Madam Speaker, after returning from Iraq over the Easter weekend, I want to report my observations. The military situation is progressing positively with the Iraqi Security Forces, the National Police, and the new-found group of citizen soldiers called the Sons of Iraq doing an ever improving job of securing their own nation.

The Iraqis and the U.S. troops are working better together as both nations use their troops in combined patrols. U.S. Commander and Four Star General Petraeus understands not only the military situation, but the complex political situation as well. The Iraqi government is showing signs of more stability than it has in previous months.

My observations of the U.S. troops: they have very high morale, a strong sense of purpose, and are well trained and ready to meet U.S. objectives in Iraq. The most notable concern I saw was the ever increasing interference and influence of Iran. The Iranians are funding insurgents and supplying weapons from small arms to rockets to any group that will cause chaos. It appears Iran wants instability in Iraq to further its own political and military objectives.

The U.S. presence in Iraq is necessary to prevent the circling Iranian vulture from preying on the peoples of Iraq.

And that's just the way it is.