The redeployment from Iraq of all U.S. combat forces by August 31 remains on schedule, according to American commanding General Ray Odierno. This is a victory for the policy vision that has been advocated by progressives since 2005, a vision that winds down our involvement there while simultaneously re-focusing on core security interests. While the redeployment signals a new phase in American-Iraqi affairs, there are still multiple challenges to be addressed in Iraq, particularly the spate of violence that has occurred since last March's elections and the continued negotiations over government formation. Nonetheless, as Odierno said, these difficulties will not be solved by more troops. Rather, they must be addressed through political and economic solutions, most immediately including, as Vice President Biden recently stated during his visit to Iraq over the 4th
of July holiday, through the formation of a new Iraqi government that is inclusive and responsive to the needs of all Iraqis. Yet, as the Vice President recognized, this imperative does not mean that the U.S. should seek to impose a solution, thereby undercutting democratic developments in Iraq. Instead, the best course for the U.S. is to continue to make good on its commitment to the policy of strategic redeployment, which assists Iraqi governance by modestly influencing the political situation, facilitates the transition to a civilian-led mission, focuses on assisting Iraqis as they confront persistent challenges, and builds an enduring strategic relationship between our two countries.