to meet recruitment numbers over a decade of grinding ground
conflict. But that same publicity, and the fiercely ambitious man
who pursued it, drew private criticism from some officers, who
nicknamed him "King David."
As word of his resignation resounded across the Pentagon on Friday, more than one officer cited the biblical adultery of King David and Bathsheba.
Yet even officers who criticized the high-profile general acknowledged that he renewed a sense of intellectualism across a muddy-boots army. The circle of advisers who surrounded Mr. Petraeus before he left for the C.I.A. were called "the smart colonels."
And while the military's new field manual on counterinsurgency -- published in 2006 and tested on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan -- was written by a number of staff officers and officially had a senior Marine Corps general as a co-author, the document was known as Mr. Petraeus's doctrine.
Mr. Petraeus grew close to President George W. Bush, with whom he spoke frequently, and clashed with then-Senator Barack Obama about the troop surge in Iraq. When Mr. Obama traveled to Iraq in the summer of 2008 as his party's presumptive nominee, the two men had a spirited argument in private over the future president's plan to withdraw combat forces from Iraq.
Once Mr. Obama took office, he did not speak regularly with Mr. Petraeus, preferring to restore what he considered the normal chain of command. Mr. Petraeus was effectively barred by the administration from Sunday talk shows but maintained private communications with journalists and lawmakers.
An important moment in the turnaround of the tense relationship between the president and the general came when Mr. Petraeus met with Rahm Emanuel, then Mr. Obama's chief of staff and his lookout for possible rivals. In roundabout ways, not quite explicit but understood by both men, Mr. Petraeus assured Mr. Emanuel that he had no intention of running for president, according to people informed about the conversation.
Mr. Petraeus aspired to the top job in the military, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but the White House feared he would resist Mr. Obama's schedule for winding down the war in Afghanistan. When Robert M. Gates, then the defense secretary, told him he would not get that post, Mr. Petraeus floated the idea of becoming C.I.A. director.
Mr. Obama liked the idea but, recognizing the C.I.A.'s institutional suspicion of the military, insisted that Mr. Petraeus retire from the army. He reluctantly agreed to the condition, sailed through Senate confirmation and, as he had promised, showed up at the agency in Langley, Virginia, without a single aide from his large military retinue. His office at the C.I.A., however, was decorated with military memorabilia from his multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, including photographs, coins and Iraqi weapons.
He took over C.I.A. counterterrorism operations, helping smooth conflict over drone strikes between agency officials at the Counterterrorism Center and State Department diplomats. He pushed the C.I.A. to stay on the frontiers of technology, taking an interest in the agency's high-tech incubator, In-Q-Tel.
He deliberately lowered his profile, rarely saying anything publicly about his new work. But he showed up at embassy parties and attended private Georgetown dinners, where he would sometimes talk
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