Words matter. These are the best David Petraeus Quotes, and they’re great for sharing with your friends.
The situation in Iraq was dire at the end of 2006, when President George W. Bush decided to implement the surge and selected me to command it. Indeed, when I returned to Baghdad in early February 2007, I found the conditions there to be even worse than I had expected.
A certain degree of intellectual humility is a good thing.
The tragedy is that political leaders failed so badly at delivering what Iraqis clearly wanted – and for that, a great deal of responsibility lies with Prime Minister Maliki.
I don’t comment directly on actions or statements of candidates.
At least from a national security standpoint, none of the problems the U.S. and U.K. face will become easier to solve if the U.K. is out of the E.U.; on the contrary, I fear that a ‘Brexit’ would only make our world even more dangerous and difficult to manage.
I think it’s reality that Iran is going to have influence in Iraq. All elements of Iraq accepted that.
Life is a competitive endeavor.
Ungoverned spaces in the Islamic world will be exploited by people who wish us ill. They will not be contained.
At a certain point, you have to take the rearview mirrors off the bus and focus forward, and that’s what we’ve sought to do.
We will win again in Iraq; I do think that Iraq can definitely be handled. I think that it can be kept intact.
I am not going to second-guess my old battlefield comrades from Iraq and Afghanistan; each has his own reason for what he has done.
The Orlando terrorist is an example of someone who was in the sights of law enforcement but never crossed the threshold from pre-criminal to criminal behavior and, thus, was not tracked adequately before this horrific act.
America is not in decline.
The idea is to go to bed every night with fewer enemies than you had in the morning.
All Americans should take great pride in the men and women serving our nation in Iraq and in the courage, determination, resilience and initiative they demonstrate each and every day. It remains the greatest of honors to soldier with them.
The art of coalition command – whether it is here in Afghanistan, whether it was in Iraq or in Bosnia or in Haiti – is to take the resources you are provided with, understand what the strengths and weaknesses are and to employ them to the best overall effect.
Iraq is a country I came to know well and the place where I spent some of the most consequential years of my life.
The biggest of the big ideas that guided the strategy during the surge was explicit recognition that the most important terrain in the campaign in Iraq was the human terrain – the people – and our most important mission was to improve their security.
Even before the missteps that I’ve had, I was never going to run for office. My family is adamantly opposed to it, and frankly, my politics don’t necessarily work for the primaries of either of our parties.
Leaders of the various Iraqi elements will likely have their own militias, and there will be endless rounds of brinkmanship on the road to post-Islamic State boundaries, governing structures, and distribution of power and resources.
The bottom line is that Daesh’s defeat requires not just hammering them on the battlefield but, simultaneously, revived political reconciliation with Sunnis.
This is actually true of the overall fight against al-Qaeda and trans-national extremists, that as you put pressure on them in one location, they’ll seek safe haven sanctuaries in other areas. So you do have to continue to pursue them. But they have less capability.
Obviously, resilience matters. I was no stranger to adversity, but it’s different when it’s personal. Not something I would recommend.
Needless to say, it was the greatest of privileges to serve with the selfless men and women – Iraqi and American and those of our coalition partners, civilian as well as military – who did the hard, dangerous work of the surge. There seldom was an easy period; each day was tough.
If you look at casualties, you find countries that had much higher loss rates per capita than the US. Denmark comes to mind, the United Kingdom, they have suffered heavy losses at various points, the Germans as well.
The process to resolve post-Islamic State issues will be difficult and intense.
Reconciliation is what takes place, of course, at higher levels. President Karzai has been very clear about the red lines for reconciliation, accept the constitution, lay down their weapons, cut their ties with al Qaeda and essentially become productive or at least participating members of society in that regard.
In counterinsurgency operations, the human terrain is the decisive terrain.
The president and I sat down in the Oval Office, and he expressed very clearly that what he wants from me is my best professional military advice.
Counter-insurgency, as you know, is a roller-coaster affair.
To do de-Baathification without an agreed process of reconciliation threw tens of thousands of people out of their jobs, out of their homes, out of their future, and even robbed them of their position in society.
After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair.
As you will recall, soon after the 9/11 attacks, an international coalition led by the United States conducted an impressive campaign to defeat the Taliban, al Qaeda, and other associated extremist groups in Afghanistan.
The Middle East is not part of the world that plays by Las Vegas rules: What happens in the Middle East is not going to stay in the Middle East.
The Congress, the executive branch, and our fellow citizens have done an enormous amount to support our troopers and their loved ones. And all of us are grateful for that.
The Germans have done wonderful work. Not long ago, a German battle group battalion conducted a very impressive counterinsurgency operation in a portion of Baghlan province. I think these are the first counterinsurgency operations conducted by any German element after World War II. And they did a very impressive job.
In the 101st Airborne Division headquarters in Mosul, we had a sign on the wall. It was a question that we would ask ourselves before every new operation or policy initiative. It asked: Will this policy or operation take more bad guys off the streets than it creates by its conduct?
I do talk to individuals still in the business of tracking individuals in the homeland and abroad. A lot of them have felt that they were hanging on by their fingernails a bit in terms of tracking all the potential threats out there.
The formulation of sound national policy requires finding the right overarching concepts.
The foremost threat to Iraq’s long-term stability and the broader regional equilibrium is not the Islamic State, it is Shiite militias, many backed by – and some guided by – Iran.
During the surge and in the years after the surge, Iraqi forces fought and died for their country at vastly higher numbers than did U.S. and coalition forces. We know that they can fight.
I’m heartened that, for the first time, we’re seeing some of the Internet Service Providers and the social media sites taking action against the Islamic State. That’s the kind of initiative that can very, very much augment on an industrial scale what the government is trying to do.
But clearly, this is what this is about. It’s about pushing the security bubble out. It’s about rooting out every last guy, so that there’s not even somebody who can fire a single, solitary RPG round from some little qalat out here.
If you don’t want to have to kill or capture every bad guy in the country, you have to reintegrate those who are willing to be reconciled and become part of the solution instead of a continued part of the problem. And then, above all, the resources.
I think carpet bombing is an absolutely tremendous idea if the enemy accommodates you by laying himself out like a carpet in the middle of the desert without any civilians or infrastructure around him. Sadly, the Islamic State has learned that that is a losing proposition and does not accommodate us in that way.
I’m living the dream.
I don’t vote.
In many… cases, of course, the Arab Spring has brought about instability rather than greater stability. And rather than bringing about government that is more representative and more responsive to the people, you’re seeing, frankly, the opposite, or you’re seeing all-out war.
In many respects, Afghanistan represents a more difficult problem set. It does not have a number of the blessings that Iraq has in terms of the oil, gas, land of two rivers, the human capital that Iraq built up over the years, the muscle memory of a strong government – albeit one that was corrupted over time.
If you’re asked, you’ve got to serve – put aside any reservations based on campaign rhetoric… and figure out what’s best for the country.
In all of our efforts, we continue to emphasize the importance of inclusivity and transparency on the part of the Afghan government and leadership, especially in linking nascent local governing institutions to the decision-making and financial resources in Kabul.
Mubarak would meet with me when I was at Central Command. He would lean and put his hand on my knee, as if a father figure, and say, ‘General, don’t ever forget the Arab Street. Listen to the Arab Street.’ I’d like to go to him now and say, ‘Mr. President, what about that Arab Street, what’s that all about?’