Congressman Brian Baird (WA-03) today wrapped up a second day of meetings in Iraq with top U.S. and Iraqi officials--including Commanding General of U.S. Forces in Iraq, Gen. Raymond Odierno and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki--to discuss the current political, economic, and security situation in Iraq and discuss the ongoing drawdown of U.S. forces. Congressman Baird was joined by Congressman Bob Inglis (R-SC) on this Congressional Delegation trip.
"By withdrawing the bulk of our forces, the U.S. is taking a huge step towards ending the war in Iraq," Congressman Baird said. "The U.S. is honoring the Strategic Agreement with our Iraqi partners, proving that our mission there is not to occupy or exploit. After seven very difficult years, it is imperative that we get this historic transition right. I wanted to see, up close, how this drawdown could affect Iraq's security, and most importantly, our troops who will remain after the drawdown."
During the two-day CoDel trip to Baghdad and Northern Iraq, Congressmen Baird and Inglis also met with Iraq President Jalal Talabani and newly-appointed U.S. ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey. Congressmen Baird and Inglis, both members of the House Science and Technology Committee, also discussed scientific and environmental investment opportunities with Prime Minister Maliki and President Talabani.
Congressmen Baird and Inglis also traveled to U.S. Army Contingency Operating Base Speicher to meet with troops from Washington and South Carolina and hear about their day-to-day operations.
"Our commitment in Iraq is changing, and we owe it to our brave men and women who are staying behind to protect them as they train Iraqi security forces," Congressman Baird said. "We have invested too much, especially the troops who paid the ultimate sacrifice, to leave Iraq vulnerable to terrorists or those who wish to dominate Iraq."