This is a really good article from the Times. Due to the wordy nature of Times article, I'll merely link to them. A few words first. This article, and the reality of the byzantine nature of Iraqi politics, reminds me of a quote that Don Rumsfeld made during the initial invasion, when Iraqis were looting: "Democracy is messy." I think setting benchmarks is unrealistic. Things aren't just going to fall into place, just like that. In this part of the world, amongst most of us, we knew this was an illegal war where there were no plans in place for the aftermath. And after four years, no one still knows what the hell we're doing.
Iraq has been a dysfunctional, fucked-up country for many, many years, at least from when it was a part of the Ottoman Empire. Until recently, it was a Baathist dictatorship. Changing it to a democracy can't be dependent on setting "benchmarks" or hoping the right groups and individuals will get along and agree on everything.
Anyway, here's the link: