ABC: 'Petraeus Very Optimistic About Military Battle, If Politicians Give Him Enough Time'
A transcript of McCarthy's story on the July 11 World News:
REPORTER TERRY MCCARTHY, NARRATING VIDEO FROM A HELICOPTER: Rich farmland along the Tigris River. From the air, it looks peaceful. But this is the so-called triangle of death, the Sunni belt south of Baghdad full of al Qaeda extremists, enemy number one for General David Petraeus.
GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS: The enemy in Iraq that is causing the horrific attacks, that is igniting the sectarian violence, that is causing the mass casualties and damaging the infrastructure, by and large is al Qaeda.
MCCARTHY: This is al Qaeda territory, about 20 miles south of Baghdad and a major production area for car bombs. The primary mission of the U.S. military here is to turn the local population against al Qaeda and stop those car bombs making their way to Baghdad. Turning the local population against al Qaeda takes time. And that is one commodity that General Petraeus is running out of. He knows that Congress wants to draw down U.S. troops because they're losing faith in the Iraqi government.
PETRAEUS: No one is happy with where they are right now. We all share that frustration, frankly that disappointment.
MCCARTHY: Despite all this, Petraeus is still very optimistic about the military battle, if the politicians give him enough time.
MCCARTHY TO PETRAEUS: Are you concerned that the U.S. political clock could start ticking too fast and undermine security here? Undermine confidence here?
PETRAEUS: Obviously, that's in the back of our minds. And there is not a great deal we can do about it, other than to continue to press forward.
MCCARTHY: The fields south of Baghdad are still a major battlefield in the fight against al Qaeda. But increasingly, Petraeus knows the most important battle in the Iraq war is being fought out in Washington. Terry McCarthy, ABC News, Patrol Base Murray, central Iraq.