Best Defense

Petraeus on our four wars: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen

By Matthew Irvine Best Defense chief congressional correspondent Gen. David Petraeus, appearing before the Senate Armed Services committee on Tuesday, offered up several of his greatest hits. Most notably, he introduced a new Afghan-centric remix of his 2007 classic, telling the panel that, "The going is likely to get harder before it gets easy… the ...

Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

By Matthew Irvine
Best Defense
chief congressional correspondent

Gen. David Petraeus, appearing before the Senate Armed Services committee on Tuesday, offered up several of his greatest hits. Most notably, he introduced a new Afghan-centric remix of his 2007 classic, telling the panel that, "The going is likely to get harder before it gets easy… the enemy will fight back." Several senators sang back-up.  

Discussion of Iraq focused on the aftermath of recent national elections and the status of U.S. forces in the country. Asked by Sen. Jack Reed (D., RI) if he expects the new governing coalition to take many months to form, the CENTCOM chief responded, "Yes, we do." (Frankly, BG and L’il Wayne did that tune first, and better.)

During Sen. Lieberman’s (I-Ct.) questioning, Petraeus detailed the possible addition of a seventh brigade headquarters in the northern city of Kirkuk beyond the August deadline while reaffirming the target force level of 50,000 troops by the end of summer.

Identifying Pakistan’s western Federally Administered Tribal Area as "al-Qaeda’s principal sanctuary," Petraeus promised a long-term American commitment to Pakistani counterinsurgency efforts against the Taliban. "We are going to be a steadfast partner. We are not going to do to Pakistan what we’ve done before, such as Charlie Wilson’s War."

For an encore, Petraeus discussed his latest side project, Yemen, which he has been working on with his label-mates, the Special Operations Command … Seeing Yemen as an emerging terrorist operations hub, CENTCOM has been expanding aid to Sana’a. The likely name of the new album will be "preventive counterinsurgency operations." Expect heavy support from Petraeus’s label,  which he said will "double U.S. security assistance to the country in the coming year."

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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