July 11, 2007

Iraq Report To Be Mixed Bag

The White House report on Iraq will show mixed progress on benchmarks demanded by Congress, ABC News reports tonight. The Iraqi government has made satisfactory progress on almost half of the benchmarks, almost all related to security, while disappointing on most of the political goals:

An eagerly awaited White House report on Iraq will be released tomorrow, which will claim the Iraqi government has made satisfactory progress on 8 of the 18 benchmarks set by Congress.

This is the first assessment of the Iraqi government's success rate since President Bush ordered the troop surge in January. White House officials tell ABC News' Jonathan Karl the report will cite encouraging signs that should eventually lead to a reduction of U.S. forces in Iraq.

The report notes that progress is "satisfactory" on eight of the benchmark criteria, mostly dealing with the Iraqi security forces.

This actually sounds better than the initial buzz on the report. Early rumors had Iraq failing to make progress on any of the eighteen benchmarks. ABC has eight apiece as satisfactory and unsatisfactor, with two as "mixed".

The successes are obvious. Chief among them is the reversal of fortunes in Anbar, which many had considered so intractable that it should have just been abandoned. Now the province has been rid of terrorists and life has begun to return to normal. The move to Diyala and Baqubah appear to be having the same effect there. The report stresses that the full complement of surge forces has only been in Iraq for three weeks, and that these early results show the potential of wider success against terrorists -- and that they have even garnered support from native insurgents eager to drive out foreigners.

However, the surge has always been considered a way to gain enough breathing room to allow the Iraqi government to start pursuing the necessary political reforms for reconciliation. The report, not surprisingly, assesses the Iraqis as having made little progress towards those benchmarks. This could result in a suspension of non-military aid to the central Iraqi government as a penalty for not taking the reforms demanded by the US seriously.

More likely, the Bush administration will give the Iraqis a pass on this first benchmark test -- but Congress will probably not give the White House a pass on it.


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Comments (10)

Posted by jr565 | July 11, 2007 9:53 PM

sounds like its about as effectual as the current democrat congress. How much have they gotten passed that they've made promises on so far?

Maybe some benchmarks are in order for the dems

Posted by Anthony (Los Angeles) | July 11, 2007 10:20 PM

More likely, the Bush administration will give the Iraqis a pass on this first benchmark test -- but Congress will probably not give the White House a pass on it.

One of the major points of the surge was to give the Iraqi government space to reach agreement on reforms, but with that understanding that said space could be created only after relative security was established. It's unrealistic for congress to expect the Iraqis to have achieved political perfection just yet. I seem to recall we operated under an ineffectual government for our first 4-5 years, too.

In fact, by the standards of the Democratic Copperheads and the Republican geldings they're allied to, maybe we should consider a pull-out from DC. After all the current legislature there has as good a record as the Iraqi parliament's....

Posted by Bennett | July 11, 2007 10:27 PM

I think the most telling part of the piece is at the end when Petraeus is quoted as predicting that defeating the insurgency is going to take 10 years. I assume he means it would take us 10 years to do it and the Iraqis by themselves? Presumably never. But maybe I have that wrong.

Posted by Mr. Michael | July 11, 2007 10:31 PM

Add me to the Anthony's side of the discussion... if the Surge was designed to give breathing room, and the Surge is only 3 weeks old...

Time to take a breath.

Posted by richard mcenroe | July 11, 2007 11:09 PM

I remember how impressed the whole world was when the United States dealt with its slavery issue so quickly...

Posted by stackja1945 [TypeKey Profile Page] | July 11, 2007 11:28 PM

Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? Walden by Henry David Thoreau

USA took how long to arrange government?
From 1776 to 1789. And of course needed a civil war to settle the issue of slavery.
Again why the haste?
Ah the Dems want to win Congress again and help who ever to get in the WH.
Dems tell the Iraq people be damned.

Posted by Hugh Beaumont | July 12, 2007 12:30 AM

We broke Iraq. We have a moral obligation to stay until it's fixed.
Darfur? Piss off.

Iraq? Yes.

Posted by Lightwave | July 12, 2007 6:44 AM

The successes are obvious, Ed. Unless you're a moonbat or you work for the AP.

Meanwhile more "leaked intel reports" show that AQ is back to full strength in Pakistan. While it's certainly true that Pakistan must be dealt with, the timing of this leak was for maximum damage against the President.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran...withdrawal is not an option. We will have troops in these countries for quite a long time. When our generals talk about a Korean situation, where 50 years later we still have thousands of troops, we must accept this and do what it takes as a country to see this through.

Nobody else will.

Posted by hermie | July 12, 2007 7:11 AM

The Dems and MSM talk about how we should be in Darfur instead of Iraq, but in reality they don't care one bit about the genocide there. The US isn't there, so we must be made to feel guilty we aren't doing something about it.

If Bush had sent troops to Darfur instead, the MSM would be handing out stories about the Darfur 'failures' and why haven't we done anything about Gaza, or Lebanon, or Trenton?

The Dems and their bretheren in the MSM won't be happy until the GOP loses the White House, and Reid and Pelosi can gain more seats in Congress. Even if troop levels in Iraq remained the same, the multiple stories of 'failure' will disappear.

Posted by Gaius Livius | July 12, 2007 8:35 AM

Good observations, Cap'n.

If we have what it takes to finish what we begin - and that's questionable these days - then providing security first is key, much like establshing a solid concrete foundation is the prerequisite before putting up the walls and roof of a building. Without first dealing with those prepared to do violence against the establishment of law and order, it really doesn't matter what kind of political maneuverings take place in the capital. That was the lesson to be drawn from the Kerensky government in Russia and the Weimar Republic in Germany after WWI.