„Every Commander has to leave“

Vor rund zwei Jahren trat David Petraeus als CIA-Direktor zurück. Wegen eine außerehelichen Affaire. Es war der unrühmliche Schlusspunkt einer Musterkarriere. Der Berufssoldat aus dem Staat New York galt vielen als der Beste seiner Generation. Zwei Mal war er Isaf-Kommandeur in Afghanistan, im Irak schaffte er die zwischenzeitliche Wende. Heute ist Petraeus Analyst und leitet eine Forschungsgruppe für ein Investmentunternehmen.

Im Sommer 2011, kurz vor seiner Berufung zum CIA-Chef, konnte ich mit ihm in Kundus ein Interview führen. Er nahm das Ende schon damals vorweg: „Every commander has to leave!“

Das Interview im Original:


Treffen mit David Petraeus im deutschen Feldlager Kundus im Sommer 2011. Der General ist zu dem Zeitpunkt Kommandeur der Isaf.

General Petraeus, the German government is considering reducing their troops in Afghanistan at the end of the year. Is there enough space for that?

David Petraeus: First of all, these kinds of decisions are national decisions and they’ll be taken quite confidently in accordance with conditions on the ground. All the leaders of the contributing nations in Afghanistan do so. The German contribution has been very impressive.

What makes you think so?

Petraeus: I first visited the German contingent last summer, shortly after taking command in July. At that time, the German combat units were just preparing their first combat operations in modern German history. Since that time they have done exceedingly well. The police program in Baghlan has been initiated at the same time and the partnering program with the Afghan National Army has blossomed.

Also special operations?

Petraeus: Also special operations have been conducted in the northern area and have contributed a lot to the security in this region.

But still there are problems…

Petraeus: Certainly there have been setbacks as well as successes. There have been sacrifices and also tragic losses along the way. But every German citizen can and should be very proud of the contribution that German soldiers and civilians have made throughout the northern region. They have built a pass to the future for the Afghans.

Is Isaf still in time?

Petraeus: Again, a year ago, when I took command, I wouldn’t have predicted that we would be where we are now. The Taliban were pushed back and we took their momentum. Not only the progress but also the potential that exists in this region is particular.

In several days you are leaving for Langley to become CIA-Director. Is your personal mission in Afghanistan accomplished?

Petraeus: Well, I think it is always difficult to leave a mission that is still ongoing. But that’s the way these missions are. But there is a time every commander has to leave. I feel very privileged that President Obama has nominated me to become director auf the CIA.

What makes the CIA particular?

Petraeus: It is a truly extraordinary organization with very impressive people. Nothing has shown that more than the recent conducted operation in Abbottabad.

Thank you, General.

Petraeus: You are welcome