The handy dandy graph above shows 8 areas of satisfactory progress, 7 areas of unsatisfactory progress, mixed on 2 areas and 2 areas which it says it is too early to determine.
That was July's Initial Benchmark Assessment Report.
Fast forward to today, it seems that Congress has once again leaked information, this time to Wapo, from a report issued by GAO, and agency that by their own words, "works for Congress", a Democratically controlled congress at the moment, and this leaked report states that only three of the benchmarks have been met.
Once again, we have Congress leaking a report to counter the news that their own politicians returning from Iraq are telling the American people.
So, the question ends up being, do we listen to the commanders on the ground? Do we listen to the multitude of people, mostly Democratic politicians that are returning from Iraq saying their is real progress? Do we listen to the troops in what they are telling us about conditions on the ground?
Or do we listen to a report that no one has access to and we only have Wapo's word on what it says because it hasn't been officially released yet, from an Agency that works for Congress?
The left side of the blogosphere and news organizations are jumping all over this story, but where is the GAO report?
No one has access to it to see what it really says, just Wapo's interpretation of the report.
Most striking is what everyone is ignoring about this Wapo article:
The strikingly negative GAO draft, which will be delivered to Congress in final form on Tuesday, comes as the White House prepares to deliver its own new benchmark report in the second week of September, along with congressional testimony from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker. They are expected to describe significant security improvements and offer at least some promise for political reconciliation in Iraq.
A GAO spokesman declined to comment on the report before it is released. The 69-page draft, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is still undergoing review at the Defense Department, which may ask that parts of it be classified....
The part that is bolded.
This report was leaked preemptively to try to counter the good news militarily and politically coming from Iraq, and I haven't seen anyone asking the serious question about who leaked a report that the Defense Department has not had time to strike anything that may be classified, to a newspaper?
Once again, the big story is being glossed over.
Political posturing and deliberately trying to preempt the report General Petraeus is to give, trying to counter the news the American people are seeing showing progress, trumps our national security for whoever leaked the report.
Funny how the big story of the day is a report no one has access to, leaked to a newspaper before classified material could be removed and written by an agency that works for Congress.
Sorry folks, but I think I will wait for this report to be released in full and until General Petraeus, the man in charge on the ground in Iraq has made his reports before making those types of determinations.
Then again, those that this report was aimed at, certainly jumped on it fast wiithout asking any of the above questions.
[Update] As predicted the Pentagon disputes the report, once again, leaked information from a report that isn't factually finished, isn't really news at all, except to those trying to use it for a political purpose.