Sunday, November 22, 2009

The hypocritical Congressional subcommittee

andrew f. krepinevich, jr.

"Also I wouldn't rule out the consequences of what happens in Iraq," declared Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr. (pictured above) on Tuesday. "If for some reason our position in Iraq really begins to erode, I think that makes things just all the more difficult in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Krepinevich was one of four witnesses offering testimony to the The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. The other three were Wesley Clark, Kim Kagan and Gilles Dorronsoro. His remarks (quoted above) qualified for the most in depth statements on Iraq the entire hearing.

If that doesn't disappoint you, then maybe we should tell you the title of the hearing: "Iraq and Afghanistan: Perspectives on U.S. Strategy" . . . "Part III."

There's Iraq . . . in the title if not in the actual hearing.

You might think, "Well part three and all, they must have exhausted Iraq discussions in the other two hearing." You would be wrong. As we noted October 25th, "Last week, the US House Armed Services Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing entitled 'Afghanistan and Iraq: Perspectives on U.S. Strategy' and yet, somehow, neither the witnesses nor the subcommittee members remembered Iraq." A November 8th article here included:

While the violence continued, the disinterest from the US House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation continued. October 23rd, the subcommittee held a hearing entitled "Iraq and Afghanistan: Perspective on US Strategy" and managed to ignore Iraq. November 5th, they held part two of the hearing and they continued to ignore Iraq -- once more focusing on Afghanistan and Pakistan. In passing, a moment of interest may have taken place as US House Rep. Duncan Hunter spoke of a troop 'surge' taking place in Afghanistan and asked a witness, "What do you recommend if we do want it stable and we do want it so that we can leave in the next two to five years, leave it relatively stable, not abandon it totally and we'll probably leave troops there like we will in Iraq. But so what now?"

So, no, they did not exhaust the topic of Iraq. They, in fact, relegated it to an aside to pant over the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. No, the Pakistan war doesn't officially exist in the eyes of the White House. But, as Kat reported earlier this month, in the eyes of this House Subcommittee, it does, "There was something very disturbing today as we sat in the US House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing and heard witnesses and representatives speak of our war with Pakistan."

Last week, the Subcommittee (AGAIN) did not want to talk Iraq.

It's a pity that others -- especially Iraqis -- do not have the luxury of just ignoring the war.

Last Sunday 1 person was reported dead in Iraq and 8 were reported injured, Monday's numbers were 28 dead and 36 wounded, Tuesday's were 4 dead and 14 wounded, Wednesday's numbers were 2 dead and 5 wounded, Thursday's numbers were 4 dead and 6 wounded, Friday's numbers were 2 dead and 10 wounded and Saturday's numbers were 3 dead and 14 wounded. The total of reported deaths (not all deaths are reported -- the majority aren't) for last week was 44, total reported wounded was 93.

In addition, Monday the US military announced: "Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq -- A Soldier, assigned to Multi-National Division -- North, died Nov. 16 from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. Members of the Soldier's patrol immediately performed medical treatment and evacuated the Soldier to a nearby U.S. medical facility where the Soldier died of injuries. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website [. . .]. The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member's primary next of kin. The incident is under investigation." Did you catch it? M-NF announces a death, DoD identifies the dead. That's how it's supposed to work. Yet on Friday, the Defense Department issued a release noting "the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian M. Patton, 37, of Freeport, Ill., died Nov. 19 in Kuwait in a non-combat accident." The death was never announced by M-NF.

The number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war currently stands at 4363.

Again, how very fortunate for members of a US Congressional Subcommittee to be able to forget Iraq. Many others aren't so fortunate.

Last week was supposed to be progress on the election front. Instead, the election law was vetoed by Tariq al-Hashimi, Iraq's Sunni vice president, when it was sent to the presidency council.

And there was a lot, lot more going on in Iraq.

But the Congressional Subcommittee has no interest in Iraq.

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