CNN Senior Pentagon Producer
On paper, it appeared to be a winning team for President Obama and his new plan to fix Afghanistan: a celebrated general, a master of counterinsurgency strategy overseeing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as head of CENTCOM, with his his protege running the war in Afghanistan.
The two - Gens. David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal - had enjoyed success because of their military minds. Ask around the Pentagon, and the phrase most often used in connection with both is "brilliant."
While coming from different paths, both generals have a good deal of similarities. After the now-infamous Rolling Stone article, however, it is clear that Petraeus alone has the savvy to survive in Washington.
An academic with political deftness, Petraeus approaches combat with a mix of military and diplomacy, the essence of counterinsurgency.
Petraeus made his first big mark with a successful air assault in northern Iraq in 2003 and kept the region U.S.-friendly while the rest of the country spiraled into chaos. He then used the counterinsurgency strategy to help bolster the U.S. war effort in Iraq for President George W. Bush.
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