The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hagel: Congress demands facts on Iraq

Hagel: Congress demands facts on Iraq
BY DON WALTON / Lincoln Journal Star
Friday, Aug 17, 2007 - 06:35:06 pm CDT

Congress will demand a full and frank report on conditions in Iraq next month unfiltered by any White House assessment, Sen. Chuck Hagel said Friday.

Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. commander in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker will be expected to present their own on-the-ground assessments to congressional committees in mid-September, Hagel said.

“We’re going to demand we get whatever information we require,” the Republican senator said during a Lincoln interview.

“We fully expect the leaders of our government will comply with their responsibility. We must have all the facts and details required to make intelligent decisions.”

Concerns were raised in Washington earlier this week when the Los Angeles Times reported the White House, not Petraeus and Crocker, would prepare the Iraq assessment for Congress to consider.

Hagel said he believes Secretary of Defense Robert Gates “will be very clear, honest and direct” in presenting his own views to Congress.

“This is serious business,” Hagel said.

“We are in a lot of trouble in Iraq and we need to make decisions based on the best information and intelligence we have, not just for the short term, but for the long term.”

Hagel took issue with House Republican Leader John Boehner’s own assessment that the Bush administration’s strategy has been “very successful” in Iraq.

“Everyone is entitled to his opinion,” Hagel said, “but the facts do not bear that out.”

Boehner, an Ohio congressman, expressed his views during an interview in Lincoln earlier this week.

“On the same day Boehner was boldly proclaiming we were winning in Iraq, Basra was under siege by roving gangs and militias,” Hagel said.

“Shiite militias are in charge in the southern third of Iraq,” he said.

On the same day, Hagel said, as many as 500 people were killed in the north.

“All Sunni cabinet members of Nouri al-Maliki’s government are gone,” he said. “There is no functioning government in Iraq.”

Five U.S. soldiers were killed that day, Hagel said, and the Green Zone was hit by 25 mortar attacks.

“I’m not sure on what basis Boehner says the surge (of additional U.S. troops) is working,” Hagel said.


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