On Iraq, Petraeus Has Bush's Ear

Close ties fuel fears that other commanders aren't heard
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 6, 2008 1:10 PM CDT
George W. Bush meets with Gen. David H. Petraeus, left, Commander of the Multi-National Force, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008, in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – George Bush and top Iraq commander David Petraeus have a close relationship unusual for wartime presidencies, the Washington Post reports. The president skips over several middlemen, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, to speak directly and regularly with Petraeus, and has fully deferred to the general on controversial Iraq decisions. But some top officials worry that the views of one man are trumping their own.

Some say Petraeus’ scope is limited, and Bush should listen to Gates and others who have “the broad view of our national security needs,” says the Senate Armed Services chair. Bush’s focus contributed to the sudden departure of Petraeus' boss last month. But onlookers say Petraeus is a gifted reporter from the field, and Gates insists his views are heard: Bush and Petraeus aren’t “backslapping buddies,” he says.