On Thursday, April 19, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) and members of the Congressional Delegation (CODEL) he led to Iraq and Afghanistan met in the Oval Office of the White House with President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs Candida Wolff.  President Bush requested the meeting to discuss the findings of the CODEL during their seven-day trip to the Middle East.


Members of the Lynch CODEL in attendance at the meeting were Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT), Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC).


Congressman Lynch said, "I think it is important that the President has accurate information -- that people are straight with him, brutally honest, regarding the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.”


"Our CODEL had an excellent opportunity to accompany our troops into one of the most violent Sunni neighborhoods of Baghdad where the Sunni and Shi'a militias are going at it and where al Qaeda is very active.”


"I think the President needs to hear exactly how the ‘troop surge’ strategy is playing out on the ground.”


"There were six members of Congress in our group, 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans, and not one member downplayed how dangerous the situation is or how heroic the conduct of our troops is.”


"Similarly, since we also had a chance to travel to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border area near Waziristan where the Taliban threat has been growing, it was important to express our concerns, and the concerns of our men and women in uniform, directly to the President and the Vice President, and their national security staff.”


Lynch concluded, "This is a critical time in Iraq, and we can’t allow political posturing to interfere with our mission— which is to have the Iraqis take responsibility and to bring American servicemen and women home as safely and as soon as possible.”

This was Congressman Lynch’s sixth CODEL to Iraq and second to Afghanistan.

The trip was intended to monitor the recent "surge" strategy in Baghdad and Anbar Province and to conduct congressional oversight of the Iraq Reconstruction process.

In Afghanistan, Lynch met with President Hamid Karzai to assess the situation along the tribal areas along the border with Pakistan.

As the Chairman of the House Task Force on Terrorist Financing and Proliferation, Lynch also met with central banking officials from several nations regarding transparency and anti-terrorist financing issues.