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Congressional delegation visits Haditha

15 Aug 2008 | Cpl. Erik Villagran

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives ventured from the halls of Congress to the streets of Haditha Aug.14 to get an up-close view of progress in Iraq.

Reps. Madeleine Z. Bordallo, D-Guam; Michael R. Turner, R-Ohio; Ruben Hinojosa, D-Texas; and Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, were escorted through the city by Marines from 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5.

“We came because we wanted to see the progress Iraq has made,” Turner said. “It was good to see the successes and what they have planned for the future.”

The delegation landed at Combat Outpost Haditha via MV-22 Ospreys. As soon as they landed, they entered vehicles and convoyed to the Haditha City Council building.

At the city council building the representatives met key Haditha leaders. They were greeted with open arms by Abdul Hakim Mohammed Rashid Mohammed, the mayor of Haditha.

Mayor Hakim and the representatives discussed the way things have been going in the Al Anbar province and the plans the mayor has for his city. The mayor also joked with the committee about the upcoming U.S. Presidential election. Bordallo said she was pleased with the city council members’ words during the meeting.

“It is very evident that they love their country and want to see democracy succeed,” Bordallo said. “We must show the world that the Al Anbar province is a showcase of democracy.”

After the meeting ended, Marines guided the representatives through a marketplace so they could meet with Iraqi citizens. Marines and Iraqi Police ensured the area was safe for the tour.

The delegation took photos with Iraqi Police patrolmen, children and anyone else who asked for a snapshot. They also passed out candy to the children they encountered, and, with the help of interpreters, carried on conversations with men outside the markets. They were impressed by the security and safety of the city. 

“This was one of the most dangerous areas and now it has moved on,” Turner said. “You can see the progress. As you walk through the city, you see commerce and businesses.”

The delegation saw first hand the progress and restored normalcy of Haditha.