The commander of U.S. forces in Iraq conceded Sunday that "a little bit of terrorism" is still complicating the situation on the ground there.
Gen. Ray Odierno on CBS's "Face the Nation" said political and economic development was key to long-term security and stressed it is "important to not allow terrorists to exploit this time" while parties in Iraq attempt to form a government.
When asked if the country risked falling back into a dictatorial situation like the ruthless regime of Saddam Hussein, Odierno said he was confident Iraqis massing to the polls would prevent such a scenario.
"The reason it's taking so long [to form a government] is because of the democratic process," he said.
Odierno said Iraq needed to concentrate on technically developing its military capabilities to protect its air, sea and land and suggested that is the capacity in which the U.S. might be involved in Iraq in the future.
"If they ask us that they might want us to stay longer, we would certainly consider that," he said. "That's part of us developing a long-term strategic partnership with them."