you can kiss goodbye to any chance of there being viable progress to report about the surge in September. Not that there was going to be progress anyway - but now the pro-occupation folks have a convenient scapegoat to explain away that failure and justify pleading for just a bit more time.This week has been a week of serious expectation lowering by anyone involved in a positive argument that things in Iraq will be getting better. The New York Times reports that the benchmarks that were supposed to signal political progress will not be met. These signs of political process progress were the objectives of the hoped for breathing space that the surge was designed to create. [h/t Mr. M at Comments from Left Field]
Secondly, the Washington Post is reporting that the Iraqi Army has a front line strength of no more than 60% of their authorized end strength in most combat battalions due to a combination of losses from enemy action, desertion, non-combat casualties, and generous leave policies due to the complete lack of a credible and reliable banking structure. Any army's doctrine in the world says that units that are 40% or more understrength are incapable of fulfilling the mission that they should be able to do.
We're spinning away to fail again. It is time to leave in the best possible shape possible as the definition of 'best' reliably declines day by day.