A new General Accountability Office report sent Congress today concluded that the Iraqi government has failed to meet 11 of the 18 benchmarks established by Congress in conjunction with the authorization of President Bush’s troop surge in January. The report concluded that the Iraqi government has fully met only three of the legislative, security, and economic benchmarks. The GAO concluded that four other benchmarks have been partially met, and the rest had not been met.

“Overall, key legislation has not been passed, violence remains high, and it is unclear whether the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion in reconstruction funds. These results do not diminish the courageous efforts of coalition forces,” the report said. Only one of eight legislative benchmarks was met. The rights of minority political parties are protected. One other benchmark was partially met. Legislation was passed on the creation and implementation of regions. However, this law will not be enacted until 2008.

In the area of security, two of nine benchmarks have been met. “Iraq’s government has established various committees in support of the Baghdad security plan and established almost all of the planned Joint Security Stations in Baghdad. The government has partially met the benchmarks of providing three trained and ready brigades for Baghdad operations and eliminating safe havens for outlawed groups.” The government has not eliminated militia control of local security, eliminated political interventions in military operations, ensured evenhanded enforcement of the law, increased the military’s ability to operate independently, and ensured that political authorities made no false claims against the security forces.

The Iraqi government did partially meet the only economic benchmark. The Iraqi government has allocated and spent $1.5 billion of the $10 billion they were given for reconstruction. On Capitol Hill, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi highlighted the difference between the report and President Bush’s assessment of Iraq. Pelosi said, “The independent GAO report released today contrasts sharply with President Bush’s stay-the-course Iraq  The GAO report is the latest in a series of assessments to conclude that the Iraqi government has failed to meet nearly every political, economic and security benchmark laid out by President Bush himself in January.”

In contrast, House Minority Leader John Boehner said that the report was an unfair assessment of the progress being made in Iraq. The GAO report really amounts to asking someone to kick an 80-yard field goal and criticizing them when they came up 20 or 25 yards short. Rather than weighing whether or not Iraqis are making progress toward meeting goals, it asked whether or not they’ve met them – even though Operation Phantom Thunder has been underway for only a couple months. That’s an unfair way to judge our troops’ progress, and the report was designed to guarantee an unsatisfactory result.”

Calling the report unfair is really a pathetic excuse to refute a growing body of evidence that this entire democratic experiment in Iraq has been a gigantic failure. President Bush sold the troop surge to Congress as a way to move Iraq forward towards political, security, and economic progress.

The Republican excuse that the surge has only been under way for short time does not hold water either. The Iraqi government was supposed to be working towards accomplishment of these goals for almost nine months now, and it is clear that they are failing. The administration and their loyalists will try to put a good spin on things with the Petraeus report next week, but evidence is mounting that this war has been a disaster, and must be brought to an end.

Full text of the GAO report

Boehner statement

Pelosi statement

Jason Easley is the politics editor at www.411mania.com/politics His column The Political Universe runs on the site every Tuesday and Friday.


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