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American Forces Press Service

Senate Unanimously Confirms Petraeus to Head Operations in Iraq

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2007 – The Senate today confirmed Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus for promotion to general and assignment as commander of Multinational Force Iraq.

At a photo opportunity following a meeting with Petraeus, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Gen. Peter Pace about the way forward in Iraq, President Bush expressed gratitude to the Senate for acting quickly on the nomination.

“The Senate confirmed this good man without a dissenting vote,” the president said. “I appreciate the quick action of the United States Senate. I appreciate them giving General David Petraeus a fair hearing, and I appreciate the vote.”

Bush said he wants Petraeus to report to Iraq quickly to “implement a plan that we believe will yield our goals.”

The president said that despite criticism of his plan to increase U.S. troop presence in the Iraqi capital and in the country’s troublesome Anbar province, he has to do what needs to be done. Most members of Congress, he said, recognize that failure in Iraq “would be a disaster for the United States.”

“I'm the decision maker,” Bush said. “I had to come up with a way forward that precluded disaster. In other words, I had to think about what's likely to work. And so I worked with our military, and I worked with Secretary Gates to come up with a plan that is likely to succeed.”

Critics of his plan have an obligation to propose a plan they think will work, Bush said. “I've listened to lots of members of Congress; I've listened carefully to their suggestions,” he said. “And I have picked the plan that I think is most likely to succeed, because I understand, like many in Congress understand, success is very important for the security of the country.”

Petraeus expressed his appreciation to the president, the Senate and his family. He also thanked “the great soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilians who are out there on the front lines of the global war on terror.”

No date has been set for Petraeus to succeed Gen. George W. Casey Jr., who has commanded coalition forces in Iraq since July 2004. Bush has nominated Casey to become Army chief of staff.

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