Now this is the sort of story that both President Obama and General Petraeus want out:
General Petraeus, who led the Iraq surge and was a favorite of Mr. Bush, has slowly worked himself into the good graces of a president who was once wary of him.
So far, the two men appear to be meshing well, advisers say. The men “are actually somewhat similar in temperament and style,” said Benjamin Rhodes, the National Security Council’s director of strategic communications. Both are meticulous, even-keeled and matter of fact, and both like to do their homework, studying detailed reports.
Obviously that’s rather, ah, florid. (“Both men emit a natural cologne, soothing to the nostrils as aloe, yet unmistakably masculine…”) But leaving aside the tenor of their working relationship, the basic point is correct: by putting Petraeus in charge, Obama sided with Petraeus’s interpretation of July 2011. Obama has fudged on that. But if he backs away from it, he’ll be cutting against a dynamic he himself established. Whatever differences in style, personality and interest exist between Obama and Petraeus are less important than that dynamic.
I took this picture when I interviewed Petraeus in July August. [Ugh, is it time for a drink yet? Ah, shit, it's Yom Kippur almost...] Note the painting above his desk. It recalled the “Stampede” painting he kept in his Iraq office that Tom Ricks describes in The Gamble. Asked Petraeus about it. He said I could consider it the Afghan version. (Should really insert Ride’s “Stampede” here…)