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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

26 January 2007

Senate Gives Iraq-Bound Petraeus Resounding Vote of Confidence

General will oversee augmentation of 21,500 troops in surge plan

Washington -- The U.S. Senate January 26 gave a resounding vote of confidence to Lieutenant General David Petraeus -- the soldier President Bush named to head up the new strategy of military engagement in Iraq.

Despite misgivings over President Bush's plan to augment or "surge" U.S. forces in Iraq by 21,500 combat personnel to support a new forward strategy in Baghdad and Anbar province, the Senate voted 81 to 0 to confirm the appointment of Petraeus as commander of Multi-National Force - Iraq.

Before the vote, Senator John McCain said, “We have needed new military leadership in Iraq for some time, and there is no one in the U.S. military better suited to implement the president’s new strategy than General Petraeus."

At his January 23 confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Petraeus commented on Bush's troop surge noting, "Forces currently in or moving to Baghdad should be sufficient to conduct effective counterinsurgency operations given the anticipated political-military situation and planned phased operations." (See related article.)

President Bush, at the White House, praised the swift Senate action in confirming Petraeus, who will be promoted to general with this appointment.

"The Senate confirmed this good man without a dissenting vote.  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.  "My instructions to the general [are] ‘Get over to the zone as quickly as possible and implement a plan that we believe will yield our goals.’"

Petraeus, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, also holds a doctorate from Princeton University.  He commanded the 101st Airborne Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003 and served as commander of the training program for the Iraqi army in 2004 and 2005.  Most recently, while stationed at Fort Leavenworth, he helped write the latest counterinsurgency manual for U.S. ground forces. (See related article.)

For additional information, see transcript.

(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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