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General Casey also said that the number of Iraqi army battalions rated by US officers as capable of fighting without US help had dropped from three to one. He did not explain why the number had dropped from three in June to one now. The Pentagon has built its Iraq strategy on the expectation that it can begin bringing American troops home as the Iraqis gradually take the lead in the fight against the insurgency.
"That contributes to a loss of public confidence in how the war is going," Senator Susan Collins, said of the gereral's remarks. "It doesn't feel like progress when we hear today there is only one Iraqi battalion fully capable."
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