The Bush administration will assert in the next few days that progress in carrying out the new American strategy in Iraq has been satisfactory on nearly half of the 18 benchmarks set by Congress, according to several administration officials.
Where have I heard it before? It sounds familiar. Where have I heard the refrain that "we're making progress" in Iraq before? Oh, right. Every year for the last four years of this war.
"The colonel leading the assault says we have denied al Qaeda a major bastion. The city is cleared. The challenge, of course, is going to be for coalition and Iraqi forces to keep it that way. But we're making progress in Operation Phantom Thunder."
"So while we're making progress, it also is tough. And so the way to deal with it is to stay on the offense, is to help these Iraqis."
"And victory in Iraq is a country that can sustain itself, govern itself and defend itself. That's the definition of victory, and we're making progress toward that goal."
"And I'm convinced we're making progress there. But I do urge the folks on the ground to get that unity government in place, so that the Iraqi people have confidence in their future."
"And we're making progress when it comes to training the troops. More and more Iraqis are taking the fight."
"We're making progress because of -- we've got a strategy for victory, and we're making progress because the men and women of the United States military are showing magnificent courage and they're making important sacrifices that have brought Iraq to an historic moment -- the opportunity to build a democracy that reflects its country's diversity, that serves its people, and is an active partner in the fight against the terrorists."
"The training of the Iraqi police is an enormous task and, frankly, it hasn't always gone smoothly. Yet we're making progress -- and our soldiers see the transformation up close."
"We're making progress toward peace. We're making progress toward an ally that will join us in the war on terror, that will prevent al Qaeda from establishing safe haven in Iraq, and a country that will serve as an example for others who aspire to live in freedom."
"So on the one hand, we're making progress when it comes to training Iraqis to take the fight to the enemy, we're bringing the enemy to justice, we're on the offense. On the other hand, democracy is moving forward in a part of the world that is so desperate for democracy and so desperate for freedom."
"I'll remind the people that we're making progress on two fronts -- a political front. The Iraqi people are working hard to reach a consensus on their constitution."
"And we're making progress training the Iraqis. Oh, I know it's hard for some Americans to see that progress, but we are making progress."
"But one of the things that's important to understand is the Iraqi government understands that as civilian governments change, there needs to be stability in the military and a chain of command that links top to bottom. And General Casey knows we're making progress toward establishing that chain of command."
"And we're making progress toward that goal. We've been there -- it's been 14 months since the fall of Baghdad, and the work has been hard and difficult."
"We're making progress. Yet there still is much work to do. Over the decades of Saddam's rule, Iraq's infrastructure was allowed to crumble, while money was diverted to palaces, and to wars, and to weapons programs."
"And we're making progress. There are a few people there in Iraq that want to claim credit for any situation on the ground, but the people in Fallujah are tired of foreign fighters and radicals and extremists preventing them from living a normal life."
"And so we're making progress, you bet. There's a strategy toward freedom."
"But when you think about where the country has come from, it's a relatively short period of time. And we're making progress."
"Well, one way you measure is how many people you bring to justice. And they feel like they're making good progress."
"The American people know that we laid out the facts, we based the decision on sound intelligence and they also know we've only been there for a hundred days. And we're making progress."
"And so we're making progress. It's slowly but surely making progress of bringing the -- those who terrorize their fellow citizens to justice, and making progress about convincing the Iraqi people that freedom is real."
"And we're making progress. There's tangible, visible progress on the ground there in Iraq."