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Newsfront - August 3, 2007

McNerney leads trip to Iraq

U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney (D., 11th) led a bipartisan, all-freshman Congressional delegation on a trip to Iraq last weekend, leaving Washington, D.C., on Friday evening.

"It's one thing to read about the situation and hear from others who have been, and quite another to see and experience firsthand the reality of the situation," McNerney said. "After visiting Iraq, I still strongly support implementing a reasonable timetable to begin withdrawing troops. I believe that is the only way to give the Iraqis the incentive they need to step up and take control of their country."

In Baghdad, delegation members met with Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Embassy staff. The following day they headed to Ramadi, a city west of Baghdad, then to meet with the 11th Iraqi Army Division in East Baghdad. Later that day, the group met with Barhem Saleh, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister.

"In meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Saleh, we had a frank discussion," said McNerney. "I told him that Iraqi leaders must take responsibility for their country."

McNerney ate dinner with California soldiers from the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, and noted, "The soldiers I met with were in good spirits and committed to their mission but are ready to be back with their families in California."

On Sunday, the delegation flew to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany where they met with wounded troops and other U.S. military leaders.

Also on the trip were Republicans Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Dean Heller of Nevada, and Peter Roskam of Illinois; and Democrats Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Tim Mahoney of Florida.

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