David Petraeus

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Gen. David Petraeus. Photo: DoD

Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus is "the top American military commander in Iraq, part of a broad revamping of the military team that will carry out the administration's new Iraq strategy." [1][2]

Petraeus replaced Gen. George W. Casey, Jr., who was confirmed February 6, 2007, by the U.S. Senate, as Army Chief of Staff.

Petraeus, who has "served two previous tours in Iraq", "sees the need for additional troops in Baghdad." He "helped oversee the drafting of the military’s comprehensive new" Counterinsurgency Field Manual published December 2006. [3]

On September 8, 2005, Lt. Gen. Petraeus left Iraq "after handing off command" of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq, which he had commanded for 15 months. [4] He most recently served as Commander of the U.S. Army Combine Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. [5]

Testimony before Congress

Testimony in 2007

Main article: Troop surge in Iraq: The Petraeus Report
Main article: Troop surge in Iraq: The Petraeus Report: Testimony

Testimony in 2008

Petraeus returned to Congress in April 2008 to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He reported that he needed more time with elevated troop levels to consolidate progress in security, saying that he wanted to halt troop withdrawals for 45 days over the summer after the last of the 20,000 soldiers of the troop surge in Iraq pull out, with withdrawals to resume in September. This would leave about 140,000 soldiers still in Iraq by November. He called the decrease of violence in Iraq "fragile and reversible."[2]

Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) were all present at the hearings. McCain criticized the withdrawal plans put forward by Clinton and Obama, Clinton said continuing current policies would not bring success and Obama called for a withdrawal timetable.[2]

The following day President Bush announced that he was putting "Petraeus's" plan to halt withdrawals into effect.[3]


As commander of the 101st Airborne Division, Petraeus was in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, first driving towards Baghdad and then in Mosul. There Patraeus was was centrally involved in the reconstruction and political rebuilding efforts.[4]Petraeus' experiences with the 101st in Iraq were the central subject of Rick Atkinson book, In the Company of Soldiers (book 2004) about last year's efforts by the 101st Airborne during the Iraq War and occupation." [5]

When he returned to Fort Leavenworth, he participated in the refocus on counterinsurgency in the Army's training and education programs, which Jack Keane, the former Army general and vice chief, called him well suited for as "an imaginative commander who is experienced and [who] knows how to deal with irregular warfare." [4]

Training Iraqi Security Forces

Petreaus, still serving as the commanding general of the 101st, was nominated on May 5, 2004 by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for the lieutenant general rank and assignment as chief of the Office of Security Transition-Iraq, in which he was responsible for training the new Iraqi army.[6]

On April 20, 2004, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that Maj. Gen. Petraeus was being sent back to Iraq to "improve the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces after some either refused to fight or collapsed under attack by insurgents" during the early April 2004 Shiite Muslim uprising in Iraq.

"Petraeus will be responsible," the announcement said, "for 'training and mentoring and equipping' the new Iraqi army, police, border patrol, civil defense corps and facility-protection force, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a Pentagon briefing."

Petraeus recently "commanded the 101st Airborne Division and was responsible for Mosul and other parts of northern Iraq. His performance was praised within the Pentagon and he returned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, about two months ago."

Note: The previous section came from a now dead link posted on Yahoo! April 20, 2004.

Political Ambitions

Since the 2008 election, Petraeus' name has been mentioned as a possible 2012 presidential or vice-presidential candidate. According to the AP, Petraeus told reporters in March, 2010 that he will never run for office, yet his actions could indicate otherwise. For example, at that time, he was between speaking events at the New Hampshire Institute of Polititcs and nearby St. Anselm College, a location associated with past presidential candidates and debates. [7]


Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Royal United Services Institute Council, organizational web page, accessed November 17, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Peter Baker and Jonathan Weisman, "A Plea From Petraeus," Washington Post, Apr. 9, 2008.
  3. Peter Baker and Karen DeYoung, "Bush Backs Petraeus on Indefinite Suspension of Troop Pullout in Iraq," Washington Post, Apr. 11, 2008.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Bush to name new general to oversee Iraq," New York Times, Jan. 4, 2007.
  5. Bryan Strawser, "MG Petraeus Promoted," Bryan Strawser's Weblog, May 5, 2004.
  6. "Army General Officer Assignment," Defense Department press release, May 5, 2004.
  7. "Petraeus says he will never run for office," Air Force Times, March 24, 2010.


Articles by David Petraeus

Interviews with David Petraeus

Speeches & Briefings

External articles