Violence has fallen in Iraq since the United States fully employed the troop surge, but Missouri’s military expert in Congress says Iraq still has a long ways to go.

West-Central Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Lexington), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is pleased with the numbers: a 55% drop in attacks and a 60% drop in Iraqi civilian casualties. Skelton says that proves the troops have done their work. He says it’s past time for the Iraqi government to become fully functional. Skelton says the Iraqi government hasn’t taken advantage of the improvements. He says he wants the Shiites and the Sunnis reconcile their differences, begin to settle their differences so they can pass laws and take control of their own country. Skelton wants to see the Iraqi military begin to provide the security the country needs.

Skelton tells the Missourinet the Iraq war has put American military forces under incredible strain. He says it’s time for a "reasonable and responsible" deployment from Iraq. Skelton says President Bush listens when he expresses his concerns, but he says insofar as agreeing to a redeployment proposal, "there is a disagreement".

Download/listen Brent Martin reports (:60 MP3)