COMISAF provides a good analogy for the mission in Afghanistan. I know my Dad will appreciate this. . .
Frederick Remington’s seminal painting, “Stampede” is symbolic of the challenges we face in Kabul. I use this painting to describe what we do. I use this image to tell you what I am comfortable with. The painting depicts an outrider galloping at full tilt over rough terrain at the height of a violent storm while steering a willful mount and guiding a sometimes frightened and unthinking herd to its destination. It represents getting the job done despite the challenges. Some of these cattle will get out ahead of us – that’s fine we will catch up. Some cattle fall back and we will have to circle back and get them – that’s fine – we will bring them on. We must be comfortable with this environment of uncertainty, challenge, risk, danger, and competing agendas. We need to accept it. But we need to do more than simply hang onto the saddle. We must master our mount and we must flourish in the apparent chaos and competing ends.
I am comfortable with this. It is a privilege to be part of the “Kabul Stampede” – kick on!
General David Petraeus
Commander, International Security Assistance Force