Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ratcheting Down Expectations

Kevin Drum notes how the administration and its allies have been in overdrive to ratchet down expectations of success for the September Petraeus report on the surge:

The last couple of weeks have been dedicated to nonstop declarations that we should expect (a) an increase in violence this summer, (b) no political progress to speak of, and (c) an even more dysfunctional and sectarian Iraqi security apparatus than we have now. By the time Petraeus's progress report arrives, they'll be telling us we should count the surge a success as long as things are no more than 20% worse than when it started.

Here's the official word from the White House on Petraeus' September report:

A September progress report on the U.S. troop increase in Iraq that President George W. Bush called an important moment for his war strategy is unlikely to be a "pivotal" assessment, officials now say.

Amid unrelenting bloodshed in Iraq and scant signs of progress by the Iraqi government in meeting political benchmarks, the White House sought to temper expectations of rapid strides resulting from a security crackdown begun at the start of this year.

"I have warned from the very beginning about expecting some sort of magical thing to happen in September," White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters on Wednesday.

"What I would suggest is, rather than it's, sort of, a pivotal moment, it is the first opportunity to be able to take a look at what happens when you've got (the troop increase) up and running fully for a period of months," he added. "It is naive to think, suddenly -- boom -- you snap a finger and you've got an instant change in the situation."

No - the American occupation isn't ending anytime soon.

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