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Myth-busters or "How I Learned the Truth About Iraq"

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  • Myth-busters or "How I Learned the Truth About Iraq"

    White House Responds to Key Myths on Iraq [Steve Schippert]

    The following document from the White House Office of Public Liaison-Military Affairs is reproduced here in full. It deserves to be. (Iraq Fact Check is a release that the office distributes via e-mail to journalists, MilBloggers, lawmakers and others.) Many, including yours truly, have criticized President Bush and his administration in the past for ineffective public communication on the Iraq War. The note below is an example of effective communications—or at least a starting point. The true measure of its effectiveness will be how well, and how quickly, this information is included in interviews and speeches when the administration is challenged or criticized based on the "myths" cited below.


    1. MYTH: The American people are footing the bill for Iraq’s security and reconstruction while Iraqis sit on large windfall oil profits.

    FACT: The Iraqi government is taking over the funding of reconstruction. In 2008, Iraq’s budget for large-scale reconstruction projects exceeds that proposed by the U.S. by more than 10 to 1, and the U.S. military expects that Iraq will soon cover 100 percent of such expenses.

    FACT: Iraq's security ministries are now spending more on their security forces than the U.S., and Iraq’s 2008 budget provides for more than 75% of the total annual cost for Iraq’s military and police.

    FACT: The government of Iraq has committed to footing approximately half the bill for the “Sons of Iraq” community watch program—which was originally 100% U.S.-funded.

    FACT: Iraq’s Ambassador to the U.S., Samir Sumaida'ie, says that Iraq still has to import gasoline, and argues that “some people are going a little bit too far looking at the Iraqi surplus and the gigantic American deficit and putting two and two together … The windfall from the oil will not cover a fraction of what we need to provide clean water, electricity and the most rudimentary services for our people.”

    2. MYTH: “It's no big deal” if Congress fails to pass a war supplemental bill by Memorial Day.

    FACT: According to Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “We need [the supplemental appropriations bill] very badly before the Memorial Day recess. We stop paying soldiers on the 15th of June and we have precious little flexibility with respect to that … Clearly that creates incredible constraints and difficulties for us.”

    3. MYTH: The Iraqi government has not taken advantage of reduced violence by making political progress.

    FACT: Since September 2007, Iraq's parliament has passed significant legislation dealing with reconciliation and nation building, including:

    o A pension law

    o De-Ba’athification reform

    o An amnesty law

    o A provincial powers law

    o Changes to the design of the Iraqi flag to remove Saddam-era additions

    o A 2008 budget that includes record amounts for capital and security expenditures

    FACT: Recently passed legislation is already having an effect. For example, the amnesty law passed in February has already led to the release of Iraqis who were under detention for non-serious crimes.

    FACT: The national government is sharing oil revenues with provinces despite the lack of a framework hydrocarbons and revenue-sharing law.

    4. MYTH: The U.S. is negotiating a back-door treaty with Iraq’s government that will tie the hands of future Presidents.

    FACT: The United Nations authorization under which U.S. military and civilian personnel in Iraq are legally serving will expire on December 31, 2008. U.S. and Iraqi officials are therefore seeking a “strategic framework” that would provide legal protections and establish a long-term relationship between the two countries after that date.

    FACT: In 2007, Iraq’s leaders asked the U.S. to move to a more normalized bilateral relationship, instead of the special case managed by the U.N.

    FACT: The framework U.S. and Iraqi officials are now discussing would in no way limit or affect the military and diplomatic options the next President will have under the U.S. Constitution.

    FACT: Any strategic framework would be similar to the agreement the U.S. now has with Afghanistan and much like the conventional peacetime agreements the U.S. has with dozens of other countries.

    FACT: It is unclear what would happen to more than 20,000 detainees now under U.S. custody if the U.N. authorization expired on December 31 with no strategic framework in place.

    FACT: The United States does not seek and will not seek permanent bases in Iraq, and any framework would affirm this principle.

    5. MYTH: Iraqis are not defending their country.

    FACT: As General David Petraeus testified in April, Iraqis are increasingly in the fight, recently incurring losses three times the level of Coalition losses.

    FACT: Iraqi soldiers, police, and volunteers are securing their nation in increasing numbers. According to General Petraeus, more than 540,000 individuals serve in Iraq’s Security Forces, with more than 133,000 soldiers and police added over the past 16 months.

    FACT: The military reports that there are now more than 91,000 Sons of Iraq—Shia as well as Sunni—under contract to help Coalition and Iraqi Forces protect neighborhoods and secure infrastructure.

    FACT: More than 21,000 Sons of Iraq have already been accepted into Police, Army, or government jobs.

    6. MYTH: Current spending on the war is historically unprecedented.

    FACT: Today’s U.S. defense budget accounts for just over four percent of the economy, less than the U.S. commitment at any point during the four decades of the Cold War.

    FACT: During the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations, the U.S. defense budget rose as high as 13 percent of the total economy.

    FACT: Even during the Reagan Administration, when the economy expanded significantly, the defense budget accounted for approximately six percent of GDP.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

  • #2
    Good post S-2.
    Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.


    • #3
      I learned alot today, well done


      • #4
        Dreadnought Reply

        Wish it was mine. Just found it on SWJ, which was easy enough. It IS good and deserves a read by all critics of Iraq, if only to better understand what they dispute.

        We'll see where it goes but it's about time that the case be made for what we're doing- over and over again. It should be required memorization for every foreign service and military officer and tested for background understanding. So too Afghanistan. Don't see one of those and it's needed even more with the Euro whining I've seen of late here at WAB.
        "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
        "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs