Petraeus' Successor Has Mixed Record

Ray Odierno takes over today as Army's top dog in Iraq
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 16, 2008 9:34 AM CDT
Odierno and his predecessor, Gen. David Petraeus, testify on Capitol Hill in Washington in May.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – Gen. Ray Odierno, who today became the top US commander in Iraq, was instrumental in last year’s troop surge that helped stabilize the country. But though most notably known for mirroring predecessor David Petraeus' focus on protecting Iraqi citizens, some in the military have slammed his methods early in the war as overly aggressive, the Guardian reports in a profile of the Army's new top dog in the region.

In 2004, Odierno oversaw an area north of Baghdad; while his tough tactics may have briefly calmed the area, they were disastrous in the long run and drove the insurgency, say some military leaders. “What they did was a crime,” one general said of Odierno’s division’s use of heavy artillery and treatment of locals. But in recent days, “Our mantra was protect the population, protect the citizens of Iraq,” Odierno says.