April 9th, 2008
03:10 PM ET
6 years ago

Blitzer: What happened to the Iraq "benchmarks"?

 Blitzer: The Iraqis have a long way to go.
Blitzer: The Iraqis have a long way to go.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Fifteen months ago, on Jan. 10, 2007, President Bush addressed the nation from the White House to announce the “surge” in military troops to Iraq. At the time, he also promised that the United States will hold the Iraqi government accountable to a series of “benchmarks” designed to underscore progress toward political stability in the country – the basic goal of the surge.

“A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations,” the president said.

Since the president again will be addressing the nation Thursday morning from the White House on the situation in Iraq, it’s probably a good idea to assess how have the Iraqis done in meeting those earlier benchmarks?

“To establish its authority,” the president said last year, “the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility in all of Iraq’s provinces by November.”

That goal was November of last year, but that benchmark has still not been met - though Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. military commander, says the Iraqi military has made progress.

“To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country’s economy,” he said, “Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis.”

That has not yet happened, though the Iraqis continue to promise it will happen.

“To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs.”

The Iraqis did allocate that sum but they have not spent it. The Government Accountability Office, in fact, says the Iraqis actually spent only 4.4 percent of that sum. The White House says the Iraqis have spent 24 percent. Either way, they have a long way to go.

“To empower local leaders,” the president said, “Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year.”

That was a reference to last year (2007) and the elections have not yet happened. Now, Iraqi officials say they hope those elections will take place by the end of this year (2008).

“And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation’s political life,” Bush concluded, “the government will reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq’s constitution.”

That have been some reforms passed but by all accounts, they have not been effectively implemented.

Clearly, the Iraqis have a long way to go.


Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Ratgurl

    And America gets stuck with the bill.

    April 9, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. Doug R.

    The what?? Oh, yeah...the benchmarks. Look under the rug.
    Bush will hand the keys to the next President and tell all HE didn't lose the war. Then he's off to Crawford grinning and smirking all the way there. FYI...Iraq's economy is in better shape than the U.S. economy. They have positive growth, they have surpluses. We have hugh deficits, 4,000 plus dead U.S. soldiers, and $4/ gal gasoline prices.

    April 9, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. Frank, Missouri

    They moved ... so?

    April 9, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Derrick, Atlanta GA

    Blitzer,

    You asked what happened to Iraq's benchmarks. A better question would have been were there any concrete benchmarks in the first place?

    April 9, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Iraqis have no way to go. They know nothing but centuries of repressive leaders. Democracy is culturally and intellectually out of their reach. Only another strong armed Iraqi leader will be able to restore order. And that precludes democracy as the tool to do so.

    April 9, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. Brendan D, Niles, IL

    President Bush has already said he has no intention of finishing the job he started. Guess what? That's what happens when we elect a willfully ignorant and brazenly incompetent individual to the most important public office in our country. President Bush essentially saw this position as his birthright. Sound like anyone else?

    April 9, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. kathleen

    Wolf, my big awakening was when you said that Iraqis have Billions
    in the Bank. And we fools are going bankrupt. Is this still a political
    war? Is it to spend taxpayer money and other money goes into
    the Personal Pocketbooks of the crooked Politicians we have elected.
    If Iraq has that much money, we can get out, right? The problem
    is that the hornets nest will follow us home. Really, when 9/11 h
    happened, I thought, ok, afghanistan. Then lets spend our money
    securing the hell out of our Country. Our country is a mess in more
    ways than one. Nobody would have thought that 8 years-one man
    could do so much damage. And they sold us !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 9, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. Claudia

    Bush and his followers will find another word to use other than benchmarks and even surge which all amount to the same thing, failure.

    April 9, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. DC Insider

    Benchmarks? We don't need no stinking benchmarks - we have a Republican white house with a failing approval grade, and a Democratic congress that is worse than that. From the cheap seats, the Iraq government looks pretty functional

    April 9, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. gideon

    I dont know what happened to the benchmarks. What do you think Wolf?. Come on. You can however tell your CNN delegate trackers that Obama has 224 super delegates. Not 215.

    April 9, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. Alonzo Demetrius

    Wolf, you are trying to hold the Iraqi's to an American standard. You can't seem to remember that their country has not had an elected gov ernment for decades and the new government is struggling to bring it all together and keep it together. Why are you hyperventilating about the new government there?

    April 9, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. sozzi

    Blitzer isn't this your job to find out. Instead of talking up Hillary, and trying to get her elected. You and CNN, have fallen asleep at the wheel on these Iraqi Benchmarks. NOW go do your homework.

    April 9, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. HP Boston

    Ah come on you know that was a pack of scat.
    When and why would anyone believe ANYTING the WH says! I never trust or believe a thing they utter.

    April 9, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. CHERYL

    THIS IS SUCH BULL!!!!

    THIS WAR IS SUPPORTING BUSH AND CHENEY'S INTERESTS!!!!!

    WE NEED TO GET HILLARY IN THE WHITE HOUSE AND GET RID OF THIS LIAR!!!!!!!

    SHE IS THE ONLY ONE QUALIFIED AND HONEST ENOUGH TO RUN THIS COUNTRY!!!!!

    GO HILLARY MI AND FL SUPPORT YOU!!!!!!!

    April 9, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. CHERYL

    WE NEED TO MAKE THE PROPER CHOICE WHEN VOTING!!!!

    WHO IS QUALIFIED TO LEAD?

    WHO CAN SPEAK PROPERLY?

    WHO HAS BEEN CAUGHT LYING MANY TIMES?

    WHO HAS ALL THE PEOPLE'S INTERESTS AT HEART?

    THIS IS EASY FOR ME!!!!!

    SENATOR CLINTON!!!!!!!

    April 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. gary

    IF THE IRAQI CANT HELP THEMSELVES ,THAN ITS NOT DOING OUR SOLDIERS ANY GOOD BEING THERE. WE ARE JUST LOOSING AMERICANS ON THE SCARNESS OF THE IRAQI'S. AMERICAN'S HAVE GAVE THEIR SUPPORT AND LIVE'S ON THE LINE. NOW ITS TIME FOR IRAQ TO BE STRONG AND TAKE CARE OF THEIR OWN.

    April 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  17. Unshrub

    Why should the Bush administration start remembering what they said or did in the past now. They have never paid attention to the promises they have made in the past up to now so why should they start with only 9 months left. The who Iraqi war has been based on lies and the sad part about that is 1/3 of the population beleives them. OMG.

    April 9, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. CHERYL

    OBAMA WILL FAIL MISERABLY IF MADE NOMINEE!!!!!!!!

    THE LIES WILL HAUNT HIM, AS WELL AS THE WRIGHT CONTROVERSY!!!!!

    DO NOT FORGET REZKO!!!!

    NONE OF THIS IS GOING AWAY!!!!

    VOTE FOR HILLARY!!!!!!!

    April 9, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. Allen Friedman--- Henderson, Nevada

    What do you call somebody that thinks that David Petraeus is not connected to the White House? Ignorant! If you were a general in the past and disagreed with the Bush logic, you are now retired or fired. The fact that the general is the Bush answer man and still has his job is proof that he is doing the job that Bush does not have to do. There is and never was a plan to exit Iraq during this administration.

    April 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. mep

    I guess the Iraqi benchmarks have gone the way of the WMDs...It's amazing to me that anyone believes anything out of Bush's mouth ...The only benchmarks actually happening is the regularity of the billions we keep pouring into Iraq and the regularity of the daily death count...Talk about not getting much for your buck!

    April 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. IAMWMD

    They paperwork got shredded by mistake when Dubya, Dart Vader and Condi had their cronies destroy everthing possible that would get this Republican administration impeached.

    Maybe they're in the same place as the WMD's

    Man I can't wait for these Republicans to start blogging!!

    Obama 08

    April 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    The cronies are known by name. And they will be remembered and
    hopefully prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
    Powell knew and he had the courage to walk away.
    Cheney the biggest crook of them all, is making millions and millions
    of this war? Isn't that considered a conflict of interest? Isn't that
    illegal?Halliburton, how much has he made?? And who is making
    money from Blackwater? Americans want to know. Americans need
    to know. Oh, my God, the books that will be written about these crooked deals made in the last 8 years. How can one man make such a mess of a wonderful good country. Have they all but destroyed it. And Bush, he thinks his legacy will be a good one. Really!!!! He
    Really does think that

    Obama 2008

    April 9, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. Vig

    Why would anyone listen to what George Bush says anymore? Either he doesn't know what he is talking about or he lies outright. The American people will only get a full accounting and clear sense of what the situation really is in Iraq once he is out of office and we have someone in office – a democratic – who had no investment, monetary or otherwise in starting this war.

    April 9, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. Chuck in Oregon

    Wolf, those benchmarks, I heard it they were written on a roll of toilet paper. Hahahahaha. And the toilet got flushed. (laughing too hard)

    April 9, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. Becca

    Cheryl:

    Yelling doesn't make you right.

    Clinton has been caught in so many lies lately, I daresay she doesn't know what the truth is any more. Heck, her hubby didn't know what 'is' is, so maybe it's a family disease or something.

    To Blitzer's blog: the benchmark thing went by the wayside when it became apparent that the US had neither the will nor the way to make folks stick to those standards. The whole thing's been unrealistic from the beginning and this administration has ignored anything that didn't exactly fit the way it was supposed to go.

    April 9, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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