David Petraeus: The first six months or so of the Surge were very, very, very hard. I said before we started it — and I repeated this on a number of occasions in those early months — that it was going to get harder before it got easier. That when we moved into these neighborhoods we’d have to fight our way in, that we would have to take areas away from the Sunni insurgents, Al Qaeda in Iraq, or Shia militia, all of whom were fighting over it. And yet that was the only way that we could drive down the level of violence and get to a position where you can restore basic services and regain the trust of the people and help them re-establish markets, rebuild roads, schools, clinics and then help them re-establish local governance, the rule of law, and all other aspects of society that we take for granted, but which all cease functioning when you’re in the middle of a war zone.  So those early days  — early months — were very hard. Our casualties went way up. We had some of the worst months on record during those. In fact, all the way — June of 2007 was a very difficult month in that regard, but right after that, then all of a sudden the level of violence started to go down very rapidly, and for eight of the 11 weeks, prior to the hearing in September that was so important, it was staring at us out there. We saw significant declines in the numbers of attacks, the numbers of our casualties, the number of civilian casualties, the number of Iraqi military casualties.