Five facts about General David Petraeus

WASHINGTON Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:56pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday picked General David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, as the new commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

He replaces General Stanley McChrystal, who Obama fired for mocking comments by him and aides about the president and some of his top advisers.

Here are five facts about Petraeus.

* Petraeus, 57, is credited with pulling Iraq back from the brink of all-out sectarian warfare and is widely hailed as a war hero. As head of U.S. Central Command since 2008, Petraeus had been McChrystal's boss overseeing a huge region that includes Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen.

* A Republican favorite, Petraeus has often been mentioned as a possible future presidential candidate but says he has no interest in the job. Although once a registered Republican, Petraeus stresses his independence and has not voted for years. But suspicions linger in the Obama White House that he might harbor secret political ambitions and could pose a fierce challenge to Democrats some day.

* Known as a "warrior-scholar," David Petraeus earned a doctoral degree from Princeton University and did his dissertation on the war in Vietnam. He oversaw development of the counter-insurgency field manual guiding the U.S. armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, which serves as the backbone of Afghan war strategy.

* Petraeus has survived his share of physical challenges. He was successfully treated for prostate cancer last year. His pelvis was broken in a parachuting accident and he was shot in the chest in a training exercise.

* Fiercely competitive and extremely fit, the general was once known to challenge younger soldiers to pushup contests. Still, his stamina showed limitations this month when he briefly fainted during congressional testimony. He blamed dehydration.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart and Adam Entous in Washington; editing by Patricia Wilson and Doina Chiacu)

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Comments (5)
BB1978 wrote:
He is perfect for the job. Let’s hope he can turn things around.

Jun 23, 2010 2:52pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
soshaljustic wrote:
A wonderful managerial move on Obama’s part as the general was playing divide and conquer strategies with his superiors and his commander in chief no less! He gave Obama no out but to can his arse! Obama has proven worthy of the title of Commander in Chief in this turmoil of home situation in guiding the forces. My respect for him has risen. His comment of divisiveness was spot on! Petraeus should do well in taking over the reigns at this juncture. The general evidently needed some time off. He now has it. Good. Not a bad seed, but definitely war weary by the turn of events. Time for a break and recoup on the generals part to save this personnel and individual war machine for better purposes.

Jun 23, 2010 3:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ayesee wrote:
Ditto to both of the above.

Jun 23, 2010 12:11am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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