Great anecdote from Joe Klein:
Obama had a choice at that moment. He could thank Petraeus for the briefing and promise to take his views “under advisement.” Or he could tell Petraeus what he really thought, a potentially contentious course of action — especially with a general not used to being confronted. Obama chose to speak his mind. “You know, if I were in your shoes, I would be making the exact same argument,” he began. “Your job is to succeed in Iraq on as favorable terms as we can get. But my job as a potential Commander in Chief is to view your counsel and interests through the prism of our overall national security.”
It takes stones to goe toe-to-toe with Petraeus like that. But that’s what Obama’s going to have to do. The military is proposing an incredible $450 billion increase in defense spending over the next five years, intended to test the mettle of the next president. I suspect that the military, which publicly deferred to Bush for a long, long time, will suddenly start battling with President Obama in public. They’ll think, “no way this liberal with no military experience will dare question us in a time of war.” But if Obama wants to actually get anything done over the next four years, he’ll have to take up this challenge.