I returned from Iraq a little over two weeks ago, and trust me, it's great to be in Washington and in your company today. After nearly 15 months in Iraq--mostly spent focusing on where we are and where we're going--it's a pleasure to step back and reflect a bit about where we've been. I'd like to speak with you about Iraq in 2007, to include the surge, its implementation, and my assessment of its impact...
- For the government of Iraq, the 2007 surge has provided a window of opportunity. This window will not remain open forever.
- In a very real way and at the local level, the surge allowed Coalition and Iraqi forces to hold the hard-earned ground that was wrested from the enemy, while continuing to pursue terrorists as they struggle to regroup elsewhere.
- By November 2007, there were 30 attacks in al-Anbar province during the last week in October; one year prior, there had been over 300.
- To capitalize on the reduction of violence in 2007, Iraqi leaders must make deliberate choices to secure lasting strategic gains through reconciliation and political progress.
- The improved security conditions resulting in part from the surge of 2007 have given the Iraqis an opportunity to choose a better way.