Congressional Dems have dropped their demands for a timeline to bring home troops, after the House failed yesterday to override a Bush veto on their Iraq spending bill. Now the buzzword is benchmarks, and even some Republicans are signaling that they could get on board. But what, if any, muscle might be put behind the benchmarks is unclear.
The next House bill may include penalties of billions of dollars in nonmilitary aid if benchmarks aren't met, the Washington Post reports, and require the administration to report to Congress every month on progress. But when the White House says "benchmarks," the Post warns, it tends to mean rewards for achievement, not penalties for failure.