Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Rep. Christopher Shays, on a fact-finding mission to the Middle East, deserted his Congressional travel trappings again over the weekend and hooked up with workers from Westport’s Save the Children in Iraq.
The Fairfield County Republican did the same thing four months ago, becoming the first member of Congress to get into Iraq after the war.
According to The Associated Press, Shays was the only lawmaker to stay overnight in Iraq - once again traveling over the Kuwait border with humanitarian workers rather than with an official delegation.
“We could hear gunfire and there was a break-in at a home three doors down, where one person was shot in the shoulder,” said Shays, who stayed in a house operated by Save the Children on Saturday night.
“Your senses become quite acute. You look at someone who’s looking at you, and they have their hand in their pocket, and you wonder what they have in their pocket.”
He told the AP he stayed the night because “Save the Children employees do it every night.” And he took the opportunity to mingle with Iraqi citizens - something he had little chance to do with the congressional delegation.
“They need things they don’t have - Iraqi police need weapons, Iraq needs electricity and running water,” Shays said. “They need nurses, they need medicine, they need oxygen.”
Shays, who is chairman of a Government Reform subcommittee on defense, said he plans to hold hearings after Congress comes back next month to debate Iraq issues.
Posted 08/26/03 at 11:24 PM Permalink