Wolfowitz Visits Baghdad, Checks on Coalition Progress
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 1, 2004 Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is here for meetings with coalition military and civilian officials.
"This is my third trip to Baghdad in the nine months since the liberation," the deputy said upon arrival. "It's exciting to be back here. It always is."
The last time the deputy secretary was in Baghdad, former regime elements launched missiles against the hotel where his party was staying. One soldier died in the attack, and a number were wounded. Wolfowitz escaped injury.
But much has changed since that November trip, and the deputy secretary will assess progress in the country. "It's been a very eventful three months," he said. "It's included the capture of Saddam Hussein, which is a major event for the Iraqi people and for the whole effort here. It includes the decision to move to a sovereign Iraqi government on July 1."
Wolfowitz meet with troops in the country. "I always learn an enormous amount from them," he said. "I also learn about things we can help with back in Washington."
He also will check on the status of what military officials call Operation Iraqi Freedom 2. "Essentially, we're moving a city of 125,000 people back home, and another city of 125,000 people here to Iraq in the space of a few months," Wolfowitz said. "It's an enormous undertaking. Not just logistically, but if you think about all the connections that have to be made between the arriving units and the departing units. It's going to be very interesting to hear how that is going."
Wolfowitz will meet with Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III, Coalition Provisional Authority administrator, as well as with an Iraqi women's organization and other Iraqi and coalition officials.