Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, moves quickly — even when it's 113 degrees in the middle of the desert in Anbar, where he flew in to meet with local U.S. commanders over the weekend.
His mind is quick, too — this is the man who wrote the latest U.S. military manual on how to fight a counterinsurgency campaign, and he tosses out ideas and statistics at a rapid pace.
In Anbar, he expresses concern about the passage of suicide bombers who come across the Syrian border, headed for Baghdad.
"Sixty, 80 or more foreign fighters transit through Syria in a given month," Petraeus told ABC News in an exclusive interview. "You can do the math — that is a substantial number of sensational attacks."
Petraeus is the main architect of the plan to increase troops in Baghdad and Anbar by 30,000 in an attempt to quell sectarian violence and give Iraqi politicians a chance to talk peace. The Iraqi parliament's foot-dragging is sorely testing his patience.
"I was impatient when it started in 2003, and I am still impatient," he said. "What we have to see now is ... whether or not they can, in fact, make the most of this opportunity that our soldiers and their soldiers are fighting and dying to give to them."
Petraeus is pleasantly surprised by how the situation in Anbar Province has turned around. Only six months ago, some U.S. commanders believed the entire province was lost to al Qaeda.
Now, local sheiks have turned on the foreign-controlled al Qaeda fighters, tired of their extreme political and religious views.
"You now have local security forces that are truly fighting for their local areas and, of course, they can figure out who al Qaeda is a heck of a lot better then we can," Petraeus said.
But Baghdad is much harder — and more deadly — for U.S. troops.
"If you are going to secure Baghdad, you have to get into the belts that surround Baghdad. That's where the car bomb factories are. … Frankly, there is tough fighting out there," Petraeus explained. "The enemy does not want to give up those areas."
And as the U.S. takes on the militants in and around Baghdad, U.S. casualties increase. This month, at least 116 Americans have already died in Iraq, the third worst monthly tally since the war began.