A former war commander in Iraq says no surge of forces would have succeeded, regardless of how many soldiers were deployed, without a counterinsurgency strategy that won over one-time foes to help quell militant attacks.
In a speech at the University of Louisville, former Gen. David Petraeus offered insights into the anti-insurgency campaign he masterminded.
The former four-star general is now director of the CIA.
Petraeus said Monday that the surge of forces in 2007 was important, but not as crucial as strategy changes at a time when sectarian violence threatened to tear apart Iraq.
Those changes included stationing soldiers among the Iraqi people and reaching out to insurgents willing to reconcile.
He says that strategy, along with killing or capturing hard-core extremists, resulted in a 90 percent reduction in insurgent attacks during the surge.