After talks with Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, and Ryan C. Crocker, the ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Bush said that they “tell me that if the kind of success we are now seeing here continues it will be possible to maintain the same level of security with fewer American forces.”
No, you can’t has a pony:
President Bush’s senior advisers on Iraq have recommended he stand by his current war strategy, and he is unlikely to order more than a symbolic cut in troops before the end of the year, administration officials told The Associated Press Tuesday.
Bush appears set on maintaining the central elements of the policy he announced in January, one senior administration official said after discussions with participants in Bush’s briefings during his surprise visit to an air base in Iraq on Monday.
Options beyond a symbolic cut this year include cutting the tour of duty for troops in Iraq from 15 months back to the traditional 12 months, one official said. If adopted, that change would not come before the spring.
Butbutbut what happened to teh ponies?
The Government Accountability Office has released its congressionally mandated report on the Iraq’s progress towards meeting 18 separate security and political benchmarks. The Iraqi government met 3, partially met 4, and did not meet 11 of its 18 benchmarks.
Contrary to claims made by Gen. David Petraeus that sectarian violence has decreased dramatically, the GAO report is unable to report any progress on this front. Moreover, it notes that “average daily attacks against civilians” has remained unchanged:
It is unclear whether sectarian violence in Iraq has decreased–a key security benchmark–since it is difficult to measure perpetrators’ intents, and various other measures of population security from different sources show differing trends. As displayed in figure 4 (see above), average daily attacks against civilians have remained unchanged from February to July 2007.