Petraeus Faints During Senate Hearing

June 16th, 2010 by

Washington D.C. — General David Petraeus, a tough-as-nails 4-star general and head of the U.S. Central Command, took Capitol Hill by surpise Tuesday when he fainted briefly at the witness table during testimony in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He never fell to the ground and was able to stand up and walk out of the room under his own power shortly after slumping over.

Petraeus was greeted by a round of applause upon returning to the Dirksen Senate office building about 20 minutes later, and insisted he must have been dehydrated. “It wasn’t Senator McCain’s questions, I assure you,” Petraeus quipped.

Depite the general’s willingness to continue with the question, Chaiman Carl Levin (D-Mich) called a recess and set the hearing to resume on Wednesday morning.

Unfortunately for the viewers things were just getting interesting. Senator Levin and Senator John McCain, the ranking Republican member, were both on the attack, pressing Gen. Petraeus hard on President Barack Obama’s plans to begin a withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan starting in July of 2011.

The idea of setting a timeline for withdrawal has been a constant point of contention for the Afghan war, just as it was for Iraq. General Petraeus was not in favor of setting withdrawal dates in Iraq while serving under President George Bush, but he’s embraced the policy towards Afghanistan under President Obama.

Yet it appeared Chairman Levin was getting the general to crack when he asked this question: “When you say that you continue to support the President’s policy…Does that represent your best personal, professional judgement?

Petreaus paused for a long time before responding, “In a perfect world, Mr. Chairman, we have to be very careful with timelines.”

Minutes later, General Petraeus rebounded and put his full support behind the July 2011 withdrawal date in an exchange with Senator McCain. “You believe we can begin a drawdown in July of 2011 under the projected plans that we have?” McCain asked. “That is the policy, and I support it, Senator,” Petraeus responded.

Critics of the withdrawal date argue the 30,000-man surge will be in place for less than one year before President Obama plans to start moving troops out. When the last surge soldier arrives in September, the Pentagon will have roughly 10 months to turn the war around. Some argue there’s even less time since fighting tends to slow substantially over the winter months.

“I think you are one of America’s great heroes,” McCain said, “But I continue to worry a great deal about the message we are sending in the region, about whether we’re actually going to stay or not and whether we’re going to do what’s necessary to succeed, rather than set an arbitrary timeline.”

As he said this, McCain looked up to see General Petraeus slumped over in his chair. Nearby military aides scrambled to their feet, surrounding the general and blocking the view of television cameras and photographers. When the general stood up on his own, he was escorted to a nearby room and examined by a Senate doctor.

Petraeus’ spokesman, Col. Erik Gunhus, later told Fox News the doctor had determined he was fine. “General Petraeus is feeling much better. It appeared that he fainted. Looks like we will continue tomorrow.”

A concerned President Obama called General Petraeus from Air Force One on his way back from visiting the Gulf of Mexico.

One Response

  1. scott

    this shows how boring John McCain is. lol

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