View Full Version : Calvert sees progress in Iraq

03-14-07, 09:27 AM
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Calvert sees progress in Iraq
Congressman says he sees evidence of more agricultural development.
The Orange County Register

WASHINGTONAs he flew over Iraq for the fourth time this past weekend, Rep. Ken Calvert says he saw clear signs of progress: crops in the field.

"I saw more agricultural activity than I've ever seen in the four years I've gone to Iraq,'' said Calvert, who spent two days in Iraq with three other members of the Armed Services Committee.

Calvert, R-Corona, said four years ago the irrigation canals were "choked with reeds and weeds and unusable. All that has been cleared out and thousands of acres are under cultivation.''

But from the standpoint of the fighting, Calvert said the biggest difference between this visit and when we went a year ago, is that "the Iraqis are showing up.

"You see a lot more activity on the part of the Iraqi security forces, both the local police and the national police,'' Calvert said.

He said more and more the Iraqis are leading the fighting with U.S. forces backing them up. As this continues, he said, the Iraqis will be able to take over the fighting and American forces can be pulled off the battlefield.

"I think we'll begin to see that occur within the next six months or so,'' Calvert said.

In his meeting with soldiers and Marines, Calvert said he did not see any of the low morale that his Orange County delegation-mate Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Garden Grove, said she encountered when she was there two weeks ago.

"They believe in the mission. Many of them have been there many times, risked their lives many times,'' said Calvert, who has supported President Bush's Iraq strategy and approves of the surge.

"Some were concerned that we weren't going to stand behind them.''

Calvert said he assured them that many in Congress were backing them up and that he would vote against any Iraq spending bill that includes the kind of mandates for withdrawal that Democratic leaders are insisting on.

Calvert went to Iraq with the ranking Republican and presidential hopeful Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, and Reps. Robert Neugebauer, R-Texas and David Boren, D-Ok.,

Contact the writer: (202) 628-6381 or dbunis@ocregister.com