Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and Civilians of Multi-National Force-Iraq:
It has been the greatest of privileges to have been your commander for the past 19 months. During that time, we and our civilian and Iraqi partners have been engaged in an exceedingly complex, difficult, and important task. And in the face of numerous challenges, we and our partners have helped bring new hope to a country that was besieged by extremists and engulfed in sectarian violence.
When I took command of Multi-National Force-Iraq in February 2007, I noted that the situation in Iraq was hard but not hopeless. You have proven that assessment to be correct. Indeed, your great work, sacrifice, courage, and skill have helped to reverse a downward spiral toward civil war and to wrest the initiative from the enemies of the new Iraq.
MY Hero of the Year
Together, Iraqi and Coalition Forces have faced determined, adaptable, and barbaric enemies. You and our Iraqi partners have taken the fight to them, and you have taken away their sanctuaries and safe havens. You have helped secure the Iraqi people and have enabled, and capitalized on, their rejection of extremism. You have also supported the Iraqi Security Forces as they have grown in number and capability and as they have increasingly shouldered more of the responsibility for security in their country.
You have not just secured the Iraqi people; you have served them, as well. By helping establish local governance, supporting reconstruction efforts, assisting with revitalization of local businesses, fostering local reconciliation, and conducting a host of other non-kinetic activities, you have contributed significantly to the communities in which you have operated. Indeed, you have been builders and diplomats as well as guardians and warriors.
The progress achieved has been hard-earned. There have been many tough days along the way, and we have suffered tragic losses. Indeed, nothing in Iraq has been anything but hard. But you have been more than equal to every task.
Your accomplishments have, in fact, been the stuff of history. Each of you should be proud of what has been achieved and of the contributions you continue to make. Although our tasks in Iraq are far from complete and hard work and tough fights lie ahead, you have helped bring about remarkable improvements.
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Iraqi Defense Minister Abd al-Qadir al-Mufriji salute while passing the Iraqi flag during a farewell ceremony for Petraeus Sept. 15, 2008, in Baghdad. Petraeus is turning over command of Multinational Force Iraq to Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno. Courtesy photo
Your new commander is precisely the right man for the job. General Ray Odierno played a central role in the progress achieved during the surge. He brings tremendous skill, experience, and understanding as he returns to Iraq for a third tour and takes the helm of MNF-I just seven months after relinquishing command of MultiNational Corps-Iraq. I have total confidence in him, and I will do all that I can as the commander of Central Command to help him, MNF-I, and our Iraqi partners to achieve the important goals that we all share for the new Iraq.
Thank you for your magnificent work here in the “Land of the Two Rivers.” And thank you for your sacrifices – and for those of your families – during this crucial phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I am honored to have soldiered with you in this critical endeavor.
With great respect and all best wishes
David H. Petraeus
General, United States Army
Thank you, General [link from MNF-1 and http://assolutatranquillita.blogspot.com/]
Last year, I named General Petraeus one of “[ MY Heroes of the Year”]
This was at a time when none of the US msm saw fit to acknowledge the tremendous contributions the General has made during his service to America, to the US military, and by extension to the people of Iraq. This was also the time when the politicians were flapping their jaws, determined to declare defeat in the military’s mission of bringing stability to a tyrant ravaged area of our world. Can anybody forget the disgraceful disrespect that the politicians showed our General when he gave his report? Meanwhile the Sunday Telegraph of London followed my lead (lol) and then named General Petraeus their Person of the Year:
The critics said it couldn’t be done, but the vision and determination of General David Petraeus have brought greater security and cause for optimism to the people of Iraq. He is The Sunday Telegraph’s Person of the Year.
For a man whose critics say he is far too fond of the television cameras, General David Petraeus, commander of US forces in Iraq, has been rather out of the limelight this Christmas.
The sprightly, media-friendly 55-year-old is not perturbed; however, that his face is no longer number one item on the US networks. As he said last week, where Iraq is concerned, “No news is good news.”
Today, we put him in the spotlight again by naming Gen Petraeus as The Sunday Telegraph’s Person of the Year, a new annual accolade to recognise outstanding individual achievement.
He has been the man behind the US troop surge over the past 10 months, the last-ditch effort to end Iraq’s escalating civil war by putting an extra 28,000 American troops on the ground.
So far, it has achieved what many feared was impossible. Sectarian killings are down. Al-Qaeda is on the run. And the two million Iraqis who fled the country are slowly returning. Progress in Iraq is relative – 538 civilians died last month. But compared with the 3,000 peak of December last year, it offers at least a glimmer of hope.
Nonetheless, why should we choose to nominate Petraeus?
It is said that the victors get to write history. General Petraeus is far too busy still, to be doing the writing of history. But I believe that history will be kind to him, and he WILL be acknowledged as someone who changed the course of history for the better. As his assumes his new command, and the politicians continue apace shooting off their mouths, I am reminded of an expression I try to live by:
“By your deeds shall you be known.”
General Petraeus is an inspiration to me, and too many. General Petraeus: you and I may never meet (although you ARE on my short list of people to interview…nudge, nudge. lol) but I will always honour your service.
Thank you, sir!