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

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs