Thursday, March 22, 2007

Iraq Report Card

Lost in the coverage of the 4th anniversary of Dubya's grand war is the fact that the Iraqi government missed the Bushco's stated benchmarks indicating progress in Iraq. The Bushies had called for the major objectives to be met by this month.

Four of the significant objectives are final approval of an oil law regulating distribution of oil revenues and foreign investment in the oil industry; reversal of the de-Baathification laws that are widely blamed for alienating Sunnis by driving them out of government ministries; the holding of local elections; and reform of Iraq’s Constitution.

A Pentagon assessment of progress in Iraq through the end of last year, submitted to Congress on Wednesday, notes that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki “has promised to reform his government, beginning with his cabinet and the ministries,” but that none of those steps had yet happened. It cited the “passage of a framework” last month for sharing oil revenues among Iraq’s ethnic groups as a modest sign of progress, but notes that the last two months of 2006, before Mr. Bush announced his new strategy, “saw little progress on the reconciliation front.”

The report also described some of what is happening in Iraq as a “civil war” and described this past October through December as the most violent three-month period since 2003.

And that means those "surge" troops will likely need to remain on the ground in Baghdad and its suburbs for a longer period of time.

Here's another key graf:
Administration officials have never rescinded the “notional timeline,” though the Iraqi government had already missed most of the deadlines by the time Ms. Rice gave it to Congress in January. That document listed political achievements that Washington expected would be fulfilled between September 2006 and March 2007; with the exception of the oil law, which awaits final passage, most have not been achieved. American and Iraqi officials had agreed on the notional timeline back in October.

And here's my favorite:
Philip D. Zelikow, until December the counselor at the State Department, said part of the delay stemmed from “a recognition that things were worse than people realized.”

“Significant parts of the new strategy need to be developed from scratch,” he said.

In other words (as Bush is so found of saying), Bush's plan for victory was based on fiction, and there currently is no plan.