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

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid