We have a relationship with the Government of Iraq that gives us an important opportunity to develop a democratic Iraq that enjoys a long term partnership with the United States. I believe it’s critical that we take advantage of this opportunity because it’s hard to know if we will ever have this kind of chance again. We all want success and victory in Iraq, but as I stated during this talk we may not know until three to five to 10 years from now if we’ve been successful. But I do believe we are moving in the right direction.
We have been through so much with our Iraqi partners and I think many things have gone better than expected. The implementation of the Security Agreement in early 2009 has been a success. We’ve turned over the responsibility for the entire security file to the Government of Iraq, we’ve reduced our forces in Iraq and the Iraqis have been able to sustain, and in fact continue to improve, security over 2009. Additionally, we’ve seen incredible development of the Iraqi government. It’s nowhere near as mature a government that we see in some other Western cultures for democracies, but they certainly have made tremendous strides.
I believe these kinds of open discussions with leading thinkers and media here in the US are necessary, and an important way to educate our fellow citizens about our progress and future in Iraq.