Few people have been more important in America’s recent wars than David Petraeus. Petraeus led the surge of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and redefined the US approach to counter-insurgency warfare. He was the most influential military figure of the post-war era and successful enough for some of those close to Obama to hold deep concerns about the prospect of Petraeus running against Obama.
14 months ago, he was put in charge of the CIA by President Obama. There he expanded Predator strikes to Yemen and pushed for a larger drone fleet. But yesterday, Petraeus resigned over an extra-marital affair with his biographer. It is a sad end to a remarkable career.
Petraeus’s abrupt departure throws a spanner in the works of Obama’s attempt to put together a national security team for his second term. But it also means that the full story about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi will take longer to come out. Petraeus was meant to testify to Congress on the matter next week. But he now will not.