David Petraeus, the general widely credited with rescuing a failing U.S. war in Iraq, retired from the Army on Wednesday with a word of warning: Coming budget cuts must not impair the U.S. military's ability to fight a full range of conflicts, from major land wars to Iraq-like insurgencies.
Petraeus, 58, used his farewell speech to thank those who have mentored and supported him in 37 years of service. But he also made clear his concern that political pressures to lighten the nation's debt burden could force the military to retrench in ways that hurtand U.S. troops.U.S.security
"As our nation contemplates difficult budget decisions, I know that our leaders will remember that our people, our men and women in uniform, are our military," he told an audience sprinkled with figures from his past, including former West Point classmates. "And that taking care of them and their families must be our paramount objective. Beyond that it will be imperative to maintain a force that not only capitalizes on the extraordinary experience and expertise in our ranks today but also maintains the versatility and flexibility that have been developed over the past decade."