Scott Holcomb Appears on CNN Again to Discuss End of the Iraq War


LEMON: If you're just joining us, I'm Don Lemon at the CNN World Headquarters with special coverage of the final days of the U.S. war in Iraq. And joining us for the broadcast is CNN International anchor Hala Gorani. She is in Washington tonight, helping us out. She knows a lot about this because she's covered it for our international unit since the very beginning. And we want to welcome our viewers from around the world, Hala.

You know, Hala, earlier this week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the cost was high, but the Iraq war was not in vain. George State Representative Scott Holcomb served our country in Iraq, and he joins us now from New York to share his emotions and his perspective.

And I'm learning something very interesting. You actually served with Spider Marks at one point.

GEORGE STATE REP. SCOTT HOLCOMB, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: That's correct. I was on the command staff of the coalition forces during the invasion in 2003. And in fact, General Marks and I sat next to each other at midnight mass at Camp Doha in 2002.

LEMON: You want to reminisce about that? You guys care to share — go ahead, General Marks. MARKS: I was going to say, I remember that mass, absolutely honestly, I remember that mass exceptionally well. And father gave a great little homily, but let me be frank, he was kind of an odd duck, wasn't he?

HOLCOMB: I can never speak bad about the priesthood, General Marks—

MARKS: I'm in trouble, I know it.

HOLCOMB: — especially the week of Christmas!

LEMON: All right, guys, let me get into it here, because I want to say that, Representative, you served in Bosnia from 2000 to 2001, Afghanistan from '01 to '02, Iraq from '02 to '03, so you have done three deployments here. Does it seem surreal that these troops, all of the combat troops, combat troops will be home by the end of the year?

HOLCOMB: It really does. And I am so happy that the president has made this decision and that our troops are coming home. I spent three straight deployments overseas, and it's really difficult. And for the families now to be able to wake up and spend the holidays with their loved ones is something that we should all be really happy about. And what really warms my heart is the knowledge that a young child at Camp Lejeune isn't going to have to go to bed next Saturday night worrying about the safety of their mom or dad in Iraq. And a family at Ft. Stewart, Georgia, isn't going to have to worry about an unwelcome knock on the door on Christmas day.

So this is really a great thing that our troops are coming home.

LEMON: I spoke earlier, Representative, to someone who had done two tours of duty there, and he said, you know, it's like seeing Santa Claus, really, Santa Claus is really real, coming out of the airport when you see those homecomings. And it's amazing. We can't get enough of it.

And much has been made of this from some conservatives saying that this is a political move by the president and so on. Regardless of how you feel about the politics of it, your heart certainly warms when you see the images of these troops coming home to their families.

HOLCOMB: Absolutely. I witnessed it in an airport today flying up from Atlanta to New York. And it was so wonderful to know that the troops are coming this way as opposed to heading into harm's way.

And with respect to the politics, the president made the right decision, without question. We have been at war for a long time. We have accomplished our objectives. The objectives that were laid out by President Bush on March 19th of 2003 when this war started were to remove the threat. That's been done. And to restore the control of the country to the Iraqi people. That, too, has been accomplished.

And the other thing that President Bush said when he started the war was that our forces would come home as soon as they accomplished these tasks. And they've accomplished these tasks, and it's time for us to welcome them home with open arms.

LEMON: And this is a deal, as many have said, made under the Bush administration, and that the Obama administration, Representative, was merely carrying out those orders made then.

HOLCOMB: And I don't hear a large cry to say let's extend the war longer. The war is finished. The mission has been met. And it is time to come home. This is the right decision. And it's also nice in a time where there's so much inability to tackle problems and accomplish tasks and goals, that we're finishing something. It is the end of the Iraq war. So now we can focus on America.

LEMON: We're up against a break here. Thank you very much. Live to Baghdad when we come right back.

HOLCOMB: Thank you.

More Articles

Legislative Update


Read More »

Newsletter: Update on Voting, Unemployment, and More


Read More »

2020 Legislative Update

Rep. Scott Holcomb

The 2020 legislative session was unlike any other. The session adjourned on Friday, March 13, 2020, because of COVID-19. The following Monday, March 16, 2020, the General Assembly returned to the Capitol for a one-day emergency session to concur with Governor Kemp's declaration of a state of emergency. That state of emergency remains in effect. Read More »