Iraqi Government Fails to Meet Mandated US Benchmarks
by Jim Kouri, CPP
The government of Iraq has failed to meet 15 of 18 benchmarks contained in the US Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act of 2007.
The Act requires the Government Accountability Office to report on the status of the achievement of these benchmarks. Consistent with GAO's core values and the analysts desire to be fair and balanced, the agency also considered and used a "partially met" rating for some of the Iraq government benchmarks.
In comparison, the Act requires the Bush Administration to report on whether satisfactory progress is being made toward meeting the mandated benchmarks. The benchmarks cover Iraqi government actions needed to advance reconciliation within Iraqi society, improve the security of the Iraqi population, provide essential services to the population, and promote economic well-being.
To complete this work, GAO analysts reviewed US agency and Iraqi documents and interviewed officials from the Departments of Defense, State, and the Treasury Department; the Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) and its subordinate commands; the Defense Intelligence Agency; the Central Intelligence Agency; the National Intelligence Council; and even the United Nations.
These officials included Ryan Crocker, the US Ambassador to Iraq, and General David H. Petraeus, Commander of the Multi-National Force-Iraq. GAO investigators and analysts made multiple visits to Iraq during 2006 and 2007, the most recent being from July 22 to August 1, 2007. The GAO analyses were enhanced by approximately 100 Iraq-related reports and testimonies that were completed since May 2003. The GAO conducted its review in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
The benchmarks were derived from commitments first articulated by the Iraqi government in June 2006. Sadly, according to the GAO report, the Iraqi government met only 3, partially met 4, and did not meet 11 of its 18 benchmarks.
Overall, key legislation has not been passed, violence remains high, and it is unclear whether the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion in reconstruction funds. These results do not diminish the courageous efforts of coalition forces and progress that has been made in several areas, including Anbar Province.
The Iraqi government met one of eight legislative benchmarks: the rights of minority political parties in Iraq's legislature are protected. However, the Iraqi government has not enacted legislation on de-Ba'athification, oil revenue sharing, provincial elections, amnesty, and militia disarmament.
It is still unclear whether sectarian violence in Iraq has decreased -- a key security benchmark -- since it is difficult to measure whether the perpetrators' intents were sectarian in nature, and other measures of population security show differing trends.
As the US Congress considers the way forward in Iraq, it should balance the achievement of the 18 Iraqi benchmarks with military progress and with homeland security goals, foreign policy goals, and other goals of the United States.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.