A Well-Timed Iraq Trip

A spokeswoman for Congressman John M. McHugh, who is traveling to Iraq this weekend with Hillary Clinton and Evan Bayh, just filled me in on some more details about the delegation’s agenda this weekend.

According to the spokesperson, Brynn Barnett, the group has a “packed schedule,” and will be meeting with “government officials from Iraq and Afghanistan and top U.S. military and civilian leadership in the region.”

For security reasons, she asked that I not write about the actual camps and bases that the delegation will be visiting, but she did say that Hillary and company will be meeting with soldiers representing New York.

“The Congressman and Senator Clinton obviously both have a vested interest in those troops,” she said.

Barnett said the delegation wants to sound out the troops and leadership in Iraq about how and whether they think President Bush’s new strategy of increasing troop levels to stabilize Baghdad can work. (Clinton has expressed opposition to the troop increase.)

As for the timing of the visit, just after the president’s big speech, Barnett said, “This is obviously a very timely occasion to go. Clinton had been interested to go.”

Clinton herself explained the timing to the Associated Press this way:

“This was the first opportunity we had to be able to go because of the long weekend, and it turns out that the timing is propitious because of the president’s plans.”

–Jason Horowitz

A Well-Timed Iraq Trip