Thursday, July 12, 2007

Defining Satisfactory

George W Bush, commenting on the interim report on progress in Iraq, a report demanded by an increasingly hostile Congress, claimed that "Iraq has made satisfactory progress towards meeting eight targets, but has not done so regarding another eight". That progress appears to be that the Iraqi government has managed to pass a series of laws but has not managed to actually gain control of the state; so satisfactory progress is open to a degree of interpretation here. As Bush himself points out:
"Those who believe that the battle in Iraq is lost will likely point to the unsatisfactory performance on some of the political benchmarks. Those of us who believe the battle in Iraq can and must be won see the satisfactory performance on several of the security benchmarks as a cause for optimism,"
How true. Fox News' headline reads "Progress on Iraq: Officials say 8 out of 18 Benchmarks met". CBS, on a different tack, reads "Bush Optimistic Despite Mixed Report". More dispassionately NBC reports "Bush sees ‘cause for optimism’ in Iraq: White House report cites success on 8 goals, failure on 8, mixed effort on 2". No bias here then!

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