For a while, I've been wondering what happened to President Bush's previous plans and timetables for Iraq. This administration has been masterful at goalpost-shifting without catching flak from the press. For instance, as we wrote in All the President's Spin, Bush kept issuing new versions of his "plan" to cut the deficit in half (which omitted the costs of a number of proposals that he supported) during his first term. It's clear he's done the same thing on Iraq, repeatedly abandoning old plans and moving to new ones. Thankfully, Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post revisits last year's Iraq 2.0 plan:
A year ago, President Bush announced a new plan for Iraq, framed around "eight pillars" of U.S. policy for victory. In the past month, the president and his national security team have been busily working on a new recipe for success in Iraq, having declared the previous plan a failure.
But never mind what the politicians are doing. The bureaucracy churns on.
The State Department continues every Wednesday to issue a 30-page public report that details exactly how the U.S. government is meeting the goals set forth in the president's now-abandoned plan. The report frames the data around Bush's storied eight pillars, which include such goals as "Defeat the Terrorists and Neutralize the Insurgents" (Pillar 1) and "Increase International Support for Iraq" (Pillar 7).
In many ways, the report is a microcosm of the administration's lost year in Iraq. The reams of details aimed at touting success belie the fact that few of the goals are being met.
How long until the forthcoming "plan" is thrown overboard?