This week –just outside Baghdad, at a palace once occupied by Saddam Hussein — Defense Secretary Robert Gates presided over an understated ceremony attended by top Iraqi and American officials. There, General David Petraeus handed over the flag of his command, the Multi-National Force, and said his farewells.
The farewell came almost a year to the date that a full-page ad, sponsored by MoveOn.org, ran in the New York Timesinsulting General Petraeus as “General Betray Us” and accusing him of “cooking the books for the White House.” In a Senate hearing that week, Senator Hillary Clinton followed with her own insult,telling the general that his progress report on Iraq required “a willing suspension of disbelief” –in essence, calling him a liar.
Despite these insults, General David Petraeus held firm in his confidence that the United Sates military could turn around conditions on the groundand win a war in which Democrats had already surrendered. His faith– in his troops and his cause– never wavered. The surge worked. And a year later the victorious general is coming home.
Now, folks,there will be no ticker-tape parades down New York’s Canyon of Heroes for General David Petraeus when he returns to American soil– but there oughtto be. There will also be no apologies from those who disparaged this American giant; there won’teven be a simple “thank you.” But history will mark his place…and also mark the shameful place of those who
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