Ellison is Part of Iraq Trip Arranged by Defense Chief

July 29, 2007

Author: Jake Sherman

Source: Star Tribune


WASHINGTON - Rep. Keith Ellison, a rising figure in U.S. public diplomacy in the Mideast, made his first trip to Iraq over the weekend at the behest of Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Ellison, a first-term Minneapolis Democrat and a longtime critic of the war, is part of an all-freshman bipartisan congressional delegation traveling to the region at Gates' invitation. Ellison plans to stop in Germany this morning and hopes to meet with wounded soldiers there.

He said he has respect for any politician who visits soldiers in Iraq, including Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

"If this country is going to ask these young people to stand in a war zone, their political leadership should visit them," Ellison said Friday before departing.