"You are never going to eliminate sensational attacks in Baghdad. That cannot be your metric of success. What we have to do is reduce their number and their impact," Gen. David Petraeus told Richard Beeston of The Times of London in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.
On whether or not it is "too late" to stop the violence:
There was a period in the beginning when there was a ‘golden hour’. Inevitably, it does not matter how much you were viewed as a liberator, over time you will be seen as an occupier. The interesting dynamic here is that we have been here long enough to become liberators again for certain sectors of the population, those that are affected by extremism.
On the September report to Congress:
That is a deadline for a report not a deadline for a change in policy, at least not that I am aware of. Ambassador Crocker and I intend to go back and provide a snapshot at that time, however focused the photograph is at that time and begin to describe what has been achieved and what has not been achieved and also to provide some sense of implications of courses of action. Neither of us is under any illusion.
On how long he would like the surge to last:
It depends on what the sense is for the prospects of achieving Iraq’s constitution. I hope that we can put time back on the Washington clock. Al-Qaeda is keenly aware of the Washington clock. They are obviously going to have a surge of their own. You saw an example of this yesterday. They wanted to make sure that the headlines about the launch of the offensive don’t create too much hope.
On arming tribal groups:
You want locals to establish local security. In Anbar Province tribes have always been important. You can't ignore the tribes, they are of enormous importance?If you have a police support unit, you put them through a 40-hour course we call them police auxiliary in the US. You want to tie them in. Get them on the payroll. Then you can get them to enlist in the army. Those are working. They swear allegiance to Iraq. Those oaths mean something to people who put premium on honour.