GAO report suggests little Iraq progress

In what is sure to be a major topic of debate, the Post reports on a leaked draft of an upcoming GAO report that suggests very little progress has been made in Iraq.  The story begins:

Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to a draft of a Government Accountability Office report. The document questions whether some aspects of a more positive assessment by the White House last month adequately reflected the range of views the GAO found within the administration.

The strikingly negative GAO draft, which will be delivered to Congress in final form on Tuesday, comes as the White House prepares to deliver its own new benchmark report in the second week of September, along with congressional testimony from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker. They are expected to describe significant security improvements and offer at least some promise for political reconciliation in Iraq.

Meanwhile the Times reports that the White House is upbeat about its chances to win the coming fall debate over our approach to the increasing turmoil in the Middle East.