Earlier this month, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) traveled to Iraq with a congressional delegation. In an interview with the Minnesota Star Tribune, Bachmann said that after her trip, she remains firm in her support for Bush’s escalation:
This month, Bachmann traveled to Iraq, and despite more GOP defections from Bush’s base of support, she returned as firm as ever in her conviction that the war is justified. Al-Qaida, she said, “doesn’t show any signs of letting up.” The congressional delegation met with Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, in one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces.
What was the palace like?
“It’s absolutely huge,” she said. “I turned to my colleagues and said there’s a commonality with the Mall of America, in that it’s on that proportion. There’s marble everywhere. The other thing I remarked about was there is water everywhere. He had man-made lakes all around his personal palace — one for fishing, one for boating.”
In reality, Iraq is nothing like the Mall of America. Bachmann was able to talk only about the palace because she wasn’t allowed to leave the heavily-fortified Green Zone — an area most normal Iraqis aren’t even allowed to enter. According to a report from her trip, skyrocketing violence prevented Bachmann from “meeting any Iraqis, leaving the Green Zone or staying in Iraq overnight. She and other congressional members were required to wear full body armor, including Kevlar helmets, during the entire trip.”
Nevertheless, Bachmann still believes that Congress should support Bush’s escalation. “It hasn’t had a chance to be in place long enough to offer a critique of how it’s working,” she said. Maybe if she had actually been able to leave the Green Zone, she would have been able to speak to some actual Iraqis, 78 percent of whom believe the U.S. presence is making the security situation worse.
UPDATE: AmericaBlog compares the Mall of America to Iraq.