Washington: Army General David Petraeus has
already turned around a struggling US war once, in Iraq.
President Barack Obama is betting he can do it again, in
The professorial four-star general with an outsized
reputation hasn`t been chosen as Afghanistan war commander to
bring a bold new strategy to the effort. Instead, he is seen
as the officer best able to make the current strategy work,
and to end the squabbling between diplomats and military
leaders that broke into the open and consumed General Stanley
If McChrystal`s staff resembled a locker room-style
boy`s club, Petraeus, who holds a doctorate degree from elite
Princeton University, is known for running his team more like
a graduate seminar.
Petraeus, 57, rises early for long runs, outgunning
officers half his age, and responds to e-mails in the middle
of the night. The intensity has sometimes shown. Petraeus
briefly collapsed during Senate testimony last week,
apparently from dehydration.
He is seen as ablest to pick up the counterinsurgency
battle plan exactly where McChrystal is leaving off. Petraeus
was McChrystal`s boss as head of US Central Command in Tampa,
Florida, where he was already keeping tabs on the campaign,
with frequent visits to Afghanistan, neighbouring Pakistan and
"He`s already completely up to date on the intelligence,
knows the political and military actors, and understands the
region," says John Nagl, president of the Centre for the New
"He`ll have the support of the troops," says Mansoor.
"He can just roll up his sleeves and get right to work."
Over the past two years at Central Command, Petraeus has
fostered what`s been described as a good working relationship
with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. He knows Afghanistan`s US
ambassador, former Gen. Karl Eikenberry, from their years
together in the army.