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U.S. Army General David Petraeus became director of the CIA in 2011. He resigned from the post in 2012, after his extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell was publicized.
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The lieutenant colonel was rushed to emergency surgery at nearby Vanderbilt University Medical Center. After a successful operation performed by future U.S. Senator Bill Frist, Petraeus recovered quickly and was released in only a few short days.
By the late 1990s, Petraeus's career was full of promise. In 2000, at 46 years old, he achieved the rank of brigadier general. The next year, he sustained another injury from which he soon recovered: his parachute collapsed during a training jump, causing him to break his pelvis. In the early 2000s, Petraeus served in Bosnia as part of the NATO Stabilization Force, as both assistant chief of staff for operations and deputy commander of the U.S. Joint Interagency Counter-Terrorism Task Force. For his efforts there, Petraeus was promoted to lieutenant general in 2004. He was made a full general in 2007.
Petraeus really began attracting Washington's attention in 2003 with his command of the 101st Airborne Division in Baghdad, Iraq, and, later, in Mosul. He had written his doctoral thesis about counterinsurgency in Vietnam, and had continued to refine his ideas during tours in places like Central America and Bosnia. Petraeus soon began enacting what is now known as the "hearts and minds" approach to winning supporters among the local populations. His approach called for more troops and more investment in nation building, which ran in opposition to President George W. Bush's strategy at the time. However, when the administration changed its course in Iraq in 2006, Petraeus's rise to the top continued.
At the behest of President Bush, Petraeus was sent to Iraq in 2007 to implement his new counter-insurgency ideas. He succeeded General Casey as commanding general of Multi-National Forces in Iraq. With a nod from Congress and 30,000 more troops to bring to Iraq, the general began instituting what is sometimes called the "Petraeus Doctrine," which served to suppress the level of violence in Iraq. After playing a historic role in Iraq, Petraeus moved on. In 2008, he took up a post as commanding officer of the U.S. Central Command, which coordinates the military's operations worldwide.
The following year, Petraeus announced that he had been diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer; he and his family (wife Holly Knowlton, the daughter of Army
General William A. Knowlton, and their two children, Anne and Stephen) had kept the diagnosis private at first, but announced in October 2009 that Petraeus was undergoing radiation therapy.
In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Petraeus to command U.S. forces in Afghanistan in place of General Stanley McChrystal. Less than a year later, the general found himself for the first time contemplating civilian life, once again at the behest of thec ommander in chief. In early 2011, President Obama appointed Petraeus director of the Central Intelligence Agency (replacing Leon Panetta).
On November 9, 2012, Petraeus suddenly resigned from his newly appointed CIA post. The announcement came soon after Petraeus's extramarital affair with biographer Paula Broadwell was exposed.
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