In early 2007 Petraeus was sent back to Iraq once again, this time to execute President George W. Bush's "surge" of forces at a time when many in Washington and beyond believed the war had been tragically lost.
Petraeus became the administration's leading ambassador for the Iraq war's progress. He had a close relationship with President George W. Bush and became known for his detailed PowerPoint presentations, burying lawmakers in charts that tracked everything from troop deaths and roadside bombs to power generation and school construction.
In 2007, after he reported progress in the war effort — thumping legislative attempts by congressional Democrats to force troops home — an anti-war group took out a full-page advertisement in the New York Times that coined a new nickname for Petraeus — "General Betray Us" — and blamed him for "cooking the books for the White House."
But by most accounts, Petraeus' strategy worked for the time being and he was hailed a hero who paved the way for the eventual U.S. exit from Iraq.
When Petraeus took his next assignment, as head of U.S. Central Command, in October 2008, Gates called him the do-it-all general, "the pre-eminent soldier-scholar-statesman of his generation."
Robert Burns can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/robertburnsAP
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