In developing his plan for a troop surge in Afghanistan, President Obama acknowledged the success of the surge in Iraq and used some of its lessons to develop a plan in Afghanistan, the head of Central Command said Sunday.
During his presidential campaign, though, Obama frequently discussed how he strongly opposed the war in Iraq and the surge of 2007.
Gen. David Petraeus told “Fox News Sunday” that the president asked him how troops worked to secure the population and achieve cooperation with various Iraqi factions, and held several lengthy sessions to review how these principles could be applied in Afghanistan.
Petraeus said that while Obama acknowledged the success of the surge, "we've spent a lot of time taking the rear view mirrors off the bus and avoiding re-litigating, if you will, you know, past battles and all the rest of this, and focusing to the future."
Petraeus said that while "certainly there are some similarities and the -- and the focus again on focusing on the security of the people is an important component of this. But we have to be very careful to recognize the enormous differences between Afghanistan and Iraq."
The general, who is in charge of military operations throughout the Middle East and Central Asia -- regions containing Iraq and Afghanistan -- opposed deadlines in Iraq but said there are benefits to setting a timeline for withdrawal from Afghanistan. The strategy demonstrates both resolve and an urgency to get Afghanistan's military and police forces operational, he said.
"There is undeniably some tension between" announcing a surge and a withdrawal, Petraeus said. "But ... this will be conditions-based, responsible and a transition starting, but not a race to the exits."
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