President Bush announced the surge in January with a side note about why the military would succeed when previously it had not: "In earlier operations, political and sectarian interference prevented Iraqi and American forces from going into neighborhoods that are home to those fueling the sectarian violence. This time... Prime Minister Maliki has pledged that political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated."
Well, Bush couldn't have been more wrong. Not only is the Maliki government tolerating sectarian interference, it's promoting it. From a Washington Post article that is getting a lot of attention today:
A department of the Iraqi prime minister's office is playing a leading role in the arrest and removal of senior Iraqi army and national police officers, some of whom had apparently worked too aggressively to combat violent Shiite militias.
So Maliki has failed gloriously on a key benchmark. Will Bush hold him accountable? Of course not.
President Bush will not sign any war spending bill that penalizes Iraq's government for failing to make progress, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday.
We set benchmarks. The Iraqis fail them. We supply them with more money and more troops. Rinse out the blood and repeat.