First District Congressman John Sullivan talks about his trip to Iraq

Monday, February 2nd 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

First District Congressman John Sullivan is back in Oklahoma after a weeklong trip to Iraq.

He and five other congressmen with the Transportation Infrastructure Committee were there to see what type s of transportation and government needs are required to rebuild the country. Sullivan told News on 6 reporter Patrina Adger about his trip to the war zone.

Congressman John Sullivan says he knew when he arrived at the Baghdad airport; he was in a war zone. "People with guns running around very intense. When you put that bulletproof vest on it's a serious situation." He and some congressional delegates met with the US Ambassador to talk about infrastructure and government concerns in order to help Iraqi citizens become self-sufficient. "Establishing a government, elections, stabilizing, Iraq and help the economy."

Now, two months after Saddam's capture, a new leader has yet to be elected. Sullivan says for the first time in decades, the Iraqi people will have a say in who that leader will be. "People can't imagine voting for their own leader.”

Sullivan went inside the spider-hole where Saddam was hiding before he was captured. He also ate lunch with some of Oklahoma soldiers with the 4th Infantry Division. "Some of them say, 'I don't want to be here. I wanna go home. Some say they like it here. But bottom line is they say, I believe what we're doing here. I think we're making a difference."

Sullivan says that difference "is" being realized by the citizens who live there. Currency with the Saddam's face on it is being destroyed, which symbolizes one era has come to an end and a new one has begun. Roads and buildings destroyed during combat are being rebuilt.

Sullivan says for the first time in 12 years, children are going to school. And he says Iraqi citizens can now walk down their streets without fear.