Klobuchar travels to Iraqby Mike Mulcahy, Minnesota Public Radio,
Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., was in Iraq Saturday as part of a bipartisan congressional delegation.
St. Paul, Minn. — Klobuchar made the trip as the fourth anniversary of the start of the war approaches.
"This is a bipartisan congressional delegation trip allowing us the opportunity to thank our brave soldiers for their service and sacrifice," Klobuchar said in a statement released by her office.
"I go to Iraq with the same concerns that Minnesotans have repeatedly expressed to me: After four years in Iraq, there needs to be a change of course and we must get our policy right so we can bring our troops home as safely and quickly as possible," she said.
This is Klobuchar's first overseas trip since she took office in January. In a conference call from Iraq, Klobuchar said she is pushing for a transfer of authority to the Iraqis and for bringing the troops home as soon as possible.
"We need to see a surge in diplomacy instead of a surge in troops," she said. "But I continue to believe that the best thing we can do for these troops is to get this policy right and that means changing course."
On Saturday Klobuchar met with U.S. and Iraqi government and military officials. Next on her tour Klobuchar will travel outside the Green Zone to visit Minnesota troops stationed outside of Baghdad.
Twenty-six-hundred members of the Minnesota National Guard are in Iraq. They were originally scheduled to return home this month, but their tour was extended by 125 days as part of President Bush's plan to increase U.S. troop numbers in Iraq.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty has made three trips to Iraq, the most of any governor. His last trip was just last week.