Friday, August 31, 2007

Benchmarks For Your Benchmarks

White House cool on Iraq report - BBC News - 31 Aug 2007 at 8:25am - The Bush administration has challenged a report for the US Congress which says Iraq has met only three of the 18 targets used to measure progress....White House spokesman Tony Snow also said the GAO's conclusions were unrealistic. He said the GAO set the bar for success too high and did not assess whether progress had been made towards the benchmarks. "The real question that people have is, 'What's going on in Iraq?' Are we making progress? Militarily, is the surge having an impact? The answer is 'Yes'," he said.
Remember when whether to surge was the question?

White House: We're ready to act on the Iraq Commission recommendations.
Congress: It's about time.
White House: We want to implement a "surge".
Congress: A surge? Wait, that Iraq Commission report was supposed to provide us political cover for withdrawal.
White House: But it's also providing political cover for "one last push".
Congress: Oh, boy.
White House: So, are you approving the money?
Congress: This will be very unpopular with our constituents.
White House: What do we care? We're not up for re-election.
Congress: We think the only way we can approve this is to make the money contingent on meeting certain benchmarks.
White House: We're not agreeing to any timetables.
Congress: Not timetables for withdrawal, just benchmarks, so our constituents can see measurable signs of success.
White House: This is a war -- you're not supposed to measure success, just be in favor of it.
Congress: Nevertheless, mutually-agreed-upon benchmarks will be the only way.
White House: OK, whatever. (Hope this buys us time before we have to withdraw.)
Congress: Fine. (Hope we don't get flogged for this.)
White House: (That was easy.)

So Bush got his surge, along with benchmarks -- which he agreed to -- in order to measure the success of the surge. But now, he doesn't want to measure the success of the surge against benchmarks; he wants to measure the progress toward meeting the benchmarks against new, more modest benchmarks.

Iraq calls for freeze on militant operations - 31 Aug 2007 at 8:35am - The Iraqi Government has called on armed groups to follow the lead of the biggest Shiah militia and freeze their operations.
Is the U.S. Army an "armed group"?

Petraeus says Iraq "surge" working: paper - 31 Aug 2007 at 8:06am - CANBERRA (Reuters) - The U.S. troop surge in Iraq has thrown al Qaeda off balance and led to a reduction in sectarian violence and bombings, the U.S. commander in Iraq was quoted on Friday by an Australian newspaper as saying.

Bush to hear military's concerns on Iraq - 31 Aug 2007 at 8:22am - WASHINGTON -- President Bush is expected to hear deep concerns Friday from top Pentagon generals about continuing the military buildup in Iraq, as yet another grim independent report emerges finding lack of progress in the conflict.

Cleared terror defendant sues prosecutor - 31 Aug 2007 at 9:58am - DETROIT -- A Moroccan immigrant who was held for three years before his terrorism-related conviction was thrown out has filed a $9 million federal lawsuit against the prosecutor and two others involved in the case.

1 gay marriage, then judge stays ruling - 31 Aug 2007 at 2:58pm - DES MOINES, Iowa -- Two men sealed the state's first legal same-sex marriage with a kiss Friday morning, less than 24 hours after a judge threw out Iowa's ban on gay marriage and about two hours before he put that ruling on hold.

Thought for the day:
Do you realize if it weren't for Edison we'd be watching TV by candlelight? -Al Boliska


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