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In the war, soldiers need to “live our values,” he stated, noting that they should “not hesitate to kill or capture the enemy, but stay true to the values we hold dear. Living our values distinguishes us from our enemies. There is no tougher endeavor than the one in which we are engaged. It is often brutal, physically demanding, and frustrating. All of us experience moments of anger, but we can neither give in to dark impulses nor tolerate unacceptable actions by others.”

Finally, Gen. Petraeus urged troops to learn and adapt by constantly assessing the war and adjusting tactics, policies and programs. “Never forget that what works in an area today may not work there tomorrow, and that what works in one area may not work in another,” he said. “In counterinsurgency, the side that learns and adapts the fastest gains important advantages.”

Bill Gertz covers national security affairs. He can be reached at 202/636-3274 or at