Military leaders are quick to point out that coalition forces can set up the conditions for economic revival.
But the Iraqi police and army who will have to do the heavy lifting.
American soldiers closest to the Iraqis are the ones most likely to praise their Iraqi friends.
"I'm proud of them," said a combat-hardened captain working with Iraqi police in Mosul.
He acknowledged that Iraqi police not only risked their lives coming to work, but also the lives of their families and their extended families.
The insurgents regularly kill family members of police or soldiers.
"They are courageous, if you ask me," the captain said.
The captain was on his way back to Mosul from meetings in Baghdad.
His Iraqi police friends had just fought off coordinated attacks on nine police stations.
Four officers were killed. For him, and the Iraqi police in Mosul, that was a good day.
Iraqis have a difficult choice. Ultimately they have to choose whom and what to support.
Do they risk their lives and those of their families for an uncertain future?
It's a choice based on faith and fueled by hope that they can make the world better for their children.
Chiarelli and the thousands of American, British and coalition soldiers are trying to make that choice easier for them.