For nearly four years, America’s strategy in Iraq centered on conventional military operations, training Iraqi security forces, and holding nation-wide elections. All the while, Iraq’s security situation deteriorated and American public support for the war eroded. Then, in early 2007, enter General Petraeus, the “surge,” and a new counterinsurgency strategy. The results, by any measure, have been dramatic. Violence and attacks are down in Iraq over 60 percent, and American support for the war has risen sharply. But how? And why?
Peter Hegseth served on the ground in Iraq from 2005 to 2006, leading a platoon in combat and working daily with Iraqi leaders. He learned of counterinsurgency first-hand. Since returning— through Vets for Freedom, America’s largest Iraq and Afghanistan veterans organization—he has led the charge to explain the new strategy to a skeptical public and a dubious Congress.