Serwer adds more context:

[I]t's not the military's job to make troop decisions, it's the president's job. But because the military is popular and trusted while politicians are not, there's a political incentive for politicians to use the military against their political opponents. That further erodes trust in civilian leadership while entrenching the notion that the president's job is to rubber-stamp the decisions made by his military advisers.

The thing is, politicians aren't the only ones who worry about their image. To the extent that there's been a "canonization" of Petraeus I'd argue the media is more responsible than Petraeus himself. The incentives to find a central hero in a sprawling narrative of war, the media's own desire to align itself with a popular figure in a time of conflict, and the general trend towards shoehorning complex events into simple stories all contributed to the current circumstances.

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