Petraeus’ speech follows in the tradition of others we have linked on this site. The great old rhetoric may not be as effective in our media-soaked age where all voices are blurred by the white noise that surrounds us (and some of it is more than white noise – it grabs at us even as we read). These may, indeed, be speeches for another era – but I suspect its listeners did listen, knowing a quiet in which such words stand alone.
(Instapundit linked to Mona Charen at The Corner.) Speech below.
To the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Civilians of Multi-National Force-Iraq:
We serve in iraq at a critical time. The war here will soon enter its fifth year. A decisive moment approaches. Shoulder-to-shoulder with our Iraqi comrades, we will conduct a pivotal campaign to improve security for the Iraqi people. The stakes could not be higher.
Our task is crucial. Security is essential for Iraq to build its future. Only with security can the Iraqi government come to grips with the tough issues it confronts and develop the capacity to serve its citizens. The hopes of the Iraqi people and the coalition countries are with us.
The enemies of Iraq will shrink at no act, however barbaric. They will do all that they can to shake the confidence of the people and to convince the world that this effort is doomed. We must not underestimate them.
Together with our Iraqi partners, we must defeat those who oppose the new Iraq. We cannot allow mass murderers to hold the initiative. We must strike them relentlessly. We and our Iraqi partners must set the terms of the struggle, not our enemies. And together we must prevail.
The way ahead will not be easy. There will be difficult times in the months to come. But hard is not hopeless, and we must remain steadfast in our effort to help improve security for the Iraqi people. I am confident that each of you will fight with skill and courage, and that you will remain loyal to your comrades-in-arms and to the values our nations hold so dear.
In the end, Iraqis will decide the outcome of this struggle. Our task is to help them gain the time they need to save their country. To do that, many of us will live and fight alongside them. Together we will face down the terrorirsts, insurgents, and criminals who slaughter the innocent. Success will require discipline, fortitude, and initiative — qualities that you have in abundance.
I appreciate your sacrifices and those of your families. Now, more than ever, your commitment to service and your skill can make the difference between victory and defeat in a very tough mission.
It is an honor to soldier again with the members of the Multi-National Force-Iraq. I know that wherever you serve in this undertaking you will give your all. In turn, I pledge my commitment to our mission and every effort to achieve success as we help the Iraqis chart a course to a brighter future.
Godspeed to each of you and to our Iraqi comrades in this crucial endeavor.
David H. Petraeus
General, United States Army