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Report: Iraqi force training producing 'mixed results'

Story Highlights

• Report: Unclear how effective training of Iraqi troops has been
• Report shows evidence some troops are committing sectarian violence
• Group of congressmen wants president to reconvene the Iraq Study Group
• Gen. David Petraeus to report on status of the war in September
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. trainers have been unable to develop an indigenous Iraqi force fully capable of taking over security for the country, according to a congressional report released Wednesday.

Training Iraqi forces is key to the administration's plan to "stand down" American forces as the Iraqis "stand up."

The $19 billion effort has produced "mixed results," particularly with the Iraqi Police Services, according to the report from the House Armed Service Committee's oversight subcommittee.

"The bottom line is that after three months of studying the U.S. effort to develop the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), we cannot assess the operational capability of these forces," the report said. "We are actually left with more questions than answers." (Watch dramatic bombing video illustrate problems with Iraqi troops Video)

The report says the Department of Defense "cannot report in detail how many of the 346,500 Iraqi military and police personnel that the Coalition trained are operational today."

The report includes 42 recommendations -- most for the Department of Defense and most requiring better reporting on the training effort -- but the subcommittee does not have legislative authority. The full Armed Services Committee must step in for any of the recommendations to take effect.

Report: Strong evidence some are committing sectarian violence

The report says "there is strong evidence that some [Iraqi Security Forces] are independently committing sectarian violence and other illegal activity;" adding that "the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Interior are not capable of accounting for, supporting, or fully controlling their forces in the field."

The report was signed by 16 members of the bipartisan subcommittee.

"The problem is that they [DOD assessments] focus on readiness, but they tell us next to nothing about the capability of these units to operate independently, which obviously is the challenge that we face," said Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Massachusetts, the subcommittee's chairman.

"And we've seen over the last few days and weeks that they are not even operating in the lead.

"Basically the Department can tell us how many people they've trained and how many weapons they have been given, but they can't tell us enough about how well they can perform their missions or even plan them."

"It is mixed," said Rep. Todd Akin, the Missouri Republican who is the ranking member of the subcommittee. "If you are looking at it from that point of view, are we ready to pull out and turn Baghdad over? Obviously we are not ready to do that. Have we made progress? Yeah."

The report also said that the subcommittee experienced difficulties getting information, documents and witnesses from the Department of Defense.

"Congress must continue its constitutionally mandated role of oversight, whether or not the Department of Defense wants to participate," Meehan said in remarks included in the report. "The Congress and the American people would be better served if the Department didn't continue its current strategy of obfuscation, delay and denial."

Group of congressmen wants to bring back Iraq Study Group

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of congressmen on Wednesday called on the president to reconvene the Iraq Study Group to provide a new assessment of the war in Iraq. (Read: Support for war at all-time low)

The White House should act "as quickly as possible" to bring the Iraq Study Group back, said Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Virginia, who originally crafted the legislation that created the group in March 2006.

The 10 members of the Iraq Study Group -- evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats -- spent nearly nine months gathering information and talking to experts about possible strategies for Iraq.

"The Bush administration has nothing to lose, and quite frankly, has everything to gain" by asking the Iraq Study Group to return, Wolf said.

Bush has been urging patience until Gen. David Petraeus gives his report on the status of the war in September. (Watch U.S. commanders question whether Iraqi are up to the task Video)

Wolf, who was joined by Reps. Christopher Shays, R-Connecticut, Dan Lipinski, D-Illinois, and Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said the administration should move more quickly.

"I think it would be irresponsible not to have plan B and C," said Shays, who recently returned from his 17th trip to Iraq, the most of any member of Congress.

But, for now at least, House Republican leaders have continued to echo the president's call to wait for Petraeus' report.



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