In a speech from the Oval Office tonight, President Obama will announce a change in the mission in Iraq. While combat troops are being drawn down, the administration will increase the civilian presence in Iraq, underscoring the need for consistent robust funding of our civilian-led tools of development and diplomacy.  David Brooks points out in the New York Times today there has been “substantial progress on the things development efforts can touch most directly: economic growth, basic security, and political and legal institutions.”  Civilians have already played a crucial role in bringing some stability to Iraq, and the plan to transition to civilian-led U.S. operations demonstrates the essential role they already play in U.S. foreign policy, a role that must be supported with sufficient resources to be effective.

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