GAO Report: Iraqis Meeting 3 of 18 Benchmarks

In advance of the much-ballyhooed September 15 report on Iraq that General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker are not writing, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is due to release its own report. Today, courtesy of the AP, we have a sneak peek at the contents.

The Associated Press has learned the Government Accountability Office, or GAO, will report that at least 13 of the 18 benchmarks to measure the surge of U.S. troops to Iraq are unfulfilled ahead of a September 15 deadline…. [A] July report said the administration believed the Iraqis had made satisfactory progress on eight of the 13 benchmarks.

The administration is already downplaying the GAO’s report, claiming the standards the GAO used are far too demanding.

The GAO, however, has been told to “assess whether or not such benchmarks have been met,” and the administration plans to assert that is too tough a standard to be met at this point in the surge, the officials said.

“It’s pretty clear that if that’s your measurement standard a majority of the benchmarks would be determined not to have been met,” said one official. “A lot of them are multipart and so, even if 90 percent of it is done, it’s still a failure…The standard the GAO has set is far more stringent,” he said. “Some might argue it’s impossible to meet.”

Okay, so we’ve got a GAO report that says the Iraqis are meeting 3 of 18 benchmarks, and an upcoming Sept 15 report that is destined to say things are going well, or at least, on balance, not too bad. Just more fuel for congressional members on both sides of the issue. I smell a stalemate. A further stalemate, I mean. The liberal’s dream of congressional Republicans giving up on the war one by one this fall looks unlikely to come true.

And what happens to the $50 billion, the $147 billion, and the $460 billion?