Saturday, September 15, 2007

White House Assesment of the Surge

I just wanted to suggest that everyone read the White House Benchmark Assessment report. Everyone has been so obsessed by the Petraeus/Crocker testimony, that we seem to have missed the administration's own words regarding the Surge. I hope to have more to say later, but I just wanted to make a couple of general points. Just as in the Initial Benchmark Assessment report from July, even where the administration has determined that there has not been sufficient progress, no changes to strategy have been recommended. See for example the discussions of the oil law and provincial elections on pages 13 and 15. Also, there are a couple of benchmarks in the new report for which the only progress mentioned pre-dates the initial report - not exactly a continuation of success. I am also intrigued by the two benchmarks (amnesty and disarming militias) which the administration claims cannot be assessed becasue "preconditions" for achieving those benchmarks have not been met. (pages 15-16). Isn't that just a way of saying no progress has been made? Surely, progress towards the "preconditions" is progress towards the benchmarks. Finally, for now, note that all of a sudden we are presented with a new strategy - "bottom-up" reconciliation. Until it was clear that we had no real success on the "top-down" reconciliation front, we never heard anything about this "bottom-up" idea. Do you think it may be a desparate attempt by a lame-duck President to justify the only remaining policy of his that anyone gives a damn about? Just a thought.

No comments: