Skip to comments.(Katherine) Harris visits Iraq hot zones (Report & Photo of recent trip)
Posted on 04/20/2006 9:58:32 AM PDT by JulieRNR21
Harris visits Iraq hot zones
Congresswoman says infrastructure improvements and Iraqi-American cooperation are most noticeable changes.
During a recent trip to Iraq, U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Longboat Key, met one-on-one with a small group of Florida soldiers in the Middle East.
Harris said one soldier told her to let the military experts fight the war and decide when to withdraw troops.
"He told me, 'Don't take us out before we can finish;" Harris said. "That is the one thing the troops say when I am alone with them:'
The five-day trip to Iraq, Israel and Jordan reaffirmed the pro-war congresswoman's stance. If elected to U.S. Senate, her persistent opposition to an early withdrawal of troops could prove decisive in .close votes.
Harris first visited Iraq in 2002.
During an interview. with The Longboat Observer Friday, the day after her return, she talked about improved cooperation between Iraqis and American troops and signs of progress. The congresswoman also conceded there is still a strong insurgent presence, and the constant threat of violence is preventing contractors from going to Iraq to help rebuild infrastructure.
Harris visited Tall Mar, previously a hostile insurgent stronghold where troops were shot at while delivering supplies to a hospital, and stayed overnight in Baghdad, where it is common for members of Congress to visit but off limits for extended stays.
For Harris, recent changes in Tall Mar, the small city north of Mosul that was run by insurgents and al-Qaida fighters since the outbreak of war, is an example of how Iraqis and American soldiers can restore control across the country.
"The Iraqi people got tired of finding police officers beheaded in the street, and they rose up;' said Harris.
A newly formed force of American-trained Iraqi police launched a campaign to regain control of the city and captured 900 insurgents and killed 1,200 more, she said.
The effort to restore control of the city took six months of violence, and residents, with the assistance of American soldiers, are now working to rebuild water and electrical infrastructures and important buildings.
"They want a. change; they don't want to live under tyranny anymore;' Harris said.
Throughout the region, she said, Iraqis are waiting in lines to join police forces, even as suicide bombers are targeting training centers, leaving dozens of new officers dead. Even more important to strategic victory, Iraqis are feeding valuable intelligence to American troops.
Harris returned from the trip Thursday evening and on Friday morning spoke to a small group of parents from Manatee and Sarasota counties who have sons and daughters serving overseas.
Harris meets with parents of troops at least monthly, if her schedule allows. Monday's low-key get-together took place at a secluded conference room at Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, a company that sells and markets Anheuser-Busch products throughout Southwest Florida. No media were present.
Harris said parents echo what the troops are saying. "People who have lost sons and daughters tell us they don't want their sacrifice to be in vain."
Asked what she thinks about critics who have said the Iraqi people are unable buy into a long-term form of democracy, Harris answered, "People who make that prognosis don't know the culture there:'
She said it will be difficult to get Iraq's three different religious sects to embrace a new form of government, but in the end, "Freedom is a better way than tyranny: Harris emphasized that the main mission of the war is to fight terrorism.
bttt (thank you for the ping)
Thanks for the ping, patriciaruth!
I've always liked Katherine Harris, too. I like her even more after finding out she is such a strong supporter of the troops.
That's some picture!
Couldn't find Tall Mar on Google Image or search. Off to keep looking.
Cheers - Dinah
What a busy day you had! Thanks for your post and most of all your help with that photo.
A few days ago freeper summer posted a thread of photographs taken in Iraq of FL Gov. Bush with troops from Florida.
That thread reminded me that I had saved this article about Katherine Harris who had a photo taken with many of the same FL troops.
Hope this is a less stressful day for you!
Tall Mar. Anybody know where that is?
Tall Mar, the small city north of Mosul
Ping to this article & photo
Thank you for your support of Katherine Harris.