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Wednesday, October 8, 2003
Walden Audio Recorded from Iraq; Provides Observations on Congressional Delegation Trip to Iraq
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), currently in Iraq as part of a traveling congressional delegation, offered insight today on the current situation in Iraq and the future of the U.S. reconstruction effort. Walden and his colleagues are visiting sites across Iraq and meeting with American and Iraqi officials during a week-long investigative trip to the region. The House delegation was tasked by House speaker Dennis Hastert with investigating developments concerning reconstruction efforts, the search for weapons of mass destruction, and efforts to subdue militants opposed to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Most of the sites visited by the delegation lie within the "Sunni Triangle," the 100-mile area from Baghdad to Tikrit where 80 percent of guerrilla attacks occur.
"The work that's being done by our troops is extraordinary," said Walden. "They're in good spirits. They know they have a tough job, but they're doing it well. And it depends upon where you are in the county as to how tough that job is. Certainly around the Baghdad area, there are remnants of Saddam's forces that are trying to disrupt everything we do and sometimes with great lethal effect. But all in all we're making progress in Iraq. We have rebuilt 1,500 schools, we're clearing port ways so food can come in, they're trying to get the power plants back up and civilization back to some semblance of normality. But clearly it is going to be critical to make sure that our troops have the equipment that they need. As we flew back to Kuwait the night before last, there were three soldiers' remains in body bags in our C-130 at our feet. It brought home the fact that this is still a very dangerous, dangerous country and a dangerous mission. But I have to tell you, the Oregonians I've met with are serving with great courage and pride. They know, and they've told us, that they believe we're doing the right thing here. They want to be sure that we're supporting them with the equipment and the moral support that they need. It's clear as we visited schools, power plants, down at Babylon today Saddam wreaked great havoc on the people and this country and we have to go about winning their hearts and minds back, and when we do, we can transfer power and bring our troops home, which is our goal."
RADIO STATIONS: To access audio on Walden’s trip to Iraq, dial (202) 226-4760. Enter message number 0417170, followed by the pound key (#).
Congressman Walden represents the Second Congressional District of Oregon, which includes the 20 counties of central, southern and eastern Oregon. He is a Deputy Whip and member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Committee on Resources.
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