Congressman Dave Loebsack has just returned from a trip to Iraq with a bipartisan group of congressmen. Their first stop was at a hospital in Balad, Iraq, then they flew by helicopter into a Baghdad neighborhood to visit a station where American soldiers are working to train the Iraqi police and military forces.
The group also met with one of Iraq’s vice presidents as well as the U.S. ambassador and the top U.S. general in Iraq. Loebsack says the "surge" of U.S. troops appears to be working to quell the violence in Iraq. But Loebsack faults the Iraqis for failing to reconcile and make progress toward a working government.
Loebsack met with some of the soldiers from the Ottumwa area who’re on active duty in Iraq and he says they are "clearly" doing their job, but the Iraqis aren’t making much headway. Loebsack says his meeting with the Iraqi vice president was pretty one sided. "We mostly listened to him and what he had to say," Loebsack says. "…He obviously would like to keep us there."
Loeback, a Democrat from Mount Vernon, is on the House Armed Services Committee and he got to see some of the new armored vehicles commissioned for the U.S. military. Loebsack rode one through Ramadi.
"It saved the life of a couple of folks in the 833rd when they went over an IED last week," according to Loebsack. Loebsack spoke with Radio Iowa by telephone about two hours after his return to the U.S. This was Loebsack’s second trip to Iraq. He has voted in favor of redeploying U.S. troops out of Iraq.
You can listen to Loebsack’s entire conversation with Radio Iowa by clicking on the audio link below.