In May, the president signed legislation that funded the war in Iraq, and included a mandate that the administration report by Sept. 15 on whether Iraq is “achieving progress” toward 16 specific benchmarks. It was about establishing some measurable standards of success — meeting the benchmarks would reflect actual progress, falling short would reflect failure.
In July, the White House, after fudging its facts a bit, concluded it was on track on eight of the 18 benchmarks, none of them dealing with political progress, which is the point of the “surge” policy. Today, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office will offer a far more discouraging, far more accurate, and a “strikingly negative” assessment.
Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to a draft of a Government Accountability Office report. The document questions whether some aspects of a more positive assessment by the White House last month adequately reflected the range of views the GAO found within the administration. […]
“Overall,” the report concludes, “key legislation has not been passed, violence remains high, and it is unclear whether the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion in reconstruction funds,” as promised. While it makes no policy recommendations, the draft suggests that future administration assessments “would be more useful” if they backed up their judgments with more details and “provided data on broader measures of violence from all relevant U.S. agencies.”
That last point is particularly noteworthy — the GAO is effectively conceding in a government report that the White House intends to deceive the Congress and the public. We may have come to expect stunning dishonesty from the Bush administration, but for the GAO to call the White House out like reflects just how reckless and mendacious the Bush gang has become.
As for the policy, it's not working. To support the status quo is to support failure. It's that simple.