The men "are actually somewhat similar in temperament and style," Benjamin Rhodes, the National Security Council's director of strategic communications, told The New York Times. Both are meticulous in their approach, poring over field reports and maps.
When the president reassesses war strategy in December, he will be able to point to tangible gains, Petraeus predicted by secure video hookup from Kabul in this week's policy meeting, administration officials told the Times.
The general said American forces should have substantially enlarged the secure area around Kabul and expanded American control farther outside of the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar. And, aides said, the general said the military would have reintegrated many ex-Taliban fighters in the south.
"He essentially promised the president very bankable results," one administration official said, although others present at the meeting characterized Petraeus's list more as objectives than promises. Hours later, the White House issued an e-mail to reporters with language echoing the general's.