Iraq Has Not Met Benchmarks

Violence in Iraq "remains high" eight months after President Bush began his surge, nonpartisan congressional researchers reported on Tuesday. The Government Accountability Office found that Iraq has failed to meet 11 of 18 security and economic benchmarks set by Congress and agreed on by the president. "This report is the latest evidence that it is time for the Bush administration to acknowledge that the Iraq war was a huge mistake," said Senator Bernie Sanders

Violence in Iraq "remains high" eight months after President Bush began his surge, nonpartisan congressional researchers reported on Tuesday. The Government Accountability Office found that Iraq has failed to meet 11 of 18 security and economic benchmarks set by Congress and agreed on by the president. "This report is the latest evidence that it is time for the Bush administration to acknowledge that the Iraq war was a huge mistake," said Senator Bernie Sanders.

"The [Iraqi] government has not eliminated militia control of local security, eliminated political intervention in military operations, ensured even-handed enforcement of the law, increased army units capable of independent operations, and ensured that political authorities made no false accusations against security forces," the report said.

"It is unclear whether sectarian violence in Iraq has decreased," the GAO added. The fact remains, however, that "average daily attacks against civilians have remained unchanged from February to July."

The report was somewhat less critical of progress in Iraq than an earlier draft. News accounts said the final product was toned down due to Pentagon objections.

In the coming days, reports on Iraq from the White House and the Pentagon are expected to portray a much rosier picture. "The administration," as Paul Krugman observed in The New York Times, "has had remarkable success creating the perception that the ‘surge' is succeeding, even though there's not a shred of verifiable evidence to suggest that it is."

To read the complete Government Accountability report, click here.

To read the Paul Krugman column, click here.