Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Monday, June 13, 2011

  General David Petraeus still lying about progress

Gareth Porter has uncovered a US military document that confirms Gen. Petraeus misled Americans repeatedly in 2010 about supposed progress under his command. It is part of a long pattern of seemingly deliberate deception by Petraeus.

The document, a graph from Task Force 435, demonstrates that the vast majority of Afghans captured during the 2010 surge, initially identified as Taliban fighters, were released by the US military within two weeks. The rate of release within 2 weeks was about 80%. It’s something that the Task Force commander himself acknowledged publicly last November. Porter calculates that subsequent reviews by the US military led to the release of at least another 10% of those initial prisoners within a few months. So the US military recognized that its operations in 2010 had detained large numbers of innocents and no more than 10% of these prisoners were actually associated with the Taliban.

But David Petraeus suppressed that information. Instead, in August 2010 and then again in December 2010 Petraeus released the inflated figures for prisoners and pretended that these represented the number of Taliban fighters who’d been captured. In other words, he deliberately misled the public by reporting 10 times as many Taliban fighters in custody as were actually captured.

Petraeus’ numbers for Talibans killed may also be inflated, though there is no documentation available to serve as a check on those assertions.

Petraeus has a record of deceiving the public. In 2007, when he was under pressure to show progress after six months of the surge in Iraq, Petraeus made a deceptive presentation to Congress. Though that presentation was greatly hyped in advance, it turned out to be extremely flimsy. He provided no written report, and instead showed Congress a series of slides that purported to represent progress in suppressing violence in Iraq, especially in Baghdad.

The problem was, as I revealed at the time, Petraeus’ slides for rates of violence in Baghdad were deceptive. They color-coded the city neighborhoods by sectarian majorities, and on Petraeus’ slides those neighborhoods all remained unchanged during the surge. That was a falsification of the largest factor in the ongoing civil war, the ongoing sectarian cleansing of Baghdad neighborhoods – which reached a peak during the very period Petraeus was reporting upon.

The Pentagon had already produced accurate slides portraying violence on correctly color-coded neighborhoods (for the so-called Jones Report). So it is hard to see why Petraeus’ slides should have been so deceptive on such a basic issue – unless deception was the goal.

In April 2008 Petraeus returned to give Congress another report on progress in Iraq. This time, without explanation or apology for his previously misleading presentation, Petraeus showed slides of Baghdad that were accurately color-coded. Substituting accurate for inaccurate slides was a tacit admission that his earlier presentation had been deceptive.

In his September 2007 testimony to Congress, Petraeus was also accused of relying on selective statistics for sectarian violence, with the purpose of exaggerating the progress achieved under his command.

There appears to be a pattern of falsification by General Petraeus.

crossposted at

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