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President Obama shook up the military leadership—and the Beltway media—when he replaced imprudent Gen. Stanley McChrystal with superstar Gen. David Petraeus as the US commander in Afghanistan. But that meant pulling Petraeus from his higher-ranking job as the head of US Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees both the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as perennial hotspots like Iran. The choice leaves military observers with plenty of questions: What will happen now in Iraq, the country Petraeus tamed (or didn't) with the "surge"? Will he even have a successor at CENTCOM? If he does, will Petraeus answer to that successor (as military organization dictates he should), or will the new Afghanistan viceroy hold the reins?
A few likely candidates have emerged in the race to jump into Petraeus' old role at CENTCOM's Tampa, Florida, headquarters. And they're a colorful bunch: a comedy-show actor, a stone-cold killer, an amateur bookworm, and an aficionado of chow-hall porterhouse steaks. Here's a quick glance at those aspirants in their full glory.