Taylor Reflects On Recent Trip To Iraq & Afghanistan - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

1/15/05

Taylor Reflects On Recent Trip To Iraq & Afghanistan

South Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor arrived after his third personal tour walking the front lines of America's war on terror.

We talked to the Congressman just hours after his return, about the safety and the morale of the troops as well as the overall progress of their efforts to bring freedom and democracy to some of most dangerous regions of the world.

After a week spent visiting troops and military installations in Afghanistan and Iraq, South Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor has returned with two things, a new personal assessment and this never before seen video from the front lines of the war on terror.

"I'm very optimistic about what's going on in Afghanistan. Had a chance to meet with some of our troops, some local Seabees, the president of Afghanistan, their defense minister. And the last few days were spent going back and forth between Jordan and Iraq. Iraq, the quality of life for the troops, I want the moms and dads know the quality of life for the troops is a heck of a lot better than a year ago. The foods better the housings better. Unfortunately the flip side is I think it's more dangerous place than it was a year ago," Taylor said.

An increasing danger that Taylor blames on both the growing insurgency, and what he calls, the Defense Departments lack of foresight.

"We're almost there on Armored Humvees. I regret the Secretary of Defense took a year after we first started telling him to get this done to get it done. We're still not where we need to be on the Jammers. A minuscule number of vehicles have the jammers. Less than half of our trucks are armored the way they should be. That's something that's got to get done," Taylor said.

Taylor says the morale question is also a mixed bag of good news and bad.

"The good news is I found the morale no matter where I was remarkable good. The flip side is that the state department did some polling, and unfortunately the majority of Iraqi's now have an unfavorable view of Americans and that's something we've got to turn around," he added.

A situation he says is critical to our future success in turning a free Iraq back over to what will soon be it's first freely elected government.

"We have to have the hearts and minds with us in order to win. And I want us to win. I voted for this war. I sent hundreds of thousands of young Americans over there. I think it's important to see it through and one of the things we have to see through is get the Iraqi's back on our side," Taylor said.

By: Don Culpepper

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