Congressman Phil Hare, a member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, traveled to Iraq last week as part of a Congressional Delegation (CODEL) with Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake to see first-hand the medical care being provided to our fighting men and women. Also on the trip were House Veterans' Affairs Health Subcommittee Chairman Mike Michaud, Congressman Jeff Miller, Congressman John Salazar, Congressman Bill Sali, and Congressman Ciro Rodriguez.
During the trip, Hare visited the Kuwaiti Emergency Medical Facility, Medical Aid Stations in Baghdad, the Balad Theatre Support Hospital in Iraq, and the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. He received operational briefs from commanders on the ground, met with U.S. troops, and participated in office calls with General David Petraeus and the U.S. Embassy.
"During my trip to Iraq, I saw the incredible job that our fighting men and women are doing under very difficult circumstances," Hare said. "Our entire nation should be grateful for their service."
"I was especially impressed with the medical personnel who are working constantly to make sure that our injured soldiers get the best possible care," Hare continued. "From my visits to medical facilities in Kuwait, Iraq, and Germany, I saw the great pride they took in caring for our wounded warriors."
Hare met personally with several injured troopsincluding ones from Illinois. He visited burn victims, those suffering from IED wounds, and triple amputees. "I was humbled by their courage," Hare said.
Regarding the war effort in Iraq, Hare said that while the surge of U.S. troops has had some limited tactical success, he did not see any evidence to suggest it has helped the Iraqis find the political solution necessary to establish peace in the country and stability in the region. "Our troops won the war," Hare said. "It is time for the Iraqi government to win the peace."
Hare reiterated his call for a responsible redeployment of U.S. troops. "The Iraqi government will not stand up until they feel the pressure to do so," Hare said. "A timetable for withdrawal can apply that pressure."
Hare said the trip reaffirmed his commitment to care for our troops and our veterans. "I will continue to spend every day fighting so our servicemen and women get the care they deserve both on the battlefield and here at home," he said.