Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement today concerning the required interim report on progress in Iraq:

    "The interim report from General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker offers a mixed assessment, but provides little reason to think that we will see significant progress on critical benchmarks relating to Iraqi political progress and national reconciliation in the upcoming September assessment or in the foreseeable future.

    "After more than four years, we can no longer afford the Administration’s open-ended commitments in Iraq that have failed to bring about a stable Iraq and which increasingly limit U.S. options to address other critical national security concerns.

    "The report reinforces my belief that we must start taking steps to responsibly redeploy U.S. forces from Iraq. Responsible redeployment, which would limit the U.S. military to missions such as counter-terrorism, protecting U.S. Embassy personnel, and training Iraqi security forces, is necessary if we expect the Iraqis to take primary responsibility for their country and for their security."