Akaka returns from Iraq, citing progress
U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka returned to Washington yesterday after spending two days in Iraq, where he visited troops in Baghdad and received a briefing on the combined joint special operations task force.
"While I do not believe that we should leave before the Iraqi people are equipped with the necessary tools to support a stable democratic society, we must ensure that the progress already started with the recent election of the Iraqi minister of defense and the minister of interior continues," Akaka said late yesterday in a floor speech.
U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka ate lunch Sunday with U.S. military personnel in Baghdad.
Akaka said the Bush administration's funding of the war was fiscally irresponsible. "I am concerned that the administration continues to fund this war through emergency supplemental appropriations," said Akaka, D-Hawaii, according to a news release issued by his Washington office.
"While I support our soldiers currently serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I am pleased that this (Senate Armed Services) committee has authorized an additional $81.9 billion for ongoing operations, I believe that the administration's current policy is fiscally irresponsible," Akaka said.
Akaka and Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., who serve as co-chairmen of the Senate's Army Caucus, left for Iraq on Friday morning, Akaka's office said.
Akaka met Sunday with the Iraqi minister of defense and Iraq's national security adviser.
"I saw for myself the advances made by the Iraqi people who are building a strong democratic foundation for the future of their nation," he said.
Akaka also criticized the Bush administration on its lack of evidence supporting weapons of mass destruction and current fiscal policies.
This was Akaka's second trip to Iraq. He visited Iraq and Afghanistan in 2004.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.