From the Ohio to the Tigris

General David Petraeus has issued a letter to the troops in Iraq. If it strikes you as something from the pen of McClellan, read his message and then compare it to the real deal, below. Think clarity, actionability, simplicity. Think Iraq in place of Virginia. Over to Mac:

You are ordered to cross the frontier and enter the soil of Virginia.

Your mission is to restore peace and confidence, to protect the majesty of the law, and to rescue our brethren from the grasp of armed traitors. You are to act in concert with Virginia troops and to support their advance. I place under the safeguard of your honor the persons and property of the Virginians. I know that you will respect their feelings and rights.

Preserve the strictest discipline; remember that each one of you holds in his keeping the honor of Ohio and the Union. If you are called upon to overcome armed opposition I know that your courage is equal to the task; but remember that your only foes are the armed traitors, and show mercy even to them when they are in your power, for many of them are misguided. When, under your protection, the loyal men of Western Virginia have been enabled to organize and arm, they can protect themselves, and you can then return to your homes with the proud satisfaction of having saved a gallant people from destruction.

Geo. B. McClellan, May 26, 1861
From the Ohio to the Tigris - clear, concise, self explanatory. Empowering. Petraeus could have used it to much better effect than his own letter.

(Photo: The Petraeus confirmation hearings.)