Commentary: A few things for Congress to tackle

This editorial appeared in The Charlotte Observer.

The nation and the world have been obsessed this week with the election of Barack Obama, and appropriately so. But at least as much power resides at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, in the halls of Congress. The course of our country over the next two to four years will be determined in large part by how the House and Senate manage their newly enlarged Democratic majorities and what they do and don't push through to Obama's desk.

Here's a very partial list of what we'd like to see them tackle:

Iraq. More than five years after the invasion and the "Mission Accomplished" banner, it's time to steadily withdraw most of our troops. President Bush himself had said that U.S. troops should come home once the functioning Iraqi government is ready for them to leave. The Iraqi government is ready. It reiterated days after Obama's election that it wanted a firm timetable for withdrawal. Congress should give it to them, and leave just enough troops to provide for training, infrastructure, protection of diplomatic personnel and other basic needs. The reasons for us to be there in the first place have been mostly discredited, and even the near-legitimate goals have been met.

At the same time, Congress should put a bigger emphasis on the war in Afghanistan and counter-terrorism operations there and in Pakistan. That's where the fight should have been all along.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Charlotte Observer.