Iraq Beyond the Spin

The independent Government Accountability Office has released its report on “progress” or the lack thereof, in Iraq.  According to the New York Times:

 WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 — A report by Congressional auditors issued today concludes that “violence remains high” in Iraq amid mixed progress on security and that political reconciliation efforts remain far from sufficient, eight months after President Bush began his troop-increase plan.

The report from the independent Government Accountability Office came , as the Iraq war debate enters a pivotal phase in Washington and just a day after Mr. Bush, in a surprise visit to Iraq, suggested that pulling out forces might be possible if trends he described as security successes continue.

But the report places greater emphasis on shortcomings than successes, saying that Iraq has failed to meet 11 of the 18 military and political objectives, or benchmarks, set by Congress and agreed on by Mr. Bush, while partially meeting four, according to wire-service reports.

And that assessment was noticeably rosier than a draft version of the G.A.O. report, which held that Iraq had fallen short on 13 of the 18 standards for progress, partly meeting two. That finding was disputed by the Pentagon.

“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,” said the report from David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States. “These results do not diminish the courageous efforts of coalition forces and progress that has been made in several areas, including Anbar Province.”

You can read the report here, and keep your mind open as the Spinnings of September roil.

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