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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, June 08, 2009

Congressman Dent Spends Weekend in Iraq

Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent is a student of foreign policy. His undergrad degree from PSU is in Foreign Service and International Politics. In January '08, he actually called me from Islamabad. He was in the midst of a visit to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. He spent at least fifteen minutes describing the people of each country. His keen interest in foreign affairs is one of the strengths he brings to Congress.

For the third time since being elected to Congress, Congressman Dent has visited Iraq. Last weekend, he joined a bipartisan delegation of four Pennsylvania Congressmen to meet the Pennsylvania National Guard 56th Stryker Brigade and other Pennsylvania troops at Camp Liberty, located outside of Baghdad and in Taji, Iraq. He was briefed by Deputy Mission Chief Robert Ford and General Raymond Odierno, commander of the Multinational Force in Iraq (MNF-I).

The 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, deployed to Iraq late last year, is one of six elite rapid-mobilization brigades in the Army, and the only one in the reserve component. Stryker Brigades assist in covering the Army's near term capabilities gap between heavy and light units in a range of environments from combat to humanitarian assistance.

Congressman Dent was joined by Rep. Tim Holden (D-17), Rep. Bill Shuster (R-9), and Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-3).

“Pennsylvania’s fighting men and women have made great sacrifices in Iraq, and it was a great honor to spend time with them and thank them for their tremendous efforts,” said Congressman Dent. “The fact we were able to drive through the streets of Baghdad is a welcome development, and the briefings from General Odierno and Ambassador Ford suggest that the security situation has improved considerably. I was reassured that troop reductions will continue as planned.”

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Next Sunday makes two years since Harry Reid declared the surge had failed. He'd already stated that General "Betray Us" was out of touch with the situation on the ground.

Charlie Dent and fellow junketeers are now walking the streets of Baghdad. Barack kept Gates, Petraeus, and Patraeus's team to prosecute a wider war with 40,000 additional troops in Afghanistan. Pakistan has been bombed twice with apologies to dead civilians.

Obama's fought more brutally than Bush. And Charlie Dent has been right all along.

lighthouse said...

Is he there with Stephen Colbert? Seems like everyone is going to Iraq this week.

Out of curiosity, how much does it cost the taxpayers to send four Congressmen to Iraq? Transportation, security, lodging, etc? While I personally like Dent as my Congressman, I think all of these (D and R) congressional foreign trips are a waste of tax monies. It really isn't their role to fly to Iraq to get briefed by the Generals. Congress' "constitutional" roles in foreign policy are 1) power of the purse (including raising/supporting the military), 2) declare war (which we haven't done constitutionally since 1941), and 3) the Senate's role in approving treaties and appointments.

I voted for him, but again I have to ask how much did this cost for the four of them? What is the cost-benefit to justify that cost?

Anonymous said...

I don't think visiting troops is something you run through a CBA.

How much extra money did it cost to beef up security for Stephen Colbert or for other USO performers when they go over? Should the USO Tours end?

You're absolutely entitled to your opinion -- this is just mine.

Anonymous said...

Troops: "As much as we love meeting the people who got us into this big expensive deadly mistake, next time send strippers or beer, or Colbert...at least we'll laugh."

Anonymous said...

Wow and attack on Obama pursuing Bush policies while simultaneously praising Dent for an orchestrated tour of Iraq.

Are you a Fox Comedy news writer?

Anonymous said...

At least Colbert is entertaining the Troops not using them for a cheap photo op to get votes.

Anonymous said...

lighthouse, I'll bet we spent more on the Obama family's Paris sight-seeing excursion than on our congressman's visit to Iraq.

lighthouse said...

Anon 7:56

believe me, I agree with you. The thought of Obama's "date night" in NYC actually crossed my mind while commenting on the Congressional trips, but was deciding to stick to topic. If we are going to "branch out", then I think there is a lot of taxpayer money wasted from the national government all the way down to many of the conferences that local government officials go to. So your point is taken.

Rising Sun said...

Lighthouse,

Please be informed when attacking the President. "NYC Datenight" was not on your dime besides his secret service detail, he did not use Air Force One. Same thing when Michelle took the girls to the Eiffel Tower, as she was away from Barack for most or all of the French leg of the tour.

As for Charlie, the "Surge", and all the other stuff about his trip, I find it hard to call any of this a "success" myself when we pay $10-12 billion a week for an action we messed up going into to begin with. The surge may have lessened violence, but it's taken valuable dollars from us at home. President Obama stepping up the fight in Afghanistan is a totally different issue, and mixing the two is silly. Different wars, different situations. Charlie deserves no credit for having enabled President Bush in 2005 and 2006, when we were just aimlessly battling in Iraq, with no plan to get out of there.

Bernie O'Hare said...

These Congrerssional trips serve several useful purposes. First, they help the morale of soldiers. Second, they really inform the Congressmen involved.

Dent is a foreign policy wonk, perhaps as much so as mcHale. He really is into different cultures and customs. He loves talking about what he sees in different countries. When he called me from Islamabad, he really did spend a great deal of time describing different customs he would see. He described homes, the buses with little bells attached, etc. All this makes him a better Congressman.

He is unusually well-informed when it comes to most foreign policy questions. To be honest, his knowledge is downright scary. It was the most striking difference of many between him and Bennett.

Whether I disagree with him or not, I respect Dent's ability to do his homework. Foreign policy is obviously one of his favorite subjects. It is worth every dime we spend.

Anonymous said...

Dent was not in Congress when the war started and was a pain in the ass to the Bush administration, along with a dozen "moderates" throughout the Bush prosecution of the war. He demanded more troops immediately or a withdrawal timetable.

Alan Earnshaw said...

"Please be informed when attacking the President. 'NYC Datenight' was not on your dime besides his secret service detail, he did not use Air Force One."

I read a fascinating book called "Standing Next to History: An Agent's Life Inside the Secret Service" by Joseph Petro. In it, Mr. Petro talks about the preparations for a trip and the kinds of things that occur on a trip. I suspect the government spends a few hundred thousand dollars every time the President takes a trip within the US and at least a million dollars if there is any kind of public event.

localdoc said...

It drives me crazy when tax payers have to fund unnecessary travel for these politicians. The Congressman and Senators already get millions per year for the own budget.

The worst is fundraising trips. The president or vice president of the United States should not fundraising. How many millions did we spend on Cheny's weekly trips? And I am sure that Obama and Biden will be just as bad.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Don't think Dent did too much fundraising in Iraq. I hate the junkets, which are often thinly veiled excuses for a vacation. But this was no vacation. It makes Dent better as our elected Congressman when he can see for himslef whether military policies are working.

Anonymous said...

Hate to be blunt but Dent has no power other than photo-ops right now or if he decides to cross party lines for a party vote.

The way the house works, the party out of power is really out of power.

Anonymous said...

Three naked pictures in O'Hares hovel; Angle, Stoffa and Dent. Pretty scary.