President Obama’s announcement today marks the beginning of the end of George W. Bush’s reckless foreign policy in Iraq – a policy that has cost Americans dearly in both blood and treasure while failing to make them more secure. Part of drawing a line under this era, though, is a return to policymaking in which Congress, the media and the American people ask tough questions and exercise oversight.
Last week Iraqis went to the polls to vote in provincial elections. By voting for a strong central government, there is now an even greater need for the Iraqi government to become more inclusive. Despite these challenges Iraqis face, the outcome of the election demonstrates that Iraqis are increasingly capable of ensuring their own futures and further confirm the need to begin the redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq.
This weekend’s peaceful provincial elections marked a major milestone for the Iraqi people. However, the key concern remains whether or not the elections will be viewed as fair once all of the ballots have been counted and whether the losers will accept the outcome.
One of the unnoticed evolutions in Iraq policy over the past few months is that there is now a broad consensus both here and in Iraq that for the sake of American and Iraqi interests it is time for American forces to redeploy.