There are few men alive more trusted today to win a war that General David Petraeus. Not only has he thought long and hard about developing battlefield strategies to combat the rise of terrorism in the current era, but he has battlefield experience — and had it had even before the successful “surge” in Iraq, a plan that he developed and implemented.
Now, many have concerns about the timeline the president proposed for Afghanistan, having our troops out by a certain date next year, but Obama did tap Petraeus to lead our efforts in that troubled land. And his testimony today before the Senate Armed Services Committee shows that the general wants to win this war (even if his boss won’t use the term “victory”)
Gen. David Petraeus cautiously endorsed President Barack Obama’s exit plan for the Afghan war on Tuesday, leaving himself room to recommend changes or delays as he interviewed for the job of commander of the stalemated war.
Petraeus, the emergency replacement following the sacking of the previous commander, told a Senate panel that Obama wants him to provide unvarnished military advice. Petraeus has previously said that he would recommend putting off any large-scale withdrawal if security conditions in Afghanistan can’t sustain it.
Obama has said troops will begin to leave in July 2011, but that the pace and size of the withdrawal will depend upon conditions.
Emphasis added. That the president wants unvarnished advice from a military man like Petraeus goes well for the future of this war. The line above about withdrawal depending upon certain conditions suggests Obama has shifted a little in its insistence on a speedy conclusion to this operation.
The choice of Petraeus suggests as much. Indeed, some other things the general said indicated Petraeus’ focus on victory: