"Petraeus" redirects here. For other uses, see Petraeus (disambiguation).
|4th Director of the Central Intelligence Agency|
September 6, 2011 – November 9, 2012
|Preceded by||Michael Morell (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Michael Morell (Acting)|
|Commander of the International Security Assistance Force|
June 23, 2010 – July 18, 2011
|Preceded by||Stanley McChrystal|
|Succeeded by||John Allen|
|Commander of United States Central Command|
October 31, 2008 – June 30, 2010
|Preceded by||Martin Dempsey(Acting)|
|Succeeded by||John Allen(Acting)|
|Born||David Howell Petraeus|
(1952-11-07) November 7, 1952 (age 65)
Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Holly Knowlton (m. 1974)|
|Education||United States Military Academy(BS)|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1974–2011|
|Commands||International Security Assistance Force|
United States Forces-Afghanistan
United States Central Command
United States Army Combined Arms Center
Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division
3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment
A Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment (Mechanized)
Operation Uphold Democracy
Operation Desert Spring
War in Afghanistan (2001–14)
|Awards||Defense Distinguished Service Medal (4)|
Army Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Defense Superior Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (4)
Bronze Star Medal with Valor
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
NATO Meritorious Service Medal
Officer of the Order of Australia
Army Commendation Medal
David Howell PetraeusAO (; born November 7, 1952) is a retired United States Armygeneral officer and public official. He served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from September 6, 2011, until his resignation on November 9, 2012. Prior to his assuming the directorship of the CIA, Petraeus served 37 years in the United States Army. His last assignments in the Army were as commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) from July 4, 2010, to July 18, 2011. His other four-star assignments include serving as the 10th Commander, U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) from October 13, 2008, to June 30, 2010, and as Commanding General, Multi-National Force – Iraq (MNF-I) from February 10, 2007, to September 16, 2008. As commander of MNF-I, Petraeus oversaw all coalition forces in Iraq.
Petraeus has a B.S. degree from the United States Military Academy, from which he graduated in 1974 as a distinguished cadet (top 5% of his class). In his class were three other future four-star generals, Martin Dempsey, Walter L. Sharp and Keith B. Alexander. He was the General George C. Marshall Award winner as the top graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College class of 1983. He subsequently earned an M.P.A. in 1985 and a Ph.D. degree in international relations in 1987 from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He later served as Assistant Professor of International Relations at the United States Military Academy and also completed a fellowship at Georgetown University.
Petraeus has repeatedly stated that he has no plans to run for elected political office. On June 23, 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Petraeus to succeed General Stanley McChrystal as commanding general of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, technically a step down from his position as Commander of United States Central Command, which oversees the military efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, and Egypt.
On June 30, 2011, Petraeus was unanimously confirmed as the Director of the CIA by the U.S. Senate 94–0. Petraeus relinquished command of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan on July 18, 2011, and retired from the U.S. Army on August 31, 2011. On November 9, 2012, General Petraeus resigned from his position as Director of the CIA, citing his extramarital affair, which was reportedly discovered in the course of an FBI investigation. In January 2015, officials reported the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors had recommended bringing felony charges against Petraeus for allegedly providing classified information to his biographer, Paula Broadwell (with whom he was having an affair), while serving as Director of the CIA. Eventually, Petraeus pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information.
After the 2016 presidential election, Petraeus was on a short list of potential candidates to be Donald Trump’s nomination for Secretary of State.
Early life and family
Petraeus was born in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, the son of Miriam Sweet (née Howell; 1912–1991), a librarian, and Sixtus Petraeus (1915–2008), a Dutch sea captain from Franeker, Netherlands. His mother was American, a resident of Brooklyn, New York. His father had sailed to the United States from the Netherlands at the start of World War II. They met at the Seamen's Church Institute of New York and New Jersey and married. Sixtus Petraeus commanded a Liberty ship for the U.S.A. for the duration of World War II. The family moved after the war, settling in Cornwall-on-Hudson, where David Petraeus grew up and graduated from Cornwall Central High School in 1970.
Petraeus went on to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Petraeus was on the intercollegiate soccer and ski teams, was a cadet captain on the brigade staff, and was a "distinguished cadet" academically, graduating in the top 5% of the Class of 1974 (ranked 40th overall). In the class yearbook, Petraeus was remembered as "always going for it in sports, academics, leadership, and even his social life".
While a cadet, Petraeus started dating the daughter of Army General William A. Knowlton (the West Point superintendent at the time), Hollister "Holly" Knowlton (born c. 1953). Two months after graduation, Petraeus married her. Holly, who is multi-lingual, was a National Merit Scholar in high school, and graduated summa cum laude from Dickinson College. They have a daughter and son, Anne and Stephen. Petraeus administered the oath of office at his son's 2009 commissioning into the Army after his son's graduation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His son went on to serve as an officer in Afghanistan as a member of 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
Petraeus's official residence in the United States is a small property in the small town of Springfield, New Hampshire, which his wife inherited from her family. Petraeus once told a friend that he was a Rockefeller Republican.
Education and academia
Petraeus graduated from West Point in 1974. He earned the General George C. Marshall Award as the top graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Class of 1983 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He subsequently earned an M.P.A. in 1985 and a Ph.D. in international relations in 1987 from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where he was mentored by Richard H. Ullman. At that time, he also served as an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the U.S. Military Academy from 1985 to 1987. His doctoral dissertation was titled "The American Military and the Lessons of Vietnam: A Study of Military Influence and the Use of Force in the Post-Vietnam Era". He also completed a military fellowship at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in 1994–1995, although he was called away early to serve in Haiti as the Chief of Operations for NATO there in early 1995.
From late 2005 through February 2007, Petraeus served as Commanding General of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (CAC) located there. As commander of CAC, Petraeus was responsible for oversight of the Command and General Staff College and seventeen other schools, centers, and training programs as well as for developing the Army's doctrinal manuals, training the Army's officers, and supervising the Army's center for the collection and dissemination of lessons learned. During his time at CAC, Petraeus and Marine Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis jointly oversaw the publication of Field Manual 3–24, Counterinsurgency, the body of which was written by an extraordinarily diverse group of military officers, academics, human rights advocates, and journalists who had been assembled by Petraeus and Mattis. Additionally, at both Fort Leavenworth and throughout the military's schools and training programs, Petraeus integrated the study of counterinsurgency into lesson plans and training exercises. In recognition of the fact that soldiers in Iraq often performed duties far different from those for which they trained, Petraeus also stressed the importance of teaching soldiers how to think as well as how to fight, and the need to foster flexibility and adaptability in leaders. Petraeus called this change the most significant part of The Surge, saying in 2016 "the surge that mattered most was the surge of ideas. It was the change of strategy, and in many respects, this represented quite a significant change to what it was we were doing prior to the surge." Petraeus has been called "the world's leading expert in counter-insurgency warfare". Later, having refined his ideas on counterinsurgency based on the implementation of the new counterinsurgency doctrine in Iraq, he published both in Iraq as well as in the Sep/Oct 2008 edition of Military Review his "Commander's Counterinsurgency Guidance" to help guide leaders and units in the Multi-National Force-Iraq.
Upon his graduation from West Point in 1974, Petraeus was commissioned an infantry officer. After completing Ranger School (Distinguished Honor Graduate and other honors), Petraeus was assigned to the 509th Airborne Battalion Combat Team, a light infantry unit stationed in Vicenza, Italy. Ever since, light infantry has been at the core of his career, punctuated by assignments to mechanized units, unit commands, staff assignments, and educational institutions. After leaving the 509th as a first lieutenant, Petraeus began a brief association with mechanized units when he became assistant operations officer on the staff of the 2nd Brigade, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Stewart, Georgia. In 1979, he assumed command of a company in the same division: A Company, 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment (Mechanized), and then served as that battalion's operations officer, a major's position that he held as a junior captain.
In 1981, Petraeus became aide-de-camp to General John Galvin, then Commanding General of the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized). He spent the next few years furthering his military and civilian education, including spending 1982–83 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, attending the Command and General Staff College. At graduation in 1983, he was the General George C. Marshall Award winner as the top graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. From 1983 to 1985 he was at Princeton; and 1985–87 at West Point. After earning his PhD and teaching at West Point, Petraeus continued up the rungs of the command ladder, serving as military assistant to Gen. John Galvin, the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. From there, he moved to the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). During 1988–1989, he served as operations officer to the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized)'s 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment (Mechanized). He was then posted as aide and assistant executive officer to the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, General Carl Vuono, in Washington, D.C.
Upon promotion to lieutenant colonel, Petraeus moved from the office of the Chief of Staff to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he commanded the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)'s 3rd Battalion 187th Infantry Regiment, known as the "Iron Rakkasans", from 1991 to 1993. During this period, he suffered one of the more dramatic incidents in his career; in 1991 he was accidentally shot in the chest with an M-16 rifle during a live-fire exercise when a soldier tripped and his rifle discharged. He was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, where he was operated on by future U.S. SenatorBill Frist. The hospital released him early after he did fifty push-ups without resting, just a few days after the accident.
During 1993–94, Petraeus continued his long association with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) as the division's Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 (plans, operations and training) and installation Director of Plans, Training, and Mobilization (DPTM). In 1995, he was assigned to the United Nations Mission in Haiti Military Staff as its Chief Operations Officer during Operation Uphold Democracy. His next command, from 1995 to 1997, was the 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, centered on the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. At that post, his brigade's training cycle at Fort Polk's Joint Readiness Training Center for low-intensity warfare was chronicled by novelist and military enthusiast Tom Clancy in his book Airborne. From 1997 to 1999 Petraeus served in the Pentagon as Executive Assistant to the Director of the Joint Staff and then to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Henry Shelton, who described Petraeus as "a high-energy individual who likes to lead from the front, in any field he is going into". In 1999, as a brigadier general, Petraeus returned to the 82nd, serving as the assistant division commander for operations and then, briefly, as acting commanding general. During his time with the 82nd, he deployed to Kuwait as part of Operation Desert Spring, the continuous rotation of combat forces through Kuwait during the decade after the Gulf War.
From the 82nd, he moved on to serve as Chief of Staff of XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg during 2000–2001. In 2000, Petraeus suffered his second major injury, when, during a civilian skydiving jump, his parachute collapsed at low altitude due to a hook turn, resulting in a hard landing that broke his pelvis. He was selected for promotion to Major General in 2001. During 2001–2002, as a brigadier general, Petraeus served a ten-month tour in Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of Operation Joint Forge. In Bosnia, he was the NATOStabilization Force Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations as well as the Deputy Commander of the U.S. Joint Interagency Counter-Terrorism Task Force, a command created after the September 11 attacks to add counterterrorism capability to the U.S. forces attached to the NATO command in Bosnia. In 2004, he was promoted to Lieutenant General. In 2007, he was promoted to General. On April 23, 2008, Secretary of Defense Gates announced that President Bush was nominating General Petraeus to command U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM), headquartered in Tampa, Florida. In 2010 Petraeus was nominated to command the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, which required Senate confirmation. He was confirmed on June 30, 2010, and took over command from temporary commander Lieutenant-GeneralSir Nick Parker on July 4, 2010.
Involvement in the Iraq War
101st Airborne Division
In 2003, Petraeus, then a Major General, saw combat for the first time when he commanded the 101st Airborne Division during V Corps's drive to Baghdad. In a campaign chronicled in detail by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Atkinson of The Washington Post in the book In the Company of Soldiers, Petraeus led his division through fierce fighting south of Baghdad, in Karbala, Hilla and Najaf. Following the fall of Baghdad, the division conducted the longest heliborne assault on record in order to reach Ninawa Province, where it would spend much of 2003. The 1st Brigade was responsible for the area south of Mosul, the 2nd Brigade for the city itself, and the 3rd Brigade for the region stretching toward the Syrian border. An often-repeated story of Petraeus's time with the 101st is his asking of embeddedThe Washington PostreporterRick Atkinson to "Tell me how this ends," an anecdote he and other journalists have used to portray Petraeus as an early recognizer of the difficulties that would follow the fall of Baghdad.
In Mosul, a city of nearly two million people, Petraeus and the 101st employed classic counterinsurgency methods to build security and stability, including conducting targeted kinetic operations and using force judiciously, jump-starting the economy, building local security forces, staging elections for the city council within weeks of their arrival, overseeing a program of public works, reinvigorating the political process, and launching 4,500 reconstruction projects in Iraq. This approach can be attributed to Petraeus, who had been steeped in nation-building during his previous tours in nations such as Bosnia and Haiti and thus approached nation-building as a central military mission and who was "prepared to act while the civilian authority in Baghdad was still getting organized", according to Michael Gordon of The New York Times. Some Iraqis gave Petraeus the nickname 'King David', which was later adopted by some of his colleagues. In 2004, Newsweek stated that "It's widely accepted that no force worked harder to win Iraqi hearts and minds than the 101st Airborne Division led by Petraeus."
One of the General's major public works was the restoration and re-opening of the University of Mosul. Petraeus strongly supported the use of commanders' discretionary funds for public works, telling Coalition Provisional AuthoritydirectorL. Paul Bremer "Money is ammunition" during the director's first visit to Mosul. Petraeus's often repeatedcatchphrase was later incorporated into official military briefings and was also eventually incorporated into the U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual drafted with Petraeus's oversight.
In February 2004, the 101st was replaced in Mosul by a portion of I Corps headquarters, but operational forces consisted solely of a unit roughly one quarter its size—a Stryker brigade. The following summer, the Governor of Nineveh Province was assassinated and most of the Sunni Arab Provincial Council members walked out in the ensuing selection of the new governor, leaving Kurdish members in charge of a predominantly Sunni Arab province. Later that year, the local police commander defected to the Kurdish Minister of Interior in Irbil after repeated assassination attempts against him, attacks on his house, and the kidnapping of his sister. The largely SunniArab police collapsed under insurgent attacks launched at the same time Coalition Forces attacked Fallujah in November 2004.
There are differing explanations for the apparent collapse of the police force in Mosul. The Guardian quoted an anonymous US diplomat saying "Mosul basically collapsed after he [Petraeus] left." Former diplomat Peter Galbraith criticized Petraeus's command of the 101st, saying his achievements have been exaggerated and his reputation is inflated. He wrote for The New York Review of Books that "Petraeus ignored warnings from America's Kurdish allies that he was appointing the wrong people to key positions in Mosul's local government and police." On the other hand, in the book Fiasco, The Washington Post reporter Tom Ricks wrote that "Mosul was quiet while he (Petraeus) was there, and likely would have remained so had his successor had as many troops as he had—and as much understanding of counterinsurgency techniques." Ricks went on to say that "the population-oriented approach Petraeus took in Mosul in 2003 would be the one the entire U.S. Army in Iraq was trying to adopt in 2006."Time columnist Joe Klein largely agreed with Ricks, writing that the Stryker brigade that replaced the 101st "didn't do any of the local governance that Petraeus had done". Moving away from counterinsurgency principles, "they were occupiers, not builders."The New York Times reporter Michael Gordon and retired General Bernard Trainor echoed Ricks and Klein, including in their book Cobra II a quote that Petraeus "did it right and won over Mosul".
Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq
In June 2004, less than six months after the 101st returned to the U.S., Petraeus was promoted to lieutenant general and became the first commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq. This newly created command had responsibility for training, equipping, and mentoring Iraq's growing army, police, and other security forces as well as developing Iraq's security institutions and building associated infrastructure, such as training bases, police stations, and border forts. During Petraeus's fifteen months at the helm of MNSTC-I, he stood up a three-star command virtually from scratch and in the midst of serious fighting in places like Fallujah, Mosul, and Najaf. By the end of his command, some 100,000 Iraqi Security Forces had been trained; Iraqi Army and Police were being employed in combat; countless reconstruction projects had been executed; and hundreds of thousands of weapons, body armor, and other equipment had been distributed in what was described as the "largest military procurement and distribution effort since World War II", at a cost of over $11 billion.
In September 2004, Petraeus wrote an article for The Washington Post in which he described the tangible progress being made in building Iraq's security forces from the ground up while also noting the many challenges associated with doing so. "Although there have been reverses – not to mention horrific terrorist attacks," Petraeus wrote, "there has been progress in the effort to enable Iraqis to shoulder more of the load for their own security, something they are keen to do." Some of the challenges involved in building security forces had to do with accomplishing this task in the midst of a tough insurgency—or, as Petraeus wrote, "making the mission akin to repairing an aircraft while in flight – and while being shot at". Other challenges included allegations of corruption as well as efforts to improve Iraq's supply accountability procedures. For example, according to former Interim Iraq Governing Council member Ali A. Allawi in The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace, "under the very noses of the security transition command, officials both inside and outside the ministry of defense were planning to embezzle most, if not all, of the procurement budget of the army."The Washington Post stated in August 2007 that the Pentagon had lost track of approximately 30% of weapons supplied to the Iraqi security forces. The General Accounting Office said that the weapons distribution was haphazard, rushed, and did not follow established procedures—particularly from 2004 to 2005, when security training was led by Petraeus and Iraq's security forces began to see combat in places like Najaf and Samarra. Over a hundred thousand AK-47assault rifles and pistols were delivered to Iraqi forces without full documentation, and some of the missing weapons may have been abducted by Iraqi insurgents. Thousands of body armour pieces have also been lost.The Independent has stated that the military believed "the situation on the ground was so urgent, and the agency responsible for recording the transfers of arms so short staffed, that field commanders had little choice in the matter." The Pentagon conducted its own investigation, and accountability was subsequently regained for many of the weapons.
Following his second tour in Iraq, Petraeus authored a widely read article in Military Review, listing fourteen observations he had made during two tours in Iraq, including: do not do too much with your own hands, money is ammunition, increasing the number of stakeholders is critical to success, success in a counterinsurgency requires more than just military operations, ultimate success depends on local leaders, there is no substitute for flexible and adaptable leaders, and, finally, a leader's most important task is to set the right tone.
Multi-National Force – Iraq (spring 2007)
The intervening time between the Iraq commands was spent at Fort Leavenworth where the General further developed his military doctrine and pursued an important White House contact in Meghan O'Sullivan who was the principal adviser to the President on the war. In January 2007, as part of his overhauled Iraq strategy, President George W. Bush announced that Petraeus would succeed Gen. George Casey as commanding general of MNF-I to lead all U.S. troops in Iraq. On January 23, the Senate Armed Services Committee held Petraeus's nomination hearing, during which he testified on his ideas for Iraq, particularly the strategy underpinning the "surge" of forces. During his opening statement, Petraeus stated that "security of the population, especially in Baghdad, and in partnership with the Iraqi Security Forces, will be the focus of the military effort." He went on to state that security will require establishing a persistent presence, especially in Iraq's most threatened neighborhoods. He also noted the critical importance of helping Iraq increase its governmental capacity, develop employment programs, and improve daily life for its citizens.
Throughout Petraeus's tenure in Iraq, Multi-National Force-Iraq endeavored to work with the Government of Iraq to carry out this strategy that focuses on securing the population. Doing so required establishing—and maintaining—persistent presence by living among the population, separating reconcilable Iraqis from irreconcilable enemies, relentlessly pursuing the enemy, taking back sanctuaries and then holding areas that have been cleared, and continuing to develop Iraq's security forces and to support local security forces, often called Sons of Iraq, and to integrate them into the Iraqi Army and Police and other employment programs.
The strategy underpinning the "surge" of forces, as well as the ideas Petraeus included in US army Field Manual 3–24, Counterinsurgency, have been referred to by some journalists and politicians as the "Petraeus Doctrine", although the surge itself was proposed a few months before Petraeus took command. Despite the misgivings of most Democratic and a few Republican senators over the proposed implementation of the "Petraeus Doctrine" in Iraq, specifically regarding the troop surge, Petraeus was unanimously confirmed as a four-star general and MNF-I commander on January 27.
Before leaving for Iraq, Petraeus recruited a number of highly educated military officers, nicknamed "Petraeus guys" or "designated thinkers", to advise him as commander, including Col. Mike Meese, head of the Social Sciences Department at West Point and Col. H.R. McMaster, famous for his leadership at the Battle of 73 Easting in the Gulf War and in the pacification of Tal Afar more recently, as well as for his doctoral dissertation on Vietnam-era civil-military relations titled Dereliction of Duty. While most of Petraeus's closest advisers are American military officers, he also hired Lt. Col. David Kilcullen of the Australian Army, who was working for the US State Department. Kilcullen upon his return from Iraq published The Accidental Guerrilla, and has discussed the central front of the war and lessons learned in Iraq in The Washington Post.
After taking command of MNF-I on February 10, 2007, Petraeus inspected U.S. and Iraqi units all over Iraq, visiting outposts in greater Baghdad, Tikrit, Baquba, Ramadi, Mosul, Kirkuk, Bayji, Samarra, Basrah and as far west as al-Hit and Al Qaim. In April 2007, Petraeus made his first visit to Washington as MNF-I Commander, reporting to President Bush and Congress on the progress of the "surge" and the overall situation in Iraq. During this visit he met privately with members of Congress and reportedly argued against setting a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.
By late May 2007, Congress did not impose any timetables in war funding legislation for troop withdrawal. The enacted legislation did mandate that Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, deliver a report to Congress by September 15, 2007, detailing their assessment of the military, economic and political situation of Iraq.
In June 2007, Petraeus stated in an interview that there were "astonishing signs of normalcy" in Baghdad, and this comment drew criticism from Senate majority leader Harry Reid. In the same interview, however, Petraeus stated that "many problems remain" and he noted the need to help the Iraqis "stitch back together the fabric of society that was torn during the height of sectarian violence" in late 2006. Petraeus also warned that he expected that the situation in Iraq would require the continued deployment of the elevated troop level of more than 150,000 beyond September 2007; he also stated that U.S. involvement in Iraq could last years afterward. These statements are representative of the fact that throughout their time in Iraq, Petraeus and Crocker remained circumspect and refused to classify themselves as optimists or pessimists, noting, instead, that they were realists and that the reality in Iraq was very hard. They also repeatedly emphasized the importance of forthright reports and an unvarnished approach. "Indeed, Petraeus's realistic approach and assessments were lauded during the McLaughlin Group's 2008 Year-End Awards, when Monica Crowley nominated Petraeus for the most honest person of the year, stating, "... [H]e spoke about the great successes of the surge in Iraq, but he always tempered it, never sugar-coated it."
Multi-National Force – Iraq (summer and fall 2007)
In July 2007, the White House submitted to Congress the interim report on Iraq, which stated that coalition forces had made satisfactory progress on 6 of 18 benchmarks set by Congress. On September 7, 2007, in a letter addressed to the troops he was commanding, Petraeus wrote that much military progress had been made, but that the national level political progress that was hoped for had not been achieved. Petraeus's Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq was delivered to Congress on September 10, 2007.
On August 15, 2007, the Los Angeles Times stated that, according to unnamed administration officials, the report "would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government". However, Petraeus declared in his testimony to Congress that "I wrote this testimony myself." He further elaborated that his testimony to Congress "has not been cleared by, nor shared with, anyone in the Pentagon, the White House, or Congress".
In his September Congressional testimony, Petraeus stated that "As a bottom line up front, the military objectives of the surge are, in large measure, being met." He cited numerous factors for this progress, to include the fact that Coalition and Iraqi Forces had dealt significant blows to Al-Qaeda Iraq and had disrupted Shia militias, that ethno-sectarian violence had been reduced, and that the tribal rejection of Al-Qaeda had spread from Anbar Province to numerous other locations across Iraq. Based on this progress and additional progress expected to be achieved, Petraeus recommended drawing down the surge forces from Iraq and gradually transitioning increased responsibilities to Iraqi Forces, as their capabilities and conditions on the ground permitted.
DemocraticSenate Majority LeaderHarry Reid of Nevada argued Petraeus's "plan is just more of the same" and "is neither a drawdown or a change in mission that we need". Democratic RepresentativeRobert Wexler of Florida accused Petraeus of "cherry-picking statistics" and "massaging information". Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs CommitteeTom Lantos of California called the General and U.S. Ambassador to IraqRyan Crocker "Two of our nation's most capable public servants" and said Democrats feel "esteem for their professionalism". He also said that "We can no longer take their assertions on Iraq at face value"; concluding, "We need to get out of Iraq, for that country's sake as well as our own."
RepublicanPresidential candidateDuncan Hunter called the report "a candid, independent assessment given with integrity". Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona stated that "I commend General Petraeus for his honest and forthright assessment of the situation in Iraq."Anti-war Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska criticized the report while praising Petraeus, saying "It's not your fault, general.... It's not AmbassadorCrocker's fault. It's this administration's fault." A USA Today/Gallup poll taken after Petraeus's report to Congress showed virtually no change in public opinion toward the war. A Pew Research Center survey found that most Americans who have heard about the report approve of Petraeus's recommendations.
On September 20, the Senate passed an amendment by Republican John Cornyn III of Texas designed to "strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus". Cornyn drafted the amendment in response to a controversial full-page ad by the liberal group Moveon.org in the September 10, 2007, edition of The New York Times. All forty-nine Republican Senators and twenty-two Democratic Senators voted in support. The House passed a similar resolution by a 341–79 vote on September 26.
In December 2007, The Washington Post's "Fact Checker" stated that "While some of Petraeus's statistics are open to challenge, his claims about a general reduction in violence have been borne out over subsequent months. It now looks as if Petraeus was broadly right on this issue at least".
Based on the conditions on the ground, in October 2007, Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to IraqRyan Crocker revised their campaign plan for Iraq. In recognition of the progress made against Al Qaeda Iraq, one of the major points would be "shifting the U.S. military effort to focus more on countering Shiite militias".
Multi-National Force – Iraq (spring 2008)
On February 18, 2008, USA Today stated that "the U.S. effort has shown more success" and that, after the number of troops reached its peak in fall 2007, "U.S. deaths were at their lowest levels since the 2003 invasion, civilian casualties were down, and street life was resuming in Baghdad." In light of the significant reduction in violence and as the surge brigades began to redeploy without replacement, Petraeus characterized the progress as tenuous, fragile, and reversible and repeatedly reminded all involved that much work remains to be done. During an early February trip to Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates endorsed the idea of a period of consolidation and evaluation upon completion of the withdrawal of surge brigades from Iraq.
Petraeus and Crocker continued these themes at their two full days of testimony before Congress on April 8 and 9. During his opening statement, Petraeus stated that "there has been significant but uneven security progress in Iraq," while also noting that "the situation in certain areas is still unsatisfactory and that innumerable challenges remain" and that "the progress made since last spring is fragile and reversible." He also recommended a continuation of the drawdown of surge forces as well as a 45-day period of consolidation and evaluation after the final surge brigade has redeployed in late July. Analysts for USA Today and The New York Times stated that the hearings "lacked the suspense of last September's debate", but they did include sharp questioning as well as both skepticism and praise from various Congressional leaders.
In late May 2008, the Senate Armed Services Committee held nomination hearings for Petraeus and Lieutenant General Ray Odierno to lead United States Central Command and Multi-National Force-Iraq, respectively. During the hearings, Committee Chairman Carl Levin
December 18, 2002: A moment with...
David Petraeus *85 *87
David Petraeus *85 *87
Major Gen. David Petraeus was nine years out of West Point when the Army sent him to graduate school at the Woodrow Wilson School. Last July, he became commander of the 101st Airborne Division the famed Screaming Eagles, trained to go into combat anywhere in the world in 36 hours and commanding general of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he leads more than 23,000 soldiers. Petraeus also has served as assistant chief of staff for operations of the NATO force in Bosnia, and as deputy commander of the U.S. Joint Interagency Counter-Terrorism Task Force in Bosnia. Here, he speaks with Chantal Escoto, a writer in Clarksville, Tennessee.
What would Fort Campbells role be if the U.S. were to go to war against Iraq?
The 101st Airborne and the other units here, including the 5th Special Forces Group and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, typically get involved with whatever goes on. Many soldiers from these units fought in Afghanistan, and its very likely wed be involved were the president to commit forces in Iraq or elsewhere. We all recognize this. So there is considerable seriousness of purpose among our soldiers, and were training hard.
Can you describe a typical day?
A typical day begins when I leave our quarters at 5:30 a.m. I listen to the news on N.P.R. for the five minutes or so it takes me to get to headquarters the timing has to be just right to catch the news. I then read the overnight e-mail and messages. At 6:30, we have physical training calisthenics, running, road marches, working out in the gym, and so forth for about 90 minutes. During the day Ill hold a couple of meetings with other officers and staff, and then head out to the field to observe training.
Most of the day and often well into the night is spent in the field observing our units, helping train our brigade and battalion commanders, and developing our proficiency in the complex missions carried out by the 101st. A lot of our training is done at night because thats when we prefer to conduct helicopter assaults or attack helicopter operations. At the end of all that, well either sleep in the field or come back in for the rest of the night, and get ready to do it all again the next day.
I spend a fair amount of time away from Fort Campbell as well. We now have nearly 3,000 soldiers deployed around the world on missions and training exercises, and I work hard to get out to see them and what theyre doing, and to see the conditions under which theyre operating.
Your Princeton dissertation dealt with the influence of Vietnam on military thinking regarding the use of force. If you were teaching a class about the use of military force today, what question would you most want students to consider?
I would want them to examine the capabilities and limitations of military force as an instrument of national power. As General [Henry] Shelton was fond of saying while serving as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff I was his executive assistant for two of his years as chairman The military makes a great hammer, but not every problem is a nail.
You have a reputation in the Army for being in great shape and recovering quickly when youve been injured.
That reputations been earned the hard way. I got shot in a freak training accident during a live-fire exercise here in 1991 took an M-16 round through my chest. The surgeon who performed thoracic surgery on me was Dr. Bill Frist , now the senior senator from Tennessee. He did a great job, and I was able to run competitively again in a couple of months.
I also had a real tough landing skydiving two years ago and broke my pelvis. That was very, very painful the worst injury Ive ever had. But, again, I healed very well. I ran the Army Ten-Miler in October in a little under 64 minutes.
What can Princetonians learn from a place like Fort Campbell?
No one spends time with a unit like this without being inspired by the dedication, selfless spirit, and physical and mental toughness of our troopers. Invariably, our soldiers demonstrate tremendous fortitude in the face of challenge and hardship, and its hard not to draw energy from them.
By Chantal Escoto