Thursday, July 19, 2007

552 Days - and a new Report Card is in


552 Days until Liberation Day.
It's been a while since I posted on the count-down to our eventual freedom from the most inept leadership of a country since the administration of Rufus T. Firefly's reign over Freedonia. For those of you who don't know who about Rufus or Freedonia, click this link.
But I digress. So the report card is in. 18 Benchmarks set by Congress to gauge the progress of the Iraqi government's efforts to bring stability to the country we are still liberating. So, what's the grade? Does George and his administration get a pat on the head for the great job they've pulled off? Well, no, not so much. The government reports that 8 of 18 benchmark's are in "satisfactory" status. Well, as Jon Stewart of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" so adroitly put it, 8 of 18 is a "Gentleman's F". Now, one wouldn't necessarily trumpet this score as a major success. Not so the Bush Administration! Always seeing the glass half full, they press the positive. "Good Progress" is being made.
Well, let's review the scorecard and as Fox News says, "...You Decide". Oh, and by the way, I'll just focus on the 8 we supposedly consider satisfactory.
Benchmark 1 - "Forming a Constitutional Review Committee and then completing the constitutional review."
Result: - The report says that the Iraqi government has indeed formed the committee, but they still need to reach a political accommodation on the issues. The report declares this satisfactory. hmmm. something about "completing the constitutional review" must have escaped them, because it is still underway. OK, no big deal, because they're trying real hard and that's what counts.
Benchmark 9 - "Providing three trained and ready Iraqi brigades to support Baghdad operations."
Result: - The report says this is satisfactory even though it admits that "Manning levels for deploying units continues to be of concern." What that means in real English is this: The Iraq's brigades are only at 50-75% force strength. In other words, they only have about 3/4's of the soldiers they need for the effort. OK, we must be grading on the curve again if this is a "pass" grade.
Benchmark 12 - "Ensuring that ...the Baghdad security plan will not provide a safe haven for any outlaws, regardless of sectarian or political affiliation." Wow, no outlaws. Exactly what is an outlaw in Iraq?
Result: The report indicates this is a significant challenge in "some parts of Baghdad." (meaning, everywhere but the Green Zone) nonetheless, the report claims that "satisfactory progress" has been made because of US military commanders feel like they are satisfied with their ability to target any and all extremist groups. Interestingly enough only a week ago someone exploded yet another series of car bombs in Baghdad. Now, were those outlaws?
Benchmark Number 17 - "Allocating and spending $10 billion in Iraqi revenues for reconstruction projects, including delivery of essential services, on an equitable basis."
Result: The report admits that the Iraqi government has spent only 22% or about $2.2 of the $10 billion in capital and that "it remains unclear" whether or not the oil ministry has made any effort to spend its share of the funds, that it's hard work to track the budget, and that the effects of new spending are felt "unevenly". Still, it's a passing grade according to the White House.
Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ. They've got $10 Billion to spend, only spent 22% and with that haven't done it as the benchmark requires. Just for comparison sake, $10 Billion dollars would pay for a full-ride at a 4 year university (assuming the cost is $100 thousand in total for tuition, housing, food, etc.) for 100,000 students. Maybe, just maybe, if we sent 100 thousand bright kids to college one of them might figure a way out of this cluster-fuck?
OK, I'm too busy to go through the other four "satisfactory" grades. Suffice to say that the passing grades are just as silly as these I've detailed above.
It's obvious that this administration only sees what it wants and only says what it believes to be the truth. Facts are annoying little gnats to be brushed away with your hand. Why should George and company listen to anyone for that matter? They know they're right and doing God's work, etc. etc.
What's most disappointing is that just yesterday the Republican minority in the Senate again stymied the Democrats efforts to bring an end to US occupation in Iraq. By a vote of 52 for and 47 against, the Democrats failed to reach the 60 vote "super-majority" that would end filibuster on the effort and call for an up or down vote on the legislation. Why are they continuing to do this? It's clear that the current course of action in Iraq is stupid and woefully incapable of success. Well, it's clear to everyone but President Doofus anyway.
Only 552 more days.
Talk to you soon.
Dennis