News / USA

US General David Petraeus Collapses During Hearing

The head of the U.S. Central Command, General David Petraeus, briefly collapsed Tuesday while testifying before members of the Congress on the war in Afghanistan.  

General Petraeus was appearing before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee when he appeared to bow his head and slump over the witness table.

Aides rushed to the four star general's side, but he quickly recovered and walked out of the hearing room under his own power.

The dramatic episode appeared to stun lawmakers, who moments earlier were questioning Petraeus over plans to start a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in July, 2011.

About 20 minutes later Petraeus returned to the room, smiling with a cup of water in his hand, saying he was dehydrated, feeling lightheaded, but was ready to resume the hearing.

The general had this conversation with the chairman of the committee, Senator Carl Levin.

PETRAEUS:  "Just got dehydrated."

LEVIN:  "General you have told us you are more than ready to go."

PETRAEUS: "I am."

LEVIN:  "You always are.  You are that kind of incredible person.  I have consulted with colleagues and we are going to overrule you."

With that, Senator Levin suspended the hearing until Wednesday.

The meeting was called to assess the situation in Afghanistan as thousands of U.S. troops continue to arrive in the country.

U.S. President Barack Obama has tripled the overall force since taking office, but says he will begin pulling troops out of the country next year.

Critics of the policy are concerned that progress in Afghanistan has been slower than expected.

Republican Senator John McCain:

"The decision to begin withdrawing our forces from Afghanistan arbitrarily in July 2011 seems to be having exactly the effect that many of us predicted it would," he said. "It is convincing the key actors inside and outside of Afghanistan that the United States is more interested in leaving than succeeding in this conflict."

Supporters of the Obama administration's strategy are quick to point out the withdrawal will be based on conditions in Afghanistan and Mr. Obama has yet to decide how quickly the troops will be brought home.

An updated assessment of the war, now in its ninth year, is due in December.

Strong Taliban resistance and persistent violence around Marja, which was supposed to be a model of the counterinsurgency campaign, has fueled doubts about the strategy.

A major civil-military operation in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, appears to be building more slowly than military planners originally anticipated.

U.S. officials have also expressed doubts about Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who recently dismissed two senior security officials who were trusted by the Americans.

Despite these difficulties, General Petraeus says the military's timeline is on track.

"July 2011 is not the date where we race for the exits," he said. "It is the date, where having done an assessment, we begin a process of transition of tasks to Afghan security forces, based on conditions and begin a process of - quote - a responsible drawdown of our forces."

Under Secretary for Defense Policy Michele Flournoy told the committee that allied forces are beginning to regain the initiative against the stubborn Taliban insurgency, which she says has begun to lose momentum.

Flournoy says, however, the outcome is far from certain and the military is still in the early stages of the president's new strategy for Afghanistan.  

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More