WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, issued the following statement on his weekend visit with U.S. Military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan:
“Having the opportunity to meet with both General Ray Odierno, and General David McKiernan, the respective commanders of the ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, was a humbling and eye an opening experience. As a nation, we are extremely fortunate to have men (and women) of their stature leading our volunteer forces both at home and abroad.
“From my discussions with the commanders on the ground, and from my encounters with soldiers in the field, there is a strong sense of honor and patriotism in their voices. Yes, the mission is tough. And yes, they miss their families. But the underlying tone in each encounter was that they are making a difference and the people of Iraq are grateful for their presence.
“So while there continues to be sustained progress in Iraq, Afghanistan remains volatile and fragile – the same could be said about Iraq before the surge. I have the utmost confidence that General McKiernan and his leadership team will make the right strategic decisions in their mission to root out Al-Qaida and Taliban strongholds and in their efforts to eliminate terrorist bases in the Afghan-Pakistan border region.
“Our brave and courageous young men and women who selflessly serve this nation are doing an outstanding job protecting the homeland and fighting terror abroad. And it goes without question that I want to see our troops brought home –when the generals on the ground, not the politicians in Washington determine that is possible. Until that day, politicians on Capitol Hill should defer to our military leadership when discussing the resources needed to accomplish the mission at hand.”
Thompson, joined by five other members of Congress departed from Andrews Air Force Base (AFB) on Feb. 26 en route to Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait. Thompson then switched planes in Kuwait and arrived in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday mid-afternoon.
Thompson met with Gen. Ray Odierno, Commander, Multi-National Force Iraq Friday evening, where he was briefed on the current military operations in Iraq. Saturday afternoon, Thompson and the other Members of the Congressional Delegation (CODEL) met with soldiers and traveled from Baghdad to neighboring towns.
Saturday evening, the CODEL departed Iraq en route to Afghanistan via Kuwait. The CODEL arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan early Sunday morning and moved to the U.S. Embassy for a short rest. Thompson met with General McKiernan Saturday morning and then traveled to Kandahar where he was briefed on the illegal Poppy (opium) trade.
The CODEL then departed Kabul, Afghanistan Monday afternoon en route to Budapest, Hungary where Thompson met with Members of Parliament, Cabinet level Ministers and opinion leaders.
The CODEL will return to Andrews AFB Tuesday, March 3.