Christmas in Iraq

On Christmas day, I celebrated with Nevadan soldiers who are away from their families serving on the battlefields in Iraq. Contrary to the impression from the media, troop morale was high with many soldiers on their voluntary second or third tour. The CODEL was led by incoming House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton. The message we heard from the intelligence community is that many of the attacks perpetrated against our soldiers are by individuals who do not necessarily hate the United States but are coerced into carrying out attacks on the behalf of separatist groups for a paycheck equal to that of a one or two month’s salary. Therefore, much of the violence is a problem of economics with not enough jobs available to fulfill a young population hungry for work.

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