Washington, DC – Chairman Tom Lantos (D-CA) today announced that the House Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a series of briefings and hearings on Iraq this month.

“Democrats have heard the message of November 7: The public wants a top-down review of what our country is doing in Iraq, and why, and how the situation there can be improved,” Lantos said. “We are going to cover a lot of ground in the coming weeks to get to those answers.”

Starting this Thursday afternoon with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice providing an overview of current diplomatic efforts, the committee will examine every aspect of the conflict that falls within its jurisdiction.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will provide some much-needed context at a hearing on Wednesday, January 17. And on Friday, January 19, former Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Lee Hamilton is set to testify about follow-through on the December 2006 recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, which he co-chaired; a witness from the group representing the Republican point of view is expected to be named later.

Lantos planned to hold other hearings in the coming months on the reconstruction effort and on related regional matters.

“We have not been engaging others in the region as we should in steering the situation in Iraq away from debacle,” Lantos said. “And the efforts of the international coalition with respect to reconstructing this war-torn country have been rife with waste, fraud and abuse. In any sense of the term, this country cannot afford to let things continue in Iraq as they have. We owe it to our troops and to the Iraqi people to effect a real change.”