Are we making progress in Iraq?
Report Finds Little Progress On Iraq Goals - GAO Draft at Odds With White House***********
Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to a draft of a Government Accountability Office report. The document questions whether some aspects of a more positive assessment by the White House last month adequately reflected the range of views the GAO found within the administration.
The person who provided the draft report to The Post said it was being conveyed from a government official who feared that its pessimistic conclusions would be watered down in the final version -- as some officials have said happened with security judgments in this month's National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq.
President Bush signed legislation in May that requires him to submit by Sept. 15 an assessment of whether the government of Iraq is "achieving progress" toward the benchmarks.
Iran Says IAEA Atom Report Shows US Charges Wrong*********
Iran’s uranium enrichment program is operating well below capacity and is far from producing nuclear fuel in significant amounts, according to a confidential U.N. nuclear watchdog report obtained by Reuters.
Pentagon won't make surge recommendation to Bush*************
In a sign that top commanders are divided over what course to pursue in Iraq, the Pentagon said Wednesday that it won't make a single, unified recommendation to President Bush during next month's strategy assessment, but instead will allow top commanders to make individual presentations.
Bush has said on several occasions that he will follow the recommendation of Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, but the Pentagon plan makes certain that other points of view are heard.
Pentagon officials have told McClatchy Newspapers that Casey, who was the top commander in Iraq, wants the U.S. to draw down forces and focus on training the Iraqi forces, as it did during his tenure in Iraq, and worries about the strain the war is having on the Army.
Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times reported that Pace would recommend reducing the number of troops in Baghdad because the deployments are straining the military.
Secret Report: Corruption is "Norm" Within Iraqi Government*************
[...]according to the working draft of a secret document prepared by the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, the Maliki government has failed in one significant area: corruption. Maliki's government is "not capable of even rudimentary enforcement of anticorruption laws," the report says, and, perhaps worse, the report notes that Maliki's office has impeded investigations of fraud and crime within the government.
The report depicts the Iraqi government as riddled with corruption and criminals-and beyond the reach of anticorruption investigators. It also maintains that the extensive corruption within the Iraqi government has strategic consequences by decreasing public support for the U.S.-backed government and by providing a source of funding for Iraqi insurgents and militias.
Report Offers Grim View of Iraqi Leaders***********
A stark assessment released Thursday by the nation’s intelligence agencies depicts a paralyzed Iraqi government unable to take advantage of the security gains achieved by the thousands of extra American troops dispatched to the country this year.
The assessment, known as a National Intelligence Estimate, casts strong doubts on the viability of the Bush administration strategy in Iraq. It gives a dim prognosis on the likelihood that Iraqi politicians can heal deep sectarian rifts before next spring, when American military commanders have said that a crunch on available troops will require reducing the United States’ presence in Iraq.
Iraqi civilian deaths climb again**********
War-related fatalities rose in August, the second month in a row, suggesting that the U.S. troop increase has had little effect.
Bombings, sectarian slayings and other violence related to the war killed at least 1,773 Iraqi civilians in August, the second month in a row that civilian deaths have risen, according to government figures obtained Friday.
In July, the civilian death toll was 1,753, and in June it was 1,227. The numbers are based on morgue, hospital and police records and come from officials in the ministries of Health, Defense and the Interior. The statistics appear to indicate that the increase in troops ordered by President Bush this year has done little to curb civilian
bloodshed, despite U.S. military statements to the contrary.
C-130 carrying lawmakers dodges missiles
A military cargo plane carrying three senators and a congressman was forced to take evasive maneuvers and dispatch flares to avoid ground fire after taking off from Baghdad.
The lawmakers said their plane, a C-130, was under fire Thursday night from three rocket-propelled grenades over the course of several minutes as they left for Amman, Jordan.
Cross posted at VidiotSpeak