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How Petraeus Created the Myth of His Success

Petraeus represents a new type of military commander, whose primary strength lay neither in strategy nor in command of combat, but in the strategic manipulation of information to maintain domestic political support for counterinsurgency wars of choice.

The discovery of his affair with Paula Broadwell has ended David Petraeus’ career, but the mythology of Petraeus as the greatest US military leader since Eisenhower for having engineered turnarounds in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars lives on.

A closer examination of his role in those wars reveals a very different picture, however.

As this four-part series will show, Petraeus represents a new type of military commander, whose primary strength lay neither in strategy nor in command of combat, but in the strategic manipulation of information to maintain domestic political support for counterinsurgency wars of choice, while at the time enhancing his own reputation.

The series will show how Petraeus was engaged from the beginning of the Iraq war in creating a myth about himself as a commander with unique ability to defeat insurgents, that he knew he had failed in his first two commands in Iraq and that he did not believe that war was winnable.

But the account will also show that Petraeus eventually began to believe his own myth of himself as successful counterinsurgency strategist. The shift from deception of others to self-deception is the dominant theme of his command of the war in Afghanistan.

Read the Series:

Part I: How Petraeus Created the Myth of His Success
Tuesday, 27 November 2012
By Gareth Porter, Truthout | Report

Part II: How Petraeus Quietly Stoked the Fires of Sectarian War Without Getting Burned
Tuesday, 04 December 2012
By Gareth Porter, Truthout | Report

Part III: Petraeus Rising: Managing the “War of Perceptions” in Iraq
Friday, 14 December 2012
By Gareth Porter, Truthout | Report

Part IV: True Believer: Petraeus and the Mythology of Afghanistan
Thursday, 20 December 2012
By Gareth Porter, Truthout | Report

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