LESS LIGHT, MORE TUNNEL
The number of Iraqi battalions capable of combat without U.S. support has dropped from three to one, the top American commander in Iraq told Congress Thursday, prompting Republicans to question whether U.S. troops will be able to withdraw next year.
...In June, the Pentagon told lawmakers that three Iraqi battalions were fully trained, equipped and capable of operating independently. On Thursday, [General George] Casey said only one battalion is ready.
"It doesn't feel like progress," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
Despite the drop, Casey hailed significant progress in training Iraqi security forces and noted that U.S. troops are embedded with more Iraqi units in mentoring roles than before. "Have we lost ground? Absolutely not," Casey said....