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Russell weighs in on Obama plan

Julie Bisbee Published: February 27, 2009

As President Obama announced he would end combat in Iraq in 18 months, Sen. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, found himself in the pundit chair on MSNBC’s Hardball Friday afternoon.

Russell, a freshman senator is also a senior policy adviser for Vets for Freedom, chairman of the Vets for Victory and a retired Army colonel with 21 years of service. During his live interview, Russell spoke about the dedication military in Iraq have to completing their mission.

Russell was in Iraq in November and toured Baghdad with troops on patrol.

“There is a remarkable resilience among the troops in Iraq to get the mission accomplished,” he said.

While a victory in Iraq is still being debated, Russell highlighted the sacrifices and accomplishments of troops in Iraq.

“I think it’s always worth it when we defend freedom,” he said. “This isn’t just about about abandoning Iraq, but looking at Iraq as an ally. I’ve lost soldiers, I’ve lost friends who I’ve buried at the national cemetery. What you see is that the President acted responsibly and now it’s time for politicians to act responsibly. I hope politicians on both sides of the aisle will not abandon our troops in Iraq.”

Russell has served in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. His unit helped hunt and capture former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Julie Bisbee

Capitol Bureau