Gen Petraeus provided highly anticipated testimony to congress that was gritty, honest and, I believe, an honest assessment on Iraq conditions regardless of what political forces wanted to hear. Gen Petraeus provided a soldier’s answer to the question posed regarding the situation which will be debated and bashed for its content as viewed by diverse sides and factions but there were a couple points that stand beyond that fate.
General Petraeus closed with observations on the funding provided by congress – accurate in that we have enjoyed funds necessary to operate. Perhaps a little tip of the hat to the hand that feeds the force…
The advances you have underwritten in weapons systems and individual equipment; in munitions; in command, control, and communications systems; in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities; in vehicles and counter-IED systems and programs; and in manned and unmanned aircraft have proven invaluable in Iraq. The capabilities that you have funded most recently – especially the vehicles that will provide greater protection against improvised explosive devices – are also of enormous importance. Additionally, your funding of the Commander’s Emergency Response Program has given our leaders a critical tool with which to prosecute the counterinsurgency campaign. Finally, we appreciate as well your funding of our new detention programs and rule of law initiatives in Iraq.
But the point that I hope will eventually get some attention as the dust settles is General Petraeus comments for the congressional record - those regarding the military force today;
The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen with whom I’m honored to serve are the best equipped and, very likely, the most professional force in our nation’s history. Impressively, despite all that has been asked of them in recent years, they continue to raise their right hands and volunteer to stay in uniform.
In closing, it remains an enormous privilege to soldier again in Iraq with America’s new “Greatest Generation.” Our country’s men and women in uniform have done a magnificent job in the most complex and challenging environment imaginable. All Americans should be very proud of their sons and daughters serving in Iraq today.