Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Benchmarks Update
Froomkin on that nasty, and unreported, issue of accountability .... accountability of the administration and accountability of the Iraqi "government"
Well now it's really truly official: The first benchmark that the White House put forth to the public as evidence that the Iraqis were serious about their own security this time -- and that Bush's latest plan would, unlike the previous ones, actually work -- has been missed.

As I've written repeatedly, the White House on Jan. 10 made it clear: "You're going to have some opportunities to judge very quickly. The Iraqis are going to have three brigades within Baghdad within a little more than a month. They have committed to trying to get one brigade in, I think, by the first of February, and two more by the 15th."

But Warren P. Strobel, Jonathan S. Landay and Renee Schoof write for McClatchy Newspapers that "retired Vice Adm. John McConnell, the director of national intelligence, and Army Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee [yesterday] that the Iraqi army sent to Baghdad only two of the three additional brigades that were to have been in place by Feb. 15.

"An Iraqi brigade is supposed to have 3,200 men.

"'One of the problems was having fully manned units when they arrived in Baghdad,' McConnell said. 'A work in progress is how best to describe it. It's not there yet.' . . .

"Maples, the military's top intelligence official, said that the strength of the Iraqi battalions that comprise the two brigades range from 43 percent to 82 percent.

"The numbers were the most concise manpower figures that the U.S. military has given for the additional Iraqi units sent to Baghdad.

"McConnell said one reason for the Iraqi shortfalls is that typically 25 percent of an Iraqi army unit is away on leave or on some other assignment. But U.S. and Iraqi officials also have cited high desertion rates as a serious problem.

"On the positive side, McConnell said that Iraqi forces have begun taking leading roles in some parts of Baghdad, although he didn't specify which areas. . . .

"Maples said that two of the extra Iraqi brigades comprise members of the ethnic Kurdish minority, who don't know the city and are divided from Arabs by language, culture and decades of enmity. . . .
So the Iraqi's delivered 70% of the units promised, and within the units they delivered substantially fewer numbers than required, and they delivered soldiers who are not indigenious to the population to be policed. Isn't that called a crappy occupation?

Looks like, at least so far, the whole escalation thing is all American all the time, and can at best only provide a temporary sense of security to a limited area. In other words, we're going backwards in the war, not forward.