Thursday, August 13, 2009

General Petraeus Speaks on Iraq and Afghanistan

General David Petraeus delivered a keynote speech at the event, entitled “Striking a Balance: A New American Security” by the Center for a New American Security on June 11. General Petraeus is too well known for his success in Iraq, and currently, he is the head of the Central Command whose operational scope ranges from Kazakhstan to Kenya, and Egypt to Pakistan. In the presidential election last year, Republican candidate John McCain mentioned Petraeus the most important advisor.

See the above video, just over 1 hour. Petraeus tells how the Coalition achieved success in Iraq, and how to apply this success to Afghanistan. Also, he explains how multilateral counterterrorist policy interactions are preceded (Also, see the text).

Quite importantly, General Petraeus defined, “The overriding mission of a military force in counterinsurgency has to be to secure the people, to protect the population.” Antiwar, anti-American, or anti-Western leftists must keep these words in mind, and stop committing themselves to dubious political manipulations to help bloody terrorists and autocrats.

In Iraq, the Allied Forces moved out of the Green Zone, and decided to live close to Iraqi people so that soldiers could work together with them. In Afghanistan, coalition soldiers cannot live among people, because it is difficult to find empty houses to live in small villages and rural areas. However, Petraeus says that Western forces can behave as good partners and good neighbors by staying near the village. Simultaneously, he tells that irreconcilable bad guys must be captured and killed.

Showing a diagram of counterterrorist strategy on the slide, General David Petraeus says that the Allied Forces needed “to challenge them for popular support, go after them, attack their ideology, disrupt their command and control, cut their links to senior leaders, reduce the flow of money available to them, take away their weapons cashes and explosives, cut the flow of foreign fighters.” In Iraq, the Coalition cut the support for terrorists from safe havens in Syria through this way. In Afghanistan, similar approaches are taken to cut supports from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Baluchistan in Pakistan.

General Petraeus speaks gently, intellectually, and lucidly, with occasional humor. This video will be of some help to understand his personality, as well as the strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Yoshiki Hidaka, David Petraeus is considered as one of possible Republican presidential candidate for 2012. In my view, no other candidates, whether Republican or Democrat, are so well qualified as he is. Respectable personality is no less important than political values.

It is too early to talk about 2012, as nobody knows who runs for the election. In any case, watch this video to feel cool head, warm heart, and real action hero personality of one of the key world leaders.

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