At its broadest, General Patraeus (whom I first met when he was the Division Commander of the 101st Airborne in Iraq) is proving to Iraqis that they need not make a pact with the devil to trade their freedom for stability.
He is helping Iraqis understand that waiting for freedom to be imposed upon them from Baghdad has led to the instability of the past five years has been the wrong approach.
That allowing tribal, provincial and even religious leaders to apportion power and assume the responsibilities of political leadership is leading to the people in town after town, city after city, and province after province to freely govern themselves in peaceful stability.
Perhaps the Iraqis were finding their way to this bottom-up solution on their own. But General David Patraeus appears to have helped clear the road to freedom in Iraq as no previous commander has been able to do.
For helping Iraqis turn the corner onto the road leading to their own future, General David Patraeus is the MULLINGS "Person of the Year."