Petraeus & Crocker Receive Honors

October 7, 2008

Yesterday, the State Department bestowed it’s highest awards upon two gentlemen who couldn’t be more deserving. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice presented the Distinguished Service Award to General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, emphasizing that no one was more deserving of the honor than these two gentlemen.

“May you accept this award as but a small down payment on the vast and enduring gratitude that our entire nation owes to each of you, and may you depart your post in Iraq … confident in knowledge that you have made an immeasurable contribution to the success of Iraq and to the security of our beloved country,” she said.1

During the twenty months that he commanded the Multinational Force in Iraq and his being instrumental in the success of the surge, which placed an additional 33,000 Troops on the ground in the country, to quell the violence in the country, which resulted in an 80% drop of violence in the country, Petraeus weathered a storm of criticism from politicians as well as citizens in our country. He never wavered from his belief that the surge could work, and he was right.

“Under General Petraeus’s leadership, U.S. and coalition troops have not only taken the fight to the enemies of Iraq. They have focused on securing the people of Iraq,” Rice said. “They have turned adversaries into allies, and they have provided the new Iraqi army with the training and support it needs to emerge as an increasingly capable and self-sufficient force.”2

Petraeus who is set to take over as commander of U.S. Central Command, accepted his award humbly, on behalf of the military personnel that he served with in Iraq and their families, who have endured the repeated separations of multiple deployments. General Petraeus told the audience that in his final letter to the Troops, prior to leaving Iraq, he told them that he could not a greater honor or privelage than having served with them. He was also quick to point out that had it not been for the diplomatic efforts of Crocker, that the improvements seen in Iraq, could not have been realized.((

“No soldier could be so privileged as to have such a great diplomatic partner, and it was a great honor for me to be his military wingman,” Petraeus said of Crocker.3

Defense Secretary Robert Gates also praised the efforts of both men, and the partnership they forged together, to get the job done. Crocker, accepted his award via video teleconference, from Iraq. He praised the relationship he had with General Petraeus and said he felt that he was the greatest military commander of his generation.

“Thanks to all of you, my colleagues, and thanks to my colleagues who wear the uniforms of our great military for what truly is a total partnership,” he said.4

I can’t think of two more deserving men for this award, than General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, except perhaps the men and women, who executed and are still executing this plan, with the grace and dignity that is so constant in the ranks of our country’s military.

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