The Senate's top Republican starts talking the talk on Iraq.

Published May 14, 2007 2:23PM (EDT)

If the first step toward solving a problem is admitting that you have one, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may finally be one step down the road toward doing something about the war in Iraq.

During an appearance on CNN's "Late Edition" over the weekend, Wolf Blitzer told McConnell that he's not seeing much progress in Iraq just now. The best McConnell could muster in return: It's a "mixed picture." In a brief interview, McConnell used the word "disturbing" twice and variations of "frustration" repeatedly: "We're particularly frustrated ... We're particularly frustrated with the Iraqi government ... It's a growing frustration."

"So far," McConnell said, the Iraqi government has "not been able do anything they promised on the political side. The oil revenue bill, not passed. Local elections, not passed. The de-Baathification effort, not passed ... I don't know what their problem is, but this country has made an enormous investment in giving the Iraqis a chance to have a normal government after all of these years of Saddam Hussein and his atrocities. And there's a growing sense of bipartisan frustration in the Senate over the lack of progress on the political side of the Iraqi government."

So what's the solution? McConnell didn't say, exactly, but he made it clear that he'd be willing to take cover from the same Iraqi politicians he now holds in contempt. "I read just this week that a significant number of the Iraqi parliament want to vote to ask us to leave," he said. "I want to assure you, Wolf, if they vote to ask us to leave, we'll be glad to comply with their request."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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Iraq War Mitch Mcconnell R-ky.