Press Releases

Warner visits Virginia Troops in Iraq on Memorial Day Weekend

~ Meets with Iraqi Prime Minister, U.S Ambassador, top generals ~

May 25 2009

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner traveled to Baghdad on Memorial Day weekend to visit with military men and women from Virginia and to receive briefings from the Iraqi Prime Minister, the U.S Ambassador, and top U.S. military commanders in Iraq. Senator Warner is part of a Congressional delegation that includes Sens. Patrick Leahy (Vermont) and Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island).  

Senator Warner met with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher R. Hill, who arrived in Baghdad on April 24, 2009, and U.S. Army General Ray Odierno, commander of multi-national forces in Iraq, who is credited with implementing the counterinsurgency strategy that led to a dramatic decrease in violence in Iraq in 2007 and 2008. Ambassador Hill and General Odierno provided an operational update on current military operations, the progress on training of Iraqi security forces, and plans for a reduction in U.S. forces scheduled to begin June 30th.

Senator Warner also met with several high-level Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.  Prime Minister Maliki told the Congressional delegation that while much progress has been made since the “surge,” there was still a lot of work to do.  Senator Warner and Prime Minister Maliki discussed ways to build additional social and economic capacity so Iraq can continue working to develop a self-supporting economy as the U.S. military presence is reduced. 

Senator Warner also had a chance to visit with several military men and women from Virginia and share a meal in the dining facility at Camp Victory, the sprawling base near Baghdad International Airport which serves as the headquarters for the U.S. military in Iraq. Senator Warner noted that, although the temperature reached 115 degrees in Baghdad, he heard no complaints.

“I want to salute all who are serving our country on this Memorial Day, and I am especially proud of your service here,” Senator Warner told the troops he visited with. “I understand how difficult it is to be deployed away from family and loved ones, especially on a holiday such as this one, and I wish each of you a safe and speedy return to the States."

The Congressional delegation left the U.S. on Friday night, spent Saturday and Sunday in Iraq, and will make several additional stops in the region before returning to the U.S. on Friday morning.  

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