated in Iraq is so great, you will automatically discredit any positive news, no matter the source? (And this is a FACT, based on 2 years of reading your comments on this website.)

Steve Crickmore:

The meme of Bush has consistently been: "The more progress we make in Iraq, the more desperate the terrorists will become". So an increase in enemy hostilities, and the corresponding recent increase in American casualties, could be construed as sign of the progress, we are making in the war... maybe a sign of how desperate some of our soldiers have become too. "I know it was a bad thing what I've done, but I done it because I was angry TJ was dead and I pissed on one Iraqi's head'" a marine fom Haditha said..a statement that kind of sum's up the war.

"And this is a FACT, based on 2 years of reading your comments on this website."

1. I've only been commenting at Wizbang for a year. I guess is just *feels* like two years to the conservatives such as yourself.

2. I generally don't comment on good news at all. It's so rare I'm usually just flabbergasted beyond words, or it is so obviously just spin (from Malkin and the other drive-by liars) that it doesn't justify a response.

3. The U.N. is the first choice that came to mind, but perhaps there's other, better choices. Who would you suggest, Mr. Bunyan?

P. Bunyan:

"I generally don't comment on good news at all."

I'm not even gonna bother with that statement. But it does say a lot.

"Who would you suggest, Mr. Bunyan?"

General Petraeus


one thing that i have noticed is that the older you get the quicker time seems to go. that's all i have to say on the 2 year vs. 1 year dealio....

your bias in your statement about not commenting on good news does you no service, lee. what it mostly does is show just how deliberately ignorant you are of what is happening in iraq. there are too many places to get "good" news that if it is so rare that you are flabbergasted by it than you aren't really looking for it.

i suggest you spend some time reading Yon, and Totten (http://www.michaeltotten.com/) to get some perspective. they both do a good job of providing relatively unbiased reporting of both the good and the bad.

personally, i try to read a variety of newspapers, magazines, and blogs from a wide spectrum of viewpoints to better educate myself on issues so that i don't look like an idiot when i do post. but that's just me.

as for your choice of the UN...all i can do is ask "why?" seriously...have you not been paying attention to the oil for food scandal, the so-called Human Rights Commission (which has only had time to pass something like 7 resolutions condemning only Israel), the atrocities committed by UN troops in Africa? has the UN done anything to justify the deference that the left wants us to give to it?

"your bias in your statement about not commenting on good news does you no service, lee. what it mostly does is show just how deliberately ignorant you are of what is happening in iraq"

Choosing not to comment equates to ignorance? I didn't say I wasn't aware or informed, just that I choose to not comment on it.

By the way - I do confess to ignorance over the rest of your comment, because after seeing your own display of stupidity with that remark above I chose to not waste my time with any more of what you had to say.... just as I don't waste my time commenting about "good news".

See, look at all the time I've just saved!



Do you really think 'The Guardian' is the most knowledgeable or nonpartisan source on the inner workings of the US Congress ?

Even then you had to omit this in your first snip....

"Bush said he would veto the measure. ``We reject that idea. It won't work,'' the president said, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon after a briefing on Iraq and Afghanistan.

The bill being voted on Thursday is opposed by nearly all Republicans and unlikely to survive in the Senate. But House Democratic leaders say the measure shows they refuse to back down in challenging President Bush on a deeply unpopular and costly war.

"The president refuses to listen to the American people who want this war to end," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "

And yes, your refusal to address positive news does call into question your judgement.

P. Bunyan:

Those who want the allies to win will focus on, stress, yes maybe even eggerate the positive. Those who do not want the allies to win...

Well, you get the point


no lee, choosing not to comment does not equal ignorance. in fact, not commenting when you really don't know about something is, i think, a sign of maturity.

however, what you said was that you don't comment on good news because it is so rare, or it is just spin. in fact there are a lot of places that talk about good things that happen in iraq, and aren't spin. there are some great places that talk about both the good and the bad. i suggested 2 authors to check out.

my point was that if you have not spent the time to explore and see that these places exist, then you are being willfully ignorant of the subject you are speaking of. that's it. i may not have been clear earlier.

by the way, i really would like to know why you think the UN has any credibility given the examples i sited above.

I don't see any other viable option, ke - to the UN. And the lack of credibility in the mind of many conservatives has its roots in the NPAC neocon doctrine -- which has been pounded into your heads in that right wing echo chamber until you guys hate the UN as much as you hate... Democrats.

George Bush appointed John Bolton, an NPAC founder who had no business holding that office. For you to suggest for a second that conservatives have an unbiased and objective view of the UN is absurd.

What has the UN done to deserve credibility? They told us before we invaded Iraq that there weren't any WMDs there, and they were right.

Had Congress listened to Blix instead of Bush and Powell and Cheney and Rumsfeld, we'd be a lot better off. Congress and the American people trust the UN, Ke. That's the reason I suggest that body -- and being able to trust the information we're given is the very first and most important step we need to take going forward.

P. Bunyan:

"What has the UN done to deserve credibility? They told us before we invaded Iraq that there weren't any WMDs there, and they were right"

Only in your far leftist, fabricated reality is that true.


wow...you really despise bolton. personally, given the amount of corruption that has been documented in the administration of the UN, having someone who would not be willing to take them at their word would be a good thing.

i never said that conservatives have an unbiased opinion of the UN. i could say that your loving of the UN is based on the pounding of the leftist internationalist doctrine from the media and academic elites. i could say that, but that wouldn't necessarily make it true, now would it?

my lack of respect for the UN has nothing to do with NPAC (whatever that is) it has to do with stories i have read in such places as the NY Times about corruption in the UN and the atrocities commited by UN troops in Africa.

as for listening to blix... i can't find it right now, but there was a really good article about the guy who headed the search for WMD in Iraq after the invasion. he found plenty of evidence that there were stock piles of chemical/biological weapons at the very least. but they were gone by the time he was able to get to the bunkers under the rivers in bagdad. and then nobody would follow up on his reports. wish i could find a link to it now, it was an eye-popper.

"wow...you really despise bolton."

Wow, there you go exaggerating again. A lack of interest in commenting on good news is "ignorance", and a link to the Senate Minority opinion on Bolton's appointment indicates I "despise" Bolton. Are you incapable of reasoned thought and argument? Don't answer that -- your answer will only confirm the affirmative.

I typo'ed NPAC - should have been PNAC, and since you're apparently just one of the bleating sheep they've been leading around by the balls for the last 10 years why don't you get educated, then you can sit at the big-people table and act like an adult, instead of having to eat off the intellectual paper plates that pass for knowledge over at Wizbang.

"Further, these constabulary missions are far more complex and likely to generate violence than traditional 'peacekeeping' missions. For one, they demand American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations, as the failure of the UN mission in the Balkans and the relative success of NATO operations there attests. Nor can the United States assume a UN-like stance of neutrality. . . . American troops, in particular, must be regarded as part of an overwhelmingly powerful force" (p. 11).

Iraq was a "mission" of PNAC, and they made the decision to invade Iraq first, then tried to drum up the evidence to support their "mission" (see the smoking gun)

Trust them to tell us the truth as we extricate our asses from the wringer in Iraq? Not for a second.


okay, i'll admit despise was a strong word.

i explained the reason i used the word ignorance. i think we may have agree to disagree on that.

i am one of the bleating sheep lead around by my balls? i'm not sure how you come to that conclusion. but it's your prerogative to think so. can't think of anyone who knows me that would agree with you tho.

reading the snip that you quote above, just what is your problem with that statement? and reading the letter that you linked to...they're arguing their reasoning for regime change in Iraq. i don't see any ginned up evidence in the letter. as a matter of fact, didn't regime become the stated policy of the US not long after the date on the letter, for exactly the same reasons as stated in the letter?

this quote:
We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts. Although we are fully aware of the dangers and difficulties in implementing this policy, we believe the dangers of failing to do so are far greater. We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.

i see in here a desire for a strategy to be articulated...i think we would all agree that an articulated strategy is a good thing.

"reading the snip that you quote above, just what is your problem with that statement?".

I don't have a problem with the statement. Who said I had a problem? (ok, I'll stop - but you do see my point, I'm sure).

The statement shows that there has been a specific, calculated effort on the part of an organized group of very powerful neoconservatives in our country to move our country away from a "U.N.-like stance of neutrality" - long before the "atrocities" you cited.

Your distrust of the UN has been drilled into you by a political movement that has lead this country down the road of ruin for the last six years now. Don't come 'round here parroting their talking points and think you're convincing anyone of anything other than showing your sheer gullibility and willingness to be told what to think.

The UN was right about WMDs in Iraq. They didn't lie where the neocon machine in Washington did lie. That's good enough for me.


i thought you were using that quote snipit to make your point. and since you seem to be opposed to that group's goals you would therefore have a problem with it. it was an implied thing.

umm, lee? when has the US *ever* had a UN-like stance of neutrality? seriously the best i could come up with would be during the administration of george...washington that is.

and i repeat yet again, my distrust of the UN has not been "drilled" into me. i read the news (from a variety of right and left sources) and come to my own conclusions. just because they don't match your conclusions does not make me a sheep or gullible, or a parrot.

so did the neocons lie? or were they mistaken? if they lied, where is your proof that they lied? and even if the UN was right that there were no current WMD's in Iraq, they have lied about other things. or is WMDs your only point of reference for determining honesty?

You seem to enjoy bantering this about, ke -- and that's fine -- and I don't mean to be short with you, but in terms of what's relevant - we are talking about the verification of benchmarks which we will set in Iraq, after all -- and as far as I'm concerned the UN has a better record of accuracy then the Bush administration. Whether you figure the administration lied or just got it wrong, they got it wrong and have to this day refused to admit it.

And then there's the forged Italian letter...

And -- there is the matter of motive -- there is a Presidential election approaching, and if you think you can trust what this administration tells you anywhere near election time, you're not gullible, you're crazy. Note that I'm not suggesting sending a team of Democrats to oversee and verify the benchmarks either... because I don't think we can trust any side who has a dog in this fight to be objective and honest -- and that's exactly what the American people need if we EVER want to send their boys and girls to war again.

If it isn't the UN, then who do you suggest? The judges on "American Idol"? Oprah? The Pope?


i do enjoy talking politics. it's hard where i live, because when people find out i am even the least bit conservative, i get belittled, insulted, and on occasion threatened. just not worth the hassle to try to talk to people who aren't willing to be open minded.

i can agree that we need an objective and honest verification of benchmarks. and i think that benchmarks are a good thing. i think there is a very valid concern regarding automatic implementation of sanctions or setting any kind of hard date however.

i think that benchmarks, with a review and analysis is reasonable. and if during the review a determination is made the the Iraqi government failed to effectively even try, then we would need to revisit aid, training, and troops.

at no time do i think we should abandon the Kurds however.

but i would argue that the UN does have a dog in this fight. or more accurately, that the member nations do. you know: China, Russia, France (to a lesser extent since their election, but it is still there), any Arab or Muslim country, Venezuela, Cuba... They all have reasons to want us to fail or succeed in Iraq.

i was just trying to come up with a list of people i would trust to be non-partisan in this regard, and the only name i could come up with is Havel, the highly regarded czech ex-president. every other big name i could think of has an interest, one way or another, in what happens in Iraq.

the pope would be a really bad idea because of the the whole crusade thing. tho perhaps the patriarch of the eastern orthodox church. i hear they have decent relationship with the Muslim religious leaders.

oh...and definitely not Oprah...

I really do need to use more smilies -- I wasn't serious about Oprah or the Pope, of course. :)

Havel is an interesting choice, and one i could warm up to.

Interesting, isn't it -- when we're faced with the question of "Who in the World do you trust" on matters of world importance like this, just how short the list is?

thanks for the chat. I hope you stick around.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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