April 24, 2008

Quick Petraeus Follow-up

There's obviously loads of coverage on Day 2 of the Army's musical chairs campaign (see SWJ for the best round-up). But this bit from Tom Ricks and Ann Scott Tyson caught Charlie's eye.

Indeed, military officials familiar with the relationship between Petraeus and Odierno said mutual trust would make it easier for Petraeus to turn his attention to pressing regional issues such as Iran, Pakistan and Lebanon while Odierno assumed the reins in Iraq. As Centcom chief, Petraeus would oversee more than 200,000 U.S. military personnel in the region.

"Petraeus has the opportunity to hand off with confidence and expand his area of control and responsibility," said Lt. Col. Nathan P. Freier, a former adviser to Odierno in Iraq.

That's obviously a happier tune than Charlie and AM were singing yesterday (what, we told you they were initial impressions), but it follows a lot of the email traffic Charlie received after the initial announcement.

Indeed, the inside-baseball picture she's getting is that Petraeus wanted Odierno at the helm in Iraq because he knew his former deputy already understood his intent (and would be unlikely will strike out and try to create his own Iraq "legacy"). With Odierno continuing to execute his strategy in Iraq, Petraeus can turn to Afghanistan, Iran, etc. with greater comfort. Now Charlie doesn't fully buy into all of this: she thinks the jury is still out on Odierno, and agrees with AM that it will be psychologically and emotionally hard for Petraeus to move past Iraq. But she's markedly more sanguine than she was yesterday afternoon.