06 September 2011

GEN Petraeus Parting Thoughts

As he heads to the CIA, GEN Petraeus has some thoughts for the military.

Just 11 days before the 10th anniversary of Al Qaeda’s attacks on New York and Washington, General Petraeus also implicitly cautioned that the United States should not abandon the troop-intensive and expensive counterinsurgency doctrine that was his hallmark when he commanded the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The general spoke as the Obama White House is shifting from a broad counterinsurgency strategy of trying to build roads, schools and good government in Afghanistan to a narrower and more secretive counterterrorism mission of hunting down terrorists.

General Petraeus said that the United States should keep counterinsurgency as a doctrine — he helped write the military’s updated manual on it in 2005 and 2006 — if only because war is unpredictable and the military needs to be trained for all possibilities.

“We have relearned since 9/11 the timeless lesson that we don’t always get to fight the wars for which we’re most prepared or most inclined,’’ General Petraeus said at the retirement ceremony, held in the bright sunshine of the parade ground at Fort Myer, near Arlington National Cemetery. “Given that reality, we will need to maintain the full-spectrum capability that we have developed over this last decade of conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.’’

By: Brant

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