Special Report: Winning The Peace, Part 2Posted: Updated:
Pockets of peace exist in Iraq.
In part two of his special report, 7 News anchor Jeff Cole sits down with Maj. Gen. Walter Piatt as the 10th Mountain Division commanger describes what that peace looks like and what the history books will say about the 10th after 15 years of war.
In a paper he wrote, "Winning the Peace in Iraq," Piatt's drive and message are clear.
"This one simply is to just remind people that wars don't end in peace," he said, "that peace is often a harder struggle."
Piatt said "I got to see that first hand, so it's not that it's a completely different picture that you see on the news, but it's a different struggle. The people are struggling to get their lives back."
To win peace, the general says, the Iraqi people need to get their homes back, their jobs, have a bustling economy and he says he has seen where that is starting to happen.
"In Baghdad now, you see parks open up, you see water parks," he said. "I got to see a ferris wheel at a park open up in Mosul and I said very clearly, when I ride that ferris wheel, we're going to know that it's peace."
"How much more time do you think for Iraq to start becoming some place that you'd be able to take your family?" Cole asks the general.
"I think that it's decades, I think, to overcome the devastation of war, just to rebuild the old city of Mosul," Piatt said.
Deployments of soldiers from Fort Drum to Iraq could continue for years, perhaps decades, the general says, not to fight a war,but to keep the peace.
"I often tell people, this never ends," Piatt said. "We must stay committed to global security and helping our allies and partners if we're going to enjoy the freedoms that we expect here. We just can't take that for granted.
"And I've seen the devastation of war and I don't want it to come to my country and I don't want it to come to my family," he said. "I don't want to see my friends and family have to witness that, but I do believe that we can win it, I do believe peace is achievable."
Cole asks, "Do you think in 50 years that people will look back at Iraq and do you think the 10th Mountain Division and maybe the insignia is going to be 'wow, this is really a big part of what the division was and what we've built on' with the 10th Mountain Division?"
"I think the respect that we have earned in these very difficult deployments will go down in history." Piatt answered. "I think what we want though mostly, is to just see a stable Iraq.
"We've been there before -- many would say we've won the fight once, only to leave and have ISIS come back, then we won the fight again. We don't want to have to go there and win a third time. We want the Iraq people to enjoy the peace that they fought so hard, so hard to achieve and so richly deserve."