Legislatively, much remains to be done. As the hearings clearly indicated, political reconciliation efforts are incomplete. As General Petraeus noted, the security progress--however important--does not represent "a turning of a corner." Among other things, Iraq's parliament needs to enact an oil law that ensures an equitable revenue sharing program that will mitigate and not aggravate sectarian fighting.
There are additional challenges--including Iran's role, the PKK's activities, and porous borders that allow a flow of foreign fighters into Iraq--that must also be addressed. One primary message coming out of yesterday's hearings was that the Iraqis must do more to secure their own future. But equally clear is the fact that they still require American assistance.
AMBASSADOR CROCKER AND GENERAL PETRAEUS were adamant yesterday that the progress Iraq has experienced since January 2007 is "fragile and reversible." Ambassador Crocker noted that he "cannot guarantee success in Iraq"--but it is certainly possible. We should encourage--even pressure--the Iraqis to take important steps in building their state, but we must also keep in mind that a dramatic change of course on our own part would likely disrupt the combination of factors that have helped turn Iraq from a disaster to a salvageable situation. As Ambassador Crocker said yesterday, a stable Iraq is not simply in the interest of "the 27 million citizens of Iraq; it is also vitally important to those in the Gulf region, to the citizens of the United States, and to the global community."
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is the vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the author of My Year Inside Radical Islam. Bill Roggio, a former U.S. Army infantryman, is the editor of The Long War Journal and an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.