News / USA

    Petraeus: Obama Afghanistan Troop Reduction 'Aggressive'

    General David Petraeus during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on his nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, June 23, 2011
    General David Petraeus during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on his nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, June 23, 2011
    Michael Bowman

    The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan says President Barack Obama’s timetable for withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan is more “aggressive” than he and other military officers had counseled, but achievable without undue risks to U.S. objectives. General David Petraeus, Obama’s pick to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, spoke at his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill.

    Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee quickly turned to military matters at Thursday’s hearing, one day after President Obama announced a gradual drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Senators were eager to probe the thoughts of the man who oversaw America’s troop surge in Afghanistan, launched 18 months ago.

    Petraeus said the president opted for a more-rapid reduction in force strength than he and other commanders had suggested, but added that it was his prerogative to do so.

    “That [Obama’s decision] is understandable in the sense that there are broader considerations beyond those of a military commander," said Petraeus. "There has never been a military commander in history who has had all the forces he would like to have.”

    The general said the transition from U.S. to Afghan security forces has already begun in some parts of the country.

    “We are taking out 33,000 U.S. forces over the course of a 15-month period," he said. "During that time, there will be some 70,000 additional Afghan forces added.”

    Petraeus was lauded by senators of both parties. Independent Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut introduced the general to the committee, noting Petraeus has held top command posts in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

    “He is a true American hero who has twice been called upon by our commander-in-chief to assume leadership of a faltering war effort. And twice he led our forces out of the jaws of defeat, on to the path to victory.”

    If confirmed, Petraeus would shift from the military to the civilian branch of America’s national security apparatus," said Lieberman. "Historically, the Pentagon and intelligence agencies like the CIA have worked closely together. But analysts say the branches feature different work cultures and mindsets, and operate in distinct manners.

    Committee Chairwoman, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein expressed confidence Petraeus will make a successful transition to the CIA.

    “He has been the commander for a portion of the world where intelligence operations play a key role," said  Feinstein. "And he is especially aware of the coordination between military special operations and intelligence covert actions. So he comes to this nomination with a deep familiarity with the intelligence community and the CIA in particular.”

    Petraeus admitted his views about current conflicts were formulated during military service. But he pledged that, as CIA director, he would always present the agency’s position and assessments to the president.

    The ranking Republican on the committee, Senator Saxby Chambliss, seemed to speak of Petraeus’ confirmation as CIA director as a foregone conclusion.

    “I am asked quite often what I think should happen in Afghanistan," said Chambliss. "And my first response is, ‘well, whatever General Petraeus says, that is the direction we ought to go.’ I look forward to a continued close relationship as you assume the duties at the CIA.”

    Petraeus would succeed departing CIA Director Leon Panetta, who was confirmed unanimously by the Senate as America’s next secretary of defense. Like Panetta, Petraeus is expected to receive overwhelming support when the full Senate votes on his nomination.

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora