November 28, 2014

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Rep. Sutton to tour Iraq

U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Copley, arrived in Qatar by plane Friday and will spend the next four days touring U.S. military installations in Iraq, according to her communications director, Zach Ragbourn.

Details of the trip — including specific locations Sutton will visit — are being kept secret as a security measure, Ragbourn said.

Sutton has made no secret of her anti-war stance and recently championed legislation to make security contractors in Iraq subject to the same rules that govern troops.

The bill gained attention Sept. 16 when employees of the North Carolina-based private security firm Blackwater USA killed 17 people in Nisour Square in Baghdad.

Witnesses said the shootings were unprovoked, according to The Associated Press.

“It is a travesty of justice that we allow private armies to evade punishment for serious crimes, especially considering we have prosecuted our soldiers for very similar actions,” Sutton said in a written statement.

The bill was approved Thursday by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ragbourn said Sutton believes Congress should take more responsibility for ending the Iraq war, but declined to clarify Sutton’s stance on troop withdrawal.

Sutton plans a conference call from Europe with news media next week to discuss her trip.

Ragbourn said he expects Sutton to criticize continued war funding and the policies of field commanders in Iraq.

Contact Jason Hawk at 653-6264 or jhawk@chroniclet.com.