The United States of America has taken center stage in the war against terrorism. It is important to note that the previous and current governments in the USA have been instrumental in declaring terrorism a menace, both within and outside its territories. As a result of this, the governments have put in place various measures that help in alleviating cases instigated by terrorism and related activities. For instance, the governments of the USA have deployed their army, navy, and air force officers in various countries in a bid to curb the rising insecurity brought about by their unruly citizens.
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On most occasions, the United States of America is forced to intervene in international cases of terrorism because of its global position. This country is technically the world superpower and has the mandate of ensuring that countries and their respective citizens uphold their ethical standards and respect for human social, political, and spiritual life. For this reason, it is entirely up to the nation’s ruling government to ensure that peace is maintained globally or much less fought for. This is the reason why the USA has since embarked on missions, both within its territories and outside, to promote peace and stability (Tucker, Roberts, and Zinni, 2010).
The peace quest is not only promoted by the country’s obligation to promote peace and political stability but also the willingness of its sitting president to participate in this. It is important to note that the country’s presidents assume office with different ideological courses of action against terrorism and other international affairs. Others believe in direct confrontation, including military action, while others tend to think that negotiation and arbitration are more viable in tackling foreign affairs. However, all the presidents of this nation have had an incredible passion for peace and stability within the nation’s boundaries and outside. The fight against terrorism is not only attributed to the efforts of the presidents but also some great military leaders.
This paper focuses on two influential military leaders in the recent history of the United States of America. The war against terrorism in this nation took center stage at the beginning of the 21st century and late 20th century. These periods are characterized by Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom that were military actions in a bid to curb terrorism. This paper gives a comprehensive discussion on these two military operations and the significance of the roles played by General Martin Dempsey, who was with the Calvery Regiment, and General David Howell Petraeus. The paper also describes the leadership traits, experiences, and achievements of these two great military leaders and how they inspired and influenced soldiers on the battlefield during these two critical wars.
Military personnel is guided by a strict military code of conduct both in the United States of America and other nations worldwide. Most importantly, the thought that military activities are closely related to high risks in life, including death and serious injuries like amputation, needs great inspiration and dedication. In most instances, military personnel go to war while completely uncertain of their return in good shape or much worse alive. This is not an easy thing to go by, especially without inspiration from military leaders and others. For this reason, military leaders play a significant role in the outcome of a war. This is because they are responsible for training their juniors and giving the necessary inspirational talks that encourage and give them the motivation to forge ahead. Additionally, the actions, achievements, and endurances of respective military leaders are most likely to become inspirational to their subordinates. It is important, therefore, for such leaders to exhibit exceptional leadership skills in order to nurture the same patriotism in military officers who go out to fight in the field (Tucker, Roberts, and Zinni, 2010).
Gen. David Petraeus’ vitality in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom
Gen. David Petraeus’ life revolves around the forces and service to the nation. His dad Sixtus Petraeus, who commanded a Liberty ship on behalf of the United States of America during World War II, was an army officer. Surprisingly, Gen. David Petraeus joined the US army just like his father and later dated the only daughter of an Army General, William.A. Knowlton, who he eventually got married to. It is also important to note that Gen. David Petraeus’ son, Stephen, joined the army to serve his nation just like his two grandfathers and father did (Tucker, Roberts, and Zinni, 2010). This simple life history alone is inspirational to soldiers who came after Gen. David Petraeus. One is bound to be encouraged by the fact that the general and both his immediate and distant families had dedicated their services to the military of the USA and had achieved great heights in the process (Gericke, 2011).
The general was appointed commander of the US forces in Afghanistan on July 4, 2010. He was instrumental in inspiring the soldiers that fought in Operation Enduring Freedom, especially in Afghanistan. Even though Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan was officiated on October 7, 2001, and lasted 11 years, Gen. David Petraeus played a significant role during its end (Gericke, 2011). He commanded the army that saw its completion. This was not an easy thing to do because the war had lasted for 11 years, and he was the one that commanded the last troop deployed to the area. This was championed by his exceptional leadership qualities, inspirational life history, and amicable experiences and achievements in the army.
In operation Iraqi Freedom, on the other hand, Gen. David Petraeus was instrumental in its early stages. For instance, he led the 101st Airborne Division in the famous V Corps’ drive towards Baghdad in 2003. It is important to note that the general led his troops through fierce battles south of Baghdad in regions like Karbala, Najaf, and Hilla. In addition to that, the general was also vital in the participation of the longest heliborne assault in the record that saw the fall of Baghdad and the consequent capture of the Ninawa Province of Iraq. These two major achievements came as a result of Gen. David Petraeus’ commitment to serving his country. They most definitely inspired the soldiers who were on the ground during this war and, most certainly, other military personnel who were yet to go to war.
Another historic moment that put Gen. David Petraeus in the limelight of great military leadership was on September 16, 2008, when he formally handed over his military command in Iraq to Gen. Raymond Odierno (Gericke, 2011). It was during this ceremony that Gen. David Petraeus was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal by Gen. Raymond. This must-have encouraged the military personnel who were to stay back in Iraq and continue with the struggle for peace and stability. The one most significant moment during this ceremony was when Gen. Raymond described Gen. David Petraeus as one of USA’s greatest battle captains. This is a title that is not easily achieved if one did not have remarkable leadership skills and outstanding bonds with the team he commanded. The battles that were won during Gen. David Petraeus’ command also formed part of the evidences for his incomparable inspiration to his troops (Bernstein, 2005).
General Martin Dempsey’s vitality in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom
General Martin.E. Dempsey similarly had extraordinary leadership and inspirational skills exhibited during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. General Martin Dempsey presently holds the highest position in the Armed Forces of the United States of America as the chairperson of the Joint Chief of Staff. This is a status he assumed on October 1, 2011. It can only be attained through outstanding performance in the military. This is most definitely inspirational to military officers deployed in various parts of the globe in the quest to curb terrorism.
General Martin Dempsey was instrumental in Operation Iraqi Freedom. This was because he was appointed the commanding general of the Multi-National Security Command-Iraq in August 2005. Here, he played a vital role in putting together the army that sought Saddam with undivided attention and efforts. Saddam was a fierce terrorist in the world and was widely mentioned in the September 11 attack on the US soil and quite a number of other terrorist attacks in countries across the globe (Center of Military History, 2004). The mention of his name obviously chilled the spines of military officers. However, the bold leadership that General Martin Dempsey exhibited in the quest to fish Saddam from whatever tomb he was seeking refuge from was inspirational to both the soldiers that participated in the search and those that were away in other missions across the globe (Bernstein, 2005).
If General Martin Dempsey, considering his past achievements and awards, would dare lead a search team in search of the dreaded Saddam, then all the soldiers involved in the mission were obliged to focus on the operation and never relent until it was accomplished. This is exactly what happened, the search team tore Iraq apart and scrutinized every corner until Saddam was eventually caught and brought to book through the International Criminal Court based in Hague. General Martin Dempsey was amongst the many military leaders who worked tirelessly to see this mission accomplished in the reign of the then American president George W Bush.
During General Martin Dempsey’s leadership in Iraq between June 20043 and July 2004, he commanded the 82nd Airborne Division for the duration of the Armored Cavalry Regiment (Kusnetz, 2003). This, later on, became the largest command in the division level in the history of the armed forces of the United States of America. This was a great achievement and was truly inspirational to the junior officers who aspired to be like the general someday. That notwithstanding, the general’s achievement and devotion to the army gave his subordinates the strength and courage to forge ahead in the wars and never look back (Center of Military History, 2004).
In conclusion, therefore, military leaders can be instrumental in shaping the future of the troops they command. It is only through their devotion, hard work, achievements, and invincibility that the junior army officers can acquire the courage and inspiration to serve their country during wars. This is certainly significant in the war against terrorism that has been the center of interest in the United States’ armed forces.
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Bernstein, J. (2005). AH-64 Apache units of operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Oxford: Osprey Publ.
Center of Military History. (2004). Operation Enduring Freedom: October 2001-March 2002. Washington, D.C: U.S. Army Center of Military History.
Gericke, B. T. (2011). David Petraeus: A biography. Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood.
Kusnetz, M. (2003). Operation Iraqi Freedom: [22 historic days in words and pictures]. Kansas City, Mo: Andrews McMeel.
Tucker, S., Roberts, P. M., & Zinni, A. C. (2010). The encyclopedia of Middle East wars: The United States in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq conflicts. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.