September Reporting Requirement Still on Track, General Says
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 20, 2007 A top coalition commander in Iraq issued a statement today saying remarks he made at a news conference yesterday should not be interpreted as seeking to delay a progress report due in September.
"There is no intention to push our reporting requirement beyond September,” said today’s statement issued by Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, commander of Multinational Corps Iraq. “Nothing I said yesterday should be interpreted to suggest otherwise. My reference to November was simply suggesting that as we go forward beyond September, we will gain more understanding of trends."
Speaking from Baghdad via satellite with Pentagon reporters yesterday, Odierno was asked whether an earlier reference to “needing more time” applied to a report that Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker are required to provide to Congress in September. The report requirement was part of a supplemental war-funding measure.
In response to the question, Odierno said trends in Iraq are improving, and the longer the situation plays out, the more accurate any assessment of its success would be. He acknowledged having said it would be November before he could make “a good assessment,” but also said that doesn’t mean he thinks the September report should be delayed.
“In 45 days I will have a better idea if the trends are continuing, and that's September,” he said. “Obviously, we have an assessment we will conduct in September that … General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker will provide. I was not looking at extending that time frame when they have to report back.
“What I imagine we'll have to do is do assessments that follow that initial assessment in September,” he continued, “and … I'm assuming we'll continue to do assessments while we're here.”