By U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield
1st Congressional District
Last month I had the honor and the privilege of visiting our brave military men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was a profound experience that left me with a deep sense of gratitude, pride and hope. I was able to see firsthand what kind of progress our troops are making in bringing stability to the Middle East and fighting the war on terror. While the journey has been long and the sacrifices great, significant political and security gains have been made.
During my visit to Iraq, I was able to meet with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, the current Commanding General of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, General Raymond T. Odierno and numerous other high ranking military and Iraqi officials. After surveying the situation on the ground and meeting with these high ranking individuals, I believe our mission in Iraq is going very well at this time. Incidences of violence are down significantly and the provisional development teams that are working in the Iraqi provinces are making great strides in terms of economic development and bringing healthcare, education and stability to local communities.