Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Been hearing a lot about "benchmarks"? The Iraqi military is supposed to step up so we can step down, right? Bush said that we would all know pretty darned soon whether the Iraq government was going to keep their promises?

Lets check in briefly on one of those benchmarks:
[Senior Administration Official]: Well, here's -- but you're going to have to -- 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. . . .

"So people are going to be able to see pretty quickly that the Iraqis are or are not stepping up. And that provides the ability to judge."

Alright, so now it's past the first of the month, and how's it going?

Steven R. Hurst reported on Thursday (Feb. 1) for the Associated Press: "Local commanders. . . . said only about 2,000 of the additional troops had reached Baghdad or were nearby. . . .

"An Iraqi army brigade from Irbil, about 3,000 men in principle, will have at most 1,500 men when it finally arrives in Baghdad. The commander says 95 percent of the men don't speak Arabic. A brigade from Sulaimaniyah, also in the Kurdish north, has reached the Muthana Airport in central Baghdad, but it is only 1,000-men strong, not the expected 3,000."
Generally, news reports from those on the ground suggest that less than 60% of the promises forces are arriving, and arriving ill-prepared.