Iowa Congressman Tom Latham is in Iraq, meeting with troops and being briefed by U.S. military leaders. "It’s extremely hot here as you would expect this time of year, but it’s very much worthwhile," Latham says. "We’ve been able to talk to Iowa troops and a lot of different troops and hear some reports from the people who are in charge here."
Latham, a Republican from Ames, has visited already with a number of Iowans who’re on duty in Iraq. "I think they’re attitude is extremely positive in that what they’re seeing and some of these folks have been over here twice before," Latham says. "They’re seeing real progress and seeing a major change in attitude in the country which is very heartening to me."
This is Latham’s third trip into Iraq and his goal is to spend most of his time talking to rank-and-file troops rather than the generals in charge. "Tomorrow, we’re going to be venturing out into another region…and get a firsthand assessment from the troops there and also from the Iraqi people themselves as to what their ideas as far as the progress being made or lack of progress in those areas," Latham says.
Latham left for Iraq on Tuesday afternoon and got to Baghdad at about six o’clock Iowa time today. "They have a very unusual method of avoiding any kind of fire from the ground when you come into Baghdad," according to Latham.
Latham says he’s "very encouraged" by the report the general in charge of Iraq and the U.S. ambassador to the country delivered to congress this week.
If you’d like to hear more of Latham’s phone call from Baghdad, click on the audio link below.