Congressman Neugebauer Talks about His Trip to the Middle East - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/23/03

Congressman Neugebauer Talks about His Trip to the Middle East

U.S. Congressman Randy Neugebauer left for the middle east more than a week ago. The purpose of his visit? To get a better grasp on how things are going in Iraq.

NewsChannel 11 asked "How close are the American troops to rebuilding Iraq?" "We have two missions: reconstruction and security. We're teaching the Iraqi people the security aspect of it and we're working not only with the federal government, but other entities who are coming to Iraq to establish the economy and infrastructure," answered Neugebauer.

While he was in Germany during the early part of his trip, Neugebauer heard the news that our troops had captured Saddam. "By the time we got to Baghdad, we received reports that we found Saddam with some confidential information that's going to lead to expediting some of the missions against opposition," said Neugebauer.

"Did you get to walk through some of those palaces?" NewsChannel 11 asked. "Yes. We visited several of the palaces and some of the bunkers underneath that. One of the things you realize immediately is the opulent lifestyle that Saddam was leading while his people were starving to death," answered Neugebauer. A memory Neugebauer says he'll never forget.

His trip home would be one of the most humbling experiences. "I would think the most touching day was the last day we were leaving the airport. Our escort informed us that on our C-130 flight, there would be two American soldiers in caskets. The caskets were in front of me as I boarded that airplane. And what you realize is that there are losses to this effort in Iraq. I saw proof of two soldiers who paid the ultimate price," he said.

"I think for those families who'd like to know the answer to this question: have you heard of how close the President is to have these troops come back home?" "I think that's underway," said Neugebauer.

The federal government has assigned 70,000 Iraqi people to its own security forces. Neugebauer says when Iraq has 120,000 Iraqi people, there could be more American troops heading home by the beginning of next year.

Neugebauer says the Iraqi people are mostly in opposition with themselves. He said because of the development of police and a preliminary democratic government.

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