General David Petraeus will leave his post as commander of US troops in Iraq, taking over US Central Command. As the chief of Central Command, the four-star general will oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This week, General Petraeus discussed progress in Iraq and the possibility of victory. Check out these highlights from his interview with BBC, which airs tonight.
- On whether US troops could withdraw from Iraq by the middle of next year: It's "doable."
- On whether he will ever declare victory in Iraq: "This is not the sort of struggle where you take a hill, plant the flag, and go home to a victory parade . . . it's not war with a simple slogan."
- On his new role of overseeing Afghanistan at US Central Command: "The trends in Afghanistan have not gone in the right direction . . . and that had to be addressed." Afghanistan remains a "hugely important endeavor."
- On progress made by the surge: Petraeus said that recent security gains were "not irreversible" and that the US still faced a "long struggle."
Provincial elections supposed to take place this year, but still waiting on parliamentary approval, will test stability in Iraq. If the Iraq war doesn't lend itself to the traditional notion of victory, how will the US know when it's time to leave?