U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) today announced plans to join U.S. Senator Barack Obama in traveling to Iraq and Afghanistan later this summer to get a firsthand look at the security and political situation in these two important countries for American national security. The bipartisan Congressional Delegation (CODEL) plans to meet with top U.S. military commanders and civilians, and senior Iraqi and Afghan leaders. They will also thank our troops, civilians, and coalition partners for their heroic work in extremely difficult circumstances.
In Iraq, the senators will examine whether the tactical buildup of U.S. troops has resulted in the progress necessary to resolve Iraq's political differences, provide basic services to the Iraqi people, and create long-term stability. In Afghanistan, the senators will assess the U.S.-led efforts to combat the Taliban and expand security in light of the recent rise in violence, while also assessing the political and economic situation.
Senator Reed is a senior member of the Armed Services Committee and will be arranging the logistics for this trip. Senators Obama and Hagel serve on the Foreign Relations Committee.
"I look forward to joining Senators Obama and Reed on this important trip," said Senator Hagel. "U.S. policies in Iraq and Afghanistan are at the center of America's national security. These critical issues must be addressed in a bipartisan manner that builds consensus for a bipartisan American foreign policy."
"This CODEL is a good opportunity to look, listen, and assess recent developments in the region. I am pleased to join Senators Obama and Hagel on this bipartisan fact finding mission. Our troops are performing heroically in Afghanistan and Iraq and doing everything they can to stem the violence. They deserve a policy that is worthy of their sacrifice," said Senator Reed. "Economic rebuilding and political stability are key components of our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. We will carefully examine our non-military efforts to bring stability to these places."