Ryan Reports on Iraq Trip
First District Congressman Paul Ryan returned yesterday from a bipartisan congressional delegation trip to Iraq and several other nations. Ryan and five other members of the U.S. House of Representatives traveled to the region to talk to U.S. and Iraqi troops and their commanders and see firsthand how the strategy for stabilizing the country and turning over its defense to the Iraqis is being implemented.
In Iraq earlier this week, the congressional delegation met with U.S. officials and military leaders including General Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, to discuss current operations and, in particular, the training of the Iraqi military. The group also met with Ambassador Khalilzad, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, and Ambassador Carney, the Coordinator for Economic Transition in Iraq, among others. The delegation received intelligence briefings from the CIA and DIA, and sat down to meals with U.S. troops.
In addition, Ryan and the others toured Camp Taji and the Counterinsurgency Center for Excellence (COIN) to observe the training of Iraqi Security Forces. They also visited Camp Dublin and met an Iraqi emergency response unit, and they received briefings from Baghdad Police Academy trainers.
"I learned more from this trip to Iraq than I could have learned in years of Washington briefings and committee hearings," Ryan said. "First of all, I was impressed with the bravery and expertise of our troops deployed there. It is an extremely tough situation on the ground, but I believe the current plan for securing Baghdad and increasing the Iraqis' capability of defending themselves holds a chance for success. We should know within a matter of months if this strategy is helping us turn the corner there."
The delegation also spent time in Kuwait and Jordan. In Kuwait they received briefings and talked with troops at Camp Arifjan, and they visited the site where all military vehicles hit by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are taken. In Jordan, they toured the Jordan International Police Academy (JIPTC) and met with its directors and trainers. En route back to the U.S., they stopped in Brussels and received a NATO briefing at the U.S. Mission to NATO F-Wing.