July 14, 2005 – This past weekend, the Pentagon failed to provide Congress a required report on security and political conditions in Iraq and an assessment of the militaryâ€™s "strategies of success" in stabilizing the occupied country.
In a letter released Monday, United States Congressman Marty Meehan (D-Massachusetts) called on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to come before Congress and provide details on the training of Iraqi security forces and the continuing involvement of US troops in the war torn nation, as required by a provision of the emergency spending bill signed into law last May.
That act requires the Secretary of Defense to "develop and provide to the Congress a more comprehensive set of performance indicators and measures of stability and security in Iraq."
Nationally-syndicated columnist David Broder reported the existence of the clause on July 3, but the reminder was apparently not heeded. A section of the law calls for Rumsfeld to deliver to Congress an initial report within 60 days from the date of enactment and every 90 days thereafter.
In a statement accompanying the release of the letter, Meehan warned that the apparent lack of a measurable plan will lead to failure in Iraq.
"It is outrageous for the Pentagon to be violating the law and showing such deliberate contempt of congressional oversight," Meehan said in the statement. "But aside from the fact that the Pentagon has not met its legal requirements, I am troubled that two years into the war in Iraq we still don't have a comprehensive set of metrics and timelines.".
In calling for "performance indicators," the measure outlines several criteria for assessing progress, including: an estimate of the strength and make up of the insurgency; descriptions of all militia operating in the nation; a detailed report on the readiness of the Iraqi security forces and an estimate of the number of military advisors "needed to support the Iraqi security forces and associated ministries."
Additionally, the Pentagon is required to provide information on progress made in handling the rampant infrastructural problems in post-invasion Iraq, including hunger and poverty levels, unemployment rates, the functionality of water and electricity delivery systems and oil production rates.
The Boston Globe reported that the Pentagon indicated it is working on the report but declined to state when it would be delivered.
Congressmen Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) co-signed Meehanâ€™s letter.