Two weeks ago, David Broder pointed out that the Bush administration would soon face a congressionally mandated make-or-break moment regarding its Iraq policy:
Under a little-noticed provision of the defense spending bill passed by Congress in May, Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld has until July 11 to send Capitol Hill a “comprehensive set of performance indicators and measures of stability and security” two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein [...]
The information required is specific and detailed. It includes measures of the security environment, including the number of engagements per day, the count of trained Iraqi forces and more. It orders up indicators of economic activity. It directs Rumsfeld to provide — either in public or in classified annexes — an estimate of U.S. military forces needed in Iraq through the end of calendar 2006 and the criteria the administration will use to determine when it is safe to begin withdrawing forces.
The deadline came and went yesterday without a peep from DoD. Today, a Pentagon spokesperson told me that those Iraq indicators have indeed been “delayed” and that there is currently no specific date set for their release. Apparently the administration is willing to do just about anything — including violate the law — to avoid giving Americans a detailed assessment of our progress (or lack thereof) in Iraq.