“There’s nobody in uniform who is doing victory dances in the end zone. Success in Iraq is not akin ... to flipping on a light switch. Rather it emerges slowly and fitfully with reverses as well as advances. There will inevitably still be tough days and perhaps tough weeks ahead, but fewer of them over time, inshallah," - General David Petraeus.

"We have in fact achieved our objective in terms of having a self-governing Iraq that’s capable for the most part of defending themselves, a democracy in the heart of the Middle East, a nation that will be a positive force in influencing the world around it in the future," - vice president Dick Cheney, predicting the state of affairs in Iraq by mid-January 2009.

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