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    26 July 2007

    The Real September Report

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    The real September report on Iraq will not be presented by Crocker and Petraeus; they have too much to lose and too much political pressure surrounding them. No the real report that will paint an honest and consistent picture will come from the GAO on 1 September. The GAO has nothing to lose, they are independent and the have experience. In fact they have more experience with Iraq than the Iraq Study Group had; in fact the GAO's international affairs team was consulted by the Group prior to its release and quick dismissal.

    This report is currently being worked on and GAO personnel are in Iraq researching as we speak. I don't mean to completely legitimized the Petraeus/Crocker but if it is anything like the July report then prepare for smoke and mirrors. This one will be different. Here's the best part though:
    The GAO report is due Sept. 1 -- two weeks before the administration's document. So it may set a standard that makes it harder for the administration to attach caveats to its answers, as outside analysts say it did in the July report.

    The administration's assessments are more nuanced, with grading based on whether Iraq is making "satisfactory progress" or "unsatisfactory progress" on the 18 political, military and economic benchmarks. The GAO is mandated to give a more straightforward "yes" or "no" on whether the benchmarks have been achieved, said Joseph A. Christoff, director of the GAO's International Affairs and Trade Team, which will write the report.

    Christoff anticipates blunt critiques in the GAO report, based on benchmarks his team has long been monitoring as part of its oversight of Iraq.

    On Iraq's military, for example, the administration's July report said Iraq is making "satisfactory progress" on providing three brigades for the new U.S.-led Baghdad security plan.

    But Christoff said the GAO is probing deeper. "For us, it's not just an issue of showing up, but showing up with equipment and logistical support so they can move on their own, and then being effective," he said.

    The Iraqi military has serious shortcomings, including, according to a Pentagon report, a no-show rate of one-third to one-half on any given day, Christoff said. "Celebrating 360,000 trained and equipped forces says nothing about their loyalty or effectiveness," he said.

    So we'll get consistent and straight responses on all 18 benchmarks not selective responses that are political rather than serious.

    Posted by Geoff

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