While Harry Reid remains in denial about progress, 21 Senate Democrats joined with Joe Lieberman to approve unconditional funds for troops on the frontlines last night. Now, another Democrat, this time a Representative, is seeing progress in Iraq. As well as an end in sight.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly returned from a second trip to Iraq in five months encouraged that the mission there is going better and that by 2009 the U.S. military’s role could be primarily as trainers and advisers.
“I feel we’ve made progress, and the other part is I feel we can see an end game in sight,” Donnelly, D-Ind., told reporters on a conference call Tuesday from Washington. “It isn’t we just keep plugging away in the hopes something will turn out right. Gen. (David) Petraeus is working a plan and we seem to be heading toward a place where the Iraqis can be self-sustaining and we’ll have a smaller presence in the background.”
Donnelly’s findings were in stark contrast to his visit to Iraq last July, when he said the only positive thing that happened in that country since the beginning of the war in March 2003 was the ouster of Saddam Hussein.
It was just the other day that Representative John Murtha also said he saw significant progress, before he “clarified” (Read: Didn’t want to lose his earmarks) and reaffirmed his anti-war position.
Donnelly, who traveled to Iraq with Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., Rep. Phil English, R-Pa., and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said the congressional delegation heard the same thing from Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq.
“In his view, things have improved almost across the board,” Donnelly said. “There’s a confidence and a feeling the progress is being made and there is an end in sight to our significant military presence.”
Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the second-ranking U.S. general in Iraq, said Sunday that the past six months had seen some of the lowest levels of violence since the conflict began. He attributed the change to an increase in both American troops and better-trained Iraqi forces.
As for political progress, Donnelly said the national government’s progress is “dismal”, but the provincial and local governments have been chugging along on their own.
“They have done an extraordinary job with a very difficult assignment,” he said.
Indeed they have. Too bad Senator Harry Reid (D-Denial) can’t join many of his fellow Democrats, and see the progress.
On an aside note, it’s quite interesting how the media has been covering the war less and less, isn’t it?