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The July Report is up

The White House has published the Initial Assessment Benchmark Report which Congress mandated be written to describe the military, diplomatic, and political progress in Iraq. The President held a press conference this morning to discuss the report, and C-SPAN has the video. This afternoon Tony Snow is holding a bloggers conference call, and I will try to attend. Any questions you'd like me to ask?

From the report:

As the President explained in January, all of these efforts, together with a new diplomatic offensive in the region, are designed to set the conditions for U.S. troops to begin coming home, without risking a humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq, sanctuaries for international terrorist networks, or a broader regional conflict that would threaten U.S. national security interests for generations. While all of those conditions have not yet been met, and the new strategy is still in its early stages, there are some encouraging signs that should, over time, point the way to a more normalized and sustainable level of U.S. engagement in Iraq, with a decreasing number of U.S. combat forces increasingly focused on a core set of missions, such as those set out by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

For each of the 18 (eighteen) benchmarks, the report provides an assessment, either satisfactory or unsatisfactory. I counted 9 satisfactory, and 9 unsatisfactory with my cursory reading of the report. I can't see how all 18 will be completed by September, and you can guess what the Democratic party defeatists will do with that.

Update:

One more quote from the report:

The increasing concern among Iraqi political leaders that the United States may not have a long-term commitment to Iraq has also served in recent months to reinforce hedging behaviors and made the hardest political bargains even more difficult to close.
The more the Democrats talk about quick withdrawal, the more the Iraqi political hardliners will hold out for a better deal, and the less likely compromise can be achieved, and benchmarks met. It's the Democratic strategy, and I have to say it seems to be working just fine for them. Heaven help the Iraqi people when Iran becomes the power broker in Iraq between Hezbolla and Al Qeada. Wouldn't be too good for the U.S. either.

2nd Update:

If you'd like to hear the Tony Snow conference call visit the Wizbang Podcast site where you can listen to or download an MP3 of the call. Wizbang's own Lorrie Bird joined in, along with Jim Geraghty of National Review, Paul Mirengoff of Powerline, Pamela at Atlas Shruggs, Ward Carroll at DefenseTech.org, Bruce McQuain of QandO, Brian Faughnan at the Weekly Standard, Truth Laid Bear, Ben Briar with the Hill, Tom Bluey at RedState.com, and others I could not write down fast enough. Go and listen!


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Comments (18)

What's with Sistani? And C... (Below threshold)
kim:

What's with Sistani? And Chalabi?
=====================

"(iii) Enacting and impleme... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

"(iii) Enacting and implementing legislation to ensure the equitable distribution of hydrocarbon resources to the people of Iraq without regard to the sect or ethnicity of recipients, and enacting and implementing legislation to ensure that the energy resources of Iraq benefit Sunni Arabs, Shi'a Arabs, Kurds, and other Iraqi citizens in an equitable manner."

That means Iraqis splitting 30% of profits and 70% going to the Tony Soprano Oil Company. Just sign it so nobody gets hurt.

That's nice and all, but wh... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

That's nice and all, but where is the Benchmark Report for Congress? I'm more interested in seeing how well our gov't is performing.

Wonder if the thumb-sucking Dems who will nitpick Iraq's gov't will call for a Benchmark Report for America. I bet not.

In a very short amount of t... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

In a very short amount of time--the Surge has only been fully staffed for 3 weeks--Anbar, Ramadi, Baquba have been secured, and Baghdad is being subdued.

My God, we came this far just to give up? You gotta be kidding me.

I thought Congress said the... (Below threshold)

I thought Congress said they wanted to give the military more troops, let them see what they could do by September, and then check in with a military assessment. So, uh, what happened to that? Isn't it like the beginning of July?

So, uh, what happened to... (Below threshold)
mantis:

So, uh, what happened to that? Isn't it like the beginning of July?

Section 1314 of the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 (Public Law 110-28) states that the President is to submit to Congress two reports assessing the status of each of the 18 benchmarks contained in the Act and declaring whether, in the President's judgment, satisfactory progress is being achieved with respect to those 18 benchmarks.

Do you have a problem with Congress being briefed on the progress in Iraq? We know the Republican Congress did.

I'm still trying to figure ... (Below threshold)

I'm still trying to figure out where it can be construed that Falze has a problem with Congress being briefed on the progress in Iraq.

from the report:<blo... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

from the report:

The increasing concern among Iraqi political leaders that the United States may not have a long-term commitment to Iraq has also served in recent months to reinforce hedging behaviors and made the hardest political bargains even more difficult to close.

In short, the Democrat's political stunts are undermining the effort.

Falze certainly se... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Falze certainly seems to have a problem with progress reports prior to September, even though it is required by law.

Question for the conference... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Question for the conference call:

There have been media reports that no matter the actions of Congress, the President, or the military, the size of the force in Iraq will reduce beginning in March 2008 due to length of deployment limitations.

If there is demonstrable progress that justifies maintaining an increased troop presence, what course of action can be taken to maintain levels sufficient to keep order and security?

If there is little that can be done to keep an adequate sized force in the theater and violence increases to pre-surge levels, what justification is there for keeping a sizable force when we have already learned those troop levels are not sufficient to provide the necessary security?

"The increasing concern amo... (Below threshold)
markg8:

"The increasing concern among Iraqi political leaders that the United States may not have a long-term commitment to Iraq has also served in recent months to reinforce hedging behaviors and made the hardest political bargains even more difficult to close."

Hmmmm...the Iraqi political leaders refuse to compromise with each other to end the sectarian violence because there won't be American troops around a year from now to protect them from the very people they're supposed to represent? I'd say the fact that the Green Zone is shelled almost daily would be a little more of an immediate concern. In the end most of the Maliki government will take their spoils (our tax dollars) and bug out for Tehren, Damascus or wherever they spent most of their adult lives and happily forget about Bush's fiasco.

This story (link below)shou... (Below threshold)
Frank:

This story (link below)should make everyone here angry about the Iraqi's ability to provide security on their own. This is YOUR money, US dollars, their guarding. When will this debate go from supporting or trashing the president on his strategies to wanting to kick the Iraqis in the ass for not standing up faster and better?

http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSL1274958920070712?feedType=RSS&rpc=22&sp=true

Frank:So... what c... (Below threshold)
marc:

Frank:

So... what connection are you trying to make, that what appears to be a run-of-the-mill-bank robbery is because of "wasted" U.S. tax dollars or that part of the loot WAS U.S. tax dollars?

Granted it's not a good thing, and having what obviously was a crime aided and abetted by the security guards makes it worse, but come-on there's much larger wasted of tax dollars both in Iraq and at home.

Something tells me you were influenced by al-reuters idiotic insertion at the bottom of their story, ("Huge amounts of money were looted from Iraq's banks during the invasion.") that is nothing more than a child-like.... "see, see we told you the U.S. is so screwed up in four years they can't even protect a single bank!"

Pfffttt!.... screw al-reuters, and their reporting.

House passed timetable this... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

House passed timetable this afternoon..
The Senate? Could be. Doesn't matter.. Bush will veto..
The reality is simple. The goal of all politicians is to get elected...then re-elected.
Any candidate supporting the present course in will face diminishing support. There is no doubt Iraq is THE issue. September will come and go with no significant change either on the ground or with the Iraqi govt. My views don't really matter other than how I express them with my vote.

In November 2008 America will vote..and a candidates position toward Iraq will be a significant factor...
jist sayin'

nogo war,You have... (Below threshold)

nogo war,

You have accurately captured the most likely scenario. The White House plan is to fight against that outcome, but their success is not assured. Iraq is enough of an issue that it will tip the balance against the Republicans unless we can show definite progress leading to eventual withdrawal, and the consequences of a precipitous retreat.

I say the best way to do that is to continue to showcase success in Iraq, and paint the picture of Iran acting as a power broker between Al Qeada and Hezbollah inside Iraq, leading to their rapid domination of the Middle East, Asia, North Africa, and Europe.

and paint the picture of... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

and paint the picture of Iran acting as a power broker between Al Qeada and Hezbollah inside Iraq...

No need to paint it, Charlie; just start capturing them (Iranian agents/military) and parading them and their documents on TV. Better yet, in front and in person at the UN.

<a href="http://www.nsnetwo... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Benchmark Report Fact Check

The National Security Network reviewed the benchmarks labeled by the Bush Administration as "satisfactory." Unfortunately the facts show that this moniker is misleading. Some benchmarks claimed as "satisfactory" only demonstrate minimal progress, not achievement. Others have been achieved on the surface, but fail to accomplish the overall purpose of the specific measurement. A point-by-point analysis follows.

Some interesting bits:

Benchmark (i)
Assessment: The Government of Iraq has made satisfactory progress toward forming a Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) and then completing the constitutional review.

Response: The committee reviewing the constitution has experienced numerous delays. Most of the highly contested issues have been put off. Even if the government managed to pass the constitution, there would still need to be a national referendum.

Benchmark (viii)
Assessment: The Government of Iraq has made satisfactory progress toward establishing supporting political, media, economic, and services committees in support of the Baghdad Security Plan.

Response: Establishing committees has had little impact on Baghdad's population which still lacks access to many basic services like water and electricity.

Benchmark (ix)
Assessment: The Government of Iraq has made satisfactory progress toward providing three trained and ready Iraqi brigades to support Baghdad operations.

Response: According to military officials the three brigades that came to Baghdad were understaffed and poorly trained causing a major delay in Baghdad security operations.

There's plenty more reading about the "satisfactory" failures in Iraq.

Anyone else see the irony o... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

Anyone else see the irony of this particular Congress chiding another political body for it's inability to do anything effective?




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