What is Fort Leavenworth for? Here in frozen Kansas, it stands on what was once the United States's western border, now the centre of the nation, far removed from the outside world, far from any possible conflict, far from the centres of political power (sorry Kansas City) and far from the kind of influence it once had, you might think.
You would be wrong though - just as important as the efforts of General Petraeus on the front line are the efforts of another general with Iraq experience, William Caldwell.
He wants the US military to succeed in the 21st Century not just by fighting, but by thinking. Leavenworth hums with brainy soldiers - and (oddly for Kansas?) an interest in evidence-based knowledge. Fox News is still on the TVs but nobody is watching: they are too busy thinking about cultural issues in modern soldiering, thinking about soft power, thinking about things from the Iranian perspective.
Say what? Look at the summer issue of Military Review with a piece entitled Surrounded: Seeing the World from Iran's Point Of View. Two thoughts: first the US military is already streets ahead of the politicians, Republican and Democrat, when it comes to learning the lessons of Iraq.
Second, if David Petraeus, and a few brother officers, ever thought about standing for president, the outside world might see it as evidence of American militarism - but the reverse would be the case. America's senior soldiers are oddly unmilitaristic in outlook.