Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, is heading back to Iraq this weekend, according to a spokesman who said the senator wants to gauge the success of the surge and talk to Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. troops in Iraq.
Inhofe has been an unwavering booster of the war in Iraq, and he has traveled to Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle several times, each time returning with an upbeat assessment of the situation there.
I’ve included these past comments by Inhofe in a previous blog posting, but I’ll risk boring you here with a rerun just to back up the premise that _ if the pattern holds _ Inhofe will report next week of dramatic progress in Iraq:
In August 2003, just a few months after the invasion, Inhofe said, “I felt much better (about the progress) after being there. My overall assessment is things are going very well.”
After a trip to the Sunni Triangle in April 2005, he said, “We’re light years ahead of where I thought we were. We’re moving in the right direction.”
Then, in December 2005, he returned from a trip to Baghad and Fallujah and reported, “Each time, it’s been better, but the progress has never been as dramatic as this.”
Last April, in a speech on the Senate floor, Inhofe said, “You almost have go to there and see these people, and see what they are doing now that they say they couldn’t have done. It is very difficult for an American to walk through the streets _ whether it is Tikrit, Fallujah, Baghdad or anywhere else _ without people running up to you and saying my daughter can now get married, our girls can now go to school, now we have water we can drink, now we have a sewage system that we haven’t had since the end of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”
And last month, Inhofe said on the Senate floor, “We now see an improved Iraq. We see hospitals. We see manufacturers that are making clothing. We see girls that are going to school. This has never happened in the history of Iraq. We’ve seen all this progress ..”
He has said that he promotes the progress to counter what he considers disportionately negative stories in the national media.
Though other lawmakers return from Iraq with praise for accomplishments and talk of signs for hope, they typically temper those comments with warnings about the remaining challenges. Inhofe, meanwhile, has been loathe to utter a discouraging word.
According to his spokesman, Inhofe requested the trip he’s taking this weekend and no other lawmakers will be traveling with him.