NYTimes today: “President Bush’s new Iraq policy will establish a series of goals that the Iraqi government will be expected to meet to try to ease sectarian tensions and stabilize the country politically and economically, senior administration officials said Sunday. Among these ‘benchmarks’ are steps that would draw more Sunnis into the political process, finalize a long-delayed measure on the distribution of oil revenue and ease the government’s policy toward former Baath Party members, the officials said.” Benchmarks, whoah! I remember back in December 2005 when benchmarks were surrender and only cheese-eating surrender monkeys thought we needed them.
But of course Bush changed his mind on October 25, 2006, telling Byron York, ““The idea is to develop with the Iraqi government a series of benchmarks — oil, federalism, constitutional reform, there’s like 20 different things — and have that developed in a way that they’re comfortable with and we’re comfortable with.” That prompted Thomas Ricks’ October 26, 2006 takedown “Bush’s Proposal for Benchmarks Sounds Familiar” noting that Bush’s remarks “left unclear how the benchmarks would be different from previous times when the United States has set out intentions, only to back down.”
Never fear, though. There’s a new strategy now: Benchmarks!