The word is out. Zero benchmarks imposed on the Iraq War have been met. The liars in the right wing blogosphere are already spinning this as nothing to fret about, claiming that the surge has only recently been launched, that it's too early, etc., but the benchmarks that were set include numerous legislative and administrative milestones for the fledgeling Iraqi democracy as well, and none of those milestones have been met either.
As to the military progress, however, it's a joke...
President Bush is not contemplating withdrawing forces from Iraq now despite an erosion of support among Republicans for his war policy, the White House said Monday. However, a senior administration official who has been to Iraq many times tells CBS News the Iraqis have made the surge "a joke," adding that they lack the ability, the firepower and the discipline to take over anything.
Here's the bad news on the milestones, which bring us one step closer to ending this Republican-led circus:
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.
A senior Pentagon official tells CBS News chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod a debate is already underway to determine what conditions must exist, short of victory, to begin pulling troops out of Iraq.
The "pivot point" for addressing the matter will no longer be Sept. 15, as initially envisioned, when a full report on Bush's so-called "surge" plan is due, but instead will come this week when the interim mid-July assessment is released, the official said.
A draft version of the report, expected to be presented to Congress on Thursday or Friday, circulated among various government agencies in Washington on Monday.
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