U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report indicating the Iraqi government met only 3 of 18 benchmarks for adequate progress in Iraq:

“President Bush escalated our presence in Iraq under the premise that more troops would help stabilize Iraq and create ‘breathing space’ for political progress.  The GAO report indicates that the escalation has largely failed to achieve the President’s stated goals. 

“According to GAO, the Iraqis met only 3 of 18 benchmarks agreed to by the U.S. and the Iraqi government, including only 2 of 9 security benchmarks and 1 of 8 legislative benchmarks. 

“Further, the report tells us attacks against civilians per day in Iraq have not decreased over the past six months.  And, from March to August 2007, the number of Iraqi security units able to function independently decreased.

“Our occupation of Iraq is not achieving our stated goals and it comes at an enormous cost to our country.  We must begin to redeploy our troops from Iraq and chart a new direction that allows us to refocus on stopping the spread of terrorism in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and around the world.”

The GAO’s report can be found online at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d071195.pdf