SEPTEMBER IS SUCH AN AWKWARD MONTH….The Pentagon doesn’t like the September deadline for reporting progress in Iraq anymore:

Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, commander of day-to-day operations in Iraq, said via teleconference from Baghdad that the military would produce the report on time as required by Congress. But, he said, September would be too early to determine whether security improvements would last and whether the buildup had worked.

“In order to do a good assessment, I need at least until November,” Odierno said. “If I have 45 more days of looking at those trends, I’ll be able to make a bit more accurate assessment — if it’s something that we think is going to continue or something that was just a blip.”

Translation: things aren’t going well and we’d really rather not have you guys debating the Pentagon budget with the final version of this report on your desks. So let’s just call it a rough draft and keep the process moving along smoothly, shall we?