I just don't know whether it was all destroyed years ago - I mean, there's no question that there were chemical weapons years ago - whether they were destroyed right before the war, (or) whether they're still hidden.— David Petraeus
The most exciting David Petraeus quotes that are little-known but priceless
People often ask, why aren't you reading about what it is you're working on right now? And the truth is, you only get three pages a night before your eyelids close.
The art of coalition command - whether it is here in Afghanistan, whether it was in Iraq or in Bosnia or in Haiti - is to take the resources you are provided with, understand what the strengths and weaknesses are and to employ them to the best overall effect.
The job of the leader is to get the big ideas right.
President Obama has said that our aspirations should be realistic.
We are not going to turn one of the poorest countries in the world, that was plunged into 30 years of war, into an advanced, industrialized, Western-style democracy. What we want to achieve is Afghanistan's capacity to secure and govern itself.
If you don't want to have to kill or capture every bad guy in the country, you have to reintegrate those who are willing to be reconciled and become part of the solution instead of a continued part of the problem. And then, above all, the resources.
Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters - all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.
The fact is that Iran doesn't want to see the Taliban come back any more than do most Afghan citizens.
If you look at casualties, you find countries that had much higher loss rates per capita than the US. Denmark comes to mind, the United Kingdom, they have suffered heavy losses at various points, the Germans as well.
We obviously don't want to cause problems for the Afghan government, President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan people. In fact, we want them to support our efforts on their behalf and not see us as unwelcome occupiers.
Don't forget Yemen, where there are also extremist elements, as we saw recently.
Money can be a very important form of "ammunition," although we should never forget that when you're being shot at the most important ammunition is real ammunition.
I think Putin wants to recreate as much of the Soviet Union as he can through a variety of different means. He's invaded parts of Georgia, took Crimea, southeastern Ukraine, bases in other countries.
US forces have been increased [in Afghanistan ] from some 21,000 to about 31,000 over the past two years and a number of coalition countries have also increased their forces, there still are not sufficient troops.
The progress in Iraq is still fragile.
And it could still be reversed. Iraq still faces innumerable challenges, and they will be evident during what will likely be a difficult process as the newly elected Council of Representatives selects the next prime minister, president, and speaker of the council.
Afghanistan has other enormous challenges as well, including a political system that is still very much developing, although there has been some progress in the past several years.
The president and I sat down in the Oval Office, and he expressed very clearly that what he wants from me is my best professional military advice.
This cannot be the United States being the air force for Shia militias, or a Shia on Sunni Arab fight.
Reconciliation is what takes place, of course, at higher levels.
President Karzai has been very clear about the red lines for reconciliation, accept the constitution, lay down their weapons, cut their ties with al Qaeda and essentially become productive or at least participating members of society in that regard.
Al-Qaida in particular remains dangerous, and there [in Iraq] is some residual militia and special group presence. There are still between 20 and 30 attacks per day, still periodic car bombs and still loss of innocent civilians.
I think no commander ever is going to come out and say, 'I'm confident that we can do this.
Pakistan are very keen to carry out the operations themselves.
And there's significant effort on the part of the US and other countries to provide assistance that can enable Pakistan to do just that.
In Afghanistan you are not rebuilding, you are building.
There is very limited infrastructure and extreme terrain, with deserts in the south and mountains so high in some areas that helicopters don't even fly well at a certain altitude because the air becomes so thin. The country has a serious problem of illiteracy, especially after so many years of war and Taliban rule.
I will not ever run for political office, I can assure you of that.
But clearly, this is what this is about.
It's about pushing the security bubble out. It's about rooting out every last guy, so that there's not even somebody who can fire a single, solitary RPG round from some little qalat out here.
Syria has allowed its soil to be transited by foreign fighters who have come from a variety of source countries in the Gulf area and in the - in North African countries.There are some signs that that may have been reduced somewhat in the last couple of months. We need to watch that a bit and see if that is the case.
First and foremost is to not allow the reestablishment, if you will, of an extremist sanctuary that can export the kind of terror that ended up with terrorists taking down the World Trade Center and plowing into the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. That's the point: We started this war because the Sept. 11 attack came from this area. And we do not fight alone, but with some 40 allies who share that view.
Fighting in cities is a totally different endeavor than obviously fighting out in the open.
I did a week-long assessment in 2005 at (then Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld's request. Following our return, I told him that Afghanistan was going to be the longest campaign of what we then termed "the long war."
Even the Interior Ministry in Riyadh was hit.
Since then, the Saudis have employed a very intelligent and comprehensive approach to counter al-Qaida, including precise operations based on good intelligence, changes in their corrections facilities, superb strategic communications programs and a host of other initiatives - all of which, together, have helped Saudi Arabia achieve impressive results in their fight against extremists.
ISIS is on its way to defeat but terrorism threat persists.
Political progress will only take place if sufficient security exists.
I'm living the dream.
We're here so that Afghanistan does not once again become a sanctuary for transnational extremists the way it was when al-Qaeda planned the 9/11 attacks in the Kandahar area, conducted the initial training for the attackers in training camps in Afghanistan before they moved on to Germany and then to U.S. flight schools.
Well, the oil, the oil spot, if you will, is a, is a term in counterinsurgency literature that connotes a peaceful area, secure area. So what you're trying to do is to always extend that, to push that out.
I am neither a pessimist nor an optimist.
I am a realist, and the reality in Iraq is that it has been very hard and it continues to be hard.
Iran, as we have already discussed, has carried out very, very harmful activities inside Iraq. Funding, trainings, arming and, in some cases, even directing the activities of the special groups associated with the Jaish al-Mahdi and the Sadr Militia.
The first official statements of President Asif Ali Zardari's new government have been firm and robust. Pakistan is obviously a renewed democracy.
There are some ideas that will translate from Iraq to Afghanistan and there are many that will not. The first lesson of counterinsurgency, in fact, is that every situation is truly unique, has its own context, its own specific set of factors - and you have to understand that context in enormous detail to be able to craft a sound and comprehensive approach.
Iraq has gone from being on the brink to being on the mend, and it clearly has some big advantages.
I am not a politician, and I will never be, and I say that with absolute conviction.
There is no military solution to the challenges of Syria.
There has, indeed, been very substantial progress in Iraq over the past year - violence is down by 80 percent, civilian deaths by about the same, and so on.
After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair.
Every civilian's death diminishes us, collectively.
Over the last few years they have done a superb job in their fight against al-Qaida. As you may recall, our embassy in Jedda (in Saudi Arabia) was overrun some four years ago and a number of foreign workers went home because of violence against them.
Let's remember that the reason we are there is that we have vital interests in Afghanistan, hugely important national interests, as do the other countries involved.
The question is always how you get the number of troops needed.
They do not have to be coalition forces. We also have to expand the training program for the Afghan National Army and the national police, in particular. and Defense Secretary Robert Gates has already announced support for a significant increase in the Afghan army.
The Islamic State fighters in Mosul are dead men walking and I think they increasingly know it.
We cleared many of their towns and cities and rural areas of al-Qaida Iraq and other insurgents.