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Iraq government fails to meet any goals

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July 9, 2007

A progress report on Iraq will conclude that the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad has not met any of its targets for political, economic and other reform, speeding up the Bush administration’s reckoning on what to do next, a U.S. official said Monday.

One likely result of the report will be a vastly accelerated debate among President Bush’s top aides on withdrawing troops and scaling back the U.S. presence in Iraq.

The “pivot point” for addressing the matter will no longer be Sept. 15, as initially envisioned, when a full report on Bush’s so-called “surge” plan is due, but instead will come this week when the interim mid-July assessment is released, the official said.

“The facts are not in question,” the official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the draft is still under discussion. “The real question is how the White House proceeds with a post-surge strategy in light of the report.”

The report, required by law, is expected to be delivered to Capitol Hill by Thursday or Friday, as the Senate takes up a $649 billion defense policy bill and votes on a Democratic amendment ordering troop withdrawals to begin in 120 days.

Also being drafted are several Republican-backed proposals that would force a new course in Iraq, including one by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., that would require U.S. troops to abandon combat missions. Collins and Nelson say their binding amendment would order the U.S. mission to focus on training the Iraqi security forces, targeting al-Qaida members and protecting Iraq’s borders.

“My goal is to redefine the mission and set the stage for a significant but gradual drawdown of our troops next year,” said Collins.

GOP support for the war has eroded steadily since Bush’s decision in January to send some 30,000 additional troops to Iraq. At the time, Bush said the Iraqis agreed to meet certain benchmarks, such as enacting a law to divide the nation’s oil reserves.

This spring, Congress agreed to continue funding the war through September but demanded that Bush certify on July 15 and again on Sept. 15 that the Iraqis were living up to their political promises or forgo U.S. aid dollars.

The official said it is highly unlikely that Bush will withhold or suspend aid to the Iraqis based on the report.

A draft version of the administration’s progress report circulated among various government agencies in Washington on Monday.

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow on Monday tried to lower expectations on the report, contending that all of the additional troops had just gotten in place and it would be unrealistic to expect major progress by now.

“You are not going to expect all the benchmarks to be met at the beginning of something,” Snow said. “I’m not sure everyone’s going to get an `A’ on the first report.”

In recent weeks, the White House has tried to shore up eroding GOP support for the war.

Collins and five other GOP senators — Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Robert Bennett of Utah, John Sununu of New Hampshire and Pete Domenici of New Mexico — support separate legislation calling on Bush to adopt as U.S. policy recommendations by the Iraq Study Group, which identified a potential redeployment date of spring 2008.

Other prominent Republican senators, including Richard Lugar of Indiana, George Voinovich of Ohio, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Olympia Snowe of Maine, also say the U.S. should begin redeployments.

Several GOP stalwarts, including Sens. Ted Stevens of Alaska, Christopher Bond of Missouri, Jon Kyl of Arizona and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, said they still support Bush’s Iraq strategy.

Kyl said he would try to focus this week’s debate on preserving vital anti-terrorism programs, including the detention of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The defense bill is on track to expand the legal rights of those held at the military prison, and many Democrats want to propose legislation that would shut the facility.

“If Democrats use the defense authorization bill to pander to the far left at the expense of our national security, they should expect serious opposition from Republicans,” Kyl said.

As the Senate debate began, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee arranged to run television commercials in four states, beginning Tuesday, to pressure Republicans on the war.

The ads are to run in Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota and New Hampshire, according to knowledgeable officials, but the DSCC so far has committed to spending a relatively small amount of money, less than $100,000 in all. Barring a change in plans that means the ads would not be seen widely in any of the four states.

The targets include Sens. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Collins of Maine, Sununu of New Hampshire and the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. All face re-election next year.

The boost in troop levels in Iraq has increased the cost of war there and in Afghanistan to $12 billion a month, with the overall tally for Iraq alone nearing a half-trillion dollars, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, which provides research and analysis to lawmakers.

The figures call into question the Pentagon’s estimate that the increase in troop strength and intensifying pace of operations in Baghdad and Anbar province would cost $5.6 billion through the end of September.

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Associated Press reporters Pauline Jelinek, Andrew Taylor, Matthew Lee and Jennifer Loven contributed to this report.

8 Responses to Iraq government fails to meet any goals

  1. Carl Nemo

    July 10, 2007 at 4:21 am

    “Also being drafted are several Republican-backed proposals that would force a new course in Iraq, including one by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., that would require U.S. troops to abandon combat missions. Collins and Nelson say their binding amendment would order the U.S. mission to focus on training the Iraqi security forces, targeting al-Qaida members and protecting Iraq’s borders.”

    Notice how these phony-butt republican Bushista “bootlickers” will come up with any scheme other than summarily exiting Iraq! All they have on their mind is feeding the MIC big bucks until the 12th of never!

    We need to withdraw the bulk of our forces to the U.S. and leave a 20,000 man contingent of Special Warfare specialists in the region. We should re-establish a no-fly zone along with a standing order that any detection of contraband materiel being moved into the country will be destroyed via manned airstrikes, drone strikes or via cruise missiles. We “own the night” so it doesn’t matter when they try to move munitions and supplies into Iraq we have the ability to summarily destroy them. In the event the excision of some contraband will take some “hands-on” treatment, then we can insert SPECIAL OPS to the task with them exiting immediately after removal of the incursive “tumor”…:)) After a while, they’l get pretty antsy having to look upward not knowing when “Thors Hammer” will strike them be it day or night.

    After setting up such a program then we need to stand-down and let the Iraqi’s sort out their differences. They have the chance and the choice to either evolve to a higher level of existence or to devolve into some medieval version of Islamic, Shia based rule. It’s their choice, not ours, their oil and not ours to have…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. Warren

    July 10, 2007 at 4:28 am

    Who wrote this progress report? Doesn’t say in the article, and I can’t find reference to it anywhere else yet except Drudge, and that’s the same article as this one. What I don’t get is, this seems to be a report from the Administration that is very critical of the progress of the administration’s own “troop surge”. I just can’t imagine that happening unless Bush has completely lost the iron-fist control he has had over policy within his administration. Could this be the dawn of a full-scale rebellion inside the west wing?

  3. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    July 10, 2007 at 3:49 am

    Yes Yes! who wrote this report? It’s just surfaced so I’m sure it won’t be too
    long till we find out, and this will cue us in if it is a BushCo report, what BushCo’s next Spin Cycle Kaper Scenarios will be.

    On another tangent, I think it will be interesting if Senator Leahy gets some
    testimony from Patrick Fitzgerald if that hearing gets going. I just hope what few Democrats are leaning hard on BushCo, and Leahy’s been better then most, will dredge up some venom on BushCo & Scum.

  4. gene

    July 9, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    War cites TOTAL FAILURE in war effort. HaHahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahhahah, excuse me if I am NOT surprised. A nation of fools, what else could explain this insanity.

  5. SEAL

    July 10, 2007 at 12:07 am

    If you go back to the time of the end of the intial invasion and “mission accomplished” and recall the billions of dollars they flew into Iraq you can understand why the problems enumerated above exist. That money was stuffed in bags and boxes and handed out to every yahoo that came by with almost no accounting record or receipts. There were stories about a few of our officers making off with duffel bags full of cash to send home. That was easy to do during the chaos at that time.

    The money went out in car and truck loads never to be seen again. It was supposed to be for the rebuilding of Iraq and equiping the new Iraq military. There was an investigation that proved those responsible for purchasing weapons for the Iraqis made deals with known shady arms dealers. Their records listed high grade stuff but what was received was old outdated junk. Half of it didn’t even work. And the contractors did not do the jobs they received the money for. They found the jobs had been started and then abandoned with some of the equipment left to rot or be stolen and sold off by others.

    To my knowledge, no one was ever held responsible for any of this and those in our gov. sevices division who exposed it were fired, demoted, transferred or shut up. Except for one lady and that was news for a few days. I can’t recall her name.

    In essence, the entire war has been conducted as a MIC rip off. Vietnam was run a lot better than this one. In Nam we never had much trouble getting replacements, supplies, or parts for repair other than ordinary government/militaty BS. I know my outfits had priority but I never heard too many complaints from others. But all I hear from the guys I talk to in Iraq is they can’t get much of anything they need. Especially vehicle repair and relacement parts. They have even gone to the Iraqi equipment graveyards and taken parts from Saddam’s armored vehicles we destroyed and used them to beef up the armor of our own vehicles. Those they could keep running. The desert heat and sand is brutal on the engines.

    If they ever conduct a real investigation into this war they will find that the MIC has gotten away with murder, literally. Our guys have died because the equipment is insufficient. But maybe that is protected by executive privilidge too?

  6. Steve Horn

    July 10, 2007 at 10:27 am

    Six hundred and forty nine BILLION dollars. We can’t fund health care, we can’t fund education, we can’t keep the rail infrastructure in good repair, we can’t build a decent commuter rail system but we’re going to spend 649,000,000.00 on “defense” spending (aka flushing money and lives down the toilet now calld Iraq).

    No benchmarks have been met, the Iraqi governemnt is apparently as ineffective as the US government – as they can’t seem to get anything positive done either.

    So this is saying to me that the most technically advanced, best equipped, best trained military in the world is not able to put down resistance from ill equipped, informally trained insurgents?

    That sounds like a clear failure of command – as command trickles down from the top, lay the blame on Bush.

    By failing to enforce the peace early on in Iraq these insurgents were allowed to gather and gain power. Perhaps instead of landing on a carrier deck and making the statement “mission accomplished” GW should have been listening to his generals and gaining control in country.

    End this thing now –

    Peace

    Steve

  7. Bill Robinson

    July 10, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    It’s just not true. The War in Iraq has been a complete success!
    People misunderstand the purpose of the War in Iraq. They think we are fighting to install democracy, to save the people, to find WMD that some Republicans still believe exist……..somewhere.
    None of those are the real reasons we are fighting. The real reason Bush & Boss Cheney started the war was to make themselves and their pals richer than rich.
    They have succeeded completely!
    The real question is “How many Billions of our dollars do these pigs need before they stop murdering American soldiers?”
    The Shadow knows….
    Bill

  8. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    July 10, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    More Money for the haves and have mores…