If I was not so used to their lying my jaw would drop at this...but it is still mind-numbingly depressing:
But the growing concern about the conflict was on full display on Capitol Hill, where the top brass faced tough questions on US progress in training Iraqis to defend themselves, considered a key measure in whether the United States will be able to begin reducing its own presence. Some of the fiercest criticism came from Republicans.
''It doesn't feel like progress," remarked Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine.
When Casey reported that one Iraqi battalion was prepared to operate without US support, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, shot back: ''It was three before. . . . Now we're down to one battalion?"
''Right," Casey said, ''and things change in the battalions. I mean, we're making assessments on personnel, on leadership, on training. . . . There are a lot of variables that are involved here, Senator."
Casey did not fully explain why the number of combat-ready units has declined despite continued training efforts.