Karen DeYoung, Washington Post: The administration lacks an updated and comprehensive Iraq strategy to move beyond the "surge" of combat troops President Bush launched in January 2007 as an 18-month effort to curtail violence and build Iraqi democracy, government investigators said yesterday.
While agreeing with the administration that violence has decreased sharply, a report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office concluded that many other goals Bush outlined a year and a half ago in the "New Way Forward" strategy remain unmet.
The report, after a bleak GAO assessment last summer, cited little improvement in the ability of the Iraqi security forces to act independently of the U.S. military, and noted that key legislation passed by the Iraqi parliament had not been implemented while other crucial laws had not been passed. The report also judged that key Iraqi ministries spent less of their allocated budgets last year than in previous years, and said that oil and electricity production had repeatedly not met U.S. targets.
Bush's strategy of January 2007, the GAO said, "defined the original goals and objectives that the Administration believed were achievable by the end of this phase in July 2008." Not meeting many of them changed circumstances on the ground and the pending withdrawal of the last of the additional U.S. forces mean that strategy is now outdated, the report said. The GAO recommends that the State and Defense departments work together to fashion a new approach. (more)
LSB: No plans/strategy beyond the surge... sound familiar? Is anyone really surprised?