53 Interesting Quotes of David Petraeus

” There is nothing I can do to undo what I did. I can only say again how sorry I am to those I let down and then strive to go forward with a greater sense of humility and purpose, and with gratitude to those who stood with me during a very difficult chapter in my life. “
” 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. “
” At a certain point, you have to take the rearview mirrors off the bus and focus forward, and that’s what we’ve sought to do. “
” I think carpet bombing is an absolutely tremendous idea if the enemy accommodates you by laying himself out like a carpet in the middle of the desert without any civilians or infrastructure around him. Sadly, the Islamic State has learned that that is a losing proposition and does not accommodate us in that way. “
” Leadership is an individual sport, one that has to be fine-tuned to each of the people that reports to you. Leaders also need to provide the direction, energy, encouragement and inspiration for each person who reports directly to the leader as well as for the overall organization. “
” I do talk to individuals still in the business of tracking individuals in the homeland and abroad. A lot of them have felt that they were hanging on by their fingernails a bit in terms of tracking all the potential threats out there. “
” The Middle East is not part of the world that plays by Las Vegas rules: What happens in the Middle East is not going to stay in the Middle East. “
” Life is a competitive endeavor. “
” In the 101st Airborne Division headquarters in Mosul, we had a sign on the wall. It was a question that we would ask ourselves before every new operation or policy initiative. It asked: Will this policy or operation take more bad guys off the streets than it creates by its conduct? “
” The formulation of sound national policy requires finding the right overarching concepts. “
” The formulation of sound national policy requires finding the right overarching concepts. “
” Partners from the Islamic world are of particular importance. Indeed, they have huge incentives to be involved, as the ongoing struggles are generally not clashes between civilizations. Rather, what we are seeing is more accurately a clash within a civilization: that of the Islamic world. “
” We need to learn from our experiences and take responsibilities for our actions and drive on. “
” The bottom line is, you really have to commit to something if you’re going to be successful in it. “
” In many‚Ķ cases, of course, the Arab Spring has brought about instability rather than greater stability. And rather than bringing about government that is more representative and more responsive to the people, you’re seeing, frankly, the opposite, or you’re seeing all-out war. “
” Obviously, resilience matters. I was no stranger to adversity, but it’s different when it’s personal. Not something I would recommend. “
” 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. “
” The biggest of the big ideas that guided the strategy during the surge was explicit recognition that the most important terrain in the campaign in Iraq was the human terrain – the people – and our most important mission was to improve their security. “
” Needless to say, it was the greatest of privileges to serve with the selfless men and women – Iraqi and American and those of our coalition partners, civilian as well as military – who did the hard, dangerous work of the surge. There seldom was an easy period; each day was tough. “
” I refuse to use terms like ‘optimist’ or ‘pessimist’ and instead prefer ‘realist.’ “
” I had the privilege of serving in uniform with British forces in Cold War Europe, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the greater Middle East. “
” The more the Iranians are seen to be dominating the region, the more it is going to inflame Sunni radicalism and fuel the rise of groups like the Islamic State. “
” The Afghan people do not take kindly to conquerors. “
” 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. “
” There is no question that the Islamic State will be defeated in Mosul; the real question is what comes afterward. Can the post-Islamic State effort resolve the squabbling likely to arise over numerous issues and bring lasting stability to one of Iraq’s most diverse and challenging provinces? Failure to do so could lead to ISIS 3.0. “
” I’m living the dream. “
” As we used to say when I was privileged to be the commander there, Nineveh province has the most diverse human terrain in all of Iraq – Sunni Arab majority to be sure, but also Shia Arabs, numerous Kurdish communities, and they are broken out into several different political parties. “
” Iraq does have many, many different tensions. “
” We all have to strive to learn what motivates us, learn from our experiences, and what feels right and what feels wrong. There’s a strong component over the years to having formal processes that help to identify lessons that need to be learned, and actions that need to be taken. In other words, how do you find the big idea? “
” I think no commander ever is going to come out and say, ‘I’m confident that we can do this.’ “
” There is no question that the Islamic State will be defeated in Mosul; the real question is what comes afterward. Can the post-Islamic State effort resolve the squabbling likely to arise over numerous issues and bring lasting stability to one of Iraq’s most diverse and challenging provinces? Failure to do so could lead to ISIS 3.0. “
” I’m living the dream. “
” 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. “
” 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. “
” 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. “
” 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. “
” The Germans have done wonderful work. Not long ago, a German battle group battalion conducted a very impressive counterinsurgency operation in a portion of Baghlan province. I think these are the first counterinsurgency operations conducted by any German element after World War II. And they did a very impressive job. “
” 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. “
” This is actually true of the overall fight against al-Qaeda and trans-national extremists, that as you put pressure on them in one location, they’ll seek safe haven sanctuaries in other areas. So you do have to continue to pursue them. But they have less capability. “
” 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. “
” The fact is that Iran doesn’t want to see the Taliban come back any more than do most Afghan citizens. “
” 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. “
” 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. “
” Every civilian’s death diminishes us, collectively. “
” After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. “
” 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. “
” I will not ever run for political office. I can assure you. “
” I am not a politician, and I will never be, and I say that with absolute conviction. “
” Setting aside moral considerations, those who flirt with hate speech against Muslims should realize they are playing directly into the hands of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. The terrorists’ explicit hope has been to try to provoke a clash of civilizations – telling Muslims that the United States is at war with them and their religion. “
” When Western politicians propose blanket discrimination against Islam, they bolster the terrorists’ propaganda. “
” During the surge in Iraq, we were able to roll back the tide of al-Qaeda and associated insurgents because we succeeded in mobilizing Iraqis – especially Sunni Arabs – to join us in fighting against the largely Sunni extremist networks in their midst. “
” The process to resolve post-Islamic State issues will be difficult and intense. “
” Leaders of the various Iraqi elements will likely have their own militias, and there will be endless rounds of brinkmanship on the road to post-Islamic State boundaries, governing structures, and distribution of power and resources. “