I knew it would be an interesting week.
On Thursday, I had the honor of taking notes for UNHCR again at a House of Representatives hearing. This time, I sat in on the Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight discussion on Iraq's commitments to the international community and the fulfillment of UN Chapter VII mandates from the Saddam Hussein era.
There were two parts. The first half was an academic discussion with congressmen questioning three lawyers/academics/lobbyists on unfulfilled Iraqi commitments. The second part was much cooler. The two guests were ministers from Iraq's legislative body, the Council of Representatives: Ayad Allawi (the former Prime Minister of Iraq) and Saleh al Mutlaq. The ministers read statements and then were questioned by different congress members about the upcoming elections and political situation in Iraq.
The last congressman to ask questions was Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) who railed into the ministers. He lectured and yelled at them for a perceived lack of gratitude of the Iraqi people for the sacrifices of Americans:
"I have never heard one word of gratitude from the Iraqi people about the 4,300 Americans who lost their lives."
"We went to Iraq to try and free your people and now we're being blamed for sectarian violence. Don't blame us because that type of bloodlust exists in your society."
Allawi responded politely, reassuring Rohrabacher that Iraqis are grateful for the sacrifices of American troops. Al Mutlaq, was a little more indignant (I would be too after a tongue-lashing like that) and responded, "We did not invite you... the invasion destroyed our country."
Rohrabacher stood up in outrage and walked out yelling "Goodbye!"