THE AP REPORTED IT LIKE THIS:
On Friday, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, who commands U.S. troops south of Baghdad, said it would take until the summer of 2008 to consolidate recent gains in his area, which controls land routes into the capital from the east and south.POWER LINE CONTINUES... Those grim assessments follow years of optimistic public statements from the Pentagon about the progress in Iraqi security forces and have fueled calls in the Democratic-controlled Congress to begin withdrawing from Iraq.
Last week, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, said the number of combat-ready Iraqi battalions able to fight independently has dropped from 10 to six in recent months despite an increase in U.S. training efforts.
Note how the AP runs interference for the Democrats in Congress: the Pentagon has been optimistic before, but that optimism hasn't been borne out. And the Democrats are responding rationally to "grim assessments" by military officials.
I was curious about the "grim assessment" that ostensibly came from General Pace last week. If it really were true that the fighting ability of Iraqi forces were declining, that would be a significant fact. So I tracked down General Pace's comments to see whether they were being reported fairly by the AP.
POWER LINE FOUND THIS:
GEN. PACE: Yeah, I can tell you the numbers that are in my head. Last March, I think I said there were -- I did say and there were 10 battalions that were operating independently, and I think at the time I said there were another 88 operating in the lead. Today, the numbers I saw were six battalions operating independently and another almost 100 that are operating in the lead.POWER LINE COMMENTS: So the decline from 10 battalions to six results from the fact that Iraqi units have been fighting, as a result of which they need to be resupplied. This is a "minor variation" that is not "overly of concern." Meanwhile, the number of Iraqi battalions capable of operating in the lead, with American troops in a supporting role, continues to grow steadily, now up to around 100.
And so the question becomes, okay, how do you go from 10 to six, and why those changes? And the answer is, quite simply, that as units operate in the field, they have casualties. They consume vehicles and equipment, and need to come out of the line and be resupplied, just like our own units. So the fact that a number may be changing within a very narrow band shouldn't be of over -- overly of concern.
On the other hand, we do want to see the number go into double figures and start moving more toward more Iraqi units being able to operate on their own and more units that work operating side by side with us, moving into the lead. It is a valid thing to chase, but we shouldn't put too much weight on minor variations in those numbers.
SEC. GATES: I -- this subject hasn't come up in my conversations with members on the Hill. But if it had, I'd have said what he said.
So the "grim assessment" did not come from General Pace. It came solely from the Associated Press, and the AP made the assessment grim by simply ignoring the explanation and the other numbers that were given by General Pace.
This is how news is reported from Iraq: bad news is cherry-picked, deprived of context, and characterized in the most negative way possible for the explicit purpose of providing cover to those in Congress who are trying to bring about our defeat.
BOTTOM LINE (RELIAPUNDIT):
THE MSM IS A BUNCH OF LEFTIST-LOVING, ENEMY-APPEASING, LYING SCUM.
THEY CARRY WATER FOR AL QAEDA AND THE DEMS.
THEY ARE ALL SCUM.