By Bob Cusack - 12/15/05 12:00 AM EST
Sens. John Warner (R-Va.), Carl LevinCarl LevinCarl, Sander Levin rebuke Sanders for tax comments on Panama trade deal Supreme Court: Eye on the prize Congress got it wrong on unjustified corporate tax loopholes MORE (D-Mich.), Jack ReedJack ReedGroups urge Senate to oppose defense language on for-profit colleges Reid throws wrench into Clinton vice presidential picks House, Senate at odds on new authority for cyber war unit MORE (D-R.I.), and James InhofeJames InhofeGOP senators propose sending ISIS fighters to Gitmo Overnight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo Senate GOP gears up for fight over Gitmo transfers MORE (R-Okla.) have visited Iraq more than any other senator, while at least 21 senators have not traveled to the Middle Eastern country since the war started, according to a survey of Senate offices conducted by The Hill.
[After deadline for the print edition, Inhofe's office clarified the senator has been to Iraq 6 times, contrary to the print edition. ]
As lawmakers become more vocal about the Bush administration's handling of Iraq, their hands-on experience in the country could add to, or detract from, their credibility on the matter.
James Thurber, professor of political science and director at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, emphasized that "people who have not been there are open to criticism from others and from not supporting the president's plan. There's nothing like seeing it [Iraq] as opposed to reading about it in reports."
It is not surprising that Inhofe, Warner, Levin and Reed have gone to Iraq many times. Warner and Levin are the top two lawmakers on the Armed Services Committee, and Inhofe and Reed are also on the powerful panel.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Joseph Biden (D-Del.) has gone to Iraq five times, while another member of the panel, Sen. Chuck HagelChuck HagelHagel says NATO deployment could spark a new Cold War with Russia Overnight Defense: House panel unveils 5B defense spending bill Hagel to next president: We need to sit down with Putin MORE (R-Neb.), has been there on four occasions.
Sen. Tom CarperTom CarperFinancial industry spars with retailers over data breach bill Week ahead: Cyber Command in the spotlight Lawsuit exposes M cybertheft through banking software MORE (D-Del.), who suggested this week that Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean should visit Iraq, has been there once.
Among senators who have not been to Iraq are Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad CochranThad CochranSenate votes to block USDA catfish inspections GOP senators: Obama bathroom guidance is 'not appropriate' First US Zika death reported in Puerto Rico MORE (R-Miss.), Appropriations Committee ranking member Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).
Some offices did not return phone calls. The Hill reviewed media articles to ascertain whether those senators had gone to Iraq.
The survey shows that 46 Republican senators traveled to Iraq a total of 63 times since 2002 while 34 Democratic senators visited Iraq 45 times.
Some senators have fewer reasons to go to Iraq than others because many do not sit on committees with jurisdiction on issues affecting the country. But political analysts say it is risky to be vocal on Iraq without having been there.
After Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) last week criticized the administration on Iraq during C-SPAN's "Washington Journal," he was asked whether he had traveled to the country. Hinchey, who served in the military, said he had not, adding, "I haven't been invited by any of my Republican colleagues" to visit Iraq.
According to Josh Holly, spokesman for the House Armed Services Committee, congressional delegations, or codels, are can be authorized by any committee.
If there is a codel to Iraq, a top committee member or a member of leadership leads the visit. When spaces are available and no more committee members wish to attend, members outside the panel can participate.
A lawmaker's credibility "marginally increases by being there and being briefed," said Steven Wayne, professor of government at Georgetown University. "And one can also get the added benefit by seeing troops from their state at bases, but I think it is more for show than for education. It's 'I care. Look, I went.'
"The bottom line is it is good politics to go there and look at the situation for yourself."
Mandy Kozar contributed to this article.
Who has gone, and how often
James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Carl Levin (D-Mich.)
Jack Reed (D-R.I.)
John W. Warner (R-Va.)
Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-Del.)
Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.)
Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSenate amendments could sink email privacy compromise Trump: Romney 'walks like a penguin' Romney should endorse Clinton MORE (R-S.C.)
Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.)
Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRyan seeks to put stamp on GOP in Trump era Trump and Ryan to speak by phone Bill would require nominees to release tax returns MORE (R-Ky.)
Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsSenate panel delays email privacy vote amid concerns Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise Patients dying because of FDA inflexibility MORE (R-Ala.)
Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.)
Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissWyden hammers CIA chief over Senate spying Cruz is a liability Inside Paul Ryan’s brain trust MORE (R-Ga.)
Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)
Susan CollinsSusan CollinsGOP lawmaker: 'Republicans were wrong’ to block Garland Senate passes broad spending bill with .1B in Zika funds Senators unveil bill to overhaul apprenticeship programs MORE (R-Maine)
John CornynJohn CornynSenate panel delays email privacy vote amid concerns Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise Senate GOP ties Iran sanctions fight to defense bill MORE (R-Texas)
Jon Corzine (D-N.J.)
Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho)
Mark Dayton (D-Minn.)
Jeff DeMint (R-S.C.)
Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.)
John KerryJohn KerryGOP senator calls for China to crack down on illegal opioid Obamas to live in home of former Clinton press secretary: report Even in defeat, Trump could harm the country irreparably MORE (D-Mass.)
Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)
Pat RobertsPat RobertsGOP senators propose sending ISIS fighters to Gitmo Passing the Kelsey Smith Act will help law enforcement save lives Overnight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo MORE (R-Kan.)
Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)
Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii)
Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAmerican technology leadership: We can't take it for granted GOP senators: Obama bathroom guidance is 'not appropriate' McConnell touts 'Senate squad' in Wes Anderson-style video MORE (R-Tenn.)
Wayne Allard (R-Colo.)
George Allen (R-Va.)
Evan Bayh (D-Ind.)
Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerThe Hill's 12:30 Report Sen. Boxer fires back at Sanders aide: 'He wasn't there' Sanders aide questions Boxer's story about fearing for her safety MORE (D-Calif.)
Sam Brownback (R-Kan.)
Jim Bunning (R-Ky.)
Conrad Burns (R-Mont.)
Richard M. Burr (R-N.C.)
Maria CantwellMaria CantwellSenators float bipartisan wildfire bill Dems pressure Obama on vow to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees Moulitsas: Can Hillary pick Gillibrand as her veep? Yes. MORE (D-Wash.)
Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.)
Norm Coleman (R-Minn.)
Mike DeWine (R-Ohio)
Michael B. Enzi (R-Wyo.)
Russ Feingold (D-Wis.)
Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinClinton’s email troubles deepen Top Dem: CIA officials thought spying on Senate ‘was flat out wrong’ Senate panel advances spy policy bill, after House approves its own version MORE (D-Calif.)
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)
Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonGOP senators: Obama bathroom guidance is 'not appropriate' Amateur theatrics: An insult to Africa Dem senator blocks push to tie 'gun ban' to spending bill MORE (R-Ga.)
Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.)
Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.)
Richard Lugar (R-Ind.)
John McCainJohn McCainOvernight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return Groups urge Senate to oppose defense language on for-profit colleges MORE (R-Ariz.)
Patty MurrayPatty MurrayFeds can learn lessons from states about using data to inform policy Lawmakers blast poultry, meat industries over worker injuries Senate passes broad spending bill with .1B in Zika funds MORE (D-Wash.)
Bill NelsonBill NelsonSenators to House: FAA reauthorization would enhance airport security Dems discuss dropping Wasserman Schultz Grassley worried about FCC box proposal MORE (D-Fla.)
John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.)
Ken Salazar (D-Colo.)
Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.)
John E. Sununu (R-N.H.)
Jim Talent (R-Mo.)
Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.)
John R. Thune (R-S.D.)
Harry ReidHarry ReidSanders fundraises for Feingold in Wisconsin Senate race Clinton urged to go liberal with vice presidential pick Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns MORE (D-Nev.)
Gordon H. Smith (R-Ore.)
Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.)
Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.)
Tom CoburnTom CoburnMcCain: No third-party foes coming for Trump Tough choice for vulnerable GOP senators: Embrace or reject Trump The Trail 2016: Donald and the Supremes MORE (R-Okla.)
Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)
Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)
Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.)
Byron L. Dorgan(D-N.D.)
Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa)
Tom HarkinTom HarkinDo candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? The Hill's 12:30 Report Mark Mellman: Parsing the primary processes MORE (D-Iowa)
Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah)
James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.)
Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.)
Herb Kohl (D-Wis.)
Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.)
Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.)
Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiSenators float bipartisan wildfire bill Overnight Energy: Lawmakers closing in on chemical safety deal GOP chair pushes Obama official on Arctic drilling plan MORE (R-Alaska)
Barack ObamaBarack ObamaNorth Korea calls Obama’s Hiroshima trip ‘childish’ Sanders takes different position on superdelegates than he did in 2008 Ryan seeks to put stamp on GOP in Trump era MORE (D-Ill.)
Mark PryorMark PryorEx-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood Ex-Sen. Landrieu joins law and lobby firm MORE (D-Ark.)
Rick Santorum (R-Pa.)
Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine)
Arlen Specter (R-Pa.)
Didn't return calls
Max BaucusMax BaucusWyden unveils business tax proposal College endowments under scrutiny The chaotic fight for ObamaCare MORE (D-Mont.)
Bob Bennett (R-Utah)
Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.)
Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.)
John Ensign (R-Nev.)
Bill Frist (R-Tenn.)
Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)
Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii)
Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.)
Trent Lott (R-Miss.)
Mel Martinez (R-Fla.)
Paul S. Sarbanes (D-Md.)
Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowThe Hill's 12:30 Report Dems: GOP playing from 'Trump textbook' Will Republicans put up more bureaucratic obstacles to healthy kids? MORE (D-Mich.)
David VitterDavid VitterSenate GOP candidate pushing bill to 'curb regulatory overreach' Honor Frank Lautenberg by protecting our kids Cruz: VA secretary 'should resign' MORE (R-La.)
George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio)
Ron WydenRon WydenOvernight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns Top Dem: CIA officials thought spying on Senate ‘was flat out wrong’ The Trail 2016: Hell breaks loose MORE (D-Ore.)