President Obama was never a supporter of President Bush's surge in Iraq, but he arrived at a decision with striking similarities in Afghanistan under the advice of Bush's Secretary of Defense and top general. “This is the second surge I’ve been up here defending,” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Congress recently. According to The New York Times, Obama conceded to aides the surge in Iraq “turned out to be a good thing," but he and advisers were acutely aware the parallels between the wars were not at all perfect. “We spent a lot of time discussing the fact that the only thing Iraq and Afghanistan have in common is a lot of sand," one strategist involved in the decision told the Times. For example, in Iraq much of the surge's success hinged on a new policy to cooperate with tribal leaders in Anbar to drive out al Qaeda fighters and not on an increase in troops. Iraq's army was also better positioned for rapid training than Afghanistan, which has less experience with traditional standing armies.