Washington, D.C.— House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) released the statement below in advance of the seven year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq tomorrow:


“As we begin the eighth year of conflict in Iraq, it is only appropriate to recognize how much progress has been made this past year. I am so proud of our brave men and women in uniform for their dedication, skill, and sacrifice, and I am proud of the Iraqi people for their resolve to overcome the many challenges they have faced.


“Iraq’s determination to stand on its own without large numbers of U.S. troops, as well as the ongoing transition to a capable and largely democratic government, will bring to a close our long deployment in Iraq.  U.S. troops have helped build the foundation for a better Iraqi future, and now the future of Iraq rests in the hands of its own people.  The recent Iraqi elections, although far from a guarantee of stability and democracy, give us hope for the days ahead.  Success and stability in Iraq are not certain—and it is possible that the country could return to violence—but I am optimistic that we will reach our target date to close this mission by the end of next year.”