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Soul I wanna get to another Iraq -- -- veteran representative Jim -- -- Republican.
Of Oklahoma I -- navy pilot good to see you sir thank you so much for being a congressman.
It's good to be here Jonathan thank you for having but tell me your your memories -- of ten years ago today.
While so -- who we had -- operation enduring freedom in Afghanistan we've spent Christmas.
And on New Year's Day we should have been you know heading heading east to go home and instead we -- heading west.
We got up on the aircraft carrier -- on the on the TV screen and -- we all knew what was happening.
We got a call from from our from our admiral of the battle group admiral Kelly.
And I and he said that that we're going back into the Persian gulf this time we we were just -- flying southern watch in -- this time we're gonna fly southern watch again -- There's probably more coming.
And it wasn't too long after that that that we did southern watch and then we we we realized pretty quickly that operation -- and I was gonna occur we didn't know when.
And it was one day I was doing operation.
On that that the order came the night before we have launched a number of cruise missiles.
But we got that order to livestock and -- the next night -- I was flying southern watch I was coming home.
And all the sudden you know on the way home I was over Kuwait City flying back to the Persian gulf.
And there is just a -- in the air traffic.
Over the Persian gulf heading into heading into Iraq and it was you know everywhere from 101000.
Probably 40000 feet and our our goal is to navigated you navigate through.
All of the friendly -- that's flying into the country.
And so when we got back from the aircraft carrier.
You know we we sat down we watched Fox News on the aircraft carrier.
And and we thought you know shock and her knowing that the next night it would be it would be -- doing it.
I'm so that was my first experience.
What ended up happening I was flying an airplane at the time called and and this -- that we we ended up doing a mission that we had never done before it was airborne battlefield command and control so as the troops on the ground.
In Kuwait I'm more marching towards Baghdad it was our job to make sure that we're talking to him.
Find out what they're up against are they up against tanks are they up against armored personnel carriers.
Maybe they're up against you know just army troops what do they need as far as close air support and and it's our job and to find the right -- for the right target and get it there at the right -- our troops could keep advancing.
-- -- I don't know when that congress and you you've moved to politics.
You're on the house armed services committee as you look back on this ten years.
Did the same question us ambassador Negroponte -- was it worth it.
But you know that's a great question and and what I'll say is that time will tell.
What I can say is that you know we have a democratic government in Iraq we have shared power between the Shiites and the Sunnis and Kurds.
We have free elections in Iraq and you know and after I got back from the war in Iraq I was.
I was very amazed to see that 80% of their population went to the polls and voted.
Under threat of death from al-Qaeda in Iraq.
And -- you look back and and it is true there's still violence there but the violence is way down.
On the question is are we going to be able to to keep this this government of shared power together.
And the other big question I think that that we all have to be concerned with is.
Is where is that government gonna find its allegiances.
And then you know.
You and we've got you know Iran right next door there and and I think what we have to be concerned and what his relationship between the government of Iraq.
And the government of Iran.
And and certainly that's that's something that has me concerned.
And -- and I want to bring it back to the United States as well congressman will we all.
I've worry about what is happening in Iraq but what about here have we served -- veterans well off -- served us so well.
What -- say is this it's never perfect and there are certainly issues that need to be dealt way.
-- there are veterans that are coming home all the time that need further assistance and sometimes you know they're not being treated appropriately.
And I'll say it overwhelmingly though American veterans are getting what they need.
But certainly there's always more that we can do.
All right congressman Jim Wright -- not Republican of Oklahoma thank you -- service and thank you for being with us on this ten year anniversary of the start of the Iraq War.
Thank you my pleasure our.
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