Thursday, August 30, 2007

Reports: Leaked GAO report says most Iraq goals unmet

Above: Soldiers with the 1st Infantry Division wait to drop ramp and exit a Bradley Fighting Vehicle after a cordon and search operation in Baghdad's Adhamiyah neighborhood last Thursday.

Most Iraq Goals Still Unmet

Congressional auditors have determined that the Iraqi government has failed to meet the vast majority of political and military goals laid out by lawmakers to assess President Bush’s Iraq war strategy.

The Government Accountability Office will report that at least 13 of the 18 benchmarks to measure the results of an increase in American troops in Iraq are unfulfilled eight months after President Bush announced the policy, according to three officials who discussed the report on condition of anonymity because it has not yet been made public.

The officials also said the administration was preparing a case to play down the findings, arguing that Congress had ordered the G.A.O. to use unfair “all or nothing” standards when compiling the document.

Read the rest at the NY Times

Report Finds Little Progress On Iraq Goals

The strikingly negative GAO draft, which will be delivered to Congress in final form on Tuesday, comes as the White House prepares to deliver its own new benchmark report in the second week of September, along with congressional testimony from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker. They are expected to describe significant security improvements and offer at least some promise for political reconciliation in Iraq.

The draft provides a stark assessment of the tactical effects of the current U.S.-led counteroffensive to secure Baghdad. "While the Baghdad security plan was intended to reduce sectarian violence, U.S. agencies differ on whether such violence has been reduced," it states. While there have been fewer attacks against U.S. forces, it notes, the number of attacks against Iraqi civilians remains unchanged. It also finds that "the capabilities of Iraqi security forces have not improved."

"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."

Read the rest at the Washington Post

A More Pessimistic Report on Iraq

Add another assessment of the Iraq surge to the pile. A draft of a progress report requested by Congress from the Government Accountability Office is “strikingly negative” and questions a more optimistic report by the administration in July, according to The Washington Post, which obtained a copy.

Five benchmarks separated the two reports. In July, the White House said eight benchmarks were met satisfactorily; the G.A.O. puts the figure at three.

The two reports completely disagreed on three benchmarks (changing Iraq’s constitution, training Iraqi brigades for Baghdad and ensuring that areas of Baghdad do not fall into the hands of militants). Two rated as “satisfactory” by the White House were actually “partially met,” the G.A.O. said. The White House also reported “mixed” results for two benchmarks; the G.A.O. simply said that those were “unmet.”

Read the rest at the NY Times

Pentagon Disputes Parts of Iraq Report

Stung by the bleak findings of a congressional audit of progress in Iraq, the Pentagon has asked that some of the negative assessments be revised, a military spokesman said Thursday.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said that after reviewing a draft of the Government Accountability Office report - which has not yet been made public - policy officials "made some factual corrections" and "offered some suggestions on a few of the actual grades" assigned by the GAO.

The Associated Press has learned that the GAO report will conclude that at least 13 of the 18 benchmarks set to judge the Iraqi government's performance in the political and security arenas haven't been met.

"We have provided the GAO with information which we believe will lead them to conclude that a few of the benchmark grades should be upgraded from `not met' to `met,'" Morrell said. He declined to elaborate or to spell out which of the benchmark grades the Pentagon was disputing.

Read the rest at Forbes

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