Book: Petraeus was urged to resign over Afghanistan drawdown

CIA Director David Petraeus was urged to resign when he was commander in Afghanistan after President Obama decided to quickly withdraw surge troops, according to a new biography of the four-star general.

Ultimately, Petraeus concluded that his resignation would be a “selfish, grandstanding move with huge political ramifications,” according to The Associated Press, which received an advance copy of the book.

The biography, titled “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus,” was co-written by Washington Post editor Vernon Loeb and Paula Broadwell, who received extensive access to Petraeus. It will be released next month.

Initially, the AP reported Thursday that Petraeus had almost resigned over the dispute with Obama, but Broadwell said he did not consider actually resigning. “#Petraeus did NOT consider quitting, though mentors/friends encouraged it,” she tweeted. 

The AP changed it's story and headline to say Petraeus was urged to quit, adding a statement from a CIA spokeswoman: “Director Petraeus has publicly stated that he never contemplated resignation."

According to excerpts released to Politico, the book's authors write: "As a student and practitioner of civil-military relations, Petraeus had thought at length about the subject of resignation in protest, turning it over in his mind many times. He was well steeped in the theory and practice and pitfalls of civil-military relations."

Petraeus was the architect of the counterinsurgency Iraq surge strategy in 2007 and oversaw the surge of more than 30,000 troops in Afghanistan.

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Obama has called for the withdrawal of 33,000 troops in Afghanistan before the end of 2012, a strategy that went against the advice of Petraeus, who wanted the surge troops to stay in the country for a longer period of time.

The United States is supposed to hand off control of security to Afghan forces in 2014.

Despite his protests, Petraeus said in the book that after Obama made the decision, it was “time to salute and carry on.”

Petraeus took over command in Afghanistan in 2010 after Gen. Stanley McChrystal was forced out following disparaging comments he made about the administration in Rolling Stone magazine.

Earlier this year, Petraeus retired from the military to become CIA director, replacing Leon Panetta when Panetta was named Defense secretary.

The biography described Petraeus’s frustration at being considered an Obama administration outsider, according to the AP. 

He also told the biographers that the Afghanistan war was not yet won when he passed on command to Gen. John Allen. “He had wanted to hand Allen ... a war that had taken a decisive turn,” the authors wrote. “He knew that, despite the hard-fought progress, that wasn’t yet the case.”

—Updated at 12:19 p.m.