We have another Bush Orwellianism: "outputs", as opposed to "outcomes," in Iraq. Money NYT quote:
If lawmakers remain in Baghdad, said one senior American official who did not want to be identified because he was discussing internal White House deliberations, 'we'll have some outputs then." He added, "That's different from having outcomes," drawing a distinction between a sign of activity and a sign of success, which could take considerably longer.
So the bar for the Iraqis keeps getting, yes, lower. Now the president is telling us not to expect any measurable progress by September - no actual "outcomes." Instead, we are to look for "activity." Did Maliki shave this morning? Did Sadr take his afternoon walk? I guess this might be another device to lower expectations - lower them? - but it's essentially a statement that we have no reason to believe that the current strategy can do anything serious to affect the entire country - but that we're staying with it anyway. By September, there will be a reckoning. My guess is that September is the moment that a critical part of the Congressional Republican party abandons this war. Bush needs a miracle to avoid that. And it appears he isn't expecting one.