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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez 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 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 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 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.

VOA Blogs