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Leila Fadel from McClatchy's Baghdad bureau provides yet another independent press account calling into question the administration's claims of improved security thanks to the surge in Iraq. Fadel notes that when the surge was announced, Bush "said that Iraqi and American troops would improve security while the Iraqi government improved services." He promised that "Responsibility for security in most of Iraq would be turned over to Iraqi security forces by November." And, of course, he forecast political reconcilation.

As Fadel reports, "With less than a week to go before the White House delivers a congressionally mandated report on that plan, none of this has happened."

On the flipside we have the news that the reason no outside journalists have been able to scrutinize, evaluate, or verify the administration's claims of security gains is that both the numbers and the methodology used to generate them are classified. I think we need to put our credence in the idea that the White House has some super-convincing data in support of its policies that it's got hidden away and can't release at around zero. If Bush had solid numbers, we'd be seeing them. Heck, we'd see non-solid numbers if Bush thought he might be able to bamboozle people into believing some screwy ones.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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