Sunday, October 12, 2003

"He did a good job on roads; he did a great job on palaces. He did a lousy job on almost everything else," Walden said.

Walden said he saw no direct evidence of weapons of mass destruction, but military officials in Iraq remain convinced they will be found.

The trip changed his mind about whether Congress should make U.S. reconstruction aid a loan rather than a grant. A loan will only play to fears that the United States wants to get Iraqi oil and to saddle the country with debt, he said.

Walden met with troops from a number of Oregon towns -- Prairie City, Huntington, The Dalles, Hood River, Coquille and Pleasant Hill. Their biggest need: more access to satellite phones to call home more frequently.

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