WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., spoke on the Senate floor Tuesday where he praised the progress U.S. troops are making in Iraq, highlighting his recent visit to Iraq this month to meet with Georgia troops.
Isakson visited Iraq on Jan. 5 and 6 and met with Georgia soldiers in Baghdad. He was able to remain overnight in Baghdad and to walk the streets — both of which had been prohibited during his previous trips in 2006 and 2005.
During the trip, Isakson also met with Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker.
Isakson said he witnessed firsthand the progress President Bush cited Tuesday night in his State of the Union address.
“The progress that the president described last night is real and it is tangible,” he said. “Things are changing in Iraq and they're changing better for the Iraqis and for us. We have brought back two groups (of troops), as the president said, we will bring back five more without replacing them this year. Our troop level will be going down. We're going from a combat confrontation to an oversight role in terms of helping and providing logistics to the Iraqis.
“The practical matter is this, whatever mistakes may have been made in the past, whatever differences we may have had, the young men and women of the United States have performed magnificently. General Petraeus has lived up to every single promise of hope that we had for him. In the name and the memory of those tragic loss of life in Iraq, Georgia soldiers like Diego Rincon, Lieutenant Noah Harris, Sergeant Mike Stokely and the other 119, the sacrifice they made has not been in vain, and we are on the doorstep hopefully building a democracy that will last and endure in the Middle East. Hopefully, it will be the first step of many to accomplish the hope of peace, freedom and liberty that we in this country so often take for granted but the rest of the world cherishes.
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is not a locomotive. It is the light of hope for liberty, peace and freedom because of the sacrifice and endurance of the fine young men and women of the United States military serving in harm's way today in Iraq.”