Now That Totally Belongs on an Inside Page
Remember all that stuff about benchmarks in Iraq? And how—huzzah!—the Iraqi government had spent nearly 25 percent of its 2007 capital budget on reconstruction? The White House does, for two reasons: first, the U.S. has mostly given up on large-scale reconstruction projects, preferring to kick that can to the Iraqis; and second, reconstruction is a sign of improved security, something the Bush administration is desperate to portray. So, huzzah again: almost a quarter of the Iraqi budget has gone to reconstruction, quoth the White House, the surge has worked, etc.
Only there’s one problem: that figure was bogus.
Walter Pincus reports that the Government
The real test is: Are we seeing the effects of these capital expenditures on the ground? And we are seeing it," he said. "Services are being delivered [and the] slow, downward spiral of worsening services has stopped and is starting to come back." Delivery of services, he said, is "our number one goal" in Iraq for 2008.
Luckily for that official, Pincus’s editors decided to run a story of such importance on page. Not like this is about a war or anything.