Gen Raymond Odierno stepped down from his post as the No. 2 general in Iraq this week, having evolved from a proponent of heavy-handed tactics to a believer in nonlethal methods to win favor with Iraqis and reduce violence, the Washington Post reports. In a lengthy profile of the so-called General O, the Post says his conversion in many ways mirrors the larger shift in strategy of the US military.
"Gen Odierno has experienced an awakening," said a retired colonel, one of many former critics who complained that Odierno's troops were alienating the local population. Odierno, who says his early reputation has been exaggerated, nevertheless says he had a pivotal moment in 2006, when he decided to reach out to Sunni tribesman. "I might have had a harder time doing that in '03 and '04," he said. "But I realized it was time."