White House Blocks 2nd Iraq Study Group Report
The news comes as the Washington Post reports the Bush administration has blocked a second convening of the Iraq Study Group. Congress voted last month to fund the bi-partisan panel for a follow-up to its initial December 2006 report. But the plan stalled after the White House refused to authorize panel co-chair former Secretary of State James Baker to take part.
GOPers Nix Measure to Rest Troops Between Deployments
The Iraq debate continues on Capital Hill. On Wednesday, Republicans defeated an amendment that would require U.S. troops to get as much or more rest between deployments as the time they were deployed. Seven Republicans joined Democrats in support but the measure failed to attract the sixty votes needed to move ahead. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized Republicans, saying: “Our troops are not machines, they are human beings.” Meanwhile, Maine Senator Olympia Snowe became the second Republican to back a bill that would start bringing troops home within three months. On Wednesday, Snowe joined Republican Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon in co-sponsoring Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin’s proposal.
Report: CIA Sees Iraq Situation “Irreversible”
The Washington Post is reporting internal CIA assessments of the Iraqi government have differed sharply from public statements by President Bush and other top officials. In November of last year, CIA Director Michael Hayden told a meeting of the Iraq Study Group the Iraqi government is “unable to govern” and “cannot function.” He described the situation as “irreversible.” Hayden’s comments came just hours after President Bush appeared before the same panel to give a starkly different picture. Neither Hayden nor President Bush have mentioned the CIA assessment publicly.