Dover Bitch

Thursday, July 12, 2007

No War Left Behind

(Cross-posted at Hullabaloo)

On Monday, we learned that there has basically been no measurable progress in Iraq:

A draft report to Congress on the war will conclude that the U.S.-backed government in Iraq has met none 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.

Yes, we all held our breath waiting for the "likely" debate in the White House about a change in course. Today, the NY Times gives us the less likely, yet inevitable, actual outcome: Bush to Declare Gains in Iraq on Some Fronts:

The Bush administration will assert in the next few days that progress in carrying out the new American strategy in Iraq has been satisfactory on nearly half of the 18 benchmarks set by Congress, according to several administration officials.

But it will qualify some verdicts by saying that even when the political performance of the Iraqi government has been unsatisfactory, it is too early to make final judgments, the officials said.

The administration's decision to qualify many of the political benchmarks will enable it to present a more optimistic assessment than if it had provided the pass-fail judgment sought by Congress when it approved funding for the war this spring.

The administration officials who provided details of the draft report to The New York Times, insisting on anonymity, did so partly to rebut claims by members of Congress in recent days that almost no progress had been made in Iraq since President Bush altered course by ordering the deployment of about 30,000 additional troops earlier this year.


On the political front, none of the benchmarks that have been achieved include the high-profile legislation on which Congress asked to see progress. Debate has not yet begun in the Iraqi Parliament on the oil law or the revenue-sharing law, both of which are crucial to keeping Iraq united over the long term.

You read that right. Bush "altered course" by ordering more troops into this mess.

What a perfect example of the Bush administration's tactics. They ask the military to solve everything while our nation's top diplomat works hard "to raise awareness of golf as a sport."

Bush is like a superintendent with a large toolbox containing only a hammer. When he fails to solve a problem that cannot be fixed with a hammer, he either demands to know how anybody could suggest it's not the finest hammer ever manufactured, or he tries to obscure the view so only the nails are visible.

I thought this president believed in accountability and testing. His under-funded No Child Left Behind Act requires that 100 percent of students tested will pass. One hundred percent.

Bush made "accountability" the cornerstone of his sales pitch when NCLB was in front of Congress:

No longer is it acceptable to hide poor performance. No longer is it acceptable to keep results away from parents. One of the interesting things about this bill, it says that we're never going to give up on a school that's performing poorly; that when we find poor performance, a school will be given time and incentives and resources to correct their problems. A school will be given time to try other methodologies, perhaps other leadership, to make sure that people can succeed. If, however, schools don't perform, if, however, given the new resources, focused resources, they are unable to solve the problem of not educating their children, there must be real consequences. There must be a moment in which parents can say, I've had enough of this school. Parents must be given real options in the face of failure in order to make sure reform is meaningful.

It's unfortunate that Bush's funding isn't tied anything measurable. America could use some real options, too.

UPDATE: Over at Corrente, Shane-O spots this in Bush's speech today:

Economic development funds are critical to helping Iraq make this political progress. Today I'm exercising the waiver authority granted me by Congress to release a substantial portion of those funds.

That's the final chapter in the toothless Iraq Supplemental Bill that Congress passed after Bush's veto.

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