Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Yawn! GAO Report Slams Iraq Progress. Yawn!

About 10 years ago, we thought we'd won a big victory when we forced a Government Accountability Office audit of the Carlsbad office of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. There was a lot wrong with that office, and we thought a GAO audit would make it obvious.

It didn't. GAO audits, we found out, often are set up to get the results that are desired; in this case, that an overworked staff was doing its best, despite some small mistakes that were primarily due to bad paperwork processing. Not a word about renegade field officers and unsupportable decisions.

So, it is with a yawn and a trite ol' "been there, done that" that I review news that a GAO report is going to say the war in Iraq is going badly. Even before I got beyond the headlines, I knew what I would read, because I knew that the Dem controlled Congress would set parameters that would have to yield a bad headline.

And it's true.

In paragraph 10 of the WaPo story, well below the paragraph that says the government scum official who leaked the report did so because he was afraid it would be "watered down in the final version," we find:
The May legislation imposed a stricter standard on the GAO, requiring an up-or-down judgment on whether each benchmark has been met. On that basis, the GAO draft says that three of the benchmarks have been met while 13 have not. Despite its strict mandate, the GAO draft concludes that two benchmarks -- the formation of governmental regions and the allocation and expenditure of $10 billion for reconstruction -- have been "partially met." Little of the allocated money, it says, has been spent.
AP did much better, mentioning the criteria in paragraph three, basically part of the extended lead to the story.

I wonder if Congress would be happy with a GAO report that measured its performance on the same scale. Since Nancy Pelosi is the speaker, let's apply a little GAO-think to the platform NanPo laid out for her first 100 hours. Our criteria is simple enough: Did what she promised become law?

If you honor Democratic candidates with your vote today, in the first hundred hours of a Democratic Congress: We will restore civility, integrity, and fiscal responsibility to the House of Representatives. NO

We will start by cleaning up Congress, breaking the link between lobbyists and legislation and commit to pay-as-you-go, no new deficit spending. NO

We will make our nation safer and we will begin by implementing the recommendations of the independent, bipartisan 9/11 Commission. NO (Remember, partial success is no success under the rules.)

We will make our economy fairer, and we will begin by raising the minimum wage. We will not pass a pay raise for Congress until there is an increase in the minimum wage. YES

We will make health care more affordable for all Americans, and we will begin by fixing the Medicare prescription drug program, putting seniors first by negotiating lower drug prices. NO We will also promote stem cell research to offer real hope to the millions of American families who suffer from devastating diseases. NO

We will broaden college opportunity, and we will begin by cutting interest rates for student loans in half. NO

We will energize America by achieving energy independence, and we will begin by rolling back the multi-billion dollar subsidies for Big Oil. NO

We will guarantee a dignified retirement, and we will begin by fighting any attempt to privatize Social Security. NO

So NanPo, who supposedly has full control of the situation and certainly has no GOP militia blowing up cars in her neighborhood or beheading her allies, was able to succeed on one measure. If you're thinking I'm too tough and the criteria should be passing legislation through the house, she'll go three for ten.

Of course, you hear a lot less about that than you'll hear about the GAO report.

Labels: , ,