IRAQ UPDATE….So how are things going in Iraq?

Two new government reports, one by the Pentagon, pointed Monday to encouraging security improvements in Iraq, but were decidedly pessimistic about prospects for political and economic progress and warned that costly military gains will remain fragile.

One report, by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, concluded that many political reconciliation efforts have stalled, that Iraq’s security forces remain largely unable to operate without U.S. assistance, and that its central government has not fulfilled commitments to spend its own money on reconstruction efforts.

….The Pentagon…acknowledged problems throughout Iraq. The quarterly report on progress also cited continued dissatisfaction among Iraqis over essential services such as water, electricity, sanitation and healthcare and said government officials in Baghdad “lack the ability” to advance needed rebuilding projects.

The security gains are real. Whether they’re permanent is harder to say. And political reconciliation continues to look pretty bleak. Read the whole thing for more.