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Key Democrat: Iraq War Assessment Disappointing

U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn said he is disappointed, though not surprised, by Gen. David Petraeus' call for a suspension of troop withdrawals in Iraq.

Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, made the recommendation Tuesday during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, return to Capitol Hill today to offer their latest assessment to members of the House Armed Services Committee.

Clyburn said he takes particular issue with the latest troop surge. While it has been militarily successful, the South Carolina Democrat said, it has yet to serve its original purpose of bolstering the Iraqi government.

"The surge was supposed to create a climate within which the political parts of Iraq could take hold," he said. "That has not happened."

Clyburn said extended deployments have left many troops fatigued, a strain that he says contributes to a recent increase in violence in Iraq.

Clyburn also reflected on his relationship with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and how King's vision continues to shape the way Clyburn leads the House of Representatives.

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