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Schiff to visit Iraq with delegation

August 11, 2003

Ryan Carter

A local legislator will be part of a House of Representatives

delegation visiting Iraq later this month.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Glendale), who sits on the House Committee on

Foreign Relations, will be one of about 12 representatives who will

visit the war-battered country.

The trip will include visits to Baghdad and Mosul, north of the

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capital. The lawmakers will stay there about a week.

"The trip will give me and other members of the delegation a real

firsthand impression of what the conditions are like in Iraq and what

our soldiers are facing, both with morale and with assessments from

commanders on the ground," Schiff said.

Schiff also said the visit will include stops to talk to American

troops in the country, to remind them that the nation supports them.

"They watch the news," Schiff said. "They want to know that

people, regardless of their feelings on the war, are firmly behind

them."

Schiff visited Afghanistan in 2002.

The delegation, led by Rep. Tom Davis (R-Virginia) is not the

first to go to Iraq since the Bush administration declared major

hostilities over, but he said the visit could have lawmaking

importance.

"It very well may have legislative significance," Schiff said.

"There have been a number of issues raised in regard to the

conditions in Iraq, such as troop rotations and morale, and whether

there are enough troops on the ground to do the job.

"There are also issues as to who we are fighting. Is it the

dead-ender Baathist, or is it broader than that?"

The aftermath of the war and the building of a new infrastructure

in Iraq are also items the delegation will focus on. As for the

aftermath of the war, Schiff said his own concerns also revolve

around the scope of the military presence in the region.

"We need to bring NATO in," he said, "and we need to turn a

U.S./U.K. operation into a truly multinational peace-keeping force."

The group will depart in late August.

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