Iraqis' progress improved for the 18 directives, including political, economic and security matters, since a July report, which listed satisfactory performance on eight benchmarks.
"Broad context is necessary for assessing the performance of the Iraqi government with respect to the 18 benchmarks," White House spokesman Tony Snow said at a news briefing. "We continue to encourage Iraqi leaders to achieve established benchmarks, since we believe that those efforts will contribute over time to Iraq’s stability, to its ability to provide for its own security and to the international effort to counter violent extremism."
The report listed seven benchmarks as not satisfactory, including four with progress for some aspects and not others. Two benchmarks were not rated because preconditions weren't evident.
"While key national legislation has not yet passed, the objectives of such laws are in some ways already being achieved," Snow said, including distribution of oil revenue, budgeting and the granting of immunity.
"These are precisely the 'effects' the benchmarks were intended to produce, even if the formal benchmarks themselves have not been met," he said.