David Petraeus stepped down from his position as the director of the CIA on Friday, citing his "extremely poor judgment" in engaging in an extramarital affair. "Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as [the CIA]," he wrote in his resignation letter. Within hours of the announcement, the woman involved in the affair was identified as Petraeus's biographer, Paula Broadwell, and bizarre twists and turns continue to come out by the hour.
Petraeus's resignation is a significant interruption -- though almost certainly not the end -- of a long career in military and government service. His meteoric rise in the past decade saw him shoot from being the commanding general at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, home to the Army's in-house think tank but a command backwater, to becoming the most prominent strategist for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He gained a reputation for innovation and was frequently described as an intellectual and outlier among American generals. He was widely portrayed as a hero, the savior of military planning in Iraq and Afghanistan, and an icon of duty and leadership -- an image he helped create with his own deft public relations, even as critics weighed in heavily against his efforts to translate his strategy in Iraq to Afghanistan with considerably less success. Here, we take a look at Petraeus's rise to fame -- as a military hero, scholar, and statesman -- and how it all fell apart.
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