October 02, 2004

Maybe Bush Isn't So Out-Of-It After All

Andrew Sullivan has an article entitled President Out-Of-It, a harsh attack on President Bush's assertion that there are 100,000 trained Iraqi soldiers and police today. As his source Sullivan quotes a Spencer Ackerman article to the effect that "internal Pentagon documents" obtained by Reuters count only 22,700 as trained enough to be "minimally effective."

There's only one problem, it's just not true. Ackerman links to the Reuters article as it's published by Yahoo. Here's the only use of the 22,700 figure:

Training has yet to begin for the 4,800-man civil intervention force, which will help counter a deadly insurgency. And none of the 18,000 border enforcement guards have received any centralized training to date, despite earlier claims they had, according to Democrats on the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee.

They estimated that 22,700 Iraqi personnel have received enough basic training to make them "minimally effective at their tasks," in contrast to the 100,000 figure cited by Bush.

For the 99% of Sullivan's and Ackerman's readership who didn't dig into the links, they swallowed some Democrat party spin passed off as internal Pentagon documents. This isn't a case of malfeasance (lying), but misfeasance (screwing up).

Hopefully, there will be a quick correction over the weekend.

In support of the 100,000 figure, there's this, an article explaining what one Capt. Steven Alvarez is doing in Iraq. Just a few days before the debate, he too is using the 100,000 figure. Of course, he could know less than some staff guys in Washington, DC serving on the Appropriations committee but I somehow doubt it.

Posted by TMLutas at October 2, 2004 01:33 AM